Monthly Archives

July 2020

Sen. Mark Warner, Rep. Colin Allred and Protect Our Care Call Out Republicans’ Failure to Protect Americans’ Health in Latest Coronavirus Negotiations

Call Audio Available Here

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Rep. Colin Allred (D-TX-32) joined Protect Our Care on a press call to discuss the latest coronavirus negotiations and Americans’ health care needs during this pandemic, particularly Republicans’ failure to strengthen Medicaid and open a special enrollment period for the uninsured to gain coverage through the ACA marketplace. Mitch McConnell and House Republicans have refused to consider the Heroes Act – championed by Democrats and passed by the House over two months ago – which provides a 14% increase in funds to support state Medicaid programs, $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, coverage of coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing, and the opening of a special enrollment period. A recent poll from Public Policy Polling for Protect Our Care shows that voters in Mitch McConnell’s home state of Kentucky support key provisions of the Heroes Act championed by House Democrats.

Senator Warner also discussed his legislation, the States Achieve Medicaid Expansion (SAME) Act, which would allow states like Virginia, which expanded Medicaid after 2014, to receive the same full federal matching funds as states that expanded earlier under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. Under this legislation, the 13 states that have not expanded Medicaid would also be eligible for increased federal funds once they choose to expand the program. Congressman Allred is helping lead a similar effort in the House as a cosponsor to the companion bill, the Incentivizing Medicaid Expansion Act. 

“In the past week alone, more than 8,000 Virginians have filed for unemployment, and a good number of them are at direct risk of losing their employer-sponsored health care coverage. And that’s just in Virginia,” said Senator Mark Warner. “According to a May report, nearly 27 million people nationwide have lost their employer-sponsored health insurance as a result of losing their job. Just a few simple steps – like strengthening Medicaid and launching a special enrollment period – could expand affordable health care access to millions of Americans. Congress has the responsibility to ensure that Americans have continued access to the health services they need during this global pandemic. As we negotiate what the next COVID-19 relief bill will look like, I’ll continue to urge my colleagues to do something to stave off this growing health care storm.”

“Ensuring that everyone has access to the health care they need during this crisis should not be a partisan issue,” said Congressman Colin Allred. “There are common sense things we can do now. Whether it is a special enrollment period, ending the attacks on the Affordable Care Act or providing states with support for Medicaid. I am willing to work with anyone to help North Texans, and I urge the Senate and this Administration to work with us and help deliver relief.” 

“Over two months ago, the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi passed the Heroes Act, which provides a 14% increase in funds to support state Medicaid programs, $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, coverage of coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing and the opening of a special enrollment period,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Anne Shoup. “The meager package unveiled by Mitch McConnell this week lacks the vital health care provisions necessary to get our country on the right track and protect Americans’ health and safety. The bottom line is that any meaningful coronavirus package must further increase federal funds to support state Medicaid programs and include a special enrollment period for the federal marketplace.”

BACKGROUND:

The Senate Must Act Now To Open A Special Enrollment Period

Increasing The FMAP Is Critical For The U.S. Pandemic Response

 

VOTE ALERT: House Republicans Oppose Successful Democratic Amendment to Protect the Affordable Care Act From Trump-GOP Lawsuit to Terminate the Health Care Law

Washington, DC — Today, the House of Representatives passed legislation introduced by Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) to protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from attacks by President Trump and elected Republicans across the country in the middle of a pandemic. As part of the appropriations process, Rep. Underwood’s amendment prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to undermine the ACA, including its effort to completely overturn the law in California v. Texas, which will be heard in the Supreme Court’s upcoming term. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response:

“House Republicans have voted to endorse President Trump’s lawsuit to completely overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic. They voted to support taking away health care from 23 million Americans and protections for pre-existing conditions for 135 million, including every American who had or will have Covid-19. As Americans face the worst public health crisis in a century, House Republicans voted against the health and economic security of America. They learned nothing from their defeat in 2018, and instead chose to double down on a cruel and unpopular strategy. Thankfully, under the leadership of Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats are fighting to protect our care by passing this amendment put forth by Representative Underwood.” 

