Monthly Archives

April 2021

Republican Drug Plan Puts Big Pharma First and Leaves Americans Behind

Washington, DC — Today, House Republicans released a bill that protects Big Pharma’s profits and ignores skyrocketing drug prices. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Once again, Republicans are putting drug companies first and Americans last. This bill will do little to help the millions of Americans who struggle to afford their prescription medications. Americans pay the highest prescription drug prices in the world, but instead of standing up to drug companies, Republicans are refusing to stand for meaningful change. We know Americans need real relief from the skyrocketing cost of drugs. That’s why Congress must lift the ban on Medicare negotiating drug prices in the American Families Plan. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices is the single more effective thing we can do to reduce drug costs and help American families afford the prescriptions they need.”

Protect Our Care Releases Report Detailing Why Texas Should Expand Medicaid

Report Outlines What Texas Stands to Gain by Taking Advantage of the Incentives in the American Rescue Plan

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a report outlining the benefits of Medicaid expansion in Texas as part of the GOP Medicaid Deniers Campaign, the latest in a series of reports including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. The report makes the case that Republicans like Gov. Greg Abbott should abandon their unpopular opposition to getting more people covered. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Republican lawmakers who have refused to expand Medicaid have another chance to do the right thing for their constituents. 

According to the report, nearly 1.7 million Texans could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $1.93 billion in from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color, women, children, older adults, and rural Americans,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Anne Shoup. “This report shows it’s time for Texas Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. Texas ranks last in the nation for coverage, with the highest uninsured population in the country. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their state, Texas Republican lawmakers are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations as we continue to battle the pandemic — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse, they can expect to be held accountable.”

Read the new report on Texas.

Read the previous reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Medicaid Works For Communities Of Color

April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and Medicaid plays a vital role in providing coverage for communities of color. Generations of structural racism have left people of color suffering from deep health inequities. As a result, Medicaid serves as an important source of coverage, especially for Black and Hispanic Americans, who experience poverty at a higher rate than white Americans and remain less likely to have access to quality care. These groups also face higher rates of chronic conditions that make access to affordable health coverage even more essential. 

On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. The health care measures in the American Rescue Plan will have profound impacts on racial disparities in health care access and outcomes, particularly as COVID-19 has hit communities of color much harder than others. Protect Our Care recently released a report detailing how the American Rescue Plan works to reduce racial disparities in health care. 

The American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion. For example, under the American Rescue Plan, Georgia would receive nearly $1.4 billion in federal funding over the next two years if it adopts expansion, more than enough to cover the cost of the program. The American Rescue Plan also works to reduce racial inequities by enabling states to expand Medicaid coverage to new mothers 12 months postpartum. 

Republican Efforts To Block Medicaid Expansion Hurt Communities Of Color 

Medicaid expansion has already played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance during the pandemic. Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, Republicans have spent years undermining the ACA and its expansion of Medicaid at every turn, blocking millions from coverage.

People of color, and specifically Black Americans, are more likely to live in the 14 states that have not implemented Medicaid expansion. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of the four million uninsured adults who could gain coverage if the remaining non-expansion states adopted expansion. This translates to roughly 2.4 million people of color who are currently blocked from Medicaid coverage. 

By The Numbers: Medicaid Is An Important Source Of Coverage For Black & Hispanic Americans

  • 1 In 5 Medicaid Enrollees Is Black. Black Americans make up 13.4 percent of the U.S. population but 20 percent of Medicaid enrollees. 
  • 30 Percent Of Medicaid Enrollees Are Hispanic. Hispanic people make up 18.3% of the U.S. population but 30 percent of Medicaid enrollees. 
  • Roughly 2.4 Million People Of Color Could Gain Coverage If Remaining States Adopted Medicaid Expansion. If Republicans did the right thing and expanded Medicaid in the remaining holdout states, 4 million uninsured adults could gain coverage; people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group, translating to roughly 2.4 million people. 

