Monthly Archives

May 2020

TOMORROW: Trump Heads to Pennsylvania to Rewrite His Shameful Record of Failing to Prepare the Keystone State for the Coronavirus Crisis, But Pennsylvanians Aren’t Buying It

Washington, DC — Tomorrow, President Trump will tour a medical equipment distribution center in Allentown, Pennsylvania in a blatant attempt to rewrite his disastrous response to the coronavirus. President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus response is already deeply unpopular with Pennsylvanians, who overwhelmingly trust their governor and local leaders more than the president to deal with the pandemic. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement ahead of the president’s trip:

“From the start of this crisis, President Trump has failed to get local officials and medical professionals in Pennsylvania and across the country the equipment and resources they need to adequately fight this pandemic. However, long before the coronavirus came to our shores, Donald Trump’s sabotage of our health care system left us woefully unprepared. At a time when access to health care has never been more critical, President Trump supports the lawsuit to rip coverage from 20 million more Americans, including more than 850,000 Pennsylvanians, and throw the health care system into chaos as the country grapples with this crisis and as deaths and infections continue to rise. It’s no wonder that Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly trust their local leaders more than Trump when it comes to their health and safety during this crisis.”

BACKGROUND:

How Trump Is Making The Coronavirus Worse For Pennsylvanians 

President Trump has helped fuel the coronavirus crisis in Pennsylvania. Between downplaying the outbreak and failing to meet the needs of the health care system, Trump has failed Pennsylvanians and people across the country. Making matters worse, Trump failed to meet the state’s dire need for assistance. 

Where Pennsylvania Stands: 

Number Of Pennsylvania Cases Reported: 57,991
Number Of Pennsylvania Deaths: 3,806
Total Number Of People Tested In Pennsylvania: 295,980

Trump Aid Fell Short Of Pennsylvania Needs:

Governor Wolf Said Trump’s Disaster Relief Fell Short Of The State’s Need. “President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a major disaster declaration for Pennsylvania that Gov. Tom Wolf said fell short of the full assistance he requested to help the state and its residents during the coronavirus pandemic.’We are grateful for federal funding that will support all levels of government as we work together to stop the spread, and support those who care for the ill,’ Wolf said in a statement, ‘but I remain unwavering in my call for the approval of the rest of my request, which will provide more direct support to our friends and neighbors who are facing financial difficulties that otherwise could be insurmountable.’” [Ellwood City Ledger, 3/31/20

  • Trump’s Approval Failed To Include Critical Assistance For Pennsylvanians. “Wolf said the declaration did not address his request for assistance through Individual Assistance programs, Disaster Unemployment Assistance, Crisis Counseling, Community Disaster Loans and Disaster Supplemental Nutrition Program and Statewide Hazard Mitigation.”

Trump’s Coronavirus Response Has Made Pennsylvania Less Safe

The Trump Administration Failed To Secure Testing. After the Trump administration decided not to use tests adopted by the World Health Organization, the CDC experienced errors and delays with their own tests. The lack of tests meant public health officials could not use surveillance testing to monitor the virus’ spread. On March 30, 2020, Trump claimed that he had not “heard about testing being a problem” in weeks, despite multiple state and local officials ringing the alarm about a lack of testing on a daily basis. 

Trump Refused To Authorize The Defense Production Act Until It Was Too Late. Trump waited until hospitals were already experiencing severe shortages of life-saving equipment to invoke the Defense Production Act. Had Trump acted two months ago, experts and Ford’s own timeline agree that critical supplies would already be in production. Because Trump delayed acting, necessary equipment is unlikely before June. 

Trump Cut Key Positions To Help Pandemic Prevention Efforts. In 2018, the Trump administration dismantled the entire global health security unit at the National Security Council, reassigning its leader, Rear Adm. Timothy Ziemer, a long-time public health official who had served under both the Bush and Obama administrations. Additionally, Tom Bossert, another key official for infectious disease preparedness and biodefense strategy, left that same year. No one has since filled these positions. In 2017, the Washington Post reported that Trump had “failed to fill crucial public health positions across the government, leaving the nation ill-prepared” for a global pandemic. Trump tried to cut the global health section of the CDC, laying off staff and closing 80% of epidemic prevention activities that were designed to combat public health crises like this one. Trump also eliminated a key CDC position focused on detecting disease outbreaks in China and cut the staff at the Beijing office of the CDC by two thirds. 

Trump Has Repeatedly Ignored Experts And Spread Misinformation About The Outbreak. Dating back to January, Trump ignored warnings about the crisis and sought to downplay the crisis. He falsely claimed the virus would disappear by April, and repeatedly said the USA was in “very good shape” in hopes of calming the markets. In February, Donald Trump cut HHS Secretary Alex Azar’s budget request to buy respirator masks and other supplies for the national stockpile by 75 percent. Now a mask shortage is forcing health care workers in Pennsylvania to go without critical protective equipment.