55 YEARS LATER: Medicare and Medicaid Are More Important Than Ever As the Nation Faces the Coronavirus Pandemic

Washington, DC — 55 years ago today, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, improving the well-being of millions of Americans and saving countless lives in the process. Yet Republicans continue to do everything they can to slash the budgets of these vital programs and kick millions of Americans off their coverage, even as the coronavirus crisis continues to grip the nation. To mark this important anniversary, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Five and a half decades in, Medicare and Medicaid serve as a lifeline for millions of Americans, especially as our country faces the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, Medicare and Medicaid remain under assault by President Trump and his Republican allies who have proposed steep budget cuts for both programs, support the disastrous lawsuit to eliminate Medicaid expansion entirely and continue fighting to impose onerous paperwork requirements for Medicaid coverage. Even as President Trump and Republicans’ never-ending war on health care rages on, Medicare and Medicaid continue to provide quality care for millions at a time when the health and safety of Americans has never been more at risk.”

BACKGROUND:

Trump Administration’s War On Medicaid Threatens The U.S. Coronavirus Response

Trump Wants To Repeal Medicaid Expansion Through His Texas Lawsuit To Overturn The ACA. The Trump administration is currently backing a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and, if they are successful, 20 million people would lose insurance and protections for pre-existing conditions would be eliminated overnight. The lawsuit would also terminate Medicaid expansion, threatening to rip away coverage from 17 million and cut key funding for already-struggling rural hospitals during the pandemic.

Trump Continues To Support Medicaid Block Grants. Under the Trump administration’s recently finalized block grant proposal, federal funding would no longer necessarily increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus. This could lead to people losing coverage and access to care, undermining prevention and treatment of diseases nationwide. 

Trump Paved The Way For Medicaid Work Requirements. The administration has encouraged states to impose illegal work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries that are designed to throw people off coverage. When Arkansas imposed the nation’s first work requirement program, 18,000 people lost coverage. The policy has since been struck down by the courts. While the federal government has temporarily halted any state efforts to impose new eligibility requirements that make it more difficult to enroll, including work requirements, states like Oklahoma and Utah are continuing to pursue Medicaid work requirements and other enrollment restrictions.

Trump Wants To Gut The Medicaid Budget. Trump has repeatedly sought deep health care cuts in his budget proposals, most recently seeking more than a trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for 2021. This budget essentially ends Medicaid expansion by eliminating the enhanced federal payment and proposes nationwide work requirements. 

Who Gets Hurt From The GOP War On Medicaid?

Children & Families. Roughly 34.9 million children in the United States are enrolled in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Nationally, nearly 2 in 5, or 39% of children in America have health insurance through Medicaid, as do 17 Percent of parents. 49 percent of births are covered by Medicaid.

Seniors. More than 6.9 million American seniors have Medicaid coverage. More than 8.5 million Americans ages 50 to 64 have health coverage through Medicaid. Medicaid covers 6 in 10 nursing home residents

Women. Nearly 40 million women and girls rely on Medicaid for coverage. In 2017, Medicaid covered 17% of nonelderly women in the United States. Across all age groups, women comprise the majority of Medicaid enrollees. 

People of Color. People of color are more likely to rely on Medicaid for coverage. Black Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population but 20 percent of Medicaid enrollees. Latinos make up 18.3% of the U.S. population but 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees. After the implementation of the ACA, racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion.

People with Disabilities. Nearly 8.7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for social security income. More than 1 in 3 adults under age 65 enrolled in Medicaid lives with at least one disability. Medicaid covers 45 percent of nonelderly adults with disabilities, including adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and mental illness.

People in Rural Areas. The ACA has expanded access to health care to nearly 1.7 million rural Americans who have gained coverage through the Medicaid expansion, not only playing a central role in improving rural communities’ health, but also supporting these communities’ economic well-being. Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural Americans, 45 percent of rural children, 15 percent of rural seniors, and pays for 51 percent of rural births. The uninsured rate in rural areas in states that expanded Medicaid has dropped by a median of 44 percent since expansion. 

Fighting the Opioid Crisis. More than half of people with an opioid use disorder earn incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty line. In 2014, Medicaid paid for 25 percent of all addiction treatment nationwide. It is estimated that Medicaid expansion covers four in ten people with an opioid use disorder. 

Here Are Some Of The Ways Republicans Have Undermined Medicare:

Trump Has Repeatedly Proposed Steep Cuts To Medicare In His Budget Requests. Despite repeatedly promising not to cut Medicare, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal would have cut more than $800 billion from Medicare over a decade, or roughly 10 percent of Medicare’s funding over the next ten years to help pay for tax cuts to insurance and big drug companies. Most recently, Trump’s 2021 budget would reduce Medicare spending by $500 billion.

Trump And His Republican Allies Support A Lawsuit That Would Overturn The Entire ACA And Re-Open The “Donut” Hole, Forcing Seniors To Pay More For Prescription Drugs. If the Republican lawsuit is successful, seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.

