Monthly Archives

September 2020

SHOT/SHOT: Trump’s Secret Health Care Plan Is So “Top-Secret” It Doesn’t Seem to Exist

SHOT: New York Times: Trump’s Secret Health Plan Is a Promise Voters Have Heard Before. “When Donald J. Trump first ran for the White House, he promised to ‘come up with a great health plan,’ one that would repeal the Affordable Care Act but replace it with something better while maintaining its biggest selling point: protecting people with pre-existing medical conditions…After four years, during the worst health crisis in a century, the unkept promise may be catching up to Mr. Trump. There still does not seem to be any plan, because other than abolishing the Affordable Care Act — which requires insurers to cover pre-existing conditions and which the White House is asking the Supreme Court to overturn — the Republican Party cannot agree on one.” [New York Times, 9/17/20]

SHOT: Washington Post: Opinion: Trump’s ‘Terrific’ Health-Care Plan Is So Secret His Own Health Advisers Don’t Know It Exists. “There’s secret, top-secret, code-word-secret — and then there’s whatever President Trump’s health-care plan is. It’s apparently so deeply classified that the people overseeing the plan don’t even know they’re involved…Trump has asked the Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, including its protections for those with preexisting conditions. The court is scheduled to hear arguments a week after the election.Maybe by then we’ll have seen Trump’s replacement plan.” [Washington Post, 9/17/20]

ANALYSIS: At Least 5 Million Black and Hispanic People May Lose Health Care Coverage Due to Pandemic

Washington, DC — In a newly released analysis, Avalere found at least 5 million Black and Hispanic people may lose health care coverage as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. These worsening disparities are the result of Donald Trump’s failed leadership and his never-ending attacks on health care, including his lawsuit to completely overturn the Affordable Care Act in court that would be especially devastating to Black Americans and Latinos. If successful, this lawsuit would throw our entire health care system into chaos — including further exacerbating the health disparities revealed by this analysis. 

“Donald Trump has failed Black and Hispanic people in a myriad of ways, but this report makes clear that he’s costing them their lives,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “President Trump’s failed coronavirus response has meant more people losing access to health care coverage — with Black and Hispanic people who have historically faced systemic barriers to care bearing the brunt of his policies. Additionally, Trump continues to push to dismantle the Affordable Care Act in court, which puts millions more at risk of losing health care coverage. The president’s relentless war on health care and inability to lead during this pandemic has worsened inequities for Black and Hispanic communities.” 

FACT CHECKS: Trump Lies About Protecting People with Pre-Existing Conditions While Trying to Destroy the ACA in Court

Last night at an ABC News town hall, President Trump was confronted by Ellesia Blaque — a voter with a pre-existing condition — and lied to her face, claiming that he and his administration are “not going to hurt pre-existing conditions.” Blaque told CNN that she left the event “fuming” because “he didn’t answer” her question about pre-existing conditions. CNN called his answer “a complete reversal of reality.” 

Here’s the truth: one week after the election, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas — a lawsuit brought by the Trump administration to terminate the Affordable Care Act. If successful, Trump’s lawsuit would rip away health care from more than 23 million Americans, end protections for more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions and throw the entire American health care system into chaos as the nation continues to face the ever-worsening coronavirus pandemic. 

Washington Post: Trump’s ABC News Town Hall: Four Pinocchios, Over and Over Again. Four Pinocchios again! Trump regularly, but falsely, claims that he and the Republicans would keep provisions in the Affordable Care Act that protect people with preexisting health conditions. But the House and Senate GOP plans backed by Trump likely would have resulted in higher costs for people with preexisting conditions in some states, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The Trump administration also refused to defend the Affordable Care Act against a lawsuit that would end protection for preexisting conditions, putting the entire law at risk, and later asked the Supreme Court to strike down the entire act, actively seeking to end the guarantee for patients with preexisting conditions. The Trump administration, meanwhile, has issued new rules that promote the use of low-quality, short-term plans that were prohibited under the ACA. These plans typically don’t have the same protections for people with existing health conditions, allowing insurance companies to deny coverage or charge higher prices.” [Washington Post, 9/15/20

New York Times: Fact Check: Trump Repeated Inaccurate Claims About the Coronavirus, Protests, and His Own Record at His Town Hall. “The president falsely claimed ‘we’re not going to hurt pre-existing conditions’ while Democrats ‘will get rid of pre-existing conditions.’ His administration has asked the Supreme Court to strike down the health care law that includes protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, and in 2017 unsuccessfully tried to repeal it. Democrats and their nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., have consistently aimed to uphold that law.” [New York Times, 9/16/20