By Late March, It Became Clear Pennsylvania Was Facing An Unprecedented Health Crisis:

Testing Failures

Philadelphia Inquirer: Experts Say That Much Of The Coronavirus’ Spread “Is Due To Shortages That Have Forced Health Officials To Ration Testing.” “The coronavirus is taking ever deeper roots in the Philadelphia region and across the country, and much of that spread, experts say, is due to shortages that have forced health officials to ration testing. But the problems go deeper than a lack of test kits. Potentially infected patients are supposed to start the process of getting tested with their health-care provider, but many family physicians and urgent care clinics report not having the protective gear or the protocols needed to safely and correctly swab patients’ noses and throats, then ship the specimens to labs.” [Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/13/20

Overwhelmed Hospitals

Gov. Tom Wolf Warned: “Our Hospitals Will Soon Be Overwhelmed.” “Gov. Tom Wolf said Wednesday the rising number of coronavirus cases poses a substantial challenge to Pennsylvania’s hospitals. If cases continue growing exponentially, Wolf said, ‘Our hospitals will soon be overwhelmed.’” [PennLive, 3/25/20

Dr. Rachel Levine, Pennsylvania’s Secretary Of Health, Warned That “If We Do Not All Stay Home And Stay Safe, Then We Will See The Worst-Case Scenario.” Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine said Tuesday continued social distancing is needed to ensure hospitals aren’t overwhelmed…Levine said, “If we do not all stay home and stay safe, then we will see the worst-case scenario in all of these models, including the potential overwhelming of our health care systems.” [Penn Live, 3/31/20] 

Supply Shortages

“The Biggest Concern In Pennsylvania This Week Is A Looming Shortage Of Life-Saving Supplies And Healthy Medical Workers Needed To Treat A Surge Of Coronavirus Patients.” [York Daily Record, 3/24/20

Pennsylvania Health Care Workers Said There’s A Shortage Of Personal Protective Equipment.The Pennsylvania Healthcare Association, which represents Donna and thousands of other health care workers around the state are demanding the federal government release masks and equipment from the national stockpile, produce new supplies, and make sure frontline workers have easy access to testing.” [CBS 21, 3/30/20]

Registered Nurse In Northeastern Pennsylvania Said That Workers At Her Nursing Home Do Not Have Surgical Gowns And Were Being Told To Reuse Paper Masks. “Donna, a registered nurse for more than 30 years, works at a nursing home in northeastern Pennsylvania. She says three coworkers recently tested positive for COVID-19. Donna also says workers don’t have surgical gowns and are being told to reuse paper masks for a week and keep them in paper bags when they’re not using them. She says in her three decades as a nurse, she never imagined she’d be facing a pandemic like the one we’re in now. ’It’s frightening. It’s a very scary situation. As frontline workers, we are fighting against an invisible enemy and yet so little is being done to protect us,’ Donna said.” [CBS 21, 3/30/20]

NEW AUDIO: Leader Schumer Blasts Senator John Cornyn for Shameless Hypocrisy on Health Care

Leader Schumer Responds to Senator Cornyn Suggesting People Sign Up for ACA Coverage, Despite Vocally Supporting Lawsuit to Overturn the Law 

On a press call with Protect Our Care this afternoon, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Republican Senator John Cornyn (TX) for the blatant hypocrisy he displayed when, during an interview this week, he encouraged people to sign up for ACA coverage despite voting repeatedly to repeal the ACA and failing to condemn the ongoing Texas lawsuit to overturn the law in court.

Senator Cornyn’s comments come as a new study out today revealed that roughly 27 million people have lost their health insurance due to the global pandemic. What’s particularly shameless about Cornyn’s remarks, is that he has propped up the ongoing lawsuit to repeal the ACA, which if successful, would likely prevent those who have lost their insurance from gaining access to coverage, on top of kicking an additional 20 million people off of their health care. Cornyn knows his stance on the ACA, and repeated actions to destroy the law, are deeply unpopular, but he isn’t fooling anyone by his new-found interest in people’s health care.

LISTEN: Leader Schumer calls out Senator Cornyn for health care hypocrisy

(7:44) Leader Schumer: “If you ever wanted to see the hypocrisy of the Republicans and how the coronavirus crisis has strengthened the need for health care, I wanted to give you a quote from John Cornyn, formerly the number two and still a member of the leadership team in the Republican Senate. He voted more than a dozen times to repeal the ACA. He’s one of the leaders in the Senate to dismantle it. Here’s what he said on Monday: ‘The good news’ – that’s his words – ‘is that people can sign up for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law if they’ve lost their jobs and need health insurance amid the coronavirus pandemic.’ Here’s his quote: ‘The good news is that if you lose your employer-provided coverage, which covers about a 180 million Americans, that is a significant life event, which makes you then eligible to sign up for the ACA’…As you know, it has a sliding scale of subsidies up to 400%…So that’s an option for people.’”

