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Another Extreme MAGA Choice to Lead the House: Mike Johnson’s Health Care Record Makes Him An Abysmal Choice For Speaker

By October 25, 2023No Comments

Washington, D.C. — With the House GOP in utter chaos after failing to elect a Speaker once again, Republicans have rallied behind Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA). Just like Kevin McCarthy and Jim Jordan, Mike Johnson has a long history of fighting to raise health care costs and rip away critical protections from the American people.

Since taking office in 2017, Johnson has opposed the Affordable Care Act and has worked to rip away protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. He’s supported cuts to Medicare and Social Security, threatening the health and well-being of our nation’s seniors, and he supports a nationwide abortion ban. Johnson has spent the last four years fighting legislation to lower drug costs in order to keep Big Pharma’s profits high. Under Rep. Johnson’s leadership, Republicans will undoubtedly double down on their war on health care and their radical agenda of opposing the Affordable Care Act, slashing Medicare and Medicaid, and hiking drug and health insurance costs.

In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement: 

“Mike Johnson is completely out of step with the American people on health care. He voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and rip away protections for 135 million Americans pre-existing conditions. He supports cuts to Medicare and Social Security, and has spent years fighting to keep prescription drug costs high for seniors. Now, he wants to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act and stop Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. Johnson’s record is clear and, under his leadership, Republicans will undoubtedly continue their radical agenda of attacking people with pre-existing conditions, repealing the Affordable Care Act, slashing Medicare, and hiking drug and health insurance costs.” 

If Mike Johnson got his way:

  • Medicare would be banned from negotiating lower prices for prescription drugs
  • Insulin prices would not have been capped at $35/month for seniors
  • Seniors would have to pay more than $2,000 a year out-of-pocket for prescriptions.
  • Drug companies would be able to once again raise prices faster than the rate of inflation without penalty.
  • Health care coverage for about 23 million people would have been eliminated by 2026
  • People with pre-existing conditions could again be denied coverage or charged higher prices
  • …. and so much more.

THE DETAILS: Mike Johnson Voted For Higher Premiums And Prescription Drug Costs 

2021: Mike Johnson, And Every Republican In Congress, Voted Against The Inflation Reduction Act. Johnson joined every Republican in Congress in voting against the Inflation Reduction Act, which “requires the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs under Medicare beginning in 2026,” and “requires drug manufacturers to issue rebates to the CMS for brand-name drugs without generic equivalents under Medicare medical services that cost $100 or more per year per individual and for which prices increase faster than inflation.” [HR 5376, Roll Call Vote #420, 8/12/21

  • Johnson Has Ties To Drug Industry Special Interests. Johnson has significant ties to the pharmaceutical and drug manufacturing industry, having pocketed $7,500 from the industry during the 2022 midterm election cycle while running unopposed. Big drug companies fiercely lobbied against the Inflation Reduction Act, which included provisions allowing the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate prescription drug prices for Medicare.

What The Inflation Reduction Act Means For America:

2021: Mike Johnson, And Every Republican In Congress, Voted Against the American Rescue Plan. Johnson joined every Republican in Congress in voting against the American Rescue Plan, which “provide[d] health insurance premium assistance for individuals who become eligible for, and elect to enroll in, the COBRA (Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act) continuation coverage program,” increased the rate of “the refundable tax credit for coverage under qualified health plan”, and “ma[de] individuals who received unemployment compensation in 2021 eligible for cost-sharing subsidies for health care expenses under qualified health insurance plans.” [HR 1319, Roll Call Vote #72, 3/10/21

 What The American Rescue Plan Meant For America:

  • Saved families an average of $2,400 a year on their health insurance premiums.
  • Ensured all Americans never pay more than 8.5 percent of their household incomes towards an ACA Marketplace premium.
  • Eliminated premiums for people earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level who buy their coverage on the ACA Marketplace.
  • Extended the premium tax credit to 3.1 million Americans.

