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Mitch Harle

Protect Our Care “Your Health, Your Vote” Virtual Bus Tour Week Five Wrap Up: Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Montana

Virtual Tour “Hit the Road” for Events with U.S. Senate Candidate Governor Steve Bullock, Members of Congress and Elected Officials in Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Montana

On the fifth week of Protect Our Care’s 16-state “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour, Protect Our Care held events in Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Virginia and Montana. During each stop, members of Congress, a U.S. Senate candidate, elected leaders, health care advocates and storytellers from each state met in a virtual format to discuss President Trump’s complete mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic and highlight the danger of allowing President Trump to pick the next Supreme Court justice. California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, will be heard one week after the election. If successful, the lawsuit would take away protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and rip coverage away from over 20 million Americans in the middle of a pandemic.

To date, bus tour stops have included:

  • Four United States Senate candidates including Speaker Sara Gideon (ME), Captain Mark Kelly (AZ), Dr. Al Gross (AL) and Governor Steve Bullock (MT)
  • Eight United States Senate Democrats including Senators Bob Casey (PA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Tina Smith (MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Jacky Rosen (NV), Mark Warner (VA) and Jon Tester (MT)
  • 13 Democratic Members of Congress including Reps. Matt Cartwright (PA-08), Elissa Slotkin (MI-08), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Dean Phillips (MN-03), Cindy Axne (IA-03), Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Jason Crow (CO-06), Dina Titus (NV-01), Susie Lee (NV-03), Colin Allred (TX-32), Lizzie Fletcher (TX-07) and Abigail Spanberger (VA-07)

COLORADO
Monday, October 12, 2020: Protect Our Care Colorado was joined by Congressman Jason Crow, and Colorado health care advocates to discuss how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Coloradans’ care. Participants also called on Senator Cory Gardner to denounce Trump’s war on health care and discussed Democrats’ agenda to improve health care and lower costs for Americans. Advocates urged Senator Cory Gardner to take steps to protect them, and end his attacks on Coloradans’ health care. 

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
Colorado Times Recorder: Crow Criticizes Republicans for Trying to Kill the Affordable Care Act Instead of Working To Improve It

NEVADA
Tuesday, October 13, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in southern Nevada to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen and Representatives Dina Titus and Susie Lee, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Nevadans’ care. Speakers included Kevin Scott Carey, President SEIU Nevada Local 1107, Laura Martin, PLAN (Progressive Leadership Alliance Nevada), Raquel Cruz-Juarez, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, and Erika Washington, Make it Work Nevada, who also called on the GOP to denounce Trump’s war on health care and discussed Democrats’ agenda to improve health care and lower costs for Americans.

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
Las Vegas Sun: Top Nevada Democrats Urge GOP to Put Health Care Above Court Politics

TEXAS
Wednesday, October 14, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Texas to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representatives Collin Allred (D-TX-32) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07), the event highlighted how Trump’s ongoing war on America’s health care, his lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, and his failed coronavirus response have had devastating impacts on Texans. They also held Sen. John Cornyn for his failure as part of the Republican Senate leadership to failure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate or pass a meaningful coronavirus relief package for Americans who are suffering from the impacts of the pandemic. The House, including Reps. Allred and Fletcher, passed a relief bill 152 days ago, with no meaningful response from the Senate.

Watch the Event Here

VIRGINIA
Friday, October 16, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Virginia to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), U.S. House candidate Dr. Cameron Webb (D-VA-05) and Marked by COVID founder Kristin Urquiza, the event highlighted Trump’s selection of an anti-ACA justice for the Supreme Court and his lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, which would have devastating impacts on Virginians’ care. They also discussed Democrats’ agenda to improve health care and lower costs for Americans.

Watch the Event Here

MONTANA
Friday, October 16, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual tour arrived in Montana, headlined by Senator Jon Tester and Governor Steve Bullock, to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act to Montanans and to highlight what’s at stake for Montanans’ health care if the ACA is repealed. They also discussed the significance of access to affordable healthcare particularly in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Community members, including Dr. Anne Giuliano and Rep. Sharon Stewart Peregoy, carried messages from communities directly impacted by the ACA and Medicaid expansion, highlighting the importance of access to preventative and consistent care. Speakers included Amy Allen of the Forward Montana Foundation, Elizabeth Marum, a member of Big Sky 55+, and Emily Allison of Forward Montana and Bridgercare. 