As The Cost Of Drugs Skyrocket, President Trump And His Republican Allies In Congress Will Not Allow Medicare To Negotiate For Better Prescription Drug Prices. Under current law, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is explicitly prohibited from negotiating directly with drug manufacturers on behalf of Medicare Part D enrollees. Although it would decrease both federal spending and beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs, a policy allowing the federal government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries was recently blocked by Senate Republicans. 

 

 

 

 

 

SIDE BY SIDE: Senate Republicans’ Proposal Lacks Adequate Testing and Completely Fails to Address Coverage and Health Care Costs As the Nation Continues to Reel From the Coronavirus Crisis

This week, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans unveiled their embarrassing proposal to address the worsening coronavirus pandemic, which fails to address the health care needs of Americans during this pandemic. In comparison, the Heroes Act passed by the House over two months ago provides $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, free coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing, the opening of a special enrollment period for the uninsured to gain coverage through the ACA marketplace and increases in federal funds to support state Medicaid programs.

See a side-by-side comparison of key health care and economic provisions in the Heroes Act and the Senate GOP proposal below:

Health Care Provisions Heroes Act Senate Republican Proposal 
Funding for Testing & Contact Tracing Provides $75 billion in grants to state, local, Tribal, and territorial health departments to support testing, contact tracing, and isolation $16 billion, down from $25 billion in previous iterations of the GOP bill
Guarantees Coverage Of Coronavirus Treatment Without Cost-Sharing? Yes No
Provisions to Expand Health Care Coverage? 
  • Opens a Special Enrollment Period
  • Provides subsidies for individuals purchasing insurance through COBRA
  • Increases the Medicaid FMAP to 14 percent
No

 

Economic Provisions Heroes Act Senate Republican Proposal 
State/Local (Incl. Education Funding) Provides nearly $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to pay vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers 

*Senate Democrats also introduced a $430 billion relief bill to address child care and education

  • Provides $105 billion for education, with some funding contingent on physically reopening
  • No additional funds for state and local governments
Direct Payments $1,200 per family member  $1,200 for adults, plus $500 per dependent 
Essential Workers
  • Establishes a $200 billion “Heroes’ Fund” for essential workers, ensuring they receive hazard pay
  • Ensures workplace safety protections consistent with CDC guidelines
Includes liability protections for corporations, including a five-year ban from coronavirus-related lawsuits unless the business engaged in “gross negligence” or intentional misconduct”
Unemployed Workers Extends weekly $600 federal unemployment payments through next January Cuts weekly federal unemployment to $200 per week, which translates to a decrease of $1,600 per month for millions of Americans
Small Businesses Strengthens the Payroll Protection Program to ensure that it reaches underserved communities by providing $10 billion for Covid-19 emergency grants through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program Provides a second round of PPP loans for businesses under 300 workers, as long as they can demonstrate 50 percent lost revenue compared with a reference period
Additional Support
  • Provides $175 billion in housing support for renters and homeowners
  • Includes a 15 percent increase to the maximum SNAP benefit and additional funding for nutrition programs
Includes $1.75 billion to rebuild the FBI headquarters to help protect President Trump’s real estate profits

 

Protect Our Care Launches New Digital Ad Featuring Family Physician Condemning Trump’s Push to Strip Coverage From Millions as the Coronavirus Pandemic Worsens

Ad Launched Today Is Part of Protect Our Care’s Previously Announced $2 Million Digital and TV Ad Campaign On Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response 

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care is launching a new digital ad today as part of our $2 million ad campaign criticizing the Trump administration’s failed coronavirus response that put millions of Americans at grave risk. “Failed Us” features Dr. Farhan Bhatti, a family physician from Lansing, Michigan, speaking about how most of his patients are uninsured or underinsured and how President Trump’s war to terminate the Affordable Care Act and rip coverage from millions is “reprehensible” as the nation faces the coronavirus pandemic.

Watch: Failed Us

This ad is part of a series of ads first launched by Protect Our Care earlier this month. As cases of coronavirus continue to spike around the country and the death toll reaches 150,000, the ads urge the Trump administration to listen to medical experts and do more to protect Americans during the pandemic. All ads released as part of this campaign make clear that the coronavirus pandemic “didn’t have to be this bad.” 

