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NEW POLL: Virginia Voters Back Biden and McAuliffe on COVID-19 Efforts, Vaccines and Medicaid Expansion

More Than Half of Virginia Voters Trust Joe Biden and Terry McAuliffe’s Push for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Who Do They Not Trust? Glenn Youngkin

Read the Memo and Toplines Here.

Virginia — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a new poll by Public Policy Polling showing that the majority of Virginia voters support President Joe Biden and Terry McAuliffe’s COVID-19 vaccine policies, including their push for vaccine mandates both at the state and federal level. Additionally, nearly six in 10 Virginia voters (59%) support Virginia’s decision to expand Medicaid — a policy championed by Democrats. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement: 

“It is outrageous that Republicans like Glenn Youngkin refuse to support the necessary steps to keep Virginians safe, but that’s why voters agree with President Biden and Terry McAuliffe’s approach to getting more shots in arms and ending this crisis. While Republicans continue their anti-vaccine, anti-mask, and anti-science rhetoric, Virginia voters have made it clear that they stand with Democrats to lead us out of this pandemic. Once again health care and coronavirus will dominate an election — and Republicans again are on the wrong side of these issues.” 


From: Katherine Patterson, Public Policy Polling

To: Interested Parties

Subject: Virginia Voters Back Biden and McAuliffe on COVID, Support Medicaid Expansion

Date: September 20, 2021

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that a majority of Virginia voters support President Biden and Governor McAuliffe’s push for COVID vaccine mandates. 

  • 58% of voters support requiring teachers and eligible students to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while just 35% are opposed.
  • 56% support employers requiring employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, while only 37% are opposed.
  • 56% support mandates that require people to get vaccinated unless they have an exception for health reasons. Just 38% are opposed.

A plurality of voters (46%) also say they trust Governor McAuliffe more when it comes to vaccine policies than his Republican opponent Glenn Youngkin (38%). A further 53% say they agree more that McAuliffe is right to support Biden’s vaccine mandates for large employers and federal employees so he can combat the pandemic. Only 43% say they agree more that Youngkin is right to oppose Biden’s vaccine mandates and leave it up to individuals to decide.

Virginians also show strong support for the recent Medicaid expansion in their state.

  • 59% support the decision in Virginia to expand Medicaid, while only 22% of voters oppose it.
  • A plurality (44%) say they are less likely to support Glenn Youngkin for Governor after hearing that he opposed Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid. Just 24% say it makes them more likely to support Youngkin.
  • Meanwhile, 45% say they are more likely to support McAuliffe for Governor after hearing that he supports the Medicaid expansion, while just 26% say they would be less likely.

Other key findings from the survey include:

  • McAuliffe currently leads Youngkin by a 3-point margin (45-42), with 13% of voters undecided.
  • A plurality of voters support President Biden, with 47% approving of his job performance and 46% disapproving. 7% are undecided.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 875 Virginia voters on behalf of Protect Our Care from September 17-18, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 3.3%. 50% of interviews for the survey were conducted by telephone and 50% by text message.

BREAKING: 2.8 Million Americans Gained Health Coverage Thanks To President Biden’s Special Enrollment Period

Washington, DC — Today, the White House announced that 2.8 million people gained health coverage thanks to President Biden’s special enrollment period, raising ACA enrollment to a record high of 12.2 million people. In February, the Biden administration opened the SEP to ensure people could get coverage as they faced economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement: 

“From day one, President Biden put the health and well-being of Americans first, and now we’re seeing his true impact. Nearly three million Americans gained access to coverage thanks to the Biden administration’s decision to open a special enrollment period — a step that the previous administration refused to take despite pleas from health care experts nationwide. The American Rescue Plan only bolstered ACA enrollment by making coverage more affordable for millions of families. 

“Now, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are on the cusp of delivering even more relief for the American people by putting historic health care measures in the Build Back Better budget package. Democrats are fighting to lower prescription drug prices through Medicare negotiation, close the Medicaid coverage gap, expand Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental, and vision, and make permanent the American Rescue Plan’s premium subsidies to make coverage even more affordable. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, not only do more Americans have the health care they need during the pandemic, but they will have access to quality, affordable care for years to come.” 

NEW: Protect Our Care Launches Ads in Arizona, New Jersey, and West Virginia Calling for Action To Lower Drug Prices

New Ads Are Running on Digital Platforms in AZ, NJ & WV

Watch “Arizona Patients Can’t Wait” Here

Watch “New Jersey Patients Can’t Wait” Here

Watch “West Virginia Patients Can’t Wait” Here

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care launched new digital ads in Arizona, New Jersey, and West Virginia as part of a multi-million dollar campaign about the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs. The ads showcase the impact on patients when drug companies hike the price of essential medicines again and again. The ads make clear the importance of giving Medicare the power to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices for all Americans.

The ads are part of The Campaign to Reduce Drug Prices, a grassroots and communications campaign calling for comprehensive legislation to lower drug prices. This ad series is running on digital platforms, focusing particularly on older residents. Protect Our Care will continue to run ads and host events both nationally and in 14 key states, including Arizona, New Jersey, and West Virginia, throughout the summer.

“It is shameful that Americans pay three times more for medicines than people in other countries,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “While drug company profits soar, they continue to hike the price of lifesaving drugs for people across the country, forcing millions of families to choose between paying for the medicines they need to live or paying for food or rent. It’s time for lawmakers to do the right thing and support giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. The time to act is now.”

Example Script (AZ): “Arizona Patients Can’t Wait” (:30s):

It’s always the same thing. 

The costs of prescription drugs keep going up. 

How are patients supposed to afford this?

Families need these life-saving drugs just to stay alive.

