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Mitch Harle

Health Care Champion Mark Warner Wins Virginia U.S. Senate Race

Mark Warner Will Put Virginians’ Health Care First

Richmond, VA — Following Mark Warner’s win in Virginia’s race for U.S. Senate, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“This race was run and won on health care. Senator Mark Warner is a health care champion and comes back to Washington with a clear mandate to pass a COVID relief package and build on the Affordable Care Act to lower costs, increase coverage and stand up to insurance and drug companies. Virginia rejected the Republican war on health care and voted for moving forward on an aggressive health care agenda in the new Congress. Mark Warner is a health care champion with a strong record of standing up for Virginians’ health care by supporting the protections Americans rely on to get health care coverage. Voters in Virginia chose Mark Warner to reverse the years-long health care sabotage inflicted upon Americans by Donald Trump and make health care more accessible and affordable for everyone. 

HEALTH CARE ELECTION: Protect Our Care Releases National 2020 Voter Guide as Americans Head to the Polls

Read the Guide to the Health Care Election Here

Washington, DC — Donald Trump and his Republican allies have waged a relentless war on Americans’ health care for four years, sabotaging care and doing everything in their power to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and the protections it provides for more 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The Trump administration will argue before the Supreme Court days after the election in the middle of a deadly pandemic that the entire ACA should be struck down. Now, more than ever, health care is on the ballot. This guide shows what’s at stake as Americans head to the polls to make their voices heard and the disastrous health care results of Donald Trump’s presidency. 

“This is a health care election. After four years, voters finally have a chance to hold President Trump accountable for his war on Americans’ health care,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Since taking office, he has made the wrong choices for Americans’ health care at every turn. He’s completely failed to respond to coronavirus. He’s threatened to overturn the Affordable Care Act. When he couldn’t accomplish that legislatively, he backed a lawsuit to dismantle the health care law and installed handpicked anti-ACA justices on the Supreme Court to do his bidding. On top of all that, he continues to lie about having a plan to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. Another four years of Trump would be a disaster for health care.”

Read the Guide to the Health Care Election Here

Speaker Pelosi, Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Show Health Care Is on the Line in 2020 Election

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — Today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and health care storytellers from Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina joined Protect Our Care to discuss what’s at stake for Americans’ health care and the Affordable Care Act on Election Day. President Trump has completely fumbled his response to the coronavirus pandemic and has taken every opportunity to undermine Americans’ health care. Just one week after Election Day, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, Trump’s lawsuit to overturn the ACA. The lawsuit would rip coverage from more than 20 million Americans, remove protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions and throw the entire health care system into chaos in the midst of a global pandemic. 

“We are in a life or death election for the health of the American people,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “Americans’ health care will never be safe with Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump. While Republicans keep trying to tear down protections for people with pre-existing conditions, when we expand the Democratic House, win the Senate Majority and elect Joe Biden President, we will defend the pre-existing condition benefit and deliver lower health costs and prescription drug prices for every American.”

“The Affordable Care Act, to me, is a tool that helps elevate people out of poverty. It’s one of many tools that we, as Americans, have at our disposal and to think next week it could possibly be struck down really puts a lot of fear in people in our community,” said Marcos Castillo, a paralyzed car crash survivor from Arizona.

“I think it’s more important than ever to listen to the people whose lives are at stake because 135 million Americans have pre-existing conditions, and many of us are uninsurable without the Affordable Care Act,” said Laura Packard, a stage 4 cancer survivor from Colorado. “We could die if we didn’t have insurance, so every time Republicans in Congress and Trump talk about dismantling the Affordable Care Act, what they’re saying is that millions of Americans would have to go without health care because it’s more important to give tax breaks to billionaires than to make sure every American gets the health care that they need.”

“I don’t believe we can have quality of life without health care,” said Rev. Leela Waller, a type 1 diabetic and COVID-19 survivor from Georgia. “We’re in the middle of a pandemic, and health care is truly, truly important for all Americans.”

“They are trying to rip health care away while lying in our face saying, ‘Oh, there’s a plan.’ There’s not a plan. If there was a plan, we would have seen the plan. There’s no plan. Please stop lying to the American people,” said DonnaMarie Woodson, a cancer survivor from North Carolina. “All of us deserve to have health care. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity. It’s truly a live or die election.”

“This is a health care election. After four years, voters finally have a chance to hold President Trump accountable for his war on Americans’ health care,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Since taking office, he has made the wrong choices for Americans’ health care at every turn. He’s completely failed to respond to coronavirus. He’s threatened to overturn the Affordable Care Act. When he couldn’t accomplish that legislatively, he backed a lawsuit to dismantle the health care law and installed handpicked anti-ACA justices on the Supreme Court to do his bidding. On top of all that, he continues to lie about having a plan to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions. Another four years of Trump would be a disaster for health care.”

Trump’s Failed Coronavirus Response and Ongoing War on Health Care Is Especially Dangerous for People with Disabilities

There are 61 million adults with a disability in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have chronic conditions, like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, that put them at higher risk for severe illness if they contract the coronavirus. Additionally, data has shown that people with intellectual disabilities are both contracting and dying from coronavirus at higher rates than people without disabilities.

People With Intellectual And Developmental Disabilities Are Seeing Higher Rates Of Infections and Deaths From Coronavirus. Early data revealed that people with intellectual/developmental disabilities were experiencing alarming rates of infections and deaths from the virus. Many of these individuals live in group settings or rely on direct care workers to meet their daily needs, increasing their likelihood of exposure to the virus. Individuals residing in congregate settings are particularly at risk: a growing body of research has shown that individuals residing in facilities are more likely to die from the virus. By May, more than one in five Illinoisans living in state homes for adults with disabilities had tested positive for coronavirus. A June 2020 NPR Analysis found that people with intellectual disabilities and autism in Pennsylvania and New York who test positive for coronavirus were dying at about twice the rate of the general public. Data has also indicated that children with intellectual and developmental disabilities are facing higher fatality rates from COVID-19.

President Trump’s Failure To Contain The Virus And To Shore Up Supplies To Fight COVID-19 Have Put People With Disabilities In Danger. As the virus surges and hospitals are overwhelmed, people with disabilities are in unique danger as supply shortages loom. Faced with increasing caseloads and acute supply shortages, some states have drafted guidelines for medical rationing to determine which patients are deserving of life-saving and limited supplies. These guidelines have, in some states, excluded people with disabilities from receiving equipment or treatment. As cases in Arizona surged this summer, disability rights groups filed a federal complaint that the state’s crisis standards discriminated against those with disabilities (as well as people of color and the elderly). The complaint suggested that people with disabilities would be perceived as having shorter life expectancy, thus making them less deserving of care. 

How President Trump Made Health Care Worse For People With Disabilities Ahead Of The Pandemic

Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) remain critical sources of care for people with disabilities during this crisis. At a time when millions of people are facing the possibility of coronavirus and devastating health care bills, protecting coverage of our nation’s most vulnerable is more important than ever. However, Trump has spent his presidency sabotaging the ACA and Medicaid, undermining access to care for people with disabilities. 