CNN: Fact Check: Trump Made at Least 20 False or Misleading Claims at ABC Town Hall. “Trump claimed that he would be ‘doing a health care plan’ that would ‘protect people with pre-existing conditions.’ He then said of the Democrats, ‘They will not do that.’ Facts First: This is a complete reversal of reality. Democrats created these protections for people with pre-existing conditions, in Obamacare; Biden was vice president at the time, and he is running on a promise to preserve and strengthen the law. Trump, conversely, has repeatedly tried to get bills passed that would have weakened the protections — and, as Stephanopoulos pointed out, is currently in court trying to get the entirety of Obamacare overturned. Trump insisted to Stephanopoulos that he would put forward a ‘new health care’ plan that would protect people. But he has never unveiled any plan that would offer protections equivalent to the ones in Obamacare — and, regardless, his claim about Democrats is absurd.” [CNN, 9/16/20

ABC News: “Trump Is Suing to Dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Which Guarantees Coverage for Preexisting Conditions, and Has Not Proposed An Alternative.” “While Trump and Republicans have repeatedly insisted on protecting preexisting conditions, the Trump administration is currently in court seeking to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which guarantees coverage for Americans with preexisting medical conditions. Republicans, urged on by Trump, sought to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017, falling several votes short in the Senate. They sought to replace the program with an alternative that included multiple options, which experts said offered skimpier preexisting condition protections than Obamacare. These short-term and association health plans, alternatives promoted by the Trump administration, while cheaper, have fewer benefits for consumers, including weaker preexisting condition protections. Trump has also repeatedly promised his own health care proposal that has failed to materialize; in June of 2019, he told Stephanopoulos it would be unveiled within two months, and said as recently as last month that it would be released in ‘two weeks.’ Trump again claimed the health care plan was forthcoming — but offered no specific details or timeline.” [ABC News, 9/15/20

New Census Data Reveals a Million More Uninsured Last Year Largely Due to Trump’s Sabotage Putting Them at Risk Before the Pandemic

Washington, DC – New Census Bureau data released today shows the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans’ continued sabotage of our health care system resulted in one million Americans becoming uninsured last year, including 320,000 more uninsured children. This means the number of uninsured people increased by at least 2.3 million since President Trump took office — from 27.3 million in 2016 to 29.6 million in 2019. This data does not take into account the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has left an estimated 12 million people without employer-sponsored health care coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“The latest Census numbers prove once again that the Trump-GOP sabotage agenda and their mismanagement of the pandemic has left millions of Americans without coverage when they need it the most. With their ongoing lawsuit to overturn the health care law, sabotage of open enrollment and promotion of junk insurance plans, Republicans have purposefully created chaos and uncertainty in our health care system. Health care is on the ballot in 2020, and these latest numbers show just how much Donald Trump’s war on health care is impacting Americans’ access to health care coverage.”

NEW REPORT: Protect Our Care Highlights What’s at Stake for Health Care in 2020 Election

Read the Report Here

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a new report about what’s at stake for health care in the 2020 election. Since taking office, President Trump has taken every opportunity to undermine health care including his botched coronavirus response, proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, failure to lower prescription drug prices and attacks on protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The report outlines these attacks for voters as they get ready to cast their ballots in seven weeks. 

The report comes as Protect Our Care launches its virtual bus tour, which kicked off Monday night with an event featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who let voters know their health care is on the line in 2020. The tour will focus on 16 key states — including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin this week — and uplift the voices of local elected officials, advocates and storytellers to hold President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress accountable for their health care sabotage agenda. 

Report: Guide to the 2020 Health Care Election

“Voters need to know their health care is on the ballot in 2020, and this report outlines the attacks President Trump has waged on Americans’ health care since taking office,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “President Trump has completely mismanaged the country’s coronavirus response by purposely downplaying the virus and refusing to take decisive action to protect Americans. At the same time, he’s been finding any way he can to rip health care coverage from Americans, including a lawsuit to completely overturn the Affordable Care Act in the middle of a pandemic. Now is the time to hold President Trump accountable for his health care sabotage.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer Slam Trump’s War on Health Care

With 50 Days Until the Election, Protect Our Care Launches “Your Health, Your Vote” Virtual Bus Tour 

Watch the Full Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined Protect Our Care to kick off the “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour to make sure voters know health care is on the ballot in November. Since taking office, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have been waging a war on health care including their botched coronavirus response, refusal to provide Americans with meaningful COVID relief through legislation, proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare and failure to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

Watch the Full Event Here

“Instead of trying to crush coronavirus, [the president] is trying to crush the Affordable Care Act, and we’re going to make sure he does not do that,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “This election is essential. That is what is at stake this election.”