Watch the Event Here

Virginians Sen. Warner, Rep. Spanberger, Dr. Cameron Webb Highlight What’s at Stake for Health Care in 2020 Election

Protect Our Care on Nationwide Virtual Bus Tour Focuses on What’s at Stake for Virginians’ Health Care in November

Watch the Event Here 

VIRGINIA – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Virginia to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07), U.S. House candidate Dr. Cameron Webb (D-VA-05) and Marked by COVID founder Kristin Urquiza, the event highlighted Trump’s selection of an anti-ACA justice for the Supreme Court and his lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, which would have devastating impacts on Virginians’ care. They also discussed Democrats’ agenda to improve health care and lower costs for Americans.

“Right now, in the middle of a pandemic, Trump is still fighting to dismantle the ACA in a case that the Supreme Court will hear one week after the election. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means eliminating protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with Covid-19. We have a lot of room to build on the ACA while protecting the American people. The stakes could not be higher, and improving upon the law, not throwing it out, should be our path forward,” said U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA).

“COVID-19 has created massive amounts of uncertainty for thousands of Virginians, including those who have lost their job and their employer-sponsored insurance. The administration’s continued sabotage of our healthcare system is the very last thing they need,” said U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07). “In Congress, I’m committed to protecting those with pre-existing conditions, defending our healthcare system, and lowering healthcare and drug costs for working families. Senator Warner and Dr. Webb understand that these are critical priorities at this moment, and I’d like to thank Protect Our Care for keeping up the fight on behalf of families and seniors in Virginia and across the country.”

“This pandemic has been a poignant reminder of how essential it is for everyone in our communities to have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Advocates like Protect Our Care have been critical voices in the fight to defend the Affordable Care Act and the progress that we’ve made, and I was thrilled to join them today to discuss the importance of this election for protecting and expanding access to care,” said U.S. House candidate Dr. Cameron Webb (D-VA-05).

“This is leadership failure, and this is policy failure. It has led us to losing 218,000 Americans,” said Marked by COVID founder Kristin Urquiza, who lost her father, Mark, to the virus. “The President of the United States continues to downplay the virus. He’s refusing to listen to experts. He is discouraging Americans from wearing masks, and he does not have a plan. His Republican entourage is completely in lockstep with him, and so that is why it is so critically important that we fire Donald Trump this election cycle.”

“In 2020, health care is on the ballot. We’ve seen failure after failure on health care from President Trump and his Republican enablers in Congress,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Now, they are trying to confirm an anti-ACA Supreme Court nominee to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the worst public health crisis our country has seen, which would rip health care from more than 20 million Americans and leave 135 million people without protections for their pre-existing conditions. The stakes couldn’t be higher for health care, and voters know they don’t want another four years of Donald Trump’s health care sabotage.” 

Read Virginia’s Voter Guide Here

The Protect Our Care “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour is making stops in:
Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Wisconsin on Thursday, September 17, 2020
Michigan on Tuesday, September 22, 2020
New Hampshire on Thursday, September 24, 2020
Minnesota on Friday, September 25, 2020
Iowa on Thursday, October 1, 2020
Maine on Friday, October 2, 2020
Alaska on Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Arizona on Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Colorado on Monday, October 12, 2020
Nevada on Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Texas on Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Virginia on Friday, October 16, 2020
Montana on Friday, October 16, 2020
North Carolina on Monday, October 19, 2020
Georgia on Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Florida on Thursday, October 22, 2020

*More dates will be added in coming days, including South Carolina and Illinois

Trump at NBC Town Hall: We’d Like to Terminate Obamacare

At tonight’s NBC town hall, President Trump said “we would like to terminate” the Affordable Care Act and “we have a very good chance of doing it.” For once, President Trump is telling a partial truth. He and his Republican enablers in the Senate are jamming through the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court so they can accomplish through the courts what they couldn’t do legislatively — completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions. One week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit that if successful, would overturn the ACA and throw our entire health care system into chaos.

And that’s where the truth ends. Trump claims they’re in the court to throw out the Affordable Care Act “in order to replace it” but the truth is there is no replacement. The bills Republicans have put forth claiming to protect people with pre-existing conditions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. 

