Skip to main content
Monthly Archives

February 2021

ELECTIONS MATTER: Biden Administration Will Defend ACA, Withdraws Government Support for Republican Lawsuit to Scuttle the Law

Washington, DC — Today, the Biden administration announced it will defend the Affordable Care Act in California v. Texas, the lawsuit before the Supreme Court to completely dismantle the law, reversing the Trump administration’s support for ripping away coverage from more than 20 million Americans and protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the case by the end of June. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Elections matter, and this move by the Biden administration proves why. President Biden was inaugurated only three weeks ago, and in that time, he’s worked with Democrats to propose significant enhancements to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid and announced an upcoming special enrollment period so people impacted by the pandemic can get health insurance. Now, he’s putting the full support of the administration behind the ACA and denouncing the reckless lawsuit to invalidate the law. The contrast between this administration and the last could not be more stark. President Biden is a health care champion, and Americans can count on him to make health care more affordable for all Americans.”

American Rescue Plan Includes Critical Medicaid Expansion Measures

Watch Protect Our Care’s Video Explainer Here

Washington, DC — House Democrats released parts of their American Rescue Plan Tuesday night, which would incentivize the 12 remaining holdout states to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. If these states expanded Medicaid, nearly 6 million could gain coverage. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will consider the bill this week. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Congressional Democrats are taking decisive action to expand health care coverage to Americans when they need it the most — in the middle of a pandemic when millions have lost their jobs or their health insurance. After years of Republican led sabotage, lawsuits and attempts at repeal, House Democrats are delivering on their promise to lower health care costs, improve care, and expand coverage. This is a historic week in the fight for better health care. Medicaid expansion has played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net for millions. Providing increased financial incentives for states to expand Medicaid could expand coverage to six million more Americans. The bill also works to reduce racial inequities by addressing the maternal mortality crisis, by enabling states to expand Medicaid coverage to new mothers 12 months postpartum. For far too long states with Republican governors like Texas, Georgia, and Florida have refused to expand Medicaid and have instead chosen to deny their constituents the affordable quality health care they deserve. Now, they will have no more excuses.”

Protect Our Care Applauds the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021

Washington, D.C. — Yesterday, U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), and U.S. Representatives Alma Adams (D-NC-12) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL-14) introduced the “Momnibus Act” in Congress. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as non-Hispanic white women in the United States, a country where maternal mortality is already twice as high as comparable nations. This act bundles together 12 separate bills that will help address the systemic causes of the higher mortality rate. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“This act is a critical step in eliminating the racial disparities and maternal mortality issues present in our health care system, especially for Black mothers. Senator Booker, Congresswoman Adams and Congresswoman Underwood have long been champions of fighting for equity in our health care system, and this legislation is yet another example of their hard work. Racial disparities have been exacerbated and further exposed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and this bill provides new measures to eliminate inequity in the maternal health care system. Provisions in the ‘Momnibus’ Act have broad, bipartisan support, and Congress should do everything in its power to pass this crucial legislation.”

ROUNDUP: Drug Companies Hiked The Prices Of Nearly 1,000 Drugs In January

Multiple analyses confirm that drug companies hiked the prices of hundreds of drugs in January, as the pandemic surged across the nation. Meanwhile, new research shows that Americans are paying the price for these hikes: drugs in the U.S. are more than 2.5 times more expensive than in peer nations. These price increases come as more than one in four voters say they or a family member have been unable to afford a prescribed medication in the past year. There has never been a more urgent time to ensure that people have access to the medications they need as millions of Americans have lost jobs and their health care during the pandemic. Drug pricing remains a top issue for voters, with recent polling showing that nearly 9 in 10 say addressing high prices should be a top priority for the Biden administration. 

2021 Hikes

GoodRx Analysis Found That More Than 800 Drugs Saw Prices Increases In January — The “Largest Number Of Increases In Years.” “In January, 832 drugs increased in price by an average of 4.6%. This breaks down to 822 brand drugs and 10 generic drugs and includes all over-the-counter and healthcare practitioner-administered medications. On top of that, 175 drugs that increased this year were specialty drugs, which means that they were likely already quite expensive.” [GoodRx, 2/2/21