“As your bus virtually travels through each of these 16 states, you’ll find the number one election issue on people’s minds is health care, and you’ll find they trust Democrats to increase accessibility, safeguard protections for pre-existing conditions and lower health care costs,” said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. “Americans are ready for leaders who will keep up that fight, especially in the fact of the relentless attacks from Republicans. That’s why Democrats are going to win across the board in November.”

“Health care is on the ballot in 2020, and Trump has taken every opportunity to sabotage our health care, pledging to rip health care away from millions, gut protections for pre-existing conditions and slash funding for Medicaid and Medicare — even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “With 50 days until the election, it’s time to hold President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress accountable for their war on health care.” 

“From his fumbling of the country’s coronavirus response to his relentless efforts to rip health care from millions of Americans by trying to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, Donald Trump has shown us his real agenda — sabotaging our health care,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “We want to make sure voters know that four more years of Donald Trump would be a disaster for health care.”

The virtual tour will make stops in 16 key 2020 states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and Texas to hold Trump and his Republican allies in Congress accountable for his relentless attacks on health care and his complete mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. The tour will also include other special events. 

This is Protect Our Care’s third national bus tour. The “Your Health, Your Vote” tour will feature important local voices, including elected leaders, health care advocates and storytellers, from each state in a virtual format to highlight the impact of Trump’s failed coronavirus leadership, his ongoing war on pre-existing conditions, Medicaid and Medicare and his failure to lower the cost of prescription drugs — and contrast them with the leadership of House and Senate Democrats and Vice President Biden.

COVERAGE: In Act of Desperation, Trump Issues “Toothless” Executive Order on Drug Prices

Yesterday, Donald Trump continued to play politics with Americans’ health care by signing an executive order that he claims will lower prescription drug prices in an effort to intentionally mislead voters ahead of Election Day. Reporters and experts were quick to point out that in reality, this stunt does nothing to actually lower drug prices, calling the order “toothless.” In order to lower prices, President Trump would need to put regulations into place — a process that takes considerable time and one that he has continually skipped. The New York Times also pointed out that the order relies on authority under the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration is actively trying to overturn in court. Since taking office, President Trump has broken his promise to stop drug prices from skyrocketing. Sunday’s executive order is more of the same.

The executive order requires additional regulations that would take months to go into effect, if the administration even puts them into place:

Washington Post:The Health 202: Trump Issued Another Toothless Executive Order on Drug Prices. “President Trump proclaimed yesterday that he’ll go even bigger and bolder on a long-touted effort to lower drug prices in the United States.But he has yet to put any teeth into the effort, nearly two years after first announcing it.In a move widely regarded as a political play seven weeks before the election, Trump announced via tweet he had signed an executive order aiming to lower drug prices in the Medicare program through what is known as ‘the most favored nation policy.'” [Washington Post, 9/14/20

NPR: “As With Most Executive Actions, This Only Just Begins What Will Be a Lengthy Bureaucratic Process That May or May Not Ultimately Result in the Promised Policy.” “President Trump signed an executive order Sunday that he says lowers prescription drug prices ‘by putting America first,’ but experts say the move is unlikely to have any immediate impact….The order calls on the Health and Human Services secretary to ‘immediately take appropriate steps to implement his rulemaking plan to test a payment model’ putting in place ‘most favored nations’ policy. Translated: As with most executive actions, this only just begins what will be a lengthy bureaucratic process that may or may not ultimately result in the promised policy.” [NPR, 9/13/20

Axios: “Given That [Trump’s] Had Four Years Already to Act On What Was Also a Big Issue In 2016, There’s Plenty of Reason to Be Skeptical Of This Ever Translating Into Official Policy.” “It’s September of an election year. That means that this executive order is, at best, a statement of Trump’s intention to keep trying to achieve something big on drug prices should he get a second term. But given that he’s had four years already to act on what was also a big issue in 2016, there’s plenty of reason to be skeptical of this ever translating into official policy.” [Axios, 9/14/20