Report: Why the ACA Is the Gold Standard for Protecting People with Pre-Existing Conditions

NEW VIDEO: Senate Democrats Expose Trump and Republicans’ Rush to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy with Anti-ACA Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Watch the Video Here

During Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s three days before the Senate Judiciary Committee for her Supreme Court confirmation hearings, Senate Democrats exposed exactly why President Trump and Republicans are rushing to install her on the court — to accomplish what they couldn’t do through legislation and completely overturn the Affordable Care Act. One week after the election, the court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to dismantle the ACA. If successful, the lawsuit would throw our entire health care system into chaos by ripping away health care from more than 20 million Americans and ending protections for more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions, all in the middle of an ever-worsening pandemic. Despite their claims to the contrary, Trump and Senate Republicans have no plan if the ACA and its critical protections are overturned.

Judge Coney Barrett dodged question after question from Democratic Judiciary Committee members about her history of hostile statements about the health care law. Senate Democrats continued to raise alarms about the consequences of dismantling the ACA during a pandemic, lifted up stories of Americans who depend on the law and explained to Americans that Trump and Republicans are rushing to confirm anti-ACA Judge Amy Coney Barrett in hopes she will help them accomplish their decade-long goal of eliminating the law.

Texans Highlight What’s at Stake for Health Care in 2020 Election

U.S. Reps. Allred, Fletcher and Health Care Storyteller Join Protect Our Care on Nationwide Virtual Bus Tour to Highlight What’s At Stake for Texans’ Health Care in November

Watch the Event Here

Texas – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Texas to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representatives Collin Allred (D-TX-32) and Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07), the event highlighted how Trump’s ongoing war on America’s health care, his lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, and his failed coronavirus response have had devastating impacts on Texans. They also held Sen. John Cornyn for his failure as part of the Republican Senate leadership to failure Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate or pass a meaningful coronavirus relief package for Americans who are suffering from the impacts of the pandemic. The House, including Reps. Allred and Fletcher, passed a relief bill 152 days ago, with no meaningful response from the Senate.

“Health care is on the ballot in this election, so I encourage every North Texan to vote for your health care. Vote for your family’s health care. Vote for leaders that will put your health care first. That’s what’s at stake in this election. I have worked since day one in Congress to stop the attacks on your health care, and will keep working to expand access to care and lower costs across the board,” said U.S. Representative Collin Allred (D-TX-32).

“Our state has the highest rate of uninsured people in the country, but even during this pandemic, Texas Republicans and the Trump administration are intent on repealing the Affordable Care Act, and repealing vital health coverage for millions across our state and country,” said U.S. Representative Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX-07). “For Texans, there is no more critical issue on the ballot this year than protecting our health care. I have been proud to work with my colleagues in the House of Representatives to protect and build upon the ACA, fighting to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and expand access to affordable and quality health care at a time when our communities need it the most.”

“We need to make sure we hold our leaders accountable. 200,000 Americans did not have to die,” said Chris Garcia, a San Antonio resident who lost his father, Carlos, to coronavirus in July. “This would have been the time to bring the country together for the common cause of prevention, but instead the virus was politicized. He peddled false statements, and we still have no national plans for testing or regarding PPE.”

“Health care is on the ballot in 2020. From President Trump and Republicans’ complete abdication of responsibility on passing coronavirus relief to their constant attacks on Americans’ health care, voters know what’s at stake when they cast their vote in this election,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Now Senate Republicans are trying to rush through his anti-ACA Supreme Court nominee to finally accomplish what they haven’t been able to do legislatively — completely dismantle the ACA. Voters will hold Republicans accountable for their war on health care.” 

Read Protect Our Care’s Texas Voter Guide Here

The Protect Our Care “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour is making stops in: 

Pennsylvania on Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Wisconsin on Thursday, September 17, 2020
Michigan on Tuesday, September 22, 2020
New Hampshire on Thursday, September 24, 2020
Minnesota on Friday, September 25, 2020
Iowa on Thursday, October 1, 2020
Maine on Friday, October 2, 2020
Alaska on Wednesday, October 7, 2020
Arizona on Tuesday, October 6, 2020
Colorado on Monday, October 12, 2020
Nevada on Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Texas on Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Virginia on Friday, October 16, 2020
Montana on Friday, October 16, 2020
North Carolina on Monday, October 19, 2020
Georgia on Tuesday, October 20, 2020
Florida on Thursday, October 22, 2020
*More dates will be added in coming days, including South Carolina and Illinois

In Supreme Court Hearing Focused on the Future of the Health Care Law, Republicans and Judge Barrett Do Nothing to Ease the Fact That Her Nomination Is Being Rushed to Strike Down the ACA