An Analysis From 46brooklyn Found That U.S. Saw Brand Name Drug Price Increases Surpass 900 In January 2021, The Highest In Over A Decade. “It’s official: Americans have now seen more brand-name prescription drug price increases this month than for any January in the previous decade…With a week left, this month already has seen price increases for 905 prescription drugs, which tops the mark of 895 established for all of January 2018. Unlike previous years, every price change so far has represented an increase.” [The Columbus Dispatch, 1/24/21

A Report By Patients For Affordable Drugs Found That Drug Companies Raised Prices On Over 600 Drugs At The Beginning Of The New Year, With Hikes Averaging 5 Percent. “More than 100 pharmaceutical companies raised prices on over 600 drugs at the beginning of the new year, according to a new report from the advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs…By the numbers: 95% of price hikes were on brand-name drugs. The median increase was about 5%, and almost all of them were greater than inflation.” [Axios, 1/14/21

3 Axis Advisors: Drugmakers To Hike Prices On More Than 300 Drugs On January 1, 2021. “Drugmakers including Pfizer Inc, Sanofi SA, and GlaxoSmithKline Plc plan to raise U.S. prices on more than 300 drugs in the United States on Jan. 1, according to drugmakers and data analyzed by healthcare research firm 3 Axis Advisors…The companies kept their price increases at 10% or below, and the largest drug companies to raise prices so far, Pfizer and Sanofi, kept nearly all of their increases 5% or less, 3 Axis said. 3 Axis is a consulting firm that works with pharmacists groups, health plans and foundation on drug pricing and supply chain issues.” [Reuters, 12/31/20

As Drug Companies Continue To Pursue Unjustified Price Hikes, Research Confirms Americans Are Paying The Price

January 2021 Report By The RAND Corporation Shows That U.S. Drug Prices Are 256% Higher Than 32 Other Countries. “Prescription drug prices in the U.S. are more than 256% higher than other 32 other countries, with the gap driven by brand-name drugs, a new report by nonpartisan RAND Corporation shows. The big picture: Drug spending in the U.S. jumped by 76% between 2000 and 2017, and the costs are expected to only increase over the next decade, per the report.” [Axios, 1/28/21

February 2021 Kaiser Family Foundation Analysis Found That Half Of All Drugs Covered By Medicare Part D Had Price Increases Between 2018 And 2019 That Outpaced Inflation. ”Our analysis finds half of all Part D-covered drugs (50%, or 1,646 drugs) had list price increases that exceeded the rate of inflation between July 2018 and July 2019, which was 1.8% (Figure 1). Among the drugs with list price increases exceeding inflation between 2018 and 2019, the median list price increase was 6.4%, or 3.5 times the rate of inflation.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/4/21

January 2021 Analysis By The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review Found That Unjustified Price Hikes Of Seven Drugs Cost The U.S. $1.2 Billion In 2019. “During 2019, drug makers raised prices on seven widely used medicines by substantial amounts without any new clinical evidence to justify the increases, leading patients and insurers in the U.S. to spend an added $1.2 billion that year, according to a new analysis. For instance, Salix Pharmaceuticals raised the price on Xifaxan, its irritable bowel disease treatment, by 13%, after accounting for rebates, discounts and other fees, which led to an extra $173 million in spending had the company not raised the price. And Amgen (AMGN) boosted the price of its Enbrel medicine for rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments by 8.9%, after rebates and fees, which cost the U.S. health care system an extra $403 million.”  [Stat, 1/12/21

Protect Our Care Praises Key Health Care Measures in American Rescue Plan

Washington, DC — House Democrats released parts of their American Rescue Plan Monday night, which includes major provisions to lower health care costs and expand coverage, building on the Affordable Care Act. Increasing financial assistance on the ACA Marketplace means more people will be able to get the affordable coverage they need during the pandemic. The bill will be marked up by the House Ways and Means Committee this week. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“This is a big deal. The health care cost and coverage measures in this bill will make a huge difference for millions of American struggling with the economic and health consequences of the pandemic. It lowers the cost of premiums for millions by increasing financial assistance through the Affordable Care Act and making that support available to more middle class families. It eliminates premiums for people who have lost their jobs to ensure continued coverage. Making health care more affordable and accessible is critical as we continue to face the health and economic catastrophe caused by the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has cost millions of Americans their jobs and their health insurance, and this bill is a historic and much needed step to expand coverage and make sure people can afford the coverage they so desperately need. House Democrats should be applauded for their efforts.”