It is Protect Our Care’s hope that through these ads, the administration will heed the warnings of medical professionals on the front lines and take more

“President Trump’s botched coronavirus response would only be exacerbated by his disastrous lawsuit to terminate the Affordable Care Act,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Health care workers who are on the front lines of this pandemic like Dr. Bhatti know the worst thing that we can do is strip health care from millions of Americans. Americans are increasingly worried about their health and safety, but instead of taking action, President Trump continues to plow ahead in his years-long quest to destroy Americans’ health care, all in the middle of the worst public health crisis in a century.” 

Script for Failed Us (:30)

Dr. Farhan Bhatti: I am a family physician.

Most of our patients are underinsured or uninsured. 

So, we’ve been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic in many ways, and it is reprehensible that the Trump administration – including the president himself – think it’s appropriate to be leading the fight to take health care away from Americans during the middle of a pandemic.

And so, it absolutely gets me riled up and gets me frustrated and angry on behalf of my patients.

President Trump has failed us during this pandemic.

ICYMI: Protect Our Care Launches New Ad Marking Three Year Anniversary of John McCain’s Thumbs-Down Vote to Defeat ACA Repeal in the Senate

Yesterday, Protect Our Care released a new paid digital ad today to mark the three-year anniversary of Senator John McCain’s “thumbs-down” vote to block Senate Republicans’ effort to repeal the ACA in the early morning hours of July 28, 2017. A seminal moment for Americans’ health care, McCain offered Republicans a chance to chart a different course from their relentless quest to repeal the law. But instead, under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, they chose to double down on their repeal at all costs approach even as the nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century. The ad recognizes this important moment by calling attention to the fact that President Trump along with Republican Senators like Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) continue to support repealing the health care law. The ad will appear on digital platforms in AZ, CO, NC, IA, MT, WI, MI, PA and MN. 

WATCH: “Thumbs Down

In concert with the new ad, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), along with patient advocates joined Protect Our Care and Health Care Voter for a virtual town hall consisting of two panel discussions to reflect on Senator McCain’s thumbs-down vote. The senators gave their recollections of being on the floor of the Senate that night and discussed the importance of the ACA during this pandemic and why President Trump seems hellbent on terminating the ACA in court. The second panel spoke about their various experiences in the fight against the repeal of the ACA and the next steps in health care advocacy leading into November.

Watch the Virtual Town Hall Here

U.S. Senators Stabenow, Casey, Klobuchar and Baldwin, Health Care Experts and Patient Advocates Mark the Third Anniversary of John McCain’s Thumbs-Down Vote to Defeat ACA Repeal in the Senate

Watch the Virtual Town Hall Here

At a virtual town hall this evening, U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), along with health care experts and patient advocates joined Protect Our Care and Health Care Voter ahead of the third anniversary of Senator John McCain’s historic thumbs-down vote to stave off repeal of the Affordable Care Act. With President Trump in court trying to do what Republicans failed to do legislatively three years ago – terminate the Affordable Care Act – and the coronavirus crisis continuing to rage across the country, the stakes have never been higher to protect the ACA and remember the fateful vote that saved it from repeal in 2017. 

Watch the Virtual Town Hall Here

Protect Our Care also debuted a new paid digital ad featuring footage of the vote. The ad recognizes this important moment in history by calling attention to the fact that President Trump and Republican Senators like Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) continue to support repealing the health care law. 

The town hall consisted of two panels featuring remarks from Senators Stabenow, Casey, Klobuchar and Baldwin, as well as activists from the front lines of the repeal fight including Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Ben Wikler, Little Lobbyists Executive Director and Co-Founder Elena Hung, Get America Covered Co-Founder Lori Lodes, NETWORK Executive Director Sr. Simone Campbell and Stage 4 cancer survivor and Health Care Voter Co-Chair Laura Packard. The first panel discussed what it was like on the floor of the Senate the night Senator McCain cast his thumbs-down vote, the importance of the ACA during this pandemic and why President Trump seems hellbent on terminating the ACA in court. The second panel spoke about their various experiences in the fight against the repeal of the ACA and the next steps in health care advocacy leading into November. 

NEW AD: Three Years After John McCain’s “Thumbs Down” Vote Blocked Health Care Repeal, the Republican War On Health Care Rages On

New Digital Ad From POC Targets Trump and Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) for Continuing to Support Repealing the Health Care Law

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care is releasing a new paid digital ad today to mark the three-year anniversary of Senator John McCain’s “thumbs-down” vote to block Senate Republicans’ effort to repeal the ACA in the early morning hours of July 28, 2017. A seminal moment for Americans’ health care, McCain offered Republicans a chance to chart a different course from their relentless quest to repeal the law. But instead, under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, they chose to double down on their repeal at all costs approach even as the nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century. The ad recognizes this important moment by calling attention to the fact that President Trump along with Republican Senators like Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Steve Daines (R-MT) and Martha McSally (R-AZ) continue to support repealing the health care law. The ads will target persuadable voters on digital platforms in AZ, CO, NC, IA, MT, WI, MI, PA and MN. 