Medicaid Helps Children Of Color. “Medicaid and CHIP are primary sources of health coverage for all children. These programs play a particularly important role for children of color, who are disproportionately represented among beneficiaries because they are more likely to be economically disadvantaged…Research shows that Medicaid/CHIP coverage for children expands access to health care and has long term benefits. The rate of children having a well-child checkup and a usual source of care are comparable for children covered by Medicaid/CHIP compared to those who are privately insured, but much lower for children who are uninsured. Medicaid coverage is particularly important for our most disadvantaged children because it leads to longer, healthier lives, a better chance in school, and more prosperous futures.” [Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 4/26/17

Medicaid Provides Coverage Comparable To Employer-Sponsored Insurance, Significantly Improving Access To Care For Patients. “Urban Institute researchers also have found that Medicaid provides beneficiaries with access to health care services that is comparable to — but less costly on an out-of-pocket basis than — what they would receive through employer-sponsored insurance. If these beneficiaries were uninsured, they would be significantly less likely to have a usual source of care and more likely to forgo needed health care services.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 11/22/19

Medicaid Reduces Poverty. “Medicaid is among the most effective antipoverty programs. Medicaid reduced the health inclusive poverty measure by 3.8 percentage points. This is comparable to the combined effect of all social insurance programs and greater than the effects of non-health means tested benefits and refundable tax credits.” [Georgetown Center for Children and Families, 3/8/21

Research Confirms That The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion Improves Health Care Equity: 

Medicaid expansion has been key to improving racial equity in health insurance coverage and access to care. The program has played an important role in increasing coverage rates for communities of color; after the implementation of the ACA, gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Today, a Black person living in an expansion state is more likely to be insured than a white person residing in a state that rejected Medicaid expansion.  

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. A growing body of evidence shows that the expansion of Medicaid has saved lives. Expansion has also been tied to improvements in disease-specific diagnosis and treatment, particularly for people of color. 

  • Reduced Racial Disparities In Health Insurance Coverage And Access To Care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period…The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” Additionally, the ACA significantly reduced racial disparities in the share of people who went without care because of cost. 
  • Reduced Disparities In Infant And Maternal Health. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Improvements In Disease-Specific Diagnosis And Treatment. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. Medicaid expansion also improved access to care for patients of color with kidney disease. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA. 
  • Reduced Income Inequality & Improved Financial Security For Families. Policies to boost financial well-being undoubtedly help people of color, who on average have lower incomes and median wealth than their white counterparts. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 

Protect Our Care Marks Medicaid Awareness Month, American Rescue Plan With Nationwide Events

Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH), Gwen Moore (D-WI), Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (D-WI), Headlined Events in Alaska, Georgia, Maine, North Carolina, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin

Protect Our Care hosted events across the country to recognize Medicaid Awareness Month and highlight recent efforts to expand Medicaid programs in the states that have yet to enact expansion. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, which provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion, Republican lawmakers in holdout states are out of excuses to resist doing the right thing for their constituents. 

Protect Our Care held events nationwide with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), U.S. Representatives Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Gwen Moore (D-WI-4), Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes (D-WI), state and local elected officials, and health care storytellers to emphasize the impact Medicaid has on American families.

Highlights and coverage from Protect Our Care’s events:

ALASKA
Wednesday, April 5, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with State Rep. Spohnholz, Alaska Children’s Trust, and Advocates: Rep. Ivy Spohnholz, Alaska Children’s Trust CEO and Executive Director Trevor Storrs and advocates Erin Kirkland and Carolyn Savina Allen, joined Protect Our Care Alaska for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in Alaska, and highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, especially Alaska’s children. “The Affordable Care Act pays for Alaskans who were covered by Medicaid Expansion at a 90/10 match. That’s the same match as those federal transportation dollars that we love to bring home to the state of Alaska,” said Rep. Ivy Spohnholz. “Medicaid Expansion has brought in $2.2 billion to our economy at a time when we really needed that. Those dollars are fueling good, high-paying jobs in the health care sector that employees 15% of Alaskans.” You can watch the event here.

