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Protect Our Care Applauds Health Care Affordability Act of 2021

Introduced by Reps. Underwood, Gomez, O’Halleran, Legislation Would Lower Health Insurance Premiums

Washington, DC — Today, Representatives Lauren Underwood (IL-14), Jimmy Gomez (CA-34) and Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) introduced the Health Care Affordability Act of 2021. The legislation would expand access to quality, affordable health care by increasing the size of the tax credits in the Health Insurance Marketplace, and making tax credits available to more people, lowering health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs for Americans. These policies passed the House in June 2020, and were included in President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“This legislation takes bold steps to ensure families are able to afford the health insurance they need by making sure people will not pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for coverage. Making health insurance more affordable and accessible is especially important because of the coronavirus pandemic, when millions of Americans have lost their jobs and their health insurance. This bill builds on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act by lowering skyrocketing health care costs and making quality, affordable health insurance available to millions. Congress should include this legislation in its next COVID relief package by adopting this key piece of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan.”

After Four Long Years, Donald Trump’s War on American Health Care Ends Tomorrow

Joe Biden’s Inauguration Will Mark a New Beginning on Health Care: Better Coverage, Lower Costs and an End to the Pandemic 

Washington, DC — On Wednesday, Joe Biden will be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, closing President Trump’s dark chapter of health care sabotage and his colossal failure to address the worst public health crisis in over a century. At noon tomorrow, Americans can breathe a sigh of relief as President Biden will immediately launch a national plan to end the pandemic and put in place an administration that will fight for better, more affordable health care for every American. 

“Four years ago, President Trump’s first act as president was an Executive Order directing his cabinet to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act. Four years later, the ACA is here to stay, and President Trump is out of a job, along with the congressional majorities he came in with,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Since taking office, Trump has seized every opportunity to attack health care and the Affordable Care Act. From trying to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, to throwing people off of Medicaid and completely failing to respond to the pandemic, Trump has been a disaster for American health care. Trump’s four year war on health care will end after costing the Republicans the White House and both chambers of Congress and with the ACA more popular than ever.”

“After Joe Biden is sworn in tomorrow, people will go to bed knowing better health care is on its way,” said Protect Our Care Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Voters elected Joe Biden because he will build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act by expanding coverage, improving care, addressing inequities and lowering costs. With Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer at his side and Democratic majorities in both Houses of Congress, President Biden will deliver on his promises and deliver better health care for tens of millions of Americans.”

NEW POLL: Health Care Is a Priority for Georgia Voters

Washington, DC — With Democrats poised to take control of the Senate, a new PPP poll on behalf of Protect Our Care released today shows health care delivered the Georgia Democratic runoff victories and the Senate majority. Further, the issue remains top of mind for voters. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“This poll shows voters in Georgia saw health care as a key issue when they elected Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate. By choosing Democrats to control the White House and Congress, voters gave them a clear mandate to implement their health care agenda. Tired of Trump’s relentless sabotage agenda, voters identified health care as a top priority and are ready for Congress to work with President-elect Biden to deliver on his health care plan to build on the Affordable Care Act by expanding access, lowering costs and strengthening protections for pre-existing conditions. Health care continues to deliver for Democrats as voters overwhelmingly trust them to implement more accessible and affordable policies.”

See the full PPP memo and toplines

Key Findings

  • 80% of voters surveyed who supported Ossoff and 79% who supported Warnock say health care was either the most important or a very important issue in deciding which candidate to support. Meanwhile, just 44% of Perdue voters and 45% of Loeffler voters say health care was a key issue in deciding their vote.
  • Health care is a critical issue among a large majority of African-American voters: 85% who supported Warnock and Ossoff say health care was either the most important or a very important issue in deciding their vote for Senate.
  • 54% of independents surveyed say they trusted Warnock and Ossoff more on the issue of healthcare, compared to just 23% who trusted Loeffler and Perdue more. Meanwhile, 55% of these independents say they voted for Warnock and 57% voted for Ossoff.
  • 68% of Georgians say they will be disappointed if Warnock and Ossoff fail to deliver on health care promises made during their campaigns. 