Washington, DC — During day two of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, the nominee and Republican Judiciary Committee members continued to dodge accountability when it comes to Americans’ health care. Republicans on the committee used their remarks to bash the Affordable Care Act, and Trump’s anti-ACA nominee, Judge Coney Barrett, did her best to obscure her views from the public when faced with questions from Democratic Judiciary Committee members about her history of hostile statements about the health care law. Democrats continued to raise alarms about the consequences of dismantling the ACA during a pandemic and lifted up stories of Americans who depend on the law. Judge Coney Barrett is being rushed onto the court to be the deciding vote to strike down the ACA in Trump’s lawsuit, which the Supreme Court will hear one week after the election. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“Today’s hearing made clear what we’ve known all along. Republicans will stop at nothing to confirm President Trump’s anti-ACA nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, to the nation’s highest court while voters are already casting their ballots. They know this is their last chance to accomplish what they haven’t been able to do legislatively — completely overturn the Affordable Care Act. Republicans don’t care that this is an illegitimate process. They don’t care that more than 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions would lose the protections they rely on. They don’t care that striking down the ACA would throw our entire health care system into chaos during a pandemic, and they don’t care that they have no health care plan to replace it. They only care about installing Judge Coney Barrett on the Supreme Court to rip away Americans’ health care. Democrats on the committee made clear what the consequences of striking down the law would be for the American people, and Republicans must know the consequences they will soon face at the polls for their relentless war on American health care.”

Protect Our Care’s Week of Nationwide Events to Hold Senate Republicans Accountable for Their Rush to Confirm An Anti-ACA Justice to the Supreme Court

Protect Our Care Has Held Events in Colorado, Florida, South Carolina, Iowa, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania; Set to Hold More Events in Iowa and Maine

Beginning last week, Protect Our Care began holding nationwide events across the country highlighting the growing threat to Americans’ health care as Senate Republicans rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy with anti-ACA Judge Amy Coney Barrett and as the ever-worsening COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread. California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, will be heard one week after the election. If successful, the lawsuit would take away protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions and rip coverage away from over 20 million Americans in the middle of the worst public health crisis in a century.

Events From the Week So Far: 

COLORADO
Friday, October 9 — Affordable Care Act and Women’s Health Event with Sen. Michael Bennet
On Friday, U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care Colorado at a virtual press conference to discuss what is at stake for Americans’ health care if the Affordable Care Act is overturned. Panelists condemned Senate Republicans’ ongoing attack on  health care and their rush to confirm a new Justice comes just weeks before the Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments in Republicans’ lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act on November 10. Participants focused on how Trump’s ACA-repeal lawsuit would devastate Coloradans and roll back critical protections for women, Latinxs, and LGBTQ+ individuals who have suffered disproportionate economic impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic and seen greater job loss overall – likely resulting in loss of health care coverage. You can watch the event here.

FLORIDA
Friday, October 9 — With Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Looming, Local Leaders and Health Care Advocates to Stress What’s at Stake for Healthcare in South Florida in this Election
With only a few days before the Senate begins confirmation hearings for Donald Trump’s hand-picked ACA-opposed Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, local leaders and healthcare advocates in Miami will stress the stakes of this election for the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of South Floridians who are at risk of losing their healthcare, should the ACA be overturned in November. Florida City Mayor Otis Wallace will join former Republican legislator and legal expert Juan-Carlos Planas, along with several healthcare advocates, including Miami resident Judith Casale, and Kendall resident and recent guest of honor at last year’s State of the Union address, Michelle Garcia, who will all discuss what life could look like for hundreds of thousands of Floridians in South Florida should the Supreme Court overturn the ACA in November. Watch the event here.

SOUTH CAROLINA
Friday, October 9 — SCOTUS Accountability Event with State Representatives and SC Storytellers
Representatives Marvin Pedarvis and JA Moore joined Mary McBride, a South Carolinian health care advocate, and Protect Our Care South Carolina on a virtual roundtable to highlight the growing threat to health care coverage as Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Republicans rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy as COVID-19 continues to spread among senior GOP officials. “We can’t play politics with people’s lives. That’s what got us into this mess with COVID and that’s what Lindsey Graham is trying to do with this nomination,” said Rep. Marvin Pendarvis. You can watch a recording of the event here.