FLORIDA

Friday, April 16, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness/ARP Postpartum Extension Virtual Event with State Rep. Kamia Brown, Florida Voices for Health, FL Health Justice Project, and Advocates: State Rep. Kamia Brown, Florida Health Justice Project, Southern Birth Justice Network, Florida Voices for Health and maternal health storytellers joined Protect Our Care Florida for a virtual Zoom event to call on the Senate to sign onto the postpartum Medicaid extension recently passed through a budgetary bill by the Florida House of Representatives. This provision comes at a time when the federal government is offering new incentives for states like Florida to expand their Medicaid programs through the American Rescue Plan. You can watch the event here.

GEORGIA
Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Georgia Healthcare Experts: Georgians for a Health Future, small business, faith, and health Advocates joined  Protect Our Care Georgia for a virtual press conference to call on elected officials to pass Medicaid expansion. As calls for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to quickly formally disapprove of Georgia’s 1115 waiver continue, Georgia’s health care advocates are urging state leaders to drop costly legal battles and pass full Medicaid expansion. Laura Colbert, Executive Director at Georgians for a Healthy Future, described Medicaid expansion as a deal too good to pass up. “It has proven very successful in the other thirty eight states that have adopted it. Medicaid expansion improves health outcomes for adults, improves maternal and infant health, produces budget savings for states and reduces racial health inequities. Over 400 studies have been done that support these facts. The numbers speak for themselves and it’s time for our state to act,” Colbert said. You can watch the event here.

MAINE
Monday, April 12, 2021 — Medicaid Press Call with State Legislators and Advocates: State. Rep. Thom Harnett, Maine Alliance for Addiction and Mental Health Services, Maine Equal Justice, and Maine Consumers for Affordable Health Care joined Protect Our Care Maine for a press call to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in Maine, and to highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, including Mainers struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers called for greater federal support for Medicaid and its critical measures that help communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, indigenous communities, Mainers with disabilities, seniors, women and children all access care. Rep. Harnett stressed, “it is crystal clear that Medicaid is vital to ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color. It is beyond time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing.” You can listen to audio recording here.

NORTH CAROLINA

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Linda Cooper-Sugggs, North Carolina Justice Center and Advocates: North Carolina leaders and health care advocates including Rep. Linda Cooper-Suggs and the North Carolina Justice Center joined Protect Our Care North Carolina for a virtual press conference to call on the North Carolina General Assembly to pass Medicaid expansion in the state. “The amount of money that would come into North Carolina from the American Rescue Plan’s incentives at the same time that we could save lives by covering more North Carolinians…what other choice do we have but to expand Medicaid?” said Rep. Linda-Cooper Suggs. “This is an issue that’s personal to my family and my community,” said Matt Leatherman, whose daughter relies on Medicaid for coverage. “Expanding Medicaid is the evidently correct thing, both morally and fiscally.” You can watch the event here.

OHIO

Thursday, April 15, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Tim Ryan, State Rep. Crawley and Advocates: Rep. Tim Ryan, State Rep. Eric Crawley and advocates joined Protect Our Care Ohio for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan (ARP) strengthens Medicaid, including enhancements to postpartum care for Ohio women enrolled in Medicaid. Speakers also discussed the “Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021,” which would build on the ARP. Rep. Tim Ryan spoke about Democrats’ efforts to protect access to cost-effective coverage. “The American Rescue Plan secures coverage for more than 7 million additional Americans under the current law, but I am not stopping there, we must continue to work to shore up care for those who have been underserved in the past,” Ryan said. Kelsey Hopkins, Policy Associate at Groundwork Ohio, added, “Medicaid eligible pregnant women should be eligible for 12-month continuous postpartum coverage as included in the American Rescue Plan. It is a powerful tool in preventing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage:

WFMJ-TV (NBC Youngstown): Rep. Tim Ryan and Advocates Discuss Medicaid Expansion and ARP Postpartum Provisions