Top Ways Trump Has Sabotaged Health Care For People With Disabilities

  • Trump Is Trying Repeal Medicaid Expansion And Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions Through His Lawsuit To Overturn The ACA. After trying and failing to repeal the ACA legislatively, the Trump administration is now backing a lawsuit to completely dismantle the health care law and, if they are successful, more than 20 million people would lose insurance, and protections for pre-existing conditions would be eliminated overnight. The lawsuit would also terminate Medicaid expansion, threatening to rip away coverage from 15 million people, including people with disabilities, and cut key funding for already-struggling rural hospitals during the pandemic.
  • Republican Efforts To Repeal Medicaid Expansion Would Mean 64 Percent Of Medicaid Adults With Disabilities Could Lose Coverage. Per the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion covers 11 million people. Many of them struggle with a chronic illness or a disability (such as a mental health condition) that wouldn’t, by itself, qualify them for Medicaid. Only 36 percent of non-elderly Medicaid beneficiaries with disabilities receive Supplemental Security Income, which allows them to enroll in Medicaid even without the expansion.” 
  • The Trump Administration Is Encouraging States To Impose Work Requirements And Other Bureaucratic Restrictions On Medicaid Enrollment In Order To Deny Coverage. For years, Trump has empowered states to impose red tape and paperwork requirements as part of his ongoing efforts to dismantle Medicaid. Work requirements have been at the center of these efforts. After Arkansas imposed the nation’s first work requirements program, more than 18,000 residents lost Medicaid coverage. While work requirements have been blocked by a federal judge repeatedly, the Trump administration keeps fighting to impose these onerous rules in Medicaid. In addition to work requirements, the administration has encouraged states to impose other barriers such as increased eligibility verification as well as premiums and other cost-sharing. All of these efforts amount to blatant attempts to strip health care away from vulnerable Americans.
  • Requiring People To Work To Maintain Medicaid Coverage Is Particularly Burdensome For People With Disabilities. Though some states are claiming to exempt people with disabilities from their work requirements, these exemptions are narrow and leave many behind. Among those who should qualify for exemptions, work requirements make it more difficult to keep coverage by requiring enrollees to provide documentation, testimony, and records to prove they have disabilities.
  • Trump Wants To Gut The Medicaid Budget & Has Encouraged States To Pursue Harmful Block Grants. Trump has repeatedly sought deep health care cuts in his budget proposals, most recently seeking more than a trillion in cuts to Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for 2021. This budget essentially ends Medicaid expansion by eliminating the enhanced federal payment and proposes nationwide work requirements. Under the Trump administration’s recently finalized block grant proposal, federal funding would no longer necessarily increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus. This could lead to people losing coverage and access to care, undermining prevention and treatment of diseases nationwide.
  •  President Trump Is Pushing Short-Term Junk Plans That Allow Insurance Companies To Discriminate Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions. The Trump administration expanded access to health plans that are allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, meaning that people with disabilities could be left with devastating health care bills under these plans. These plans can also deny coverage for prescription drugs, preventative care, and other essential health benefits. Junk plans are particularly harmful during the coronavirus crisis: One analysis found widespread misleading marketing of short-term plans during the pandemic. Reports have already shown that patients covered by these plans have been left with thousands of dollars in medical bills for seeking treatment for coronavirus symptoms. 
  • President Trump And His Administration Have Refused To Reauthorize Money Follows the Person (MFP). In the 2019 budget, the Trump administration refused to reauthorize the Money Follows the Person program, which allows Medicaid beneficiaries to move from institutional settings into the community. The Administration’s refusal to extend MFP beyond the end of the year 2020, continues to put people with disabilities at risk.

Trump Is Still Fighting To Overturn The ACA

Overturning the ACA would be devastating for people with disabilities. The ACA ensures that insurance companies cannot deny coverage, drop coverage for no reason, or charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The ACA’s Medicaid expansion also plays a key role in ensuring adults with disabilities are covered. It’s critical that Americans understand just what’s at stake if this outrageous and irresponsible lawsuit succeeds.

The Affordable Care Act Provided Health Security To People With Disabilities

The Affordable Care Act Prevents Insurance Companies From Charging Americans With A Disability More Or Denying Them Coverage Altogether. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were allowed to charge people more or deny coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. The ACA banned this practice, requiring that insurance companies offer people coverage regardless of their health status.

Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Impose Annual And Lifetime Limits On Coverage. Before the ACA, insurance companies could restrict the dollar amount of benefits someone could use per year or over a lifetime. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million annually, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage. 

Under The ACA, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Practice Medical Underwriting, A Process That Let Insurers Make It Harder For People With Disabilities To Get The Coverage They Needed. Before the ACA, insurance companies could screen applicants for any conditions that might be costly to the company. If someone had condition that was predicted to cost the insurance company more, the insurance company would follow a practice called “medical underwriting” that allowed them to charge the applicant a higher premium, specifically exclude coverage for the condition that was expected to be costly, charge the applicant a higher deductible, or limit the applicant’s benefits (for instance, offer a policy that did not cover prescription drugs).

The ACA Requires Insurance Companies To Cover Basic Health Services. The Affordable Care Act established the ten essential health benefits, requiring insurance companies to cover rehabilitative or habilitative services, hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, maternity care, and mental health services. Before the ACA, many people with disabilities had insurance that didn’t cover basic health care needs.

Eliminating Medicaid Expansion Would Harm The Disability Community

More Than 15 Million People Covered By Medicaid Expansion Could Lose Coverage. If the Texas Lawsuit succeeds, 15 million people—including individuals with disabilities— covered by Medicaid expansion will lose this coverage. 

Medicaid Is A Lifeline For People With Disabilities. Research has shown the people with disabilities covered by Medicaid are more likely to receive comprehensive and consistent care than those who are privately insured. Medicaid expansion has also been linked to increasing employment among individuals with disabilities. Protecting access to Medicaid, particularly during the pandemic, is essential to ensuring people with disabilities continue to get the care they need. 

  • 61 Million Americans Have A Disability. Without the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could once again deny them coverage, drop their coverage for no reason, or charge them more because of a pre-existing condition. 
  • 8.7 Million Nonelderly Adults With Disabilities Depend On Medicaid For Care. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). The remaining 5 million beneficiaries do not receive SSI and therefore do not qualify for coverage based on their disability status alone, meaning they rely on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion or eligibility as low-income parents. 
  • More Than One In Three Medicaid Enrollees Under 65 Has A Disability. More than 1 in 3 adults under age 65 enrolled in Medicaid lives with at least one disability. 
  • 45 Percent Of Adults With Disabilities Have Medicaid Coverage. Medicaid covers 45 percent of nonelderly adults with disabilities, including adults with physical disabilities, developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and mental illness.

IN THE NEWS: 2020 Is Another Health Care Election

Ahead of Election Day, health care continues to be one of the most important issues for American voters across the country in 2020 — just as it was when Democrats captured the House in 2018. Coverage points out that Democrats have once again focused their efforts on reminding voters of Trump and Republicans’ years-long effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act legislatively, and now at the Supreme Court. One week after the election, the court will hear oral arguments in California v. Texas, the Trump-GOP lawsuit that if successful would rip coverage from more than 20 million Americans and remove protections for 135 million people with pre-existing conditions in the middle of an ever-worsening pandemic. Now, more than ever, Americans’ health care is on the ballot.

New York Times: Fueled by Cash, Health Care and Trump’s Woes, Democrats Aim for Senate Control. “Democrats have focused relentlessly on health care in their campaigns, scorching Republicans for their yearslong drive to overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions. The power of the message has been amplified by the pandemic and public anxiety about health costs.” [New York Times, 10/31/20

Wall Street Journal: Health Care in Spotlight as ACA Enrollment Begins Days Before Election. “The start of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment Sunday comes as millions of Americans have lost or are losing job-based coverage during the coronavirus pandemic, casting a spotlight on health care in the final sprint of the presidential and congressional elections…The attention to open enrollment could mean more focus on health care in the election. Polling shows that the issue is already a paramount concern to voters. An October Wall Street Journal poll found the economy is the top issue for most registered voters followed closely or matched by the combined issues of health care and the coronavirus pandemic. Fifty-five percent of Americans had a favorable view of the ACA in October, up from 49% in September, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/1/20

HuffPost: Here Are Voters’ Top Issues for 2020. “Voters’ perception that Biden is most focused on health care and the coronavirus lines up well with data on his campaign’s TV ad spending. It also makes sense: Both are major concerns for voters, and areas on which he holds the advantage. Trump’s ratings for handling the coronavirus have steadily worsened throughout the year, and voters now give Biden a significant edge in trust to handle the pandemic.” [HuffPost, 10/30/20]

Texas Tribune: At the Center of Many Texas Congressional Battles: Who Will Protect Preexisting Conditions Rules? “The issue has taken on even more salience during the coronavirus pandemic. Texas already had the highest rate and largest number of people without health insurance in the U.S. and the pandemic increased that rate — as of May, 29% of Texans under the age of 65 were uninsured. It has also sprouted worries that having had the virus would be a preexisting condition if protections were eliminated.” [Texas Tribune, 10/31/20

New York Times: A Chance to Expand Medicaid Rallies Democrats in Crucial North Carolina. “North Carolina, a crucial battleground for the presidential race and control of the United States Senate, has another coveted prize at stake in this election, one that is drawing serious out-of-state money, dominating television ads and driving get-out-the-vote efforts. Democrats believe they have a chance of gaining control of the State Legislature for the first time in a decade, which would make it possible to expand Medicaid to cover half-a-million more low-income adults here after years of Republican resistance.” [New York Times, 10/27/20

How Trump’s Sabotage of Health Care and Failure to Get the Coronavirus Under Control Has Devastated Rural America

Rural Americans are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus pandemic due to higher prevalence of pre-existing conditions, lower coverage rates, and other barriers to accessing health care. As the virus has spread, rural communities are now facing severe outbreaks, overwhelming hospitals that were already vulnerable before the pandemic. Through his failed coronavirus response and attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, President Trump is only fueling this crisis in rural America. 