IOWA
Monday, October 12 — Iowans Launch ‘Our Lives On The Line’ Week of Action to Oppose Rush to Confirm a New Supreme Court Justice
Iowan health care advocates from Interfaith Alliance of Iowa Action Fund, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network, and One Iowa Action joined Protect Our Care Iowa for an event about what’s at stake for Iowa families and their health care as Senate Republicans, including Senators Joni Ernst and Chuck Grassley, rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy before the election. The statewide press event kicks off the ‘Our Lives on the Line’ week of action sponsored by a number of grassroots and community organizations. Watch the event here.

NORTH CAROLINA
Monday, October 12 — Supreme Court Press Call with Chairman Wayne Goodwin, State Senator Terry Van Duyn, and Stacy Staggs
North Carolina Democratic party Chairman Wayne Goodwin, State Senator Terry Van Duyn, and Stacy Staggs, a health care advocate, joined Protect Our Care North Carolina on a press call to highlight the growing threat to health care coverage as Republican’s rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. On November 10, one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the lawsuit led by the Trump administration and 18 Republican a state Attorneys General to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. You can listen to the call here.

WISCONSIN
Monday, October 12 — Supreme Court Press Call with Attorney General Josh Kaul and Health Care Advocates
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, cancer survivor Renee Gasch, and emergency room physician Chris Kapsner joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin to highlight the growing threat to health care coverage as Republican’s rush to fill the Supreme Court vacancy. On November 10, one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the lawsuit led by the Trump administration and 18 Republican state Attorneys General to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. You can watch the event here.

  • WKOW: Wisconsin Politicians Still Divided as Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings Begin

PENNSYLVANIA
Tuesday, October 13 — SCOTUS Accountability Event with the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and Protect Our Care Storytellers
Earlier today, the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and Biden For President Pennsylvania kicked off their joint “Health Care is on the Ballot Tour” with U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Pennsylvania Democratic Party Chair Nancy Patton Mills, Johnstown native and breast cancer survivor Amy Raslevich, and Little Lobbyists National Director of Advocacy Erin Gabriel to discuss what’s at stake for the health care of Pennsylvania families in the upcoming election. A recording of the virtual press conference can be found here, and an audio clip is available here.

Why the ACA Is the Gold Standard for Protecting People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Trump’s Lawsuit to Overturn the Affordable Care Act Would Eliminate Protections for 135 Million People with Pre-Existing Conditions — and, Despite Claims to the Contrary, Republicans Have No Plan If the Law is Struck Down

Before the election, the Senate plans to rush through President Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court before voters have a chance to make their voices heard. President Trump and his enablers in the Senate see the nomination of Judge Coney Barrett as their opportunity to accomplish what they haven’t been able to do legislatively — completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act and its protections for more than 135 million people with pre-existing conditions. One week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit that if successful, would overturn the ACA and throw our entire health care system into chaos. Trump and Senate Republicans want to tilt the balance of the court ahead of the lawsuit in their favor, and Judge Coney Barrett is their best chance to do it. Ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions is extremely unpopular with voters, so Senate Republicans and Trump have been scrambling to obscure their record and say they support these protections, but these lies are clearly just another election year stunt to try to distract voters from their decade-long war on health care. The reality is, they are in court trying to overturn the ACA — the gold standard for protecting people with pre-existing conditions.  

KEY POINTS

  • Thanks to the ACA, 135 million Americans are protected from discrimination in the individual marketplaces, so regardless of their job status or state of residence, they will be able to access quality coverage without being charged more for having a pre-existing condition. If the ACA is overturned, these protections will be ripped away overnight, and in the middle of a pandemic. 
  • Over seven million Americans have already tested positive for coronavirus and would likely be deemed as having a pre-existing condition without the ACA. If the law is overturned, the millions of Americans who have contracted the virus would be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. Because of Donald Trump’s failure to respond to the coronavirus crisis, the number of Americans with coronavirus is only increasing, with roughly a million cases being reported every month. 
  • Despite claims made to the contrary, the ACA includes key protections for people with employer-based coverage, including guaranteed free preventive care, bans on annual and lifetime caps on coverage, and out-of-pocket limits for patients.
  • The coronavirus pandemic demonstrates the importance of the ACA. An estimated 12 million people have lost employer-sponsored coverage and experts say an overwhelming majority have been able to get covered under the ACA — through the marketplaces or through Medicaid expansion. Every single one of these individuals now relies on the ACA’s protections for pre-existing conditions. We cannot return to the days where, if people lost their job, they would lose access to quality, affordable health care at a time they need it the most. 

Research Confirms That 135 Million People Have A Pre-Existing Condition

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick. Without the ACA, insurance companies could have the license to do this again. 