“Can you imagine? One of the leading people who is trying to dismantle health care now confronted with the crisis of corona, saying ‘here’s good news, we have ACA.’ What hypocrisy. But it also shows you where the public is. John Cornyn is running for re-election I imagine, you know, he knows that his efforts to repeal health care are not even popular in red, red Texas. And he has to say this. If you ever wanted evidence that corona has strengthened people’s desire for health care despite what this Trump administration is trying to do, there it is.”

Leader Schumer, Kathleen Sebelius and Protect Our Care Discuss Consequences of Trump-Republican Lawsuit to Overturn the ACA

Call Audio Available Here

Washington, DC — Today, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School Andy Pincus and Protect Our Care held a press call to discuss the briefs being filed in the Supreme Court by Senate Democrats and other groups opposing the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. On the call, Senator Schumer, Secretary Sebelius and Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach described the consequences of the lawsuit, particularly in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. They also made clear the devastation that would ensue if health care is ripped away from 20 million Americans as well as protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions at a time when ensuring people’s health has never been more important. Senator Schumer reaffirmed Senate Democrats’ commitment to protecting Americans’ health care from this disastrous lawsuit and making sure people have access to the care they need at time when they need it most. Oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case are expected in the fall of 2020.

“Now more than ever, Americans need the Affordable Care Act. And yet, in the middle of this public health and economic emergency, the Trump administration is dedicating time and resources to eliminating health care coverage and pre-existing condition protections for millions of Americans,” said Leader Schumer. “But Senate Democrats won’t give up this fight. We are calling on the highest court of the land to affirm the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and protect Americans’ care. The facts and the law are indisputably on our side.”

“Taking away health care from millions of Americans in the midst of a pandemic is cruel, economically stupid and dangerous,” said former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “Despite this lawsuit — and innumerable other efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act — the ACA is working to make health care more widely accessible and affordable. We should be working to strengthen it, not undermine it.”

“The nearly three dozen amicus briefs that will be filed today, together with the briefs filed last week by the House of Representatives and California and the other intervening states, demonstrate that there simply are no credible legal grounds for the argument by Texas and the Trump administration,” said Andy Pincus, Partner at Mayer Brown and Visiting Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School. “These briefs also make clear the huge stakes of this case: everyone with a role in the health care system – from patient groups to health care providers to hospitals – is filing in support of the ACA. They all recognize the catastrophic consequences that would result from invalidating the ACA—and especially from doing so while the nation is fighting a pandemic.”

“The single most important issue for Americans in the middle of this crisis is their health care, and yet President Trump is doing everything he can to rip that away from them,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “If the president and his Republican allies are successful in repealing the ACA through this lawsuit, 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance, on top of the millions who have already lost their employer-based insurance during the pandemic. Everyone who contracts the coronavirus could now have a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. Today’s filings by Senate Democrats, governors and other health care groups reveal the dramatic impacts of the Trump administration’s lawsuit. It’s critical that Americans understand just what’s at stake if this disastrous and irresponsible lawsuit succeeds.”

BACKGROUND:

View the full fact sheet on Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA HERE.

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:

  • GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent. 
  • GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers 17 million people. 
  • GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
  • GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 
  • GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
  • GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
  • GONE: Key support for rural hospitals. As Americans lose coverage, already struggling hospitals will be hit even harder as their costs increase.

NEW STUDY: 27 Million More Americans Lost Health Care Because of Coronavirus, and Trump is Going to the Supreme Court to Keep it That Way

Washington, DC — A new study out today from the Kaiser Family Foundation determined that 27 million Americans have likely lost their health care since the start of the coronavirus crisis. That number, on top of millions of Americans already uninsured creates a dangerous situation for the country reeling from a global pandemic. Kaiser concluded that more than 20 million of those newly-uninsured individuals are eligible for coverage under the ACA or Medicaid. But if the Trump-Republican lawsuit currently before the Supreme Court to overturn the ACA is successful, those 20 million uninsured will no longer have access to ACA subsidies or coverage under Medicaid expansion. In response to this new study, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“As Trump goes to court to ‘terminate’ health care for millions of Americans, millions more have already lost their coverage due to the economic impacts of coronavirus. The Kaiser Family Foundation determined that 27 million Americans likely lost their health care on top of the estimated 28 million already uninsured, potentially leaving 55 million Americans without coverage in the middle of this health crisis. Of the 27 million losing coverage, roughly 20 million are eligible for ACA subsidized insurance either because they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid or are eligible for financial assistance on the exchange. The Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA would wipe out all of that, leaving millions without access to coverage when they need it most. It’s mind-boggling that Trump and the Republicans are persisting in their effort to strip Americans of health care coverage during the country’s most devastating public health emergency in a century.” 