Rural Health: By The Numbers

  • More Than 120 Rural Hospitals Have Closed Since 2010. A record 18 rural hospitals closed in 2019, and 14 closures have been reported so far in 2020. The vast majority closed in states that had not expanded Medicaid at the time of the hospital closure.
  • 430 Rural Hospitals Were Already At A High Financial Risk Of Closing Before The Pandemic. This represents roughly 21 percent of the country’s rural hospitals. 
  • More Than Half Of All Rural Low-income Communities In The U.S. Have Zero ICU Beds. A study published in Health Affairs found that on average, even the poorest urban areas had more ICU beds per capita than the wealthiest rural areas.
  • Rural Hospital Closures Are Associated With A 6 Percent Increase In Death Rates In Surrounding Counties. Rural hospital closures were associated with a 5.9 percent increase in death rates in surrounding counties according to researchers from the University of Washington. The study was published before the pandemic. 
  • Rural Hospitals In Medicaid Expansion States Are 62 Percent Less Likely To Close. 75 percent of vulnerable rural hospitals are in non-expansion states. 
  • The Affordable Care Act Led To A $12 Billion Reduction In Uncompensated Care Costs. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $12 billion, or roughly 30 percent. The majority of this reduction was concentrated in states that chose to expand Medicaid. 
  • Medicaid Covers Nearly One In Four Rural Americans. Medicaid covers nearly 24 percent of rural Americans, 45 percent of rural children, 15 percent of rural seniors, and pays for 51 percent of rural births. 
  • Nearly 1.7 Million Rural Americans Gained Coverage Through Medicaid Expansion. 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. 
  • In 2017, Nearly 1 In 5 Marketplace Enrollees Lived In Rural Areas. 1.6 million enrolled in ACA coverage lived in rural areas in 2017. 
  • 1 In 3 Rural Adults Report Issues Affording Medical Bills. A survey published in January 2020 found that 32 percent of rural adults reported problems paying medical bills even before the pandemic. 

How Trump and His Republican Allies Are Failing Rural Communities

Rural Hospitals Got Shortchanged In Initial Round Of Relief Funds. Even before the pandemic, hundreds of rural hospitals were on the brink of closing. The situation became more dire as rural hospitals needed to quickly obtain supplies and personal protective equipment to fight the pandemic — all while they lost significant revenue from elective procedures. By basing hospital relief on its Medicare payments, federal relief funds initially excluded many rural hospitals. After receiving widespread criticism, Trump’s HHS announced in late April that it would carve out $10 billion for rural health clinics and hospitals, but these funds are running out. Additional aid came in the form of Medicare loans, but rural health providers fear they could be on the hook for paying back the money even as cases and hospitalizations rise in rural communities. 

Trump And GOP Senators Are Refusing To Pass Additional Relief. In May, the House passed the Heroes Act, landmark legislation that provides more than $1 trillion to state, local, territorial and tribal governments to pay vital workers like first responders, health workers, and teachers. Additionally, the legislation allocates $75 billion in funding for testing and contact tracing, including provisions to specifically serve rural communities. Heroes also guarantees free coronavirus treatment without cost-sharing, opens a special enrollment period for the uninsured to gain coverage through the ACA marketplace and increases in federal funds to support state Medicaid programs. Months later, Senate Republicans have refused to negotiate and failed to vote on this essential relief. 

Trump Has Continued His War On Medicaid. The Trump administration has worked tirelessly to dismantle Medicaid, particularly through his efforts to impose enrollment barriers and red tape. After Arkansas imposed the nation’s first so-called work requirements program, more than 18,000 residents lost Medicaid coverage. While these state efforts have been blocked by a federal judge several times, the Trump administration keeps fighting to impose work reporting requirements in Medicaid, appealing federal court rulings that blocked such requirements because they are illegal. Meanwhile, a recent GAO report found that the administrative costs to implement the failed work requirement programs in five states topped $400 million. Additionally, Trump has repeatedly sought cuts to the program, most recently in his 2021 budget, which called for more than $1 trillion in cuts to the ACA and Medicaid. 

Red States Have Blocked Medicaid Expansion. As the nation faces this unprecedented health care crisis, Medicaid expansion is especially important for reducing uncompensated care costs and protecting rural hospitals from financial peril. Medicaid expansion is a critical part of our response to coronavirus, but Republicans in 12 states have rejected expansion, blocking an estimated two to four million people from gaining Medicaid coverage. All of these states are in the southern and midwest regions with significant rural populations. While Democrats have proposed incentivizing these holdout states to expand Medicaid in response to the pandemic, these efforts have been blocked by Senate Republicans. 

Trump Is Still Trying To Overturn The ACA. Trump notoriously tried and failed multiple times to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All of the repeal bills that went through Congress would have caused millions of Americans to lose their health coverage and raised costs for millions more. Now the Trump administration has thrown its full support behind a lawsuit that would do the same. If the Republican lawsuit is successful, more than 20 million Americans will lose their coverage and more than 135 million people will lose protections for pre-existing conditions, including the millions of Americans who contracted the coronavirus. The lawsuit would also terminate Medicaid expansion, which covers 15 million people and provides important funding for already-struggling rural hospitals during the pandemic. The lawsuit will be heard one week after the election.

President Trump’s Failure to Control Coronavirus Allowed It To Spread To Rural Communities, Overwhelming Already-Vulnerable Hospitals

The Third Wave Of Coronavirus Has Hit Rural Areas Especially Hard. In contrast to the spring, when the virus was spreading rapidly in urban areas, rural counties are now bearing the brunt of the pandemic. America’s most rural areas are currently seeing twice as many new cases per-capita as the nation’s biggest cities, while about one in four COVID-19 deaths are occuring in rural areas. Rural hospitals are especially ill-prepared for surges in patients, as they have little staff and specialized equipment like ventilators. More than half of hospitals in rural areas have no ICUs. Hospitals are easily becoming overwhelmed, and critically ill patients are being forced to travel miles, sometimes out of state, to receive care. Rural areas also have populations that are older and sicker, meaning that a higher proportion of people who contract the virus will end up in the hospital.

  • The Virus’ Resurgence In Texas Is Stranding Acutely Ill Patients In Rural Areas. As large hospitals in Texas cities like Lubbock and El Paso are becoming overwhelmed by coronavirus patients, smaller rural facilities have nowhere to transfer those who are critically sick. Hospitalizations in Texas are up more than 75 percent since the beginning of October. Bigger facilities are out of staff and beds — so rural hospitals have nowhere to send patients experiencing other life-threatening emergencies, like heart attacks or strokes. Rural hospitals’ emergency rooms have also been stretched so thin that patients with COVID-19 are waiting in their cars. 
  • Rural Areas In The Midwest Are Being Ravaged By COVID-19. On October 29, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota and Ohio all reported record highs for new cases in a day. Rural areas in Minnesota are “lit up with cases.” Since the beginning of October, the 10 Minnesota counties with the biggest increase in cases are all in rural parts of the state. Wisconsin is on track to run out of ICU beds, and nurse capacity, in “as little as two weeks.”

Shortages Of Cash And Supplies Make It Harder For Rural Areas To Respond To The Crisis. According to Stateline, “forty-eight percent of rural hospitals have negative operating margins, and the median number of days of cash on hand for all rural hospitals is less than 33.” Many facilities also lost revenue during the first wave of the virus when they were forced to cancel elective procedures. As the administration failed to ramp up supplies of tests and PPE, rural hospitals on shoe-string budgets had to compete with larger health systems and states for access to protective supplies. This problem persists: with the virus still raging, the propensity of larger systems to stockpile this gear has meant that rural clinics are desperate for supplies. Meanwhile, rural hospitals have struggled to ramp up testing. Many can’t afford their own testing labs, so they’ve been forced to send samples to commercial labs that are experiencing delays. Amid the constant financial problems that plague rural facilities, at least 15 rural hospitals have closed in 2020.

Rural Residents Are Experiencing Serious Financial And Health Hardships As A Result Of The Pandemic. More than 40 percent of rural families have reported that, since the pandemic broke out, at least one person in their family had lost a job, been furloughed, or had wages or hours reduced. More than half of rural families have reported having a hard time caring for their children. Meanwhile, one in four rural households have been able to get medical care for serious health problems amid the pandemic, while half of those have reported that a family member experienced serious consequences as a result. 