WEST VIRGINIA

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with West Virginians for Affordable Health Care, Planned Parenthood, Social Workers, and Advocates: Health care advocates joined Protect Our Care, WV for a virtual press conference to discuss how the American Rescue Plan strengthens Medicaid in West Virginia,  and highlight the critical role the program plays in providing health care in the state, including those struggling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers also called out Senator Shelley Moore Capito, as well as Congressmen David McKinley, Alex Mooney and Congresswoman Carol Miller, for voting against the American Rescue Plan and its important Medicaid measures that help children, seniors, and West Virginians with disabilities access care. “The American Rescue Plan shows people that someone has their back by making health care more affordable, and providing support for the hard job of childcare and child rearing,” said Sam Hickman, Director of the West Virginia chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. “West Virginia was already seeing more people sign up for care under expanded Medicaid, without about 30,000 more people becoming eligible,” Hickman said, pointing out that with the resources included in the American Rescue Plan, even more West Virginians have access to care.” You can watch the event here.

WISCONSIN

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with Rep. Gwen Moore, Wisconsin State Officials, and Advocates: Congresswoman Gwen Moore joined Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Protect Our Care for a virtual press event, along with Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes, State Representative Sara Rodriguez, and a school nurse, to call on the Wisconsin Legislature to pass BadgerCare expansion in the state budget. The event is part of Citizen Action of Wisconsin’s ongoing Week of Action in support of health care investments in the state budget and is part of Protect Our Care’s recognition of April as Medicaid Awareness Month. Congresswoman Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) underscored the fiscal implications for the state of Wisconsin if Republicans once again refuse to expand Badgercare, citing the Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s analysis that continued obstruction would cost the state more than $1.6 billion over just the next two years. “Here’s your opportunity to run government like a business,” she noted, “Instead, you’re leaving billions of dollars on the table.” You can watch the event here.

Thursday, April 8, 2021 — Medicaid Awareness Month Virtual Event with U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin, and Advocates: U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin headlined a virtual media event hosted by Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Protect Our Care Wisconsin calling on Republicans to pass Medicaid expansion in the state.State Representative Jodi Emerson, a retired Wisconsin pediatrician, and home healthcare provider all joined the event to speak about the benefit of expanding Badgercare. In her remarks, Sen. Tammy Baldwin reminded viewers of the toll the pandemic has taken on so many families, noting the historic job loss and associated impacts of the employer based coverage system that defines American health care. “People in Wisconsin must have quality, affordable health care coverage during and after this crisis,” Baldwin said. “Wisconsin needs to accept the federal investment in Badgercare now.” You can watch the event here.

Coverage

WFRV (CBS Green Bay):  Senator Baldwin Is Calling For Medicaid Expansion 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Expanding Badgercare Debate 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid 

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid

WFRV (CBS Green Bay): Calls To Expand Medicaid

WisPolitics: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and state Rep. Jodi Emerson slammed state Republican lawmakers while advocating for Medicaid expansion.

Health Care Champions Andrea Palm and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Show Exceptional Qualifications During Senate Finance Committee Hearing 

Washington, DC — Today, the Senate Finance Committee held confirmation hearings for two critical Biden administration health care nominees: Andrea Palm as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator. Both nominees demonstrated their exceptional qualifications for their posts and their deep commitment to health care. In response, Protect Our Care Chair and former Senior Counselor to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“With his selection of Andrea Palm and Chiquita Brooks-LaSure for key health care roles in his administration, President Biden is assembling the best possible team to deliver on the health care needs of Americans.

“During the Obama administration, I had the opportunity to work closely with Andrea Palm, and I know she will make an outstanding Deputy Secretary of HHS. She is a public servant through and through, and in Wisconsin she did an extraordinary job handling the pandemic by respecting the science and the facts, making the right decisions, and telling the truth to the people she served. She knows the issues and has the experience necessary to deliver for the American people.

“Chiquita Brooks-LaSure will make an excellent CMS Administrator. Her deep knowledge of the issues and her commitment to the mission of CMS make her an ideal pick. She has the experience necessary to hit the ground running as the head of CMS, and she will use that experience to lower the cost of health care, make sure more Americans get the health care they need, and address the racial inequities that permeate our health care system.”