  • According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 135 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
    • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
    • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
    • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
    • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
    • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
  • More than 17 million children, 68 million women, and 32 million people aged 55-64 have a pre-existing condition.
  • The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 54 million people, or 27% of adults aged 18 to 64, have a condition that would have been grounds for coverage denial in the pre-ACA marketplace. Recent survey data found that six in 10 say they or someone in their household suffers from a pre-existing condition, such as asthma, diabetes, or high blood pressure. 

Trump’s Own HHS Confirmed That More Than 130 Million Have A Pre-Existing Condition. A 2017 study published by the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that 133 million Americans have a pre-existing condition that could lead to coverage denial, premium surcharges, or benefit exclusions without the ACA: “any of these 133 million Americans could have been denied coverage, or offered coverage only at an exorbitant price, had they needed individual market health insurance before 2014.” 

Republicans Want To Put Insurance Companies Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 135 Million People With Pre-Existing Conditions

The ACA included four key provisions that protect people with pre-existing conditions. If the ACA is overturned in the Texas lawsuit: 

  • GONE: Rule that forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 
  • GONE: Rule that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more. 
  • GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs and maternity care.
  • GONE: Ban on insurance companies having annual and lifetime caps on coverage.

Premium Surcharges Could Once Again Be In The Six Figures. Thanks to the Republican lawsuit, insurance companies can charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The House-passed repeal bill had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.

Insurance Companies Would Not Have To Provide The Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.

Insurance Companies Could Reinstate Lifetime And Annual Limits On 109 Million Privately Insured Americans. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage for those insured through their employer or on the individual market. In 2009, prior to the implementation of the ACA, 59 percent of workers covered by employer-sponsored health plans had a lifetime limit. 

American Cancer Society, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, and National Multiple Sclerosis Society: “Striking Down These Provisions Would Be Catastrophic And Have Dire Consequences For Many Patients With Serious Illnesses.” [American Cancer Society et. al, 6/14/18]

Republicans Want To Give Insurance Companies The Power To Limit The Care You Get, Even If You Have Insurance Through Your Employer. 

133 Million People With Employer Coverage Could Once Again Have To Pay For Preventative Care. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. More than 140 million Americans are enrolled in plans that provide free preventive services, including 133 million people with employer coverage. 

Large Employers Could Choose To Follow Any State’s Guidance, Enabling Them Put Annual And Lifetime Limits On Their Employees’ Health Care. Without the ACA’s definition of essential health benefits (EHB), states could eliminate them altogether. Large employers could choose to apply any state’s standard, making state regulations essentially meaningless. Because the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits only applies to essential health benefits, this change would allow employers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on their employees’ coverage.

Employers Could Eliminate Out-Of-Pocket Caps, Forcing Employees To Pay More For Care. Under the ACA, health insurers and employer group plans must cap the amount enrollees pay for health care each year. If the law is overturned, these cost-sharing protections would be eliminated. 

Republican Bills Claiming To Protect People With Pre-Existing Conditions Are A Sham 

Any Legislation That Meaningfully Protects People With Pre-Existing Conditions Must Include Four Key Provisions: 

  • GUARANTEED ISSUE: Rule that forbids insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. 
  • COMMUNITY RATING: Rule that prevents insurers from charging people with pre-existing conditions more. 
  • ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS: Requirements that insurance companies cover essential health benefits, such as prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and maternity care.
  • LIFETIME & ANNUAL CAPS: Ban on insurance companies having annual or lifetime caps on coverage.

Without All Of These Protections, Access To Care Would Be Out Of Reach For People With Serious Medical Conditions:

For example, without the ACA, a 40-year-old patient with cancer would face a premium surcharge of anywhere between $30,000 to $140,000. And without the ban on annual and lifetime caps, the cancer patient – whose costs for treatment average about $150,000 – could quickly reach their plan’s limit and face the devastating choice of continuing treatment or facing financial ruin. Moreover, insurance companies could refuse to cover this person’s chemotherapy drugs because they would no longer need to cover essential health benefits. And this is all of this assuming the patient was not already denied coverage outright, which would be permitted without the ACA. 

Why State Laws Are Insufficient If Trump Succeeds In Invalidating The ACA

A few states have implemented critical protections to serve as a backstop if the ACA is overturned, such as banning insurers from denying coverage or charging people with pre-existing conditions more. However, even these states cannot make up the federal funding provided under the ACA, which helps millions of people receive free coverage under Medicaid expansion or subsidized coverage in the individual marketplaces.