Young People Have Suffered Under Trump’s War on Health Care and Failure to Get the Virus Under Control

President Trump’s failure to take decisive action to contain the pandemic has resulted in catastrophic consequences for the United States. Almost nine million Americans have been infected by a virus that shows no signs of slowing down, while more than 226,000 people have lost their lives. Perpetual and worsening outbreaks have created uncertainty for when life will return to normal. Among those paying the price for the President’s incompetence are children and young adults. 

President Trump and his closest allies have regularly insisted that children and young adults are “virtually immune” to the virus. But we know that’s not the case — these groups can contract the virus, become ill, and transmit it to other more vulnerable groups. And as the outbreak spirals out of control and schools are forced to close for the wellness of both students and teachers, these groups suffer serious health, developmental, and emotional consequences. President Trump’s negligence in responding to the pandemic has thus had unique and disastrous consequences for children and young adults. 

President Trump’s Failure To Contain The Virus Has Put Children And Young At Physical, Mental, And Developmental Risk, And Endangered Others

Despite Trump’s Claim That Children And Young People Are Not Affected By COVID-19, Evidence Is Clear That They Can Get Infected, Become Ill And Die From The Virus. By October 22, nearly 800,000 children have been infected in the US with COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, making up for 11 percent of all cases to date. As more schools open across the country and states experience spikes, cases among children have increased 14 percent over two weeks and the U.S. reported nearly 95,000 new cases in children between October 8 and October 22. Cases among children spiked 90 percent between mid-July and mid-August as states recklessly reopened. By mid-October, more than 1,000 children across the country who were diagnosed with COVID-19 developed a serious and potentially fatal condition called multisystem inflammatory syndrome where symptoms include fever, rashes, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. An August study showed that one-third of children hospitalized with COVID-19 were admitted to an intensive care unit, a rate similar to adults.

Black, Indigenous, And Latino Or Hispanic Children Are Much More Likely To Become Ill And Die From The Virus Than White Children. An August study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Hispanic children were eight times as likely as their white counterparts to be hospitalized with coronavirus, while Black children were five times as likely. Similar disparities were found among children who experience Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, a COVID-related illness found among children: a different August report from the CDC found that 40 percent of MIS-C patients were Hispanic or Latino, 33 percent were Black, and only 13.2 percent were white. The vast majority of children who die of COVID-19 are also Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous — a September CDC report found that, of deaths among people under the age of 21, 45 percent were Hispanic, 29 percent were Black and 4 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native. These groups respectively only account for 25.6 percent, 13.4 percent, and .8 percent of children in the United States.

President Trump’s Failure To Contain The Virus Will Have Consequences For The Health Of Children. The perpetual and worsening outbreak in the United States have caused great uncertainty for school districts, who must navigate the health staff and students. While school openings could endanger teachers (especially those with pre-existing conditions) and provide opportunities for students to contract the virus and later transmit it to family members, school closings also jeopardize the wellness of children. The pandemic has brought about a disruption in the routine of millions of students, who are experiencing behavioral challenges as a result. In a June survey, nearly a third of parents had already reported that their child had experienced harm to their mental health.

  • Millions Of Children Access Health Service Through Schools. 6.3 million children — 13 percent of students nationwide — access health services like clinics and counseling through schools. The clinics are primarily located in school districts with high concentrations of low-income students, and only a small share (just over 10 percent) over telehealth services.
  • Schools Provide Children With Opportunities To Exercise And Socialize. Schools also offer opportunities for exercise through organized sports, gym class, and clubs, and more than three quarters of students between the ages of 6 and 17 in the United States participate in some sort of extracurricular activity. These opportunities for exercise and interaction are those that are suspended when outbreaks get out of control. A quarter of students in the United States do not have access to sidewalks or walking paths, so school-based opportunities for exercise are especially important. Social distancing measures, which become necessary to control the virus, result in the elimination of these opportunities and activities. 

Trump’s Own CDC Has Found That Children And Young Adults Can Transmit The Virus To Others. A July report from the CDC found that children of all ages were both susceptible to the virus and capable of transmitting into others. The report analyzed an outbreak at a Georgia summer camp in which 260 campers and staff members contracted the virus in less than a week. The report concluded that, despite efforts by the summer camp to mitigate the transmission, the virus spread “efficiently… resulting in high attack rates among people in all age groups.” The CDC has also found that spikes among young adults precede infections among the older, more vulnerable demographics with whom young adults come into contact. Over the summer, when incidence of the virus was highest amongst those in their 20s, a spike among those in their sixties rapidly followed.

Children Have Already Lost Coverage At Alarming Rates Under Trump

Trump has spent four years sabotaging the ACA and Medicaid, which has had devastating effects on children’s coverage. 

Trump’s War On Medicaid Has Hurt Children. More than one million children lost Medicaid coverage between 2017 and 2019. Experts point to Trump’s immigration rhetoric and Medicaid policies, including onerous paperwork requirements, for having deterred families from obtaining coverage. Coverage losses have hit communities of color the hardest, with the largest drops in coverage being among Hispanic and Latino families. Between 2016 and 2018, the uninsured rate for Hispanic children rose from 7.6 percent to 8.0 percent. 

Thanks To Trump’s Health Care Sabotage, 320,000 Children Became Uninsured Last Year. According to the latest U.S. Census data, 320,000 children became uninsured in 2019 alone. 

Trump’s Lawsuit To Overturn The ACA Would Rip Coverage Away From More Than 6 Million Children & Young Adults

Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA, including 600,000 Latino children. Health care for children and young adults is especially important as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of families have lost their health care as a result of coronavirus-related job losses, the ACA and Medicaid expansion give them a place to turn to for comprehensive, affordable coverage. Research from Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families has already revealed an uptick in children’s Medicaid enrollment during the pandemic. 

If The ACA Is Struck Down: 

  • 1.7 Million Children Would Become Uninsured. According to estimates from the Urban Institute, children’s uninsurance would increase by 48 percent if the ACA is overturned. 
  • 4.9 Million Young Adults Would Become Uninsured. The Urban Institute estimated that nearly five million young adults aged 19 to 26 would lose coverage if the ACA is struck down, representing an increase in uninsurance of 76 percent. Before the ACA, this age group was the most likely to be uninsured. 
  • 17 Million Children With Pre-Existing Conditions Would Lose Protections. Without the ACA, more than 17 million children with pre-existing conditions could face discrimination. Insurance companies could once again exclude benefits, raise premiums, or deny all coverage altogether for children with conditions like asthma and diabetes. 
  • 40 Million Children With Private Insurance Would Lose Access To Free Preventive Care. More than 40 million children who have private insurance would lose guaranteed access to free preventive care and could once again face lifetime or annual limits.
  • More Than 2 Million Young Adults Will No Longer Be Able To Stay On Their Parents Insurance. 2.3 million young adults will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 

Eliminating Medicaid Expansion Would Curb Children’s Access To Health Care

Expanding access to Medicaid for parents has had ripple effects for their children. If the ACA is struck down, this progress could be reversed. 

When Parents Have Medicaid, Their Children Are More Likely To Have Regular Care. As summarized by Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, recent research finds that “Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit. The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% [of the federal poverty line]. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children As Well As Parents. A study in Health Affairs found that “710,000 children gained public coverage when their parents enrolled in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. If the remaining 19 non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage through existing programs. The effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Protect Our Care Wraps Up Seventh Week of “Your Health, Your Vote” Virtual Bus Tour After Holding 33 Events with 44 Members of Congress and Congressional Candidates

Over the course of the seven week, 18-state “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour, Protect Our Care held events in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Iowa, Maine, Arizona, Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Virginia, Montana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. During each stop, members of Congress, U.S. Senate candidates, 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 California v. Texas, the Trump-Republican lawsuit to dismantle the Affordable Care Act, which will be heard in the Supreme Court one week after the election. 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. Now, more than ever, Americans’ health care is on the ballot.

Protect Our Care held “closing argument” events focused on what’s at stake for health care in the election in Alaska, Arizona, Michigan, Florida, South Carolina, Minnesota, Iowa, New Hampshire, Georgia, North Carolina, Maine, Colorado and Wisconsin.