Later today at 6:00 PM EST, Protect Our Care will host a virtual town hall to commemorate the third anniversary of Senator John McCain’s historic thumbs-down vote that will feature Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Bob Casey (D-PA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) along with health care advocates who have been instrumental in the fight against repeal.

“Senator McCain’s vote three years ago should have been a wake up call for the Trump administration and Republicans to stand down from their relentless efforts to tear apart the ACA, yet their war on health care has only continued to grow more destructive,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “The Trump administration and Republicans including Senators Gardner, Tillis, Daines and McSally are hellbent on repeal and still have no replacement and no plan for the more than 20 million Americans who receive coverage under the ACA nor the 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions who are protected under the law. As the nation faces a deadly pandemic that tests our health care system and threatens the health and safety of every American like never before, it’s unconscionable that Trump and Republicans are still plowing ahead with their efforts to take away health care.”

WATCH: “Thumbs Down

Ad script: 

Reporter: After several years trying to repeal and replace Obamacare, it came down to just one vote, John McCain’s.

Reporter: Senator McCain, just days removed from his cancer diagnosis, stunning the chamber, turning the thumb’s down on the repeal bill.

Republicans have tried to dismantle our health care dozens of times…

Colorado Senator Cory Gardner, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, Montana Senator Steve Daines, and North Carolina Senator Thomas Tillis ALL supported repealing the Affordable Care Act.

And Arizona Senator Martha McSally said let’s “get this f***ing thing done” when calling for repeal.

Now we are in the middle of a pandemic and President Trump and Republicans are back. again…

Continuing their relentless quest to repeal the Affordable Care Act which provides coverage for more than 20 million Americans and protects over 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. It’s reckless and dangerous, especially in the middle of a pandemic.

In times like these, Americans deserve better.

NEW REPORT: People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Are Seeing Alarming Rates of Infections and Deaths From Coronavirus

Ahead of the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Protect Our Care Releases New Report on the Disproportionate Toll of the Crisis for People With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and How Trump’s War on Health Care Has Only Made Things Worse

Read the Report Here

Washington, DC — Today, ahead of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Protect Our Care is releasing a new report on how people with disabilities are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus and how early data reveals individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are seeing alarming rates of infections and deaths nationwide. There are 61 million adults with a disability in the United States and adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and cancer that put them at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the coronavirus. This report sheds light how President Trump’s disastrous response to the coronavirus and years-long war on health care has put people with disabilities at risk during this crisis. 

Report: How President Trump Put People With Disabilities At Risk Ahead Of The Pandemic

“Donald Trump has failed people with disabilities time and again, and now they are facing devastating consequences during the coronavirus crisis,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Along with higher rates of infection and death from the coronavirus, the president’s push to weaken Medicaid and terminate the Affordable Care Act in court has put millions of people with disabilities at risk of losing the coverage and care they need to survive. As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Donald Trump’s reckless war on health care and failure to lead during this pandemic has only made things worse for an already vulnerable community.” 

Far Too Little, Far Too Late: President Trump’s Executive Order On Drug Prices Screams Political Cover

Washington, DC — Today, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on drug pricing. All indications are that it’s nothing more than political cover to divert attention from his failed coronavirus response and failure to do anything to actually lower the cost of prescription drugs. Last year, Democrats in the House passed H.R. 3, which would give Medicare the power to negotiate directly with drug companies to lower drug prices — the most effective way to lower costs. The president opposed it. If the president was serious, he would have supported the House’s legislation which is overwhelmingly popular with the majority of Americans. In response to the new executive order, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement in response: 

“President Trump’s executive order is a meaningless piece of paper that will do nothing to help lower the cost of prescription drugs. The president has no credibility on this issue. He’s the one who showered drug companies with billions of dollars in tax breaks while they continue to raise prices on Americans. If President Trump really cared about lowering drug prices, he wouldn’t have opposed allowing Medicaid to negotiate for drug lower prices — the single most powerful way to reduce drug prices for Americans. The president knows that voters overwhelmingly disapprove of his leadership on health care, and today’s stunt will not change that.”