If the ACA is struck down: 

  • Nine Million People In the Marketplaces Would Pay More for Coverage. If the ACA is overturned, consumers would no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage would have to pay more.
  • More Than 15 Million People Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion Would Lose Coverage. Before the coronavirus crisis, roughly 15 million people were enrolled through Medicaid expansion.
  • States Would Lose important Federal Health Care Funding — an estimated reduction of $135 billion in the first year. The Urban Institute estimates that a full repeal of the ACA would reduce federal spending on Medicaid/CHIP care and Marketplace subsidies by $135 billion, or 34.6 percent in the first year. 

It is critical to note that the overwhelming majority of Americans do not have any pre-existing condition protections under state law at all. Only 13 states have enacted laws — and most do not provide comprehensive protections from discrimination. 

Perhaps Most Egregiously, Republicans Want To Eliminate Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions During A Global Pandemic

If The ACA Were Overturned, The More Than Seven Million Americans Who Have Had Covid-19 Could Be Discriminated Against By Their Health Insurer. “Before the ACA, medically underwritten health insurance sold to individuals could discriminate based on a person’s health conditions and history as well as other risk factors. So, for example, someone who applies for medically underwritten health insurance while sick – or after having been sick – with COVID-19 might be turned down, charged more, or offered a plan that excludes coverage for COVID-19 or related symptoms. A positive test for the coronavirus could also be used in medical underwriting. In addition, someone who has recently been tested negative for COVID-19 – for example, a rideshare driver who gets tested from time to time out of concern about his potential exposure – might also be discriminated against if insurers determine people who seek testing tend to be at higher risk of getting COVID-19. If ACA protections are invalidated, such people might be turned down, charged more, or offered a policy that temporarily or permanently excludes coverage for COVID-19.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/30/20]

The Graham-Cassidy Bill: A Devastating Attack on Our Health Care

The bill introduced by Senators Graham, Cassidy, Heller and Johnson (Graham-Cassidy) would have radically changed our health care system – ending the Affordable Care Act tax credits and Medicaid expansion and changing them into block grants with dramatically less funding for states. It would have also converted traditional Medicaid into a per capita cap program permanently. This bill aimed to slash coverage, raise costs, eliminate protections for millions of people across America and gut Medicaid. In fact, it was the worst of the repeal bills that we have seen to date. 

Graham-Cassidy Was Worse for States Than Other GOP Repeal Bills 

Analysts Agree: Every State Loses Under Graham-Cassidy Affecting People’s Care. Multiple independent analyses agreed that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have cut federal funding to states. Over time, every state would lose because Graham-Cassidy proposed to zero out its block grants and ratchet down its spending on the Medicaid per capita cap. This meant people would not have access to the financial assistance to help lower their health care bills, and federal Medicaid funding would no longer adjust for public health emergencies, prescription drug or other cost spikes, or other unexpected increases in need. 

Avalere: $4 Trillion Cut To States Over Next Two Decades. Independent analysts at Avalere estimated that states collectively would lose $215 billion from 2020 to 2026 from the plans block grants and Medicaid cap, another $283 billion in 2027 when the block grant funding disappears altogether and $4 trillion over the next two decades

Fitch Ratings: Graham-Cassidy “More Disruptive.” Fitch Rating Agency found that the Graham-Cassidy bill was “more disruptive for most states than prior Republican efforts.”

Graham-Cassidy Would Have Cut Coverage 

32 Million Would Lose Health Coverage. As a result of zeroing out block grants for Marketplace tax credits and Medicaid expansion and additional cuts to Medicaid, the Graham-Cassidy bill essentially repealed the Affordable Care Act without replacing it

Millions Enrolled Through Medicaid Expansion Would Be Put At Risk. The Graham-Cassidy bill would have eliminated Medicaid expansion, which has helped more than 15 million Americans receive quality, affordable coverage, and put part of its funding into inadequate block grants. The bill would have further punished states that expanded Medicaid by redistributing funds to states that did not expand Medicaid. 

More Than 70 Million Americans with Medicaid Coverage, Including Seniors, People with Disabilities, and Children, Would Be Put At Risk. The Graham-Cassidy bill would have turned traditional Medicaid into a per capita cap, meaning millions who are enrolled in Medicaid would have had their care jeopardized. Medicaid disproportionately helps children, seniors in nursing home care and people with disabilities. A study by Avalere found that Graham-Cassidy would have cut funding for people with disabilities by 15-percent and 31-percent for children by 2036. 