Protect Our Care’s nationwide events included:

  • Seven United States Senate candidates including Speaker Sara Gideon (ME), Captain Mark Kelly (AZ), Dr. Al Gross (AK), Gov. Steve Bullock (MT), Cal Cunningham (NC), Jaime Harrison (SC) and Jon Ossoff (GA)
  • Ten incumbent United States Senate Democrats including Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), Senators Bob Casey (PA), Tammy Baldwin (WI), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Tina Smith (MN), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Jacky Rosen (NV), Jon Tester (MT), Maggie Hassan (NH) and Mark Warner (VA)
  • 22 Democratic Members of Congress including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA-12), Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (SC-06), 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), Abigail Spanberger (VA-07), G.K. Butterfield (NC-01), Joe Cunningham (SC-01), Lucy McBath (GA-06), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Val Demings (D-FL-10), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26) and Gwen Moore (WI-04)
  • Five Democratic Congressional candidates including Dr. Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-06), Dr. Cameron Webb (VA-05), former Justice Pat Timmons-Goodson (NC-08), Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Moe Davis (NC-11).

“YOUR HEALTH, YOUR VOTE” VIRTUAL BUS TOUR EVENTS

NATIONAL KICK OFF:
Monday, September 14, 2020: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) joined Protect Our Care to kick off the “Your Health, Your Vote” virtual bus tour to make sure voters know health care is on the ballot in November. Since taking office, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have been waging a war on health care including their botched coronavirus response, refusal to provide Americans with meaningful COVID relief through legislation, proposed cuts to Medicaid and Medicare and failure to lower the cost of prescription drugs. 

Watch the Full Event Here

Tour Announcement
Politico Pulse: PROTECT OUR CARE HITS “ROAD” WITH VIRTUAL TOUR

PENNSYLVANIA
Tuesday, September 15, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Pennsylvania to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-PA-08) Marked by COVID founder Kristin Urquiza and health care advocated Erin Gabriel, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Pennsylvanians’ care. They also called on Republicans to denounce Trump’s war on health care and discussed Democrats’ agenda to improve health care and lower costs for Americans. 

Watch the Full Event Here

Coverage:
The Times Leader (Wilkes-Barre, PA): Casey, Cartwright Highlight What’s at Stake for Health Care in Election

WISCONSIN
Thursday, September 17, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Wisconsin to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Wisconsinites’ care. 

Watch the Full Event Here

Coverage
WSAW (Wausau, WI): Wis. Democrats Hold Virtual Panel Events as Pres. Trump Visits Mosinee
Channel 3000 (Madison, WI): Democrats Hold ‘Your Health, Your Vote’ Event Ahead of President’s Wisconsin Visit
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Donald Trump Tears Into Joe Biden in Return Visit to Wisconsin

MICHIGAN
Tuesday, September 22, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Michigan to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representative Elissa Slotkin (D-MI-08), the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Michiganders’ health care. They also called on Republicans 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

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Thursday, September 24, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in the Granite State to highlight the ongoing war on health care and failed local and federal coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) and Marked By Covid founder Kristin Urquiza, the event highlighted how Donald Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic. 

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
WMUR-9: NH Primary Source: Pappas, Shaheen to Join ‘Protect Our Care’ Virtual Bus Tour

MINNESOTA
Friday, September 25, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Minnesota to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) and U.S. Representative Dean Phillips (D-MN-03), the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Minnesotans’ care. Sarah Stoesz, the President and CEO of Planned Parenthood North Central States, Clara Boykin, a member of SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, Kenza Hadj-Moussa of TakeAction also joined the event. Speakers discussed the dire emergency created by the Trump-Republican lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act as well as the upcoming battle over Trump’s intent to fill a U.S. Supreme Court seat with a Justice who opposes the ACA, which would throw our entire health care system into chaos.

Watch the Event Here

IOWA
Thursday, October 1, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Iowa to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by former Sen. Tom Harkin along with U.S. Representatives Cindy Axne (IA-03) and Abby Finkenauer (IA-01), the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Iowans’ care. They also called on Sen. Joni Ernst 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

MAINE
Friday, October 2, 2020: This morning, Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Maine to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon and Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Mainers’ care. They also called on Sen. Susan Collins 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

ARIZONA
Tuesday, October 6, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Arizona to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representative Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ-01), United States Senate candidate Captain Mark Kelly, State Senator Jamescita Peshlakai, and U.S. House candidate Dr. Hiral Tipirneni (D-AZ-06), the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Arizona’s care. They also called on Martha McSally 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
Tucson Local Media: O’Halleran, Democrats Keep Campaign Focus on Health Care Issues
AZ Central: ‘A Pretty Lethal Pandemic’: Arizona Deaths Have Spiked 22% So Far This Year

ALASKA
Wednesday, October 7, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Alaska to highlight how Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response has left Alaskans at risk. Headlined by Dr. Al Gross, a former orthopedic surgeon and candidate for the US Senate, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Alaskans’ care. Speakers also called on Senator Dan Sullivan 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

COLORADO
Monday, October 12, 2020: Protect Our Care Colorado was joined by U.S. Representative Jason Crow (D-CO-06), 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 U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and U.S. Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV-01) and Susie Lee (D-NV-03), 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 Colin 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 U.S. Senator Jon Tester (D-MT) and Governor Steve Bullock (D-MT), 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

NORTH CAROLINA
Monday, October 19, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in North Carolina to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, Attorney General Josh Stein, U.S. Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC-01) and U.S. House candidate, former Justice Pat Timmons-Goodson (D-NC-08), the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact North Carolinians’ care. They also called on Senator Thom Tillis 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
The News & Observer: Cunningham won’t talk personal scandal, keeps his focus on health care in Senate race
WJZY, WFXB, WGHP, WNCN, WNCT: Coverage of Event

SOUTH CAROLINA
Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in South Carolina to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representative Joe Cunningham (D-SC-01) along with U.S. Senate candidate and former South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Jaime Harrison, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact South Carolinians’ care. They also called on Senator Lindsey Graham 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
NBC News 2: Congressman Joe Cunningham and Senate candidate Jaime Harrison participating in virtual tour stop
ABC News 4: Rep. Cunningham and Jaime Harrison headline virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour stop

GEORGIA
Thursday, October 22, 2020: Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual “Your Health, Your Vote” tour arrived in Georgia to highlight Republicans’ ongoing war on health care and failed coronavirus response. Headlined by U.S. Representative Lucy McBath (D-GA-06), U.S. Senate candidate Jon Ossoff (D-GA) and Andy Slavitt, former Acting Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the event highlighted how Trump’s health care sabotage, including a lawsuit to completely dismantle the Affordable Care Act during a pandemic, would impact Georgians’ care. They also called on Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue 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

FLORIDA
Thursday, October 29, 2020: U.S. Representatives Val Demings (D-FL-10) and Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL-26) joined health care advocates and local residents from South and Central Florida as the last stop on Protect Our Care’s nationwide virtual bus tour to call for an end to the GOP’s continued war on Floridians’ health care.

Watch the Event Here

CLOSING ARGUMENT EVENTS:

ALASKA
Saturday, October 24, 2020: Meda Dewitt, Allie Phillips, Leighan Gonzales, Richard Drake, Susanna Orr, Derek Reed, and Joni Bruner joined Protect Our Care Alaska and S’Up Alaska for a press conference outside Senator Dan Sullivan’s office in Anchorage to discuss what is at stake for Alaskans’ health care in the 2020 election, and highlight the threat that President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee represents to the thousands of Alaskans who rely on the Affordable Care Act for access to quality, affordable health care. 

Watch the Event Here

Wednesday, October 28, 2020: Alaskans Media Dewitt, Nick Moe, James C. Paoli, Lee Haywood, and others held an event outside of Sens. Sullivan and Murkowksi to speak out about what’s at stake for the health care of Alaskans in this election. Advocates also spoke out against these Republican senators voting to approve Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the threat that poses to the Affordable Care Act.

Watch the Event Here

ARIZONA
Tuesday, October 27, 2020: U.S. Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ-07), State Representative Kelli Butler, Tucson Emergency Medical Doctor Larry DeLuca, and rare illness survivor Alicia DeWitt joined Protect Our Care Arizona for a virtual press conference to discuss Senator Martha McSally’s final health care betrayal — voting to confirm an anti-ACA Supreme Court Justice while millions of Arizonans’ health care hangs in the balance.

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
Tucson Weekly: Healthcare Advocacy Group Blasts McSally for Supreme Court Vote

MICHIGAN
Tuesday, October 27, 2020: Ahead of President Donald Trump’s visit to Lansing, doctors and health care advocates joined Protect Our Care Michigan in urging voters to cast their ballots for candidates who will protect the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The doctors aimed to emphasize that health care is on the ballot because of Trump and Republican efforts to repeal the ACA via a lawsuit the Supreme Court will begin to hear arguments for one week after the election. Republicans have also confirmed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, who has spoken against the ACA. Health care workers urged voters to cast ballots for Joe Biden and Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, as well as local Democratic candidates.