Senator Murphy, Little Lobbyists and Protect Our Care Discuss Far-Reaching Consequences of Overturning the Health Care Law During Global Pandemic

Senator Murphy and Little Lobbyists Discuss the Human Toll of the Trump-Republican Lawsuit and the Devastating Impact of Ripping Health Care From 20 Million Americans During the Global Pandemic

Call Audio Available Here

Washington, DC — On a press call today, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Laura Hatcher of Little Lobbyists, along with Protect Our Care discussed the dire consequences of California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Participants on today’s call brought attention to the real-life impact of overturning the law and what ripping health care from 20 million Americans would look like for communities who rely on the Affordable Care Act and its protections, especially during the coronavirus crisis. 

“Because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, we are approaching a 20% unemployment rate, meaning more and more Americans are finding themselves reliant on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid in order to get themselves and their family insurance,” said Senator Murphy. “And so, the number of people who are now at risk of losing their health insurance, if President Trump lawsuit is successful, is not just 20 million. It might be 25 million, or 30 million, or 35 million. The stakes are just hard to get your head wrapped around. So it makes no sense that this administration is pursuing a repeal of the Affordable Care Act without a replacement. But it makes even less sense that the administration is continuing to pursue this dangerous repeal effort in the middle of a pandemic.”

“Our nation is in the middle of a pandemic, and not only am I worried about my child’s vulnerability to this virus, I am worried he will lose access to the daily health care he needs to stay alive because the president and some GOP attorneys general are determined to destroy my family’s access to health care through the courts” said Laura Hatcher with the Little Lobbyists. “Access to high quality affordable health care protects my family from economic ruin, it protects my child’s right to live in his community with his family who loves him, and is literally the difference between life and death every single day.”

“This disastrous lawsuit will have far-reaching consequences for millions of Americans who rely on our health care law for lifesaving care and critical protections, especially during this crisis,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “This lawsuit may be a political stunt for Trump and Republicans, but it’s a life-or-death fight for the millions of Americans who rely on the Affordable Care Act for affordable coverage and critical protections. The health and safety of our nation hangs in the balance in this case, and it’s shameful that Trump continues his quest to ‘terminate’ health care for 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions as the country grapples with the worst health care crisis in a generation.” 

BACKGROUND:

View the full fact sheet on Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the ACA HERE.

If the Affordable Care Act is struck down:

  • GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 65 percent. 
  • GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers 17 million people. 
  • GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
  • GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 
  • GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
  • GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
  • GONE: Key support for rural hospitals. As Americans lose coverage, already struggling hospitals will be hit even harder as their costs increase.

House Democrats Take Action to Improve and Expand Access to Health Care in Heroes Act

House Coronavirus Relief Bill Addresses Health Care Challenges Exacerbated By the Coronavirus Crisis

Washington, DC — Today, the House unveiled its next coronavirus relief package that expands access to affordable health care and stops efforts by the administration to take away core health care protections during this crisis. The bill introduced today includes provisions to allow the uninsured to purchase coverage through the ACA, increases federal funds to support state Medicaid programs and adequately funds testing and contact tracing to slow the spread of the virus. Furthermore, these provisions are overwhelmingly supported by the American public according to recent polling. In response to the bill unveiled today, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement: 

“More Americans will get sick or die during this crisis because they are uninsured or do not have access to affordable quality care, especially when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their existing health insurance. Since day one of his presidency, Donald Trump has waged a war on Americans’ health care, and his attacks on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid are even more dangerous during this crisis. Today’s bill includes critical health care provisions that ensure Americans get the affordable health care they need. The provisions to open a special enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act and increase outreach for the uninsured are overwhelmingly popular with the majority of Americans regardless of political party. By putting Americans’ health care needs front and center, House Democrats are tackling the problems exacerbated by this crisis head on, and expanding access to health care at a time when it’s never been more critical.” 

THIS WEEK: Protect Our Care Hosts Press Calls with Speaker Pelosi, Democratic Attorneys General and Elected Officials Nationwide to Rally Against Trump-Republican Lawsuit to Overturn Health Care

This week, Protect Our Care hosted press calls across the country with Democratic attorneys general and elected officials to bring attention to the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and discuss the briefs from state AGs and the House of Representatives filed Wednesday in the Supreme Court. On press calls with attorneys general and elected officials in Arizona, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Democratic leaders described the damage of this lawsuit which if successful would rip health care from 20 million Americans and throw the health care system into complete chaos as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic. Protect Our Care also hosted a call on Tuesday with Senator Kamala Harris and American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold to discuss the dire consequences of the lawsuit and a national press call Wednesday with California AG Xavier Becerra and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to lay out the arguments in the briefs filed by State AGs and the House in support of the law. 