Protect Our Care Releases Reports Detailing Why States Should Expand Medicaid

Reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Wisconsin Outline What States Stand to Gain by Taking Advantage of the Incentives in the American Rescue Plan

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing reports (FL, GA, NC, and WI) on the benefits of Medicaid expansion in Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin as part of the GOP Medicaid Deniers Campaign. These reports outline the benefits of expanding Medicaid in each respective state and further make the case that Republicans should abandon their unpopular opposition to getting more people covered. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Republican lawmakers who have refused to expand Medicaid have another chance to do the right thing for their constituents. 

Highlights of the reports:

  • In Florida, more than 1.3 million Floridians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $1.81 billion in from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In Georgia, more than 600,000 Georgians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of expansion, the state would receive an additional $710 million from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In North Carolina, more than 591,000 North Carolinians could gain coverage and, even after paying for the cost of Medicaid expansion, the state would receive an additional$1.21 billion in additional funding from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.
  • In Wisconsin, more than 90,000 Wisconsinites could gain coverage, and, even after paying for the cost of expansion,  the state would receive an additional$1.14 billion from the federal government thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color, women, children, older adults, and rural Americans,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “These reports show it’s high time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans lawmakers are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations as we continue to battle the pandemic — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse, they can expect to be held accountable.”

Read the reports on Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.

Andrea Palm Has the Experience and Qualifications Needed to Be Deputy Secretary of HHS

This week, the Senate Finance Committee will consider President Biden’s nominee for Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services, Andrea Palm. Palm has the experience and qualifications needed to be an outstanding Deputy Secretary of HHS. Her leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic has led Wisconsin to one of the best vaccination rates in the country, saving countless lives. Palm has support from a diverse group of stakeholders, including the Wisconsin Hospital Association and large private sector health care employers in the state.  

Experience

  • Palm served as Secretary-Designee for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services from 2019 to 2021 and led the state’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 
  • Palm served in a variety of senior roles at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, including as Senior Counselor to the Secretary (2014-2017), Chief of Staff (2013-2014), Counselor to the Secretary for Science and Public Health (2011-2013), and as Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation (2009-2010)
  • Palm holds an undergraduate degree in human services studies from Cornell University and attended graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis.

Leadership In Wisconsin

  • Palm led Wisconsin to one of the best vaccination rates in the country, reducing disparities in access and saving countless lives. 
  • Five large employers in Wisconsin, including the health software company Epic, are backing Palm’s confirmation, saying that she partnered effectively with the private sector and “led with facts, strength, and transparency.” 
  • In a letter of support Children’s Wisconsin said Palm’s tenure in Wisconsin was “characterized by strong collaboration, partnership and communication.” The hospital called her handling of the Covid-19 “skillful,” “effective,” and “nimble” and cited her “unwavering commitment to advancing the health of Wisconsin residents and strong management skills” as major assets for the Department of Health and Human Services.  
  • Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers called Andrea Palm “a public servant through and through.” “She’s been a critical part of our administration and a consummate professional who has done an extraordinary job helping lead our state during an unprecedented public health crisis, said Evers. “I know she will continue to serve our country just as she has our state — with empathy, kindness, and tenacity. I wish her our very best as she leaves us to take this new opportunity.”

Experts And Stakeholders Know That Andrea Palm Is A Superb Choice For HHS Deputy Secretary 

  • Former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius relied on Andrea Palm as her chief of staff. Sebelius has said that Palm “knows every piece of the department” 
  • Former HHS Deputy Secretary Bill Corr said Palm’s experience with Wisconsin’s GOP-led legislature shows she can navigate Washington’s policy fights. “The fact that she’s had so much opposition, and she’s still managed to organize and deliver so much in Wisconsin says legions about her leadership ability and addressing the public’s needs, and not getting caught in the political games,” Corr said.
  • The Wisconsin Hospital Association supports Palm’s nomination, citing her work fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and reforming Wisconsin’s Medicaid telehealth laws. In a supportive letter the WHA wrote “Andrea’s health care policy expertise, combined with her ability to build a strong team, create partnerships and collaborations and manage multiple complex and challenging tasks simultaneously make her well-suited for her new role as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.” 
  • The American Hospital Association is also backing Palm’s nomination because she has “spent her entire career improving our health care system and ensuring Americans have access to health care.” According to the AHA, “The state of Wisconsin faced many challenges during the pandemic; however, under Ms. Palm’s leadership, the state was able to meet the health care needs of the state’s urban, suburban and rural communities.” 
  • The CEO of Wisconsin’s Advocate Aurora Health called Palm “a reliable and thoughtful partner when it came to helping our frontline providers obtain critical supplies of vaccines, test kits and other important tools to help fight the pandemic” and expressed confidence that she will be “a highly effective leader at HHS and will support the Department’s critical mission.” 