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
Newsweek: Michigan Doctors Say Trump’s Lansing Rally Will ‘Only Make Things Worse’ as COVID Cases Rise
CNBC: Health Care Workers in Michigan Criticize Trump’s Rally Amid Record Covid Cases

SOUTH CAROLINA
Thursday, October 29, 2020: House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-SC-06), Former Gov. Jim Hodges, Antjuan Seawright, and Olivia Rothstein joined Protect Our Care South Carolina to discuss what is at stake for South Carolinians’ health care in this election. 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. For years, Republicans have attempted to sabotage and destroy the ACA. If Republicans succeed, they threaten to destroy access to health care for millions of Americans and 288,000, and to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including 2,027,400 South Carolinians. Speakers highlighted the dire emergency created by the Trump administration and Republicans pushing to repeal the ACA when South Carolinians need it the most.

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
WCIV: Majority Whip Clyburn, Former Gov. Hodges Speak on Health Care and the Election

MINNESOTA
Thursday, October 29, 2020: Attorney General Keith Ellison, State Senator Matt Klein, State Rep. Jennifer Schultz and Minnesotans joined Protect Our Care Minnesota for a virtual press conference to discuss what is at stake for Minnesotans’ health care in this election. 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.

Watch the Event Here

IOWA
Thursday, October 29, 20200: Iowans and health care advocates joined Progress Iowa and Protect Our Care Iowa for a press call to discuss what is at stake for Iowans’ health care in this election, and to release a health care voter guide for the state.

Watch the Event Here

NEW HAMPSHIRE
Thursday, October 29, 2020: New Hampshire Insurance Commissioner Chris Nicopoulos, U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01), Professor Lucy Hodder, and NH Navigator Program Director Jeremy Smith joined Covering New Hampshire and Protect Our Care New Hampshire for a virtual press conference to preview the upcoming Open Enrollment period and to provide Granite Staters with the resources they need to get health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act during this critical time. 

Watch the Event Here

Coverage
Concord Monitor: ACA Health Insurance Enrollment Period Starts Nov. 1

GEORGIA
Thursday, October 29, 2020: Concerned women of Georgia joined Protect Our Care Georgia for a virtual press conference to discuss what is at stake for Georgia women’s health care in this election. President Trump’s failure to adequately respond to the pandemic has had unique social, economic, and health implications for women. Making matters worse, President Trump is currently backing a lawsuit that would overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as the nation is still reeling from the pandemic. Without the ACA, women would lose critical protections and face even higher costs for care. Speakers highlighted the dire emergency created by the Trump administration and Republicans pushing to repeal the ACA when the women of Georgia need it the most.

Watch the Event Here

NORTH CAROLINA
Friday, October 30, 2020: U.S. House candidates Deborah Ross (D-NC-02) and Moe Davis (D-NC-11), State Rep. Carla Cunningham, and health care advocates from across North Carolina joined Protect Our Care North Carolina for a virtual press conference to discuss what is at stake for North Carolinians health care in this election. 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.

Watch the Event Here

MAINE
Friday, October 30, 2020: Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey, state lawmakers, patient storytellers and advocates joined Protect Our Care Maine for a press call to discuss what is at stake for Mainers’ health care in this election. On November 10, one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Trump administration and Republicans’ lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

Listen to Call Recording Here

COLORADO
Friday, October 30, 2020: Coloradans with pre-existing conditions joined Protect Our Care to discuss what is at stake for Coloradans’ health care in this election. Health care advocates will be joined by representatives of organizations for reproductive health, voters’ rights, and racial and social justice to tell Senator Gardner how he’s failed to represent Coloradans. On November 10, one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Trump administration and Republicans’ lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. 

Watch the Event Here

WISCONSIN
Friday, October 30, 2020: U.S. Representative Gwen Moore (D-WI-04), State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Dr. Amy Fiedler and Wisconsin resident Megan McGee joined Protect Our Care Wisconsin for a virtual press conference focusing on what is at stake for Wisconsinites’ health care in this election. On November 10, just one week after the election, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in the Trump administration and Republicans’ lawsuit to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. 

Watch the Event Here

SABOTAGE WATCH: Trump’s War on Open Enrollment

At a time when Americans need affordable health insurance the most, Donald Trump is asking the Supreme Court one week after Election Day to take health insurance away from more than 20 million Americans and eliminate the financial assistance and the consumer protections provided by the Affordable Care Act. Republicans in the Senate have just put an anti-ACA Justice on the court. In the four years since Donald Trump took office, he has relentlessly attacked the Affordable Care Act, resulting in millions of Americans losing insurance coverage. Now, as our nation faces the worst public health crisis in a century, President Trump is continuing to block Americans from getting the health care they need by once again making it more difficult for Americans to sign up for coverage during the ACA’s Open Enrollment Period, which begins on November 1. He has slashed funding for groups that help people sign up for health care and removed information on applying for coverage from HealthCare.gov, all while more than 14 million people have lost their employer sponsored health care coverage due to the coronavirus pandemic. From trying to completely overturn the ACA to creating uncertainty around the law and making it harder to sign up for coverage, President Trump’s health care sabotage agenda has been a total disaster for Americans. 

Even As Millions Lost Coverage As A Result Of The Pandemic, President Trump Refused To Open A Special Enrollment Period. Research has shown that more than 14 million people could have lost employer-sponsored health coverage as a result of the pandemic. Yet the Trump administration refused to reopen the federal marketplaces to allow people to more easily enroll in coverage. President Trump’s refusal to create a special enrollment period ignored calls from experts who argued it would slow the spread of the virus and save American lives. By refusing to open a SEP, President Trump could have blocked millions from gaining coverage. Now, during regular open enrollment, it could be the first time millions have an opportunity to purchase health insurance as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus crisis. 

The Trump Administration Removed Information On Applying For Coverage From HealthCare.gov. The Trump Administration overhauled the “Apply for Health Insurance” section of HealthCare.gov, removing the options of signing up for coverage via mail and phone and directing people to sign up for coverage through enrollment sites run by private companies.

Between 2016 And 2020, The Trump Administration Cut Funding For Groups That Help People Sign Up For Coverage By 90 Percent. After cutting funding for navigator groups that help people sign up for coverage from $63 million in 2016 to $36 million in 2017, the Trump Administration made yet another round of cuts in 2018, leaving just $10 million in funding for health navigator groups in 2019 and 2020. Since 2016, Trump has cut navigator funding by 90 percent.

  • Health Navigators, Like Jodi Ray At The University Of South Florida, Say Cuts To Navigator Programs Prevent Them From Adequately Letting People Know That Open Enrollment Is Happening. Ray said, “We don’t have the people to provide the enrollment assistance nor to do the outreach and marketing to let people know what’s happening.”

This Year, Six States Have Extensive Areas Where No Navigators Provide In-person Service. In 2020, six states – Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, and Texas – have extensive areas where no Navigators provide in-person service. In many other states where the federal Navigators’ service area is statewide, funding reductions mean that only phone or on-line help can be offered in some areas where in-person help was once available. 

The Trump Administration Cut The Open Enrollment Period In Half. Starting in 2017, the Trump administration halved the duration of the open enrollment period, reducing the time consumers have to enroll annually from three months to only 45 days for states reliant on the HealthCare.gov portal. 

The Trump Administration Wants Navigator Groups To Push Consumers To Sign Up For Junk Coverage That Is Exempt From Covering Prescription Drugs And Hospitalization Instead Of Comprehensive Plans. The Administration encourages navigator groups to use their remaining funding to push consumers to sign up for junk health plans, which do not need to cover pre-existing conditions and cover few benefits. They are also notorious for the fraud they attract. Junk plans are particularly dangerous during the coronavirus crisis: One analysis found widespread misleading marketing of short-term plans during the pandemic. Reports have already shown that patients covered by these plans have been left with thousands of dollars in medical bills for seeking treatment for coronavirus symptoms. 

A full timeline of the Trump Administration’s crusade to sabotage open enrollment is below:

January 2020

  • CMS proposes ending automatic re-enrollment for certain low-income ACA exchange enrollees, meaning that those who pay $0 in premiums with the help of tax credits would have to actively update their application during open enrollment or risk losing this essential financial assistance.

December 2019

  • Reports surface of website glitches during the final day of open enrollment. This is the second known widespread technical problem during the 2020 open enrollment period, with the first preventing an estimated 100,000 people from signing up. After facing public pressure from lawmakers and patient advocates, CMS extended the enrollment deadline, however CMS Administrator Seema Verma did not specify how the agency would ensure the extension was communicated to the public. 