The message on all of these calls was clear: overturning the health care law and ripping coverage from 20 million Americans would have a disastrous, irreparable impact on the health and safety of all Americans, especially at a time when the coronavirus crisis grips the nation and Americans’ health care is threatened like never before. 

A look at Protect Our Care’s activity this week: 

NATIONAL PRESS CALLS

Wednesday, May 6 – Press Call with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and CA AG Xavier Becerra

“The protections of the Affordable Care Act are more important than ever during this time of extraordinary heartbreak, as millions of lives and livelihoods are shattered by the coronavirus crisis,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “President Trump’s doubling-down on the lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act and dismantle every last one of its protections and benefits is an act of staggering cruelty and senselessness that must be defeated. Democrats in Congress and the American people will fight together to Protect Our Care and defend every American’s right to quality, affordable health care during this dark time.”

“In defending the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, our goal is simple: save affordable healthcare and with it, American lives,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.The Trump administration is choosing to walk away from its obligation to defend our nation’s laws. This is not a moment to abandon Americans who need to know they have the health coverage to protect their families from the coronavirus — or pre-existing conditions, surprise medical bills or junk health insurance. Our coalition of 20 states and DC is in the right place at the right time to protect Americans’ healthcare before the Supreme Court.”

Listen to the call here.

Tuesday, May 5 – Press Call with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and ACS President Russ Feingold

“Once again, the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans are actively trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act,” said Senator Kamala Harris. “We cannot lose sight of the fact that this administration is trying to rip health coverage away from people in the middle of a life threatening global health crisis. Now, more than ever, people need access to quality, affordable health care.”

“So much work went into passing the Affordable Care Act, and now we have the courts potentially poised to undo it,” said American Constitution Society President Russ Feingold. “In an unprecedented way, the current administration is not defending the law of the land. Instead, they are pushing the other way to take away health coverage from 20 million people during this very frightening pandemic.” 

Listen to the call here.

STATE PRESS CALLS 

ARIZONA

Friday, May 8 – Digital Roundtable with Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01)

“Continued attacks on the ACA have left many hardworking families wondering if the care they had previously been promised would be stripped,” said Rep. Tom O’Halleran. “No family in America is completely free from pre-existing conditions. We cannot play politics with the health care of millions of Americans, nor can we sit idly by while Arizonans live in fear of their next doctor’s visit. This lawsuit could be a disaster for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, 15 million people covered by Medicaid, seniors on prescription drugs, and young adults on their parents’ insurance plans.” 

IOWA

Wednesday, May 6 – Press Call with IA AG Tom Miller 

“For people’s healthcare to be put in jeopardy during this time is as bad a time as you can imagine,” said Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller. “I think that it’s really important that we join together as a group of states and DC to try to defeat this lawsuit which would have these enormous consequences.”

Listen to the call here.

MAINE

Thursday, May 7 – Press Call with Maine Lawmakers

“Against the backdrop of a pandemic, Republicans are nonetheless doubling down on challenging the ACA. I’m boggled why anyone would even continue to question the importance of ensuring that folks have access to health care during a pandemic,” said State Senator Heather Sanborn. “We’ve passed robust patient protections at the state level in the case that the ACA is overturned, but one thing we can’t do, especially in light of the impacts that the pandemic will have on tax revenue, is replace the subsidy program and the MaineCare expansion dollars that the federal government provides Maine through the ACA. Those are the things truly at risk for Mainers if the Supreme Court decides to strike down the law.”

“It feels more than a little ironic to be talking about the continued Republican assault on the ACA and health care in the middle of a pandemic. This health and economic crisis is only going to get worse – we need the ACA now more than ever,” said State Rep. Thom Harnett. “This relentless Republican attack on the ACA is designed to hurt the poor, minority populations, and the recently unemployed. It’s nothing less than shameful.”

Listen to the call here.

MICHIGAN

Wednesday, May 6 – Press Call with MI AG Dana Nessel 

“There’s never been a more important time to protect Michiganders’ health care, and never been a worse time to rip it away,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel. “That’s why I’m fighting Donald Trump and the  Republicans’ reckless attacks on the Affordable Care Act that would gut protections for pre-existing conditions and strip Michiganders of critical health care. I will continue standing with Democratic Attorneys General, Governor Whitmer, and Senators Peters and Stabenow to ensure Michiganders’ have access to health care, even as Republicans callously work to take it away.”

NEVADA

Thursday, May 6 – Digital Roundtable with NV AG Aaron Ford and Rep. Susie Lee (NV-03)

“Finances should not lead to death—and it should not lead to bankruptcy when you have a health care need that a country doesn’t help you address through universal health care,” said Attorney General Aaron Ford. “What we’re looking at here are opportunities to help people survive…and the Affordable Care Act is helping folks do exactly that.”