In Trump Administration’s Final Days, CMS Finalizes Provision to Sabotage ACA Exchanges

Washington, DC — On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized several provisions for the annual Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters (NBPP) for the 2022 benefit year, which outlines regulatory and financial guidelines applicable to exchange plans, and includes a provision allowing states to drop and instead direct people to buy ACA coverage through insurers and private brokers. In response to the provision, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“This latest move from CMS shows the stark difference between the Trump administration, which is spending its final days continuing its sabotage agenda by trying to rip coverage from people during a pandemic, and the incoming Biden administration, which will spend its first days working to expand health care coverage for Americans. The unprecedented provision issued by CMS undercuts the Affordable Care Act, injects chaos into the entire health care system and puts coverage for millions of Americans at risk. By pushing people to buy plans through private brokers, consumers are more likely to purchase junk plans that don’t cover essential health benefits or have protections for pre-existing conditions. 

“While the Biden administration will be able to reverse these harmful changes, it will take significant time and resources that could be spent on other pressing issues, like responding to the coronavirus pandemic. It is shameful — but not surprising — that the Trump administration is using its final days to cement its legacy of blocking Americans from getting quality, affordable health coverage.”

Protect Our Care Praises Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan’

Along with Delivering Relief to Americans and Fixing Problems with the Vaccine Distribution Rollout, Biden’s Ambitious Plan Will Make Health Care More Accessible and Addresses Racial Disparities

Washington, DC — Following President-elect Joe Biden’s release of his ‘American Rescue Plan,’ Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“We commend President-elect Biden for putting forth a package to address the disaster he will inherit from Donald Trump and his failed leadership. It will take time to fill the steep hole this administration has left us in, but delivering relief into the hands of Americans, fixing Trump’s disastrous vaccine distribution rollout, and getting resources to states and localities are vital to rescuing our nation from a pandemic that has gone on far too long and been far too costly to the American people. Importantly, this package includes crucial provisions to expand health care coverage, make accessing health care more affordable and address racial disparities in coronavirus treatment and outcomes.

“During the entirety of this pandemic, President Trump and Republicans refused to lift a finger to help people get covered or make health care more affordable. In fact, the Trump administration is before the Supreme Court right now trying to rip coverage away; but President-elect Biden is doing the right thing by working to preserve and expand health care coverage and end the pandemic. Congress should move quickly to provide this much needed relief for Americans.”

After Four Years of Mounting a Relentless War on American Health Care, Trump Administration Spends Final Days Gutting Medicaid

Washington, DC — On Friday, the Trump administration approved a proposal in Tennessee that would make the state’s Medicaid program a block grant. Block granting Medicaid funds is seen by health care experts as blatant attempts to gut coverage and kick people off the rolls, and have repeatedly been rejected by Congress. These actions come at a time when more and more Americans are enrolling in Medicaid across the country due to the pandemic. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“The Trump administration and CMS Administrator Seema Verma are spending their final days in power kicking people when they are down by ripping away health care during a pandemic. Instead of focusing on the nearly 4,000 Americans dying per day from coronavirus, Trump and Verma are running through the tape to cement their legacy of blocking as many people from coverage as possible. Initiating block grants isn’t about improving or reforming health care; it’s about ripping coverage away from more Americans, plain and simple. Thankfully, this will be reversed by the Biden administration who will instead work to ensure everyone has affordable, quality health care and to get the deadly pandemic under control.”

NEW POLL: Health Care a Key Issue for North Carolinians; Voters Trust Cunningham Over Tillis to Protect Their Health Care

From: Katherine Patterson, Public Policy Polling

To: Interested Parties

Subject: Health Care a Key Issue for North Carolinians; Voters Trust Cunningham Over Tillis to Protect Their Health Care

Date: October 27, 2020

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis trailing Democratic opponent Cal Cunningham by 3 points (47-44). Health care is a key issue for a large majority of North Carolinians, with 73% considering it either the most important issue or a very important issue—and voters do not trust Tillis to protect them when it comes to health care coverage. Just 29% of voters who consider healthcare to be a key issue support Tillis, while 61% support Cunningham. Tillis’ record on health care could cause him to lose further ground to Cunningham.

  • 46% of voters trust Cunningham more to protect healthcare for people with pre-existing conditions, while just 38% trust Tillis more.
  • 45% trust Cunningham more on the overall issue of healthcare, while only 40% trust Tillis.
  • 44% trust Cunningham more to hold health insurance and pharmaceutical companies accountable, while just 36% trust Tillis more.