 2019: Mike Johnson Voted Against HR3. Johnson joined all but two House Republicans in voting against the Elijah Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act (HR 3), which would have lowered the cost of prescription drug prices by “empowering the federal government to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical manufacturers.” HR 3 would have required the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate maximum prices for insulin, new and existing single-source brand-name drugs without generics, the top drugs expensed through Medicare and Medicare Advantage, and would have set price ceilings at 120% of the average price in similar countries or 85% of the price for domestic manufacturers. [HR 3, Roll Call Vote #682, 12/12/19] 

What HR 3 Meant For America:

Mike Johnson Opposes The ACA And Its Protections For 1 in 2 Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions

Johnson Voted Against Legislation To Protect Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions. Johnson voted against the Protecting Americans With Pre-Existing Conditions Act of 2019, which would have ensured affordable, robust coverage for patients with pre-existing conditions and blocked future administrations from skirting Affordable Care Act coverage requirements. [HR 986, Roll Call Vote #196, 5/9/19]

2017: Mike Johnson Supported Trump’s Disastrous ACA Replacement. In 2017, Johnson cast a decisive vote in passing the frantic Republican attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act and rip away health coverage and protections for pre-existing conditions for millions of Americans. Johnson railed against the ACA throughout 2017, claiming numerous times that “Obamacare failed.” [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #256, 5/4/17

  • Former President Trump Successfully Pressured Johnson To Support His ACA Repeal Effort. Johnson, considered a “trusted member of Donald Trump’s inner circle” during his administration, faced intense pressure to support his bid to repeal the Affordable Care Act in 2017: “…the then freshman congressman’s first conversation with the president left Johnson shaken and unsure about his political future. […] conservatives like Johnson and members of the ultra right Freedom Caucus balked, despite Trump’s support. ‘It was haphazardly drawn,’ Johnson said. ‘The party wasn’t prepared to act that soon. I couldn’t vote for it.’ Trump called Johnson and dressed him down in a fierce one-sided conversation when he heard the freshman planned to buck the president. ‘I thought that might be the end of my career,’ Johnson said. ‘The conversation was pretty intense.’ […] ‘The last thing I ever imagined when I was elected was that I would have to say no to the president on his first major piece of legislation,’ said Johnson…”

What Did AHCA Mean for America?

  • Approximately 1 in 2 people in America with pre-existing conditions would have lost protections for coverage.
  • 23 million people would have lost coverage under this bill by 2026
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the American Health Care Act would have raised premiums by 20 percent.
  • The negative economic impact of the American Health Care Act would have caused 1.8 million people to lose their jobs by 2022.

2017: Within Days Of Joining The House of Representatives, Mike Johnson Voted To Begin The Process of Repealing The Affordable Care Act. Just 10 days after being sworn into office, Johnson voted for SCR 3, a budget resolution that included a provision starting the process of repealing the Affordable Care Act. [SCR 3, Roll Call Vote #58, 1/13/17]

Mike Johnson Wants To Slash Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Mike Johnson Is A Cheerleader For The Push To Cut, Partially Privatize Medicare And Social Security. Johnson has long defended GOP plans to cut Medicare and Social Security. He served as chair of the hardline Republican Study Committee (RSC) from 2019 to 2021, and still serves on the committee. The RSC released a budget outlining plans to raise the Medicare eligibility age to 67 and raise premiums for many seniors while partially privatizing the program. In 2012, Johnson voted to raise the retirement age to 70 and supported a budget attempting to end Medicare and shift costs to seniors

2017: Mike Johnson Voted To Cut Medicare By $473 Billion. Johnson voted for the FY 2018 budget resolution, which included $473 billion in cuts to Medicare over 10 years. [H Con Res 71, Vote #557, 10/5/17

2017: Mike Johnson Voted To Slash $1.3 Trillion From Medicaid. Johnson voted for the FY 2018 budget resolution, which cut funding for non-Medicare health programs, most notably Medicaid, by 1.3 trillion, a 20 percent cut over the course of 10 years, increasing to a 29.3 percent cut by 2027. [H Con Res 71, Vote #557, 10/5/17

2017: Mike Johnson Voted For Trump’s AHCA, Which Cut $880 Billion From Medicaid. Johnson voted for AHCA, which included $880 billion in cuts to Medicaid. [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #256, 5/4/17]

  • Vox Called AHCA A “Sneaky” Reversal Of The Medicaid Expansion. “Medicaid, a government program that simply compensates health care providers at stingy rates, is much cheaper than private insurance. So the ACA’s authors chose to expand it to cover all families with incomes below 138 percent of the poverty line, rather than shelling out the money it would have cost to have the government pay for them to buy private insurance. The AHCA reverses this expansion. But to avoid the criticism that the law throws poor children off their health insurance, it reverses it in a somewhat sneaky way. Rather than taking Medicaid away from families who have it, it simply caps new enrollments in Medicaid so no new poor families can sign up. But the way this cap works, you can’t get back on Medicaid if you go off of it. So a poor family that gets a raise and becomes non-poor for a year will lose access to Medicaid permanently.” [Vox, 5/9/17]