“It’s really tone-deaf,” Rep. Susie Lee said when asked about the president doubling down on his lawsuit to eliminate the ACA yesterday. “The fact that we are in the middle of a public health crisis and 33.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment—and that this president and this administration is going to double down on taking affordable health care from millions of Americans. To me, it’s just unconscionable.”

Watch the roundtable here.

NORTH CAROLINA

Thursday, May 7 – Press Call with NC AG Josh Stein

“We are in the midst of an unprecedented health care crisis that underscores how critical it is that we have the best health care system possible,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We should be moving forward with improving access to health care, including expanding Medicaid here in North Carolina. I will never waiver on my commitment to put the health and safety of North Carolina first.”

Listen to the call here.

PENNSYLVANIA

Wednesday, May 6 – Digital Roundtable with Rep. Susan Wild (PA-07)

“The ACA itself is an invaluable tool in fighting the Coronavirus across Pennsylvania and thousands of individuals across our commonwealth are already dependent on this legislation for their health coverage, including many relying on the Medicaid Expansion.” said Rep. Susan Wild. “That’s why I am so deeply disappointed that the Trump Administration has not only refused to open a special enrollment period to allow folks without coverage to access it, but persists in its backing of a lawsuit that could rip away coverage from hundreds of thousands of individuals without any plan to replace it.”

Watch the roundtable here.

WISCONSIN

Wednesday, May 6 – Video Press Conference with WI AG Josh Kaul and DNC Chair Tom Perez

“Today is a really significant day. One of the leaders of the lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act had been my predecessor, Brad Schimel. Ultimately, the people of Wisconsin weighed in on this issue…and they elected Governor Evers and me….Wisconsin is no longer part of that challenge to the Affordable Care Act,” said Attorney General Josh Kaul. “It’s a suit that should not succeed and no state should be a part of. If this suit is successful, millions of Americans will lose access to health insurance coverage. We need more resources for our medical system, and it’s one of the reasons why expanding Medicaid now is critical for the state of Wisconsin. Frankly, I think it’s very troubling that this suit is going forward during a pandemic.” 

“We know from the research that states that have expanded Medicaid see better health outcomes,” said DNC Chair Tom Perez. “But the President and Republicans across the country are on a mission to undo the heart and soul of health care for millions of Americans. It is tough enough right now in a pandemic to make ends meet. There is so much fear. And when we put the Affordable Care Act at risk for the tens of millions of people with pre-existing conditions…that’s unconscionable. That’s why Democrats are continuing to fight for the Affordable Care Act, continuing to fight to expand Medicaid…We believe that health care is a right for all and not a privilege for the few.”

Watch the video press conference here.

HEADLINES: Trump Vows to “Terminate” Health Care for 20 Million Americans During Coronavirus Crisis as House and State AGs File SCOTUS Briefs Defending Health Care Law and Sound Alarm on Disastrous Lawsuit

Yesterday, the House of Representatives and a coalition of Democratic-led states filed briefs in the Supreme Court opposing the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. To discuss the briefs filed yesterday, Protect Our Care held a national press call with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra in addition to calls in Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin which highlighted the severe consequences of this lawsuit. Coverage of the briefs and Protect Our Care’s activity detailed President Trump’s reckless desire to “terminate” the health care law and Democratic leaders nationwide spelling out the grave consequences of ripping coverage away from 20 million Americans during the coronavirus crisis.

NATIONAL HEADLINES

San Francisco Chronicle: Democrats Slam GOP Effort to Have Supreme Court Halt Obamacare During Coronavirus Pandemic. “As the Supreme Court prepares to consider a Republican challenge to former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, leading Democrats said Wednesday that it is the wrong time to repeal health insurance coverage for 20 million Americans as the coronavirus pandemic spreads…pursuing this repeal while the nation is reeling from coronavirus is an act of ‘staggering cruelty and senselessness,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco, said in a telephonic news conference.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 5/6/20]

Bloomberg Law: Pandemic Shows Obamacare ‘Indispensable,’ Democrats Tell Justices. “Democrats are pointing to the coronavirus pandemic in an effort to persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to save Obamacare. In the high-stakes litigation that a group of Republican states led by Texas initiated to take down the law, the California-led coalition working to defend it kicked off its opening brief telling the high court that many of the Affordable Care Act’s reforms ‘have proven indispensable in the context of the current pandemic.’” [Bloomberg Law, 5/6/20]

Washington Post: Trump Vows Complete End of Obamacare Law Despite Pandemic. “‘We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,’ Trump told reporters Wednesday, the last day for his administration to change its position in a Supreme Court case challenging the law…Democrats, who view the fight over the Affordable Care Act as a winning election issue for them, denounced the president’s decision. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement that ‘the President’s insistence on doubling down on his senseless and cruel argument in court to destroy the ACA and every last one of its benefits and protections is unconscionable, particularly in the middle of a pandemic.’” [Washington Post, 5/6/20]