NEW POLLING: Tackling COVID and Health Care Reform Are Top Priorities for Voters

Watch the Event Here

Read Poll Memo and Findings

Washington, DC — On a press call today, Protect Our Care and Hart Research released new polling that shows tackling the coronavirus pandemic and health care reform are the top priorities for voters across the political spectrum. The findings come from a new national survey that was commissioned by Protect Our Care. The survey examined a broad range of health care and public health issues including the current debate on President Biden’s American Rescue Plan, what voters hope Congress will achieve on health care, and the political implications of both parties’ positions on health care. The research shows that health care is a critical kitchen table issue for Americans and should be a top legislative priority for Congress.

“Voters chose Democrats because they wanted change from the Trump-Republican health care sabotage agenda. Americans want a plan to battle the pandemic, relief to address the economic fallout, and to build on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Today’s poll shows a clear mandate for Democrats in Congress to work with President Biden to accomplish those goals. Republicans already lost the White House and Congress, and they ignore Americans’ clear desire for health care reform at their own peril.”

“Today’s poll shows voters across party lines want measures to make health care more affordable and expand coverage to be at the very top of the agenda for President Biden and Congress, with 65% of voters choosing health care affordability as one of their top priorities,” said Hart Research President Geoff Garin. “Outside of Washington, DC, the country is unified in their support of the American Rescue plan and the type of solutions needed to deliver health care to more Americans. They want policies that will reduce the cost of health care. Voters want Democrats to do the most good for the most people on health care — even if Republicans in Congress refuse to get on board.” 

“For the first time in a decade, with President Biden in the White House and Democrats in control of Congress, we can lower health care costs, increase coverage, and improve care for millions of Americans. This polling shows Americans want us to seize that opportunity, particularly in the middle of this pandemic. We must act now, and we must act decisively,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “This polling makes clear Americans want and need measures to make health care more affordable, expand Medicaid in states that have failed to do so, and address racial disparities to be included in any COVID relief plan passed by Congress.”

Read Protect Our Care’s Health Care Agenda Here.

Protect Our Care Congratulates Senator Ron Wyden on Senate Finance Committee Chairmanship

Washington, DC — In response to Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) serving as Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, Protect Our Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Senator Ron Wyden has spent his entire career taking on powerful special interests on behalf of Americans and is a true health care champion in every sense of the phrase. Senator Wyden understands the vital importance of preserving and improving Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Senator Wyden spent the last four years as a staunch defender of American health care against the war launched by President Trump and his Republican colleagues. And Senator Wyden has been a leader in working to address one of the biggest health care problems facing Americans today — skyrocketing drug prices. 

“There is little doubt that with Senator Wyden at the helm of the powerful Senate Finance Committee that Americans will soon benefit from better, more affordable health care.  We look forward to working with Senator Wyden to make that a reality.”

Protect Our Care Congratulates Senator Patty Murray, New Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee

Washington, DC — In response to Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) serving as Chair of the Senate Heath, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Senator Patty Murray is a health care champion, and we are thrilled she is at the helm of the HELP Committee. Throughout her career, she has prioritized the health care of Americans by pushing for policies that lower costs, expand coverage, improve care and address racial disparities in health outcomes. Her outstanding leadership is invaluable as we dig ourselves out of the hole left by Trump’s catastrophic pandemic response and work to build on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act.”

NEW RESEARCH: Republicans Who Oppose Reconciliation for COVID Relief Have a History of Supporting It for GOP Priorities Like Tax Cuts for the Rich and ACA Repeal

Washington, DC — New research released today by Protect Our Care shows Republicans who are against using budget reconciliation to prevent a GOP filibuster and pass vital COVID relief had no problem supporting the process when it came to slashing taxes for the rich or attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. The group of 10 Republican senators who are meeting with President Biden to discuss their woefully inadequate COVID relief had no qualms previously voting for, and in some cases, enthusiastically supporting reconciliation to move forward their own agenda. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“The hypocrisy of this group of Republican senators is staggering. Not only are they woefully low balling the president on his plan to help Americans struggling to make ends meet, they’re also claiming that using reconciliation to deliver much needed COVID relief would ‘poison the well,’ despite supporting its use when Republicans controlled the Senate for far more partisan measures like ACA repeal and tax cuts for the rich. President Biden’s American Rescue Plan proposals are overwhelmingly popular and will help pull us out of the pandemic, but Republicans are more interested in playing politics than ending the worst public health crisis Americans have faced in more than a century.” 

Read the full report here.