Meanwhile, a majority (58%) of North Carolina voters disapprove of the Trump administration’s attempt to strike down the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in the middle of a pandemic without any replacement. Just 33% think it should be struck down.

When voters hear that Tillis voted four times to repeal the ACA, a majority (51%) say they are less likely to support him in the election, while just 28% say they are more likely.

Additionally, voters express serious concerns over the consequences of striking down the ACA.

  • 67% say that eliminating protections stopping insurance companies from denying coverage or raising the costs of care for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions is a major concern.
  • 67% say they have major concerns about over twenty million Americans completely losing their health insurance coverage if the ACA is struck down.
  • 61% say that allowing insurance companies to stop covering the cost of prescription drugs is a major concern.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 937 North Carolina voters from October 26-27, 2020. The margin of error is +/- 3.2%. 50% of interviews for the survey were conducted by telephone and 50% by text message.

Trump Picked Amy Coney Barrett Because He Knows She Will Overturn the ACA

President Trump has made clear that the litmus test for picking a Supreme Court nominee is the future justice’s intent to invalidate the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Amy Coney Barrett passes this test with flying colors, having criticized both major rulings that upheld the ACA. On Sunday, Trump reaffirmed his commitment to his lawsuit to overturn the health care law  — which would rip coverage away from more than 20 million Americans and eliminate protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions in the middle of a global pandemic — and his confidence in a victory if Barrett is seated. And that’s not even the first time he has said opposition to the ACA is nonnegotiable when selecting his judicial appointments.

Trump Has Repeatedly Promised to Appoint Judges Who Will Overturn the ACA 

As far back as 2015, Donald Trump promised that “my judicial appointments will do the right thing unlike Bush’s appointee John Roberts on ObamaCare.”  The Republican party platform for 2016 and 2020 clearly states that GOP-appointed judges will “reverse the long line of activist decisions – including Roe, Obergefell, and the Obamacare cases” and while running for president in 2016, Trump assailed Roberts’ rulings calling him a “nightmare for Conservatives” who “gave us Obamacare, almost as much as Obama himself.” 

Trump continues to stand by his promise to “terminate health care under Obamacare” by pursuing a lawsuit that could overturn the entire law to the Supreme Court. Trump has also said that he is “looking to appoint judges very much in the mold of Justice Scalia.” The late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia opposed the ACA repeatedly, famously dubbing the law “SCOTUSCare.” 

Within hours of nominating Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Trump tweeted again about his hopes of overturning the ACA, saying “Obamacare will be replaced with a MUCH better, and FAR cheaper, alternative if it is terminated in the Supreme Court. Would be a big WIN for the USA!” The next day, Trump called Obamacare “terrible” and doubled-down on his goal of overturning the law: “‘If we can end Obamacare and come up with a much better health-care system that’s much cheaper and much better, which is what we’ll do.” 

Two Republican Members of the Senate Judiciary Committee Are Openly Rooting for Judge Barrett to Overturn the ACA

Senator Mike Lee told George Stephanopolus on ABC’s “This Week” that he hoped Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination would lead to the court declaring the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.  “I believe the Affordable Care Act was unconstitutional when it was enacted. It was unconstitutional when it was litigated in 2012. The fact that Congress chose to enact an unconstitutional law shouldn’t tarnish Judge Barrett in this. Her job is to figure out whether it’s unconstitutional or not,” Lee said. 

Senator Ted Cruz Cruz claimed that it would not be a problem for Amy Coney Barrett and the Supreme Court to strike down the Affordable Care Act, because Republicans would immediately act to protect pre-existing conditions. “Every Republican agrees we’re going to protect preexisting conditions,” Cruz said, while criticizing Democrats for trying to make Barrett’s nomination into a referendum on health care. “What they’re talking about is what they think politically resonates, but 100 out of 100 senators agree we’re going to protect preexisting conditions regardless of what happens with Obamacare.”

HEADLINES: Democrats Put Health Care “Center Stage” During Day One of the Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings

Day one of Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation hearings is in the books and headlines show that Senate Democrats used the spotlight to make clear what’s at stake for our health care and the consequences Americans would face in the middle of a pandemic without the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans are trying to install Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the court to accomplish what they couldn’t do through legislation — completely overturn the ACA. The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Trump’s lawsuit, California v. Texas, one week after election day. If successful, the lawsuit would rip coverage from more than 20 million Americans and remove protections for more than 135 million Americans with a pre-existing condition. 