BACKGROUND: 

Trump’s Failed Record and Broken Promises on Drug Pricing

Drug prices have soared under President Trump. While drug companies have continued to raise prices, Trump rewarded them with massive tax breaks and now opposes giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug costs – the single most effective measure to do so. 

  • President Trump gave drug companies billions of dollars in tax breaks while they rake in massive profits and raise prices on Americans. 
  • Drug prices have soared under President Trump.
  • He has repeatedly talked about lowering prices based on costs in other countries, but independent experts have said his proposals would be ineffective.
  • He opposes the single most important thing you can do to lower drug prices — giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prices.
  • He has repeatedly talked about lowering prices based on costs in other countries, but independent experts have said his proposals would be ineffective.

Empowered By Trump, Drug Companies Are Already Taking Advantage Of The Coronavirus Crisis

GoodRx: Pharmaceutical Companies Logged More Than 800 Price Increases In 2020 So Far. “Pharmaceutical companies logged more than 800 price increases this year, and adjusted the cost of 42 medicines upward by an average of 3.3 percent so far in July, according to GoodRx, which tracks the prices consumers pay at pharmacies. While the size of that increase is not out of line with past years, the number of branded drugs seeing hikes this month was higher than last year.” [Politico, 7/7/20

  • GoodRx Data: Drugs Treating Respiratory Illnesses Saw Above-Average Price Increases. “Three treatments for patients with respiratory illnesses but not specifically the coronavirus — Bevespi Aerosphere, Daliresp and Tyvaso — saw hikes of 5 percent, 6 percent and 4.5 percent respectively. Tyvaso’s increases over the year total 12.8 percent and bring its list price to $18,111.22.” [Politico, 7/7/20

Drug Companies Working On Covid-19 Treatments And Vaccines Boosted Their Lobbying Expenditures. “Takeda, which is working to produce a plasma treatment for Covid-19, more than doubled its lobbying expenditure in the second quarter of 2020 compared to the same period a year ago: From $570,000 to $1.33 million. The manufacturers Merck and AstraZeneca, both of which are attempting coronavirus vaccines, upped their spending to $2.62 million and $780,000 — increases of $315,000 and $300,000 from the same period last year, respectively. And Gilead Sciences, the manufacturer of the experimental antiviral remdesivir, upped its lobbying spend from $1.08 to $1.28 million. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a trade group, spent $3.32 million, up from $3.01 million.” [Stat, 7/20/20

Gilead Set Remdesivir’s Price At $3,120 For A Course Of Treatment After Taxpayers Spent $99 Million On Its Development. “Earlier this month, Gilead Sciences announced the price of remdesivir, a drug that shows some promise in treating COVID-19. But does it show enough promise to justify its price tag—another $3,120 total for a course of treatment on private insurance—given that taxpayers spent $99 million on its development?” [Slate, 7/20/20

Axios: Drugmaker Tripled The Price Of A Pill As It Pursued Coronavirus Use. “Going into this year, the list price of a 60-pill bottle of Mytesi — an antidiarrheal medication specifically for people with HIV/AIDS who are on antiretroviral drugs — was $668.52. On April 9, Jaguar Health raised the price to $2,206.52, according to pricing data from Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. Between the lines: The price hike coincides with the company’s push to get its drug to more patients — specifically those diagnosed with COVID-19.” [Axios, 4/23/20

Associated Press: Gilead Sciences Sought Rare Disease Status For Potential Coronavirus Treatment, Which Is Potentially Worth Millions In Tax Breaks. “The pharmaceutical giant that makes a promising coronavirus drug has registered it as a rare disease treatment with U.S. regulators, a status that can potentially be worth millions in tax breaks and competition-free sales…The FDA granted the status on Monday, according to the agency’s website. If approved for coronavirus, Gilead Sciences would receive seven years of exclusive U.S. marketing for the drug and tax credits on its research and development costs.” [Associated Press, 3/25/20

  • Gilead Sciences Rescinded Request For Exclusivity After Backlash. “Gilead Sciences On Wednesday announced that it has submitted a request to the Food and Drug Administration to rescind the exclusive marketing rights it had secured for remdesivir, an antiviral drug that shows promise in treating Covid-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. As The Intercept reported on Monday, the FDA had awarded Gilead seven years of exclusive marketing rights to the drug through the Orphan Drug Act, even though the statute was designed to induce pharmaceutical companies to make treatments for rare diseases that affect fewer than 200,000 people in the United States.” [The Intercept, 3/25/20]