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Has the Experience and Qualifications Needed to Be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

This week, the Senate Finance Committee will consider President Biden’s nominee for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. Brooks-LaSure has the experience and qualifications necessary to be an outstanding Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and will be the first African American woman to serve in the role. Brooks-LaSure has decades of experience in health policy, including serving as a key implementer of the Affordable Care Act at the Department of Health and Human Services and working to draft the law as a Congressional aide. Brooks-LaSure has drawn support from a wide variety of health stakeholders, including the American Hospital Association and the American Association of Medical Colleges. 

Experience

  • Brooks-LaSure currently serves as Managing Director at Manatt, a national professional services firm. She also serves on the board of FAIRHealth, a nonprofit working to increase health care cost transparency. 
  • Brooks-LaSure served in multiple senior health policy roles in the Obama administration. As deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and at the Department of Health & Human Services as director of coverage policy, she led the agency’s implementation of ACA coverage and insurance reform policy provisions.
  • Brooks-LaSure served on the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means’ Democratic staff, where she worked on the Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008.
  • Brooks-LaSure earned an A.B. in Politics from Princeton University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University. 

Focus On Equity And Expansion

  • Brooks-LaSure is very active on issues related to the expansion of health care coverage and is “a thought-leader on ways to expand coverage through the ACA and novel state-based innovations.” Brooks-LaSure recently authored a paper for Health Affairs defending the ACA’s record in increasing health care coverage, noting that coverage for the poor “remains the most significant unfinished business of the ACA,” which she said is the result of states declining to expand Medicaid. 
  • Brooks-LaSure has shown a strong personal interest in issues like maternal health and co-authored a paper for State Health and Value Strategies arguing that Medicaid has a pivotal role to play in improving national health outcomes for pregnant and postpartum women. In another 2020 article on maternal health disparities, Brooks-LaSure emphasized that key challenges facing many pregnant women are complex and changing benefits eligibility and maintaining continuity of coverage, “This is clearly an area where states can help make sure that the various groups that help people enroll in coverage today are funded and be aware of this issue.” 
  • In a 2019 Ways and Means Committee hearing on universal health care, Brooks-LaSure testified on inequities in the health care system. She cited maternal mortality statistics, indicating “African American women, regardless of insurance status, are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.” In her view, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated underlying “cracks in our health system,” that could be corrected by Medicaid expansion, saying poor individuals have “no access to coverage because their states have not expanded Medicaid.”

Stakeholders From Across The Health Care Community Know That Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Is A Superb Choice For CMS Administrator