Leah Millis/Pool / Getty Images

NBC News: With Eye on Election, Democrats Hammer Health Care on First Day of Barrett Hearing. “Senate Democrats came to the first day of the Supreme Court hearings Monday with a singular message: Health care coverage and protections for millions of Americans are at risk if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed. Like a choir singing in unison, Democrats carried the same tune, in different vocal ranges. Each showed photos of constituents who have battled illness and stand to lose potential lifesaving treatment if the Affordable Care Act were axed, demonstrating an unusual level of harmony for a party not known for message discipline.” [NBC News, 10/12/20

New York Times: For Judiciary Committee Democrats, the Affordable Care Act Was Center Stage. “Senate Democrats have settled on their line of attack against Judge Amy Coney Barrett: Her confirmation to the Supreme Court could mean the death of the Affordable Care Act and millions of Americans stripped of their health insurance…In their opening remarks on Monday, the first day at the Senate Judiciary Committee’s confirmation hearing, one Democrat after another invoked the health care law — and, more broadly, the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.” [New York Times, 10/12/20

Time: On Day One of Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Hearing, Democrats Focus on Health Care. “During the course of the day, every single Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee mentioned health care in their opening remarks. In a show of disciplined messaging, they honed in on fears that Barrett would overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) if she were confirmed to the Supreme Court — which is set to hear a case about the constitutionality of the Obama-era health care law just one week after Election Day.” [Time, 10/12/20

Yahoo News: Barrett Nomination Hearing Begins as Democrats Focus on Health Care. “The confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett began Monday morning, with Democrats focusing on what her vote could mean for the Affordable Care Act, which is being challenged by the Trump administration and a number of Republican states in a case coming before the court this term. Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee came equipped with large posters showing photos of Americans who they say would lose their health care if the Supreme Court were to overturn the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Barrett has written she disagrees with Chief Justice John Roberts’s 2012 opinion that upheld the ACA. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month, was in the majority upholding the ACA in the case eight years ago.” [Yahoo News, 10/12/20

Associated Press: Health Care is Focus as Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court Hearing Opens. “Senate Democrats branded Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett a threat to the Affordable Care Act and many Americans’ health care Monday at the start of a fast-tracked hearing that Republicans are confident will end with Barrett’s confirmation to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before Election Day.” [Associated Press, 10/12/20

Washington Post: At Barrett Hearing, Harris Highlights Health Care, Ginsburg in Opening Statement. “At Barrett’s hearing, Harris echoed the health-care message of other Senate Democrats and warned that confirming Barrett to the Supreme Court would precipitate the demise of the Affordable Care Act. In her opening remarks, Harris told the story of a constituent who has benefited from the protections of the 2010 health-care law: an 11-year-old girl named Myka from Southern California, who has a congenital heart defect and has to see multiple specialists during the year. Harris argued that because Republicans have failed legislatively to repeal the increasingly popular ACA, ‘they are trying to bypass the will of the voters and have the Supreme Court do their dirty work.’ The justices are scheduled to hear oral arguments in a high-profile Obamacare case on Nov. 10.” [Washington Post, 10/12/20]

Senator Warner’s Health Care Improvement Act Takes Vital Steps to Improve Access to Quality, Affordable Health Care, Particularly During a Pandemic

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) unveiled legislation that would increase access to health coverage, reduce costs and strengthen Medicaid as America battles the coronavirus pandemic. The Health Care Improvement Act would reduce the cost of health care coverage on the ACA exchanges, strengthen Medicaid to expand health care coverage to more American families, ban surprise medical billing, allow the federal government to negotiate drug prices and implement several other common sense provisions to stabilize our health care system. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse release the following statement in response: 

“As President Trump and his Republican allies try to rip coverage away from millions of Americans in the middle of a public health crisis, Senator Warner is working to make health care more accessible and affordable for the American people. Senator Warner’s bill would take bold steps to reduce costs, expand coverage, and strengthen protections for people with pre-existing conditions at a time when access to affordable health care has never been more critical. Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans should prioritize the health and well-being of Americans by working with Senator Warner to build on the success of the Affordable Care Act and abandon their disastrous lawsuit to take health care away.”