CNN: The Latest Executive Orders Come as Most of Trump’s Actions on Drug Pricing “Remain in the Proposal Phase Or Have Been Rejected By The Courts.” “Unlikely to have any impact before the election, the executive orders come at a time when Trump is trying to fulfill his longstanding campaign promise to lower drug prices, though little movement has been made. Most of the administration’s actions — including the effort to import medication from Canada — remain in the proposal phase or have been rejected by the courts.” [CNN, 9/13/20

Stat: With Election Looming, Trump Releases Major, Last-Ditch Drug Pricing Order. “The Trump administration still hasn’t released formal regulations to implement the policy. That process typically takes months, if not years…It’s still unclear when the Trump administration will formally implement the new executive order. Drug industry lobbyists expect Trump to try and skip over most of the formal regulatory steps by issuing a so-called interim final rule, a rare regulatory maneuver that lets president’s skip most of the formal regulatory steps in certain emergencies. However, the drug industry has hinted it will sue if Trump tries to use that maneuver.” [Stat, 9/13/20

The executive order relies on authority given to the administration under the Affordable Care Act, which Trump is actively trying to overturn in court: 

New York Times: In An “Odd Twist,” the Administration Is “Relying on Its Authority Under the Affordable Care Act, Which Mr. Trump and His Fellow Republicans Are Trying to Overturn in the Supreme Court.” “But it is unclear whether the White House has the authority to put the expansive order into effect. And in an odd twist, in calling for the secretary to set up the model programs, the administration is relying on its authority under the Affordable Care Act, which Mr. Trump and his fellow Republicans are trying to overturn in the Supreme Court.” [New York Times, 9/13/20

House Democrats already passed legislation that would be more effective in lowering prescription drug prices: 

Wall Street Journal: “Drug Experts Say That the Best Way to Lower Drug Prices Under Medicare is to Grant the Agency the Legal Authority to Directly Negotiate Prices with Drug Companies. This Measure Wouldn’t Do That.” “The proposed executive order would appear to be of limited immediate effect. Experts see the order as the administration’s effort to show it is taking steps to lower drug pricing, as the president seeks reelection. Drug-pricing experts say that the best way to lower prices under Medicare is to grant the agency the legal authority to directly negotiate prices with drug companies. This measure wouldn’t do that.” [Wall Street Journal, 9/13/20

EXPERTS

The Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt Said “President Trump’s Executive Order on Drug Pricing Does Not by Itself Do Anything.” “President Trump’s executive order on drug pricing does not by itself do anything. It has to be followed up by regulations, which will take time. Trump has a history of bold talk on drug prices, only to pull back when it comes to putting actual regulations in place,” the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Larry Levitt tweeted. [Axios, 9/14/20

Rachel Sachs, Associate Professor Of Law At Washington University in St. Louis, Noted That House Democrats Already Passed A Bill That Would Use International Reference Pricing, But “Trump Threatened to Veto That Bill.” “In addition, Rachel Sachs, an associate professor of law at Washington University in St. Louis who covers prescription drug policy, reminded her Twitter followers on Sunday that ‘in December 2019, the House (led by the Democratic caucus) passed a bill that would’ve used international reference pricing to lower the price of drugs in Medicare.’ ‘Trump threatened to veto that bill,’ she wrote.” [New York Times, 9/13/20

Dan Mendelson, Founder Of Avalere Health, Said Trump’s Order Would Not Affect Drug Prices Before the Election, Adding That Biden Has “A 20 Point Advantage Over Trump On Covid-19, So It’s Not Surprising to See the Administration Try to Change The Subject.” “Dan Mendelson, founder of consultancy Avalere Health, said Trump’s move would not affect drug prices for senior citizens before the Nov. 3 election, adding that polling shows Americans are more concerned with the coronavirus than drug prices. He said Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “has a 20 point advantage over the Trump on Covid19, so it’s not surprising to see the administration try to change the subject.” [Reuters, 9/13/20

Protect Our Care Announces “Your Health, Your Vote” Nationwide Virtual Tour Highlighting What’s at Stake in the 2020 Election

Virtual 16-State Tour Featuring Elected Leaders, Health Care Advocates and Storytellers Will Take Place Throughout September and October 

Washington, DC — In the lead up to the 2020 election, Protect Our Care will be virtually hitting the road to make sure voters know health care is on the ballot in November. The virtual tour will start off with a national kick off event featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) before moving onto 16 key states: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, New Hampshire, Maine, Iowa, Arizona, Montana, Colorado, Nevada, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Illinois and Texas to hold Trump and his Republican allies in Congress accountable for his relentless attacks on health care and his complete mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic. The tour will also include other special events. One week after election day, on November 10, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the Trump administration’s lawsuit to completely dismantle the ACA in the midst of the worst public health crisis in a century, which would throw America’s entire health care system into chaos.