  • The American Hospital Association supports Brooks-LaSure. “America’s hospitals and health systems applaud the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to serve as the next administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,” AHA President and CEO Rick Pollack said in a statement “her previous experiences as a senior CMS and HHS official who helped implement the Affordable Care Act and her work on the House Ways and Means Committee gives her a deep understanding of the importance of health care coverage and protections for consumers. She is well equipped to lead CMS and we look forward to working with her to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and advance the health of all our patients and communities.”
  • AdvaMed, the world’s largest trade organization representing medical technology companies supports Brooks-LaSure’s nomination saying, “We congratulate Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on her nomination to lead CMS and we look forward to working closely with her if confirmed by the Senate. Her strong experience at both HHS and CMS has prepared her well for this important role.”  
  • Stakeholders from across the hospice and serious illness care community applaud Brooks-LaSure’s nomination. “C-TAC is pleased to see that Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, a health policy expert and veteran of CMS, has been chosen to lead the agency,” said Coalition to Transform Advanced Care Executive Director Jon Broyles. “We are thrilled that Chiquita Brooks-LaSure has been nominated to lead CMS. She understands the inner workings of government and has a deep appreciation for health advocacy,” said National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization President and CEO Edo Banach. “Chiquita Brooks-LaSure would bring solid experience to a very difficult job,” said National Association for Home Care & Hospice President Bill Dombi. “Over the years, she has demonstrated a high degree of capability and the versatility to handle the wide range on matters that occur in Medicare and Medicaid.”
  • Long term care providers support Brooks-LaSure’s appointment. “Never has there been a more crucial time to serve as the head of CMS, with so much at stake for our vulnerable patients and those who care for them,” the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living said in a statement. “We look forward to an open dialogue with Brooks-LaSure, so that we can foster a collaborative relationship with all stakeholders about how to support long term care providers in keeping residents safe as well as offering the highest quality care.  LeadingAge added that it’s “looking forward to working with her.” 
  • The American Association of Medical Colleges supports Brooks-LaSure’s nomination saying that she has “been a strong, persistent, and effective voice in support of increasing patient access to vital health care, and her detailed understanding of Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as her commitment to health equity, makes her a welcome partner in academic medicine’s work to improve the health of people everywhere.” 

Protect Our Care Kicks Off Campaign to Hold “GOP Medicaid Deniers” Accountable for Putting Politics Over Health

Campaign Will Feature Website, Digital Ads, Polling, and Reports in States Where Republicans are Refusing to Expand Medicaid

Washington, DC — As part of Medicaid Awareness Month, Protect Our Care is launching a campaign to push the Republican governors and state legislators in the 14 holdout states to accept the additional funds now available to them through the American Rescue Plan to expand Medicaid. The campaign — featuring a website, polling, digital ads, and state reports — will also hold Republicans in Congress accountable for their votes against the American Rescue Plan and their efforts to sabotage Medicaid at every turn. Protect Our Care will focus the “GOP Medicaid Deniers” campaign in four states — Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Wisconsin — where GOP leaders put politics over the health of their citizens. 

“Medicaid is vital for ensuring access to quality, affordable care, especially for communities of color. Unfortunately, even as the benefits of the program are clear, Republicans continue to attack Medicaid,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “It’s time for Republicans to stop playing politics with their constituents’ health. By refusing to expand Medicaid in their states, Republicans are denying insurance to their most vulnerable populations — it’s almost criminal. The American Rescue Plan gives holdout states yet another opportunity to do the right thing. If they refuse they can expect to be held accountable.”

Why Should Remaining Holdout States Expand Medicaid?

April is Medicaid Awareness Month, and the Republican lawmakers in the states that have not yet expanded Medicaid now have even more reason to do so. In addition to providing affordable coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans through the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not implemented Medicaid expansion. The new offer is too good for holdout states to turn down: In addition to covering 90 percent of the costs for the expansion population, the federal government will chip in an extra 5 percent for the traditional Medicaid population for two years. This translates to billions in additional dollars for the states. 

Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, Republicans have spent years undermining the ACA and its expansion of Medicaid at every turn, blocking millions from coverage. Yet the program has become increasingly popular among conservative voters. In 2020, the country saw voters in two deeply conservative states, Oklahoma and Missouri, approve expansion. 75 percent of Americans have a favorable view toward the Medicaid program, and 61 percent of Americans in non-expansion states favor expansion. 

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net during the pandemic. An estimated four million uninsured adults — including 640,000 frontline workers, 500,000 people with disabilities, and 926,000 older adults aged 50 to 64 — could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. In total, more than 6 million people could enroll in Medicaid if the remaining states implemented expansion.

States That Have Not Expanded MedicaidNumber Of Residents Who Could Gain Coverage
Alabama324,000
Florida1,312,000
Georgia 646,000
Kansas 139,000
Mississippi 207,000
Missouri*379,000
North Carolina591,000
South Carolina329,000
South Dakota43,000
Oklahoma*263,000
Tennessee323,000
Texas1,665,000
Wisconsin120,000
Wyoming32,000
Total6,373,000

*Voters in Missouri and Oklahoma have approved expansion in 2020, but these states have not yet implemented the program. Both states are eligible for enhanced funding under the American Rescue Plan. 