Vox: Trump Still Wants to Get Rid of the Affordable Care Act, Even as Covid-19 Rages. “Moments after signing a proclamation honoring National Nurses Day on Wednesday, and in the middle of a pandemic that has already claimed tens of thousands of American lives, President Donald Trump reaffirmed his support for throwing out the Affordable Care Act….it would also have consequences for the country’s future — potentially devastating ones regarding the country’s ability to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and interesting ones in this fall’s general election.” [Vox, 5/6/20]

CNN: Trump Says Administration Will Continue Legal Fight to Eliminate Obamacare. “President Donald Trump said Wednesday his administration will continue to push the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, defying a last-minute request from Attorney General William Barr to modify the administration’s position…lawyers for the House of Representatives launched a broad defense of the Affordable Care Act, telling the Supreme Court that access to affordable health care is a ‘life-or-death matter for millions of Americans.’ In briefs filed Wednesday, the lawyers linked the law to Covid-19 and said it had become an ‘indispensable precondition to the social intercourse on which our security, welfare and liberty ultimately depend.’” [CNN, 5/6/20]

Vanity Fair: Trump Still Wants to Kill Obamacare, Pandemic Be Damned.President Donald Trump has long been opposed to the Affordable Care Act—and not even a global pandemic is going to change his mind. As his administration faced a Wednesday deadline to change their current position on the ACA’s fate before the question goes before the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump doubled down on his intention to see the health care law be abolished, even as others in his administration argue that’s not the smartest plan. ‘Obamacare is a disaster, but we’ve made it barely acceptable,’ Trump told reporters Wednesday. ‘What we want to do is terminate it and give great health care.’” [Vanity Fair, 5/7/20]

U.S. News & World Report: Trump Says Obamacare Must Go as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Climb Past 1.2 Million. “U.S. coronavirus cases surged past 1.2 million and the death toll topped 73,000 on Wednesday. But President Donald Trump also said Wednesday that he would renew efforts to end the Affordable Care Act, which many credit with opening access to health care amid the COVID-19 crisis. ‘We want to terminate health care under Obamacare,’ Trump told reporters. The government health insurance program was designed to expand coverage to include all Americans.” [U.S. News & World Report, 5/7/20]

Essence: Trump Continues To Push To Bring An End To Obamacare. “That means that the Trump administration is signaling its full support of the lawsuit against the healthcare law, which was filed by a group of Republican states, and is scheduled to be heard by the Supreme Court in October. Meanwhile, lawyers for the Democratic-led House of Representatives have been working to defend the law, telling the Supreme Court that this is a “life-or-death matter for millions of Americans.” [Essence, 5/7/20

Courthouse News: House Urges Justices to Reject Challenge to Obamacare Tax Penalty. “In a press call after the brief was filed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned against the Supreme Court striking down the ACA in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. The high court will hear oral arguments in the case during its next term that begins in October. Pelosi was joined by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and others who all warned ending the program could leave millions of sick Americans without health insurance at a time when the nation will be recovering from a virus-driven recession.” [Courthouse News Service, 5/6/20

NEWS FROM PROTECT OUR CARE’S EVENTS AROUND THE COUNTRY

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (WI): “Perez and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul Defended the ACA, Known as Obamacare.” “During the call, Perez and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul defended the ACA, known as Obamacare…Kaul ended Wisconsin’s participation in lawsuits against Obamacare. Wisconsin previously fought Obamacare under former Gov. Scott Walker and former Attorney General Brad Schimel. ‘This is a suit that the state of Wisconsin never should have been a part of,’ Kaul said. ‘It’s a suit that should not succeed and it’s a suit frankly that no state should be a part of.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 5/6/20]

Cedar Rapids Gazette (IA): Defending Obamacare, Iowa Democrats Attack Ernst. “Democratic Attorney General Tom Miller, who has joined attorneys general from 19 other states in briefs opposing the ACA challenge, said overturning Obamacare would be a ‘catastrophe’ for the 12 million Americans who would lose health care insurance through Medicaid expansion and the 9 million individuals who have insurance through the marketplaces or exchanges. ‘And most Americans would potentially be subject to the pre-existing condition exclusion that over time was like a cancer eating away at the health care system,’ he said on a call hosted by Progress Iowa.” [Cedar Rapids Gazette, 5/6/20]

WWLP (MA): Millions Could Lose Health Insurance If Affordable Care Act Is Ruled Unconstitutional. “The US Supreme Court received its final briefs Wednesday for yet another challenge to the Affordable Care Act. A group of state attorney general’s is hoping Obamacare will be ruled unconstitutional. Millions of Americans get their health insurance because of the Affordable Care Act.If the law is found unconstitutional, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says they’re all in jeopardy. ‘This is an act of cruelty on the part of the administration. A major disruption in the health and well being of the American people,’ Representative Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said.” [WWLP, 5/6/20]