This is Protect Our Care’s third national bus tour. The “Your Health, Your Vote” tour will feature important local voices, including elected leaders, health care advocates and storytellers, from each state in a virtual format to highlight the impact of Trump’s failed coronavirus leadership, his ongoing war on pre-existing conditions, Medicaid and Medicare and his failure to lower the cost of prescription drugs — and contrast them with the leadership of House and Senate Democrats and Vice President Biden. 

“As we battle the ever worsening coronavirus pandemic, voters know their health is at stake in the 2020 election,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Donald Trump refused to take decisive action early on to control the virus and still has no plan more than six months into the crisis. He has failed to protect Americans from coronavirus, and this virtual tour will highlight the ways Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress waged war on our health care and has made the pandemic worse.”

“President Trump and his Republican allies need to be held accountable for their relentless attacks on health care. From trying to remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions to causing prescription drug prices to skyrocket, Trump has taken every opportunity to sabotage Americans’ health care.” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Voters know health care is on the ballot in November, and the contrast between Trump and Vice President Biden couldn’t be more clear. Another four years of Trump would be a disaster for Americans’ health.”

The Protect Our Care “Your Health, Your Vote” tour will make stops in: 

Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Wisconsin on Thursday, September 17, 2020
Minnesota on Monday, September 21, 2020
Michigan on Tuesday, September 22, 2020
New Hampshire on Thursday, September 24, 2020
Maine on Tuesday, September 29, 2020
Iowa on Thursday, October 1, 2020
Arizona on Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Montana on Thursday, October 8, 2020
Nevada on Thursday, October 15, 2020
North Carolina on Monday, October 19, 2020
Georgia on Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Florida on Thursday, October 22, 2020
*More dates will be added in coming days

Protect Our Care Endorses Senator Baldwin’s COVID Enrollment Response Act

Legislation Would Help Jobless Get Health Care Coverage

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) unveiled legislation to help people who lost a job during the coronavirus pandemic get comprehensive health care coverage as the nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century. The COVID Enrollment Response (COVER) Act would provide funding in every state to assist those who lost jobs or have been furloughed during the pandemic sign up for the health care coverage they need. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse release the following statement in response:

“President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress have done nothing to help people who have lost coverage as a result of their fumbled coronavirus response. With this legislation, Senator Baldwin is taking concrete steps to help more Americans get the health care coverage they need as coronavirus continues to ravage the nation. Instead of playing politics and taking every opportunity to rip health care away from Americans, Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans should work with Senator Baldwin to ensure people can get health care coverage in the midst of a global pandemic.” 

Protect Our Care North Carolina Slams Thom Tillis’ Unacceptable and Out-of-Touch Treatment of Constituents, Record on Health Care

Raleigh, NC — On Tuesday, WRAL reported on a three-time cancer survivor who reached out to U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis for help with her health insurance dilemma.  But when she asked how she was supposed to afford her insurance premiums, Tillis’ staff told her, “[It’s] just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it.”

In response to Tillis’ completely unacceptable and out-of-touch response to his constituent, Protect Our Care North Carolina Director Jonathan Coby released the following statement:

“In the US Senate, Senator Tillis has consistently voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would rip away health care from hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians and eliminate protections for over 4 million with pre-existing conditions. As Speaker of the North Carolina House, he blocked Medicaid expansion and even bragged about denying care to North Carolina families.

“Thom Tillis’ record has made clear that he does not care about the health and wellbeing of his constituents, and the shameful way a cancer survivor worried about losing her health care was treated by his staff is just another example of this.

“COVID-19 has infected 180,000 North Carolinians and tragically taken 3,000 lives. Now more than ever, North Carolinians deserve a senator who respects them and protects their health care, something Thom Tillis has failed to do over and over.”