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives. 

  • Reduced mortality in adults by nearly 4 percent. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that Medicaid expansion reduced mortality in people aged 20 to 64 by 3.6 percent.
  • Saved the lives of at least 19,200 older adults. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of 19,200 older adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program. 
  • Reduced cancer and heart-related deaths. While scientific advancements have led to improved prognosis for many diseases, Medicaid expansion increased access to care and, subsequently, improved disease outcomes. Between 1999 and 2017, cancer deaths dropped more in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA than in states that rejected expansion. Additionally, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that Medicaid expansion was tied to fewer heart-related deaths. 
  • Reduced infant & maternal mortality. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found the gains made in reducing infant mortality was more than 50 percent greater in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to those that did not. 

Medicaid Expansion Leads To Better Health Outcomes.

  • Improved health of enrollees. A survey of more than 3,000 Michigan Medicaid expansion enrollees found that the percentage of those reporting poor health days decreased over time, with the biggest decreases among Black and low-income patients. Similar research showed that patients in expansion states were less likely to report declining physical and mental health. Additionally, one study shows that tobacco users were more likely to quit in Medicaid expansion states.
  • Improved infant & maternal health. The uninsured rate for women of childbearing age in non-expansion states is nearly double than in states that expanded their programs (16 vs. 9 percent). Research from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that Medicaid expansion has helped fill gaps in maternal health coverage, leading to healthier mothers and babies. It also helps new mothers maintain access to coverage and important postpartum care after giving birth. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps People Access Treatment & Preventive Care. 

  • Increased access to preventative care, cancer screenings and disease-specific treatment. Medicaid expansion has helped patients access preventative care, including colon cancer screenings. Expansion also increased patient access to kidney transplants and made diabetes medication more affordable for low-income patients. The program was also tied to earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer and reducing diabetes-related amputations.
  • Improved access to primary care & family planning. Two studies from Michigan showed that Medicaid expansion doubled low-income patients’ access to primary care, and that enrollees experienced improved access to birth control and family planning. 
  • Increased access to substance abuse treatment. Study after study has shown that Medicaid expansion has increased access to addiction treatment and mental health services. And new research shows that as many as 8,132 people were saved from fatal opioid overdoses as a direct result of Medicaid expansion.
  • Increased coverage for children. When parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to be insured. A study in Health Affairs found that 710,000 children gained public coverage as a result of their parents enrolling in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. 

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Racial Disparities In Health Care. 

  • Reduced racial disparities in health insurance coverage and access to care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period. The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” 
  • Reduced disparities in infant and maternal health. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Better access to care. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA.

Medicaid Expansion Improves Financial Security. 

  • Reduced income inequality. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid Expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. 
  • Reduced medical debt. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 
  • Boosted employment. Reports from Ohio and Michigan found that Medicaid expansion helped enrollees hold down jobs and look for work. Relatedly, a study from the University of Kansas found that people with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. Additionally, the number of people who report not working because of a disability declined in expansion states.  

Medicaid Expansion Is A Lifeline For Rural Hospitals.

  • Lowered uncompensated care costs. Medicaid expansion has saved hospitals an average of $6.4 million In uncompensated care costs. In 2017, uncompensated care costs comprised 6 percent of total expenses for hospitals in states that rejected Medicaid expansiondouble the amount for hospitals located in expansion states. Additional research shows that expansion states saw a reduction in preventable hospitalizations and lower hospital costs. 
  • Increased rural hospital profits. More than 130 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. The vast majority closed in states that had not expanded Medicaid at the time of the hospital closure. Research confirms that expansion increased rural and safety-net hospital profit margins. Rural hospitals in Medicaid expansion states are 62 percent less likely to close, and 75 percent of vulnerable rural hospitals are in non-expansion states. 
  • Provides coverage for rural Americans. Thanks to the ACA, nearly 1.7 million rural Americans gained Medicaid coverage. The uninsured rate for low-income adults dropped from 35 percent to 16 percent in rural areas and small towns in states that expanded Medicaid.