Iowa Capital Dispatch: Iowa Joins 19 States in Brief Defending ACA in U.S. Supreme Court Case. “Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller said Wednesday he hopes the COVID-19 pandemic will cause the Trump administration and others to reconsider their efforts to have the Affordable Care Act declared unconstitutional…Miller said that if the Trump administration succeeds in having the court strike down the ACA, it would be a ‘catastrophe’ for the people of Iowa. ‘Twelve million Americans would lose their health care insurance through Medicaid expansion,’ he said…‘if they are successful, the pre-existing exclusion would come back with a vengeance.’” [Iowa Capital Dispatch, 5/6/20]

Up North News (WI): Millions in Wisconsin Could Lose Healthcare If Supreme Court Backs Trump’s Effort to Repeal ACA. “Former Sen. Russ Feingold and California Sen. Kamala Harris warned Tuesday that more than 150,000 Wisconsinites could lose health care, and another 2.4 million could be disqualified due to pre-existing conditions if the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act when it rules later this year on a President Trump-backed lawsuit…they warned of dire implications for millions of Americans who could lose insurance if the ACA is killed in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.” [Up North News, 5/6/20]

WLUC (MI): AG Nessel Joins Coalition of 20 States, District of Columbia in Defending the ACA in US Supreme Court. “Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel Wednesday joined a coalition of jurisdictions in filing a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the Affordable Care Act (ACA) against efforts by the Trump administration and the state of Texas to repeal the entire ACA, putting the health care of tens of millions of Americans at risk…this decision threatens health care coverage protections for 133 million Americans with pre-existing conditions, and would allow health insurance companies to deny individuals care or charge more based on their health status.” [WLUC, 5/6/20]

BREAKING: President Trump Stands by Commitment to Overturning Entire Health Care Law in Court as Pandemic Rages

President Trump Again Refused to Back Off His Administration’s Stance on Fully Repealing the ACA as Deadline to Modify Position in Case Passes

Washington DC – Today, President Trump refused to modify his position in the lawsuit to repeal the entire Affordable Care Act, reaffirming his support for ripping health care from 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million with pre-existing conditions as the coronavirus crisis continues to grip the country. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement in response: 

“As tens of thousands of Americans die and more become infected with the coronavirus, President Trump is standing by his position to destroy the health care law and rip coverage from 20 million Americans. Nothing, not even a global pandemic in which the United States leads the world in deaths and infections, is enough to deter this president from trying to take away people’s health care when they need it most. It’s downright cruel.”

Speaker Pelosi, California AG Becerra Discuss Consequences of ACA Repeal Lawsuit on Day First Briefs Filed in Supreme Court

Call Audio Available Here

Washington, DC — On a press call this afternoon, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra along with Protect Our Care discussed the briefs being filed today in the Supreme Court by the House of Representatives and state attorneys general opposing the lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. On the call, Speaker Pelosi and AG Becerra described the consequences of the lawsuit, which would have a severe impact on Americans particularly in the midst of the coronavirus crisis. Speaker Pelosi and Attorney General Becerra reaffirmed their commitment to protecting the ACA from this lawsuit and ensuring that Americans have access to the care they need at time when they need it most.  Oral arguments before the Supreme Court in the case are expected in the fall of 2020.

“The protections of the Affordable Care Act are more important than ever during this time of extraordinary heartbreak, as millions of lives and livelihoods are shattered by the coronavirus crisis,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “President Trump’s doubling-down on the lawsuit to destroy the Affordable Care Act and dismantle every last one of its protections and benefits is an act of staggering cruelty and senselessness that must be defeated. Democrats in Congress and the American people will fight together to Protect Our Care and defend every American’s right to quality, affordable health care during this dark time.”

“In defending the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court, our goal is simple: save affordable healthcare and with it, American lives,” said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.The Trump administration is choosing to walk away from its obligation to defend our nation’s laws. This is not a moment to abandon Americans who need to know they have the health coverage to protect their families from the coronavirus — or pre-existing conditions, surprise medical bills or junk health insurance. Our coalition of 20 states and DC is in the right place at the right time to protect Americans’ healthcare before the Supreme Court.” 

“No issue is more important to Americans today in the middle of the coronavirus crisis than their health care, and yet President Trump is doing everything he can to rip that away from them,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “If the president and his Republican allies are successful in repealing the ACA through this lawsuit, 20 million Americans will lose their health insurance, on top of the millions who have already lost their employer-based insurance during the pandemic. Everyone who contracts the coronavirus could now have a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. The submission of briefs today from the House and CA-led states under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi and AG Becerra will put the Trump administration’s disastrous lawsuit on full display for the American people. It’s critical that Americans understand just what’s at stake if this outrageous and irresponsible lawsuit succeeds.”