December 2018

  • Sunlight Foundation investigation finds that Trump Administration removed information about ways to apply for coverage on HealthCare.Gov and is directing people to sign up for coverage through enrollment sites run by for-profit companies.

October 2018

  • The Trump Administration issues guidance that allows federal subsidies to be used to purchase junk plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, a move expected to worsen ACA risk pools.
  • Trump Administration announces scheduled maintenance on the open enrollment website, preventing people from signing up for coverage on Sundays from 12:00 AM – 12:00 PM.

September 2018

  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services removes a training guide for Latino outreach from a CMS website just over a month before the beginning of open enrollment. Latinos are at a disproportionately high risk of being uninsured compared to white non-hispanic Americans.

August 2018

  • Trump Administration finalizes rule for bare-bones short-term plans that are exempt from key consumer protections, such as the requirement that insurance covers prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization.

July 2018

  • Trump Administration slashes funding for non-profit health navigator groups that help people shop for coverage, from $36 million to $10 million. CMS encourages groups to use the remaining funds to push people to sign up for junk plans that skirt important consumer protections.

July 2018

  • Trump Administration limits access to assistance for consumers who want to enroll in marketplace coverage. This change removes the requirement that every area has at least two “navigator” groups to provide consumer assistance and that one be local. Now, just one group could cover entire states or groups of states.

December 2017

  • Congressional Republicans pass their tax scam, which doubles as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act  by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.

October 2017

  • The Trump Administration dramatically cuts in-person assistance to help people sign up for 2018 health coverage.

September 2017

  • The Administration orders the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in Open Enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell says, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”

August 2017

  • The Administration cuts the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – which resulted in as many as 1.1 million fewer people getting covered. Emails obtained by Democracy Forward reveal that the administration chose to cut outreach despite having been warned that over 100,000 fewer people would enroll in coverage.

July 2017

  • The Trump Administration uses funding intended to support health insurance enrollment to launch a multimedia propaganda campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

April 2017

  • The Trump Administration cuts the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.

January 2017

  • Also on January 20th, the Department of Health and Human Services begins to remove information on how to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump Administration pulls funding for outreach and advertising for the final days of 2017 enrollment. This move is estimated to have reduced enrollment by nearly 500,000.

Trump’s Failed Pandemic Response and Continued War on Health Care Hurts Communities of Color

President Trump’s failure to take decisive action to contain the pandemic has resulted in catastrophic consequences for the United States. Almost nine million Americans have been infected by a virus that shows no signs of slowing down, while more than 226,000 people have lost their lives. Perpetual outbreaks have created dire economic consequences with 65 million people having filed for unemployment since the pandemic began. But rather than take responsibility for the worst crisis in modern American history, Trump is continuing to downplay the danger of the virus — baselessly insisting that the United States is “rounding the turn” even as cases spike and hospitals are overwhelmed. 

Among those most impacted by President Trump’s ongoing abdication of responsibility are Black people, Indigenous people, Latinos, and other people of color across the United States. Years of structural racism have left these communities especially vulnerable to the devastating impact of the coronavirus crisis. People of color are far more likely to suffer from chronic illnesses and face barriers to accessing health care, and are thus at higher risk for developing serious complications if they contract the coronavirus. Meanwhile, members of these communities are heavily represented on the frontlines of the battle against the virus, acting as health care workers, farm workers, and in other essential roles — putting them at higher risk of exposure. 

The Coronavirus Crisis Is Disproportionately Impacting The Health Of Black People, Indigenous People, Latinos, And Other People Of Color

Across The United States, Black People Have Died Of COVID-19 At 2.3 Times The Rate Of White People. According to the COVID Tracking Project’s racial disparity dashboard, Black people in the United States have lost their lives to the virus at 2.3 times the rate of white people. In fact, the Black community has one of the worst mortality rates in the country — as of October 13, one in 920 Black people had lost their life to the virus, and Black people account for one in five deaths where race is known. The intersection of systemic racism and the administration’s failed response put the Black community at particular risk. Black Americans have disproportionately high rates of pre-existing conditions (like heart disease) which are associated with higher rates of hospitalizations and deaths to the virus. Black patients are hospitalized with the virus at three times the rate of white patients.

Indigenous Americans Have Died Of The COVID-19 At 1.5 Times The Rate Of White People. The COVID Tracking Project’s racial disparity dashboard reflects that Indigenous groups like Alaska Natives and American Indians have died of the virus at 1.5 times the rate of white people. The APM Research Lab reports that this rate amounts to as many as 1 in 1,100 Indigenous people in the United States losing their life to the virus. In almost half the states, the incidence of the virus is 3.5 times more frequent among Indigenous people than among white people. After being cut off from traditional diets and lifestyles and prevented access to adequate medical care, American Indians and Alaska Natives have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease than white Americans — putting them at higher risk of complications for COVID-19. It’s also unlikely that available information paints a full picture of the devastating effect the virus has had on Indigenous communities — these groups are often misclassified or excluded entirely from datasets and analyses used to make health policy decisions.

Hispanic Or Latino People Have Died Of COVID-19 At 1.5 Times The Rate Of White People Across The United States. The COVID Tracking Project shows that Hispanic or Latino people in the United States have lost their lives at 1.5 times the rate of non-Hispanic white people to COVID-19. As of mid-September, Hispanic people in the United States were the most likely of any demographic group to test positive for the virus — doing so at more than two and a half times the rate of non-Hispanic white people. Hospitalization rates are also four times higher for Hispanic patients than white patients. Hispanic people are highly represented in the health care sector and in other lines of essential work, and only one in six had the ability to telework, increasing their vulnerability to exposure. 

Black, Indigenous, And Latino Or Hispanic Children Are Much More Likely To Become Ill From The Virus Than White Children. An August study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Hispanic children were eight times as likely as their white counterparts to be hospitalized with coronavirus, while Black children were five times as likely. Similar disparities were found among children who experience Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome, a COVID-related illness found among children: a different August report from the CDC found that 40 percent of MIS-C patients were Hispanic or Latino, 33 percent were Black, and only 13.2 percent were white. The vast majority of children who die of COVID-19 are also Black, Hispanic, or Indigenous — a September CDC report found that, of deaths among people under the age of 21, 45 percent were Hispanic, 29 percent were Black and 4 percent were American Indian or Alaska Native. These groups respectively only account for 25.6 percent, 13.4 percent, and .8 percent of children in the United States.

Healthcare Workers Of Color Have Been Especially Hard Hit By The Pandemic. Hispanic people account for 17.1 percent of the United States’ health aide workforce, while almost 1 in 5 health workers are immigrants. Black women and Latina women make up large portions of the United States’ direct care workers. Amid the President’s failure to contain the virus and shore up supplies of PPE, health care workers of color have been put in particular danger: these workers are 20 percent more likely than white health care workers to care for patients with COVID-19, are more likely to report inadequate PPE, and are nearly twice as likely as their white counterparts to contract the virus. A Kaiser Health analysis of deaths among health care workers found that 62 percent were people of color, while a survey by National Nurses United has found that while only a quarter of nurses in the United States are people of color, nurses of color account for half the deaths among nurses to COVID-19.

  • People Of Filipino Descent Make Up Only 4 Percent Of Nurses In The United States, But A Third Of COVID-19 Deaths Among Registered Nurses. A September report by National Nurses United illustrates the disproportionate toll suffered by Filipino workers in the health industry. Filipinos are four times as likely as any other group to be nurses, and a quarter of Filipino adults in the United States works in hospitals or other medical fields. But while only about 4 percent of registered nurses in the United States are of Filipino ancestry, this group accounts for more than 31 percent of deaths among nurses, of which there have been more than 200. 

Nursing Homes With Higher Shares Of Black And Latino Residents Have Been Hit Especially Hard By The Virus. Nursing homes with significant numbers of Black or Latino residents — “no matter their location, no matter their size, no matter their government rating” — have been twice as likely as nursing homes with overwhelmingly white populations to be hit hard by the virus. More than 60 percent of nursing homes where at least a quarter of the residents are Black or Latino had reported at least one case as of September 10, which was double the rate of homes where these groups account for less than 5 percent of the population. Though it’s impossible to determine the full scope of the pandemic’s impact on people of color in nursing homes and assisted care facilities due to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ failure to collect comprehensive racial data on cases and deaths, a Kaiser analysis has found that COVID-19 deaths were more common among nursing homes with shares of Black or Hispanic residents that were 20 percent or greater than in homes with lower shares.