More Than 35 Million Children’s Care Would Be Put At Risk. Millions of children are enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP, whose care could be at risk because of the funding cuts in Graham-Cassidy. 

Veterans Across The Country Could Lose Coverage. The Rand Corp released a study showing Republican repeal efforts would increase the number of uninsured veterans. The report found that the ACA’s Medicaid expansion was responsible for reducing the uninsured rate of veterans by about one-third, from 9.1% to 5.8%, in 2015.

Graham-Cassidy Would Have Raised Costs, Reduced Access to Care And Eliminated Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions 

Premiums Would Have Increased 20 Percent in the First Year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, Graham-Cassidy included provisions that would have raised premiums up to 20 percent in the first year. 

Nine Million People In The Marketplaces Would Have Paid More For Coverage. Because the Graham-Cassidy bill would have eliminated block grant funding in 2027 with no guarantee of any other funding to take its place, that meant there would be no funding for Marketplace tax credits that help people pay for their premiums. 

Graham-Cassidy Would Have Raised Costs For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. Graham-Cassidy would have allowed states to let insurance companies once again charge people with pre-existing conditions more, which could have raised costs for more than 130 millions Americans that have a pre-existing condition. For example, an individual with asthma would face a premium surcharge of $4,340. The surcharge for pregnancy would be $17,320, while it would be $142,650 more for patients with metastatic cancer. 

109 Million Privately Insured Americans Could Have Seen Lifetime And Annual Limits Again. Allowing states to opt out of the Essential Health Benefits coverage meant that insurance companies could once again put lifetime and annual limits on the amount of care you receive, even impacting people with coverage from their employer. 

People Over The Age of 50 Would Have Faced An “Age Tax.” The Graham-Cassidy bill would have allowed states to let insurers charge people over 50 high premiums without limits. AARP said, “The Graham/Cassidy/Heller/Johnson bill would result in an age tax for older Americans who would see their health care costs increase under this bill.” AARP estimates that 60-year-old Americans could have paid as much as $16,174 more in higher premiums and out-of-pocket costs in 2020. 

Millions of Women Could Have Faced Higher Costs or Even Lost Access to Care. Graham-Cassidy would have ended Medicaid expansion, which allowed 3.9 million women to gain access to care. It would end provisions that helped lower premiums and out-of pocket costs for 9 million women. Graham-Cassidy would have slashed Medicaid, on which one in five women of reproductive age rely. The bill would defund Planned Parenthood and would allow states to let insurers forgo maternity coverage. 

People Could Have Paid More For The Same Comprehensive Coverage. According to the Brookings Institution, if a state waived the Essential Health Benefits (EHB), no one “would have access to comprehensive coverage. Insurers would likely sell separate policies for benefits not covered in their core plan offerings, but these supplemental policies would be subject to tremendous adverse selection, leading to very high premiums and enrollment almost exclusively by those with pre-existing conditions.” A woman who purchases a separate insurance rider for maternity care, for example, would have to pay $17,320 more. For states that no longer required substance use disorders or mental health to be covered, coverage for drug dependence treatment could cost an extra $20,450

Key Health Care Stakeholders Oppose Graham-Cassidy 

PHYSICIANS AND NURSES: American Medical Association; American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association; American College Of Physicians; American Nurses Association

CONSUMER GROUPS: AARP; Consumers Union 

PATIENT GROUPS: ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Family Voices, JDRF, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Diseases, Volunteers of America, WomenHeart; More Than 35 Cancer Organizations; 469 Mental Health And Substance Use Disorder Groups; The Arc 

HOSPITALS: American Hospital Association; Children’s Hospital Association; Federation of American Hospitals; America’s Essential Hospitals; Catholic Health Association; Kansas Hospital Association; Greater New York Hospital Association; Kaiser Permanente

INSURERS: America’s Health Insurance Plans; Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Association Of Community Affiliated Plans

NEW VIDEO: Democrats Focus on What’s at Stake for Health Care During Day One of Judge Amy Coney Barrett Confirmation Hearings

Today, Democrats highlighted health care and the impacts Americans would face in the middle of a pandemic without the protections of the Affordable Care Act. President Trump has promised to only appoint justices to the Supreme Court who support overturning the ACA. Now, 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. 

Watch the Video Here

Watch the Video Here