The Coronavirus Crisis Is Taking A Devastating Economic Toll On Communities Of Color

The Pandemic Has Had An Outsized Economic Impact On Asian-Americans. Pew Research reports that the unemployment rate for Asian-Americans may have been as high as 20.3 percent in May, compared with 13.5 percent for white workers. The US Department of Labor recorded an unemployment spike of 450 percent among Asian Americans from February to June. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Asian-Americans experienced the economic implications of the pandemic earlier and more acutely than other groups, in part because of racist and xenophobic rhetoric (like that used by President Trump). The likely interaction of racial discrimination and the pandemic had resulted in the closure of roughly 233,000 Asian-owned small businesses between February and April, representing a decline of 28 percent. In contrast, non-Hispanic white-owned small businesses declined by only 17 percent in the same time period.

The Pandemic Has Had Devastating Economic Consequences For Hispanic People In The United States. As the country shut down in April, unemployment among Hispanic people rose to 18.9 percent, higher than that of any other racial or ethnic group at the time. In comparison, the unemployment rate among non-Hispanic white people was only at 14.2 percent. Latinos as a group were less likely than any other demographic to be able to work from home when the pandemic hit, and the most likely to have lost their jobs, having been highly represented in industries that suffered the worst losses as the pandemic broke out. In the service industry, for example, Latina women constituted 30 percent of the workforce while Latino men constituted 20 percent of the workforce. That sector lost nearly 30 percent of its jobs between February and May.

  • Hispanic Women Experienced Especially High Rates Of Job Loss. Hispanic women have experienced especially high rates of job loss, their unemployment rising from 5.5 percent in February to 20.5 percent in April. Nearly half a million Hispanic women have left the workforce entirely since the pandemic began.
  • Hispanic People Have Experienced A Slower Recovery Than Other Groups. Eight months into the pandemic, Hispanic people still have more ground to make up to reach pre-pandemic employment levels than any other group. As of September, 72 percent of Latino households say that they are facing serious financial problems due to the pandemic, while almost 9 in 10 Latinos report experiencing serious financial problems themselves.

The Economic Consequences Of COVID-19 Have Had A Disproportionate Impact On Black Workers And Black-Owned Businesses. 12 percent of Black Americans are currently jobless, more than double the pre-pandemic rate of 5.8 percent in February. The economic impact of COVID-19 on Black workers was swift and historic, with the Black labor force participation rate dipping to 58.6 percent in April, the lowest level since 1974. Black owned businesses have also been devastated during the pandemic. Data from the New York Fed indicates that there was a 41 percent decrease in Black owned businesses between February and April. Research conducted at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a report by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that 41 percent of Black-owned businesses—roughly 440,000 enterprises—had closed by July.

  • Black People In The United States Have Been Less Likely To Receive Benefits And Pandemic Relief. Black people have been less likely to receive unemployment benefits throughout the pandemic, with just 13 percent of out of work Black people receiving benefits from April to June, compared to 24 percent of white workers. A July study showed that Black owned businesses were less likely to receive federal aid as part of the Paycheck Protection Program.
  • Black Workers Were More Likely Than Their White Counterparts To Face Workplace Retaliation Over COVID Concerns. A June report from the National Employment Law Project showed that Black workers were more than twice as likely to be retaliated against for raising COVID-19 concerns in a workplace than white workers were. 

Indigenous Americans Have Suffered Disproportionate Economic Consequences As A Result Of The Pandemic. When the national unemployment rate reached a record high of 14.7 percent, Native American unemployment was at 26.3 percent. As the virus spread and forced tribal casinos to shut down (leaving 700,000 native and non-native people out of work), tribal nations lost a key source of revenue used to provide basic services. Joseph Kalt, co-director of the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at the Kennedy School’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, highlighted in May that many Native American tribes’ tax bases were “cut literally to zero” after tribal casinos and businesses were forced to close. A September poll found that 41 percent of Native American households reported using up their savings through the pandemic, while 55 percent of Indigenous respondents reported experiencing a serious financial problem as a result of the pandemic.

People Of Color Have Already Lost Coverage At Alarming Rates Under Trump

The Affordable Care Act helped reduce longstanding racial disparities in coverage rates, improving health care access for communities of color across the board. However, Trump has spent his presidency sabotaging the ACA and Medicaid, leaving more people of color without coverage. According to the Commonwealth Fund, coverage loss under Trump has “largely halted the improvement in coverage disparities” seen after the implementation of the ACA. 

Millions Of People Have Lost Coverage Under Trump. Census data revealed in 2018 that the uninsured rate rose for the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, increasing from 7.9 percent in 2017 to 8.5 percent in 2018. The uninsured rate reached 9.2 percent in 2019, meaning 30 million Americans went without health insurance last year. This represents a 2.3 million increase in the number of people without insurance since Trump took office — and these estimates do not even account for the record coverage losses driven by Trump’s failure to respond to the pandemic. 

Hispanic People Have Seen The Highest Rates Of Coverage Loss Since Trump Took Office. Hispanics were already the most likely racial/ethnic group to lack health insurance, but they also experienced the greatest increase in uninsurance in 2019, growing from 17.9 percent in 2018 to 18.7 percent. Experts point to Trump’s immigration rhetoric and Medicaid policies, including onerous paperwork requirements, for having deterred many Hispanic and Latino families from obtaining coverage. Alarmingly, these steep coverage losses have impacted children. Between 2016 and 2018, the uninsured rate for Hispanic children rose from 7.6 percent to 8.0 percent. 

  • Three Million Hispanic People Are Expected To Lose Their Employer-Sponsored Coverage As A Result Of The Pandemic. A recent analysis from Avalere found that 3 million Hispanic people are likely to lose their employer-sponsored health insurance in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.

Trump’s Lawsuit To Overturn The ACA Would Devastate Communities Of Color

President Trump is currently supporting a lawsuit that could overturn the entire ACA and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. If the Trump lawsuit is successful, it will strip coverage from more than 20 million Americans, raise premiums, put insurance companies back in charge, and force seniors to pay more for prescription drugs. Destroying the ACA would be especially harmful as the country is still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color nationwide. 

If The Affordable Care Act Is Struck Down:

  • GONE: Protections for 135 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. The uninsured rate will increase by 69 percent. 
  • GONE: Medicaid expansion, which covers more than 15 million people. 
  • GONE: Nearly 12 million seniors will have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare ‘donut hole’ will be reopened.
  • GONE: 2.3 million adult children will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance. 
  • GONE: Insurance companies will be able to charge women 50 percent more than men.
  • GONE: Financial assistance that helps 9 million people purchase health care in the marketplace.
  • GONE: Key support for rural hospitals. 
  • GONE: Ban on insurance companies having lifetime caps on coverage.
  • GONE: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs and maternity care.
  • GONE: 60 million Medicare beneficiaries will face higher costs and disruptions to their medical care. 

Overturning The ACA Would Exacerbate Racial Disparities In Coverage

If Trump’s lawsuit is successful, the uninsured rate would spike to 20 percent for Black Americans, 24 percent for American Indian/Alaska Natives, 19 percent for Asian/Pacific Islanders, and 30 percent for Hispanics — compared to 15 percent for white Americans. 

  • 3.1 Million Black Americans Would Lose Coverage. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the ACA helped lower the uninsured rate for nonelderly African Americans by more than one third between 2013 and 2016 from 18.9 percent to 11.7 percent. The Urban Institute estimates that 3.1 million Black Americans would become uninsured if the ACA were overturned. 
  • 5.4 Million Latinos Would Lose Coverage. The percentage of people gaining health insurance under the ACA was higher for Latinos than for any other racial or ethnic group in the country. According to a study from Families USA, 5.4 million Latinos would lose coverage if the lawsuit succeeds in overturning the ACA.
  • 1.3 Million Asian/Pacific Islanders Would Lose Coverage. 1.3 million Asian/Pacific islanders would become uninsured if the ACA were overturned, according to estimates from the Urban Institute. Research shows the ACA cut uninsurance rates among Asian Americans by more than half–from nearly 20 percent to just under 8 percent– eliminating coverage disparities with white Americans. 
  • 488,000 American Indians And Alaska Natives Would Lose Coverage. According to the Urban Institute, the uninsurance rate would more than double among American Indians and Alaska Natives in 10 states if the ACA is overturned. Nationwide, 488,000 would lose coverage. 

Eliminating Medicaid Expansion Would Harm Communities Of Color. Research has shown that Medicaid expansion has resulted in healthier people, communities, and economies. 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.