Arizona families pay 3 times more than people do in other countries to get the same medicines. 

Drug companies make more and more profits, and drug prices go up and up for patients. 

We can’t wait any longer to act.

Congress needs to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices

After 56 Years, Medicare and Medicaid Are Only Getting Stronger

56th Anniversary Comes as Congress Has Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity to Expand Vital Health Care Programs 

Washington, DC — On this day 56 years ago, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, improving the well-being of millions of Americans and saving countless lives along the way. Now, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to make the programs even stronger by passing legislation to close the coverage gap in states that rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, and strengthen Medicare benefits to include vision, dental, and hearing. To mark this important anniversary, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“The 56th anniversary comes during a historic moment for Medicare and Medicaid, which have served as a lifeline for millions of Americans. This summer, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to close the coverage gap in 12 states that refused Medicaid expansion, give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, and strengthen Medicare benefits to include vision, dental, and hearing — changes that will transform health care for millions of Americans. There has never been a more urgent time to improve access to health care as the nation recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, and Democrats are working hard to ensure that working families, seniors, and people with disabilities can rely on Medicare and Medicaid for generations to come. It speaks to the strength of these programs that, despite the Republican war on health care, Medicare and Medicaid are stronger than ever.” 



Millions Of Americans Would Gain Coverage if Medicaid was Expanded in all Fifty States.. More than 18 million Americans are currently enrolled in Medicaid expansion, but according to estimates from the Urban Institute, nearly 6 million additional people would gain coverage if the 12 remaining holdout states expanded their programs. 

Medicaid Improves Outcomes Across The Board. Medicaid expansion has been proven to increase access to care, improve financial security, and create better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has also played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in coverage. People of color make up nearly 60 percent of the people who could gain coverage in the remaining non-expansion states. 

Support For Medicaid Is At An All Time High. 75 percent of Americans have a favorable view of the Medicaid program and 61 percent of Americans in non-expansion states support expansion. 

Nearly One in Four Americans Rely On Medicaid For Coverage. Medicaid expansion has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Medicaid enrollment has grown to an all-time high of 74 million Americans in 2021. 


Millions Of Americans Are Covered By Medicare. Nearly 38 million individuals are covered by traditional Medicare, serving as a reliable source of health coverage for millions of seniors and people with disabilities. 

Medicare Has No Out-Of-Pocket Limit For Prescription Drugs. Individuals on Medicare are the only insured Americans to have no cap for out-of-pocket medication costs. In 2019, average out-of-pocket costs for specialty medications surpassed $8,000, while 50 percent of Medicare recipients had incomes under $29,650.

Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Would Save Billions. Empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for all Americans would save patients more than $150 billion at the pharmacy counter and create $500 billion in savings for the federal government that could be reinvested to expand Medicare benefits to include dental, vision, and hearing and close the Medicaid coverage gap in the 12 states that have refused to accept expansion.

Medicare Benefit Expansion Is Essential. Millions of Medicare beneficiaries are struggling with dental problems, poor vision, and hearing loss due to cost. Between 47 and 64 percent of Medicare beneficiaries do not have dental coverage, 74 percent lack vision coverage, and 76 percent go without hearing coverage.

Senate Confirms Health Care Champion Andrea Palm as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services in Bipartisan Vote

Washington, DC — Today, in a bipartisan vote, the Senate confirmed Andrea Palm to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). Palm served in a variety of roles at HHS in the Obama administration, and she most recently led Wisconsin’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic as Secretary-Designee for the Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“I worked closely with Andrea Palm during the Obama administration, and I know firsthand that she has the experience and qualifications necessary to be an exceptional Deputy Secretary of HHS. Her leadership in Wisconsin during the COVID-19 pandemic proved she is dedicated to respecting the science, making evidence-based decisions, and telling the truth to the people she serves. She knows the issues and how to manage HHS. She knows what needs to be done and has the strength to fight for it.” 

More Than Half A Million People Now Have Health Care Thanks to the Biden Administration Opening A Special Enrollment Period

Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services reported that more than 528,000 Americans signed up for insurance through the Affordable Care Act Marketplace during the first six weeks of the special enrollment period. Thanks to President Biden, more people have access to affordable coverage through the exchanges, especially in states with high uninsured rates, like Texas and Florida. These enrollees represent a diverse group of people, with a higher percentage (17%) of Black Americans and lower-income Americans taking advantage of the special enrollment period.

New York Times: New Enrollees in Obamacare Exceed Half a Million. “The new enrollment figures, released Wednesday morning by the Department of Health and Human Services, suggest there is strong demand for health coverage during the pandemic. They also show the health law starting to reach a more diverse population: 17 percent of enrollees during this six-week period identified as Black, an increase from 11 percent in recent years. The federal marketplace is also showing a slight increase in enrollees who have earnings just above the federal poverty line.” [New York Times, 4/7/21

Associated Press: More Than a Half Million Americans Gain Coverage Under Biden. “More than a half-million Americans have taken advantage of the Biden administration’s special health insurance sign-up window keyed to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government announced Wednesday in anticipation that even more consumers will gain coverage in the coming months. The reason officials expect sign-ups to keep growing is that millions of people became eligible effective Apr. 1 for pumped-up subsidies toward their premiums under President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief legislation. The special sign-up opportunity for Affordable Care Act plans will be available until Aug. 15.” [Associated Press, 4/7/21

  • Associated Press: “Biden Campaigned On A Strategy Of Building On The Obama-Era Health Law To Push The United States Toward Coverage For All. As President, He’s Wasted No time.” “Biden campaigned on a strategy of building on the Obama-era health law to push the United States toward coverage for all. As president, he’s wasted no time.With the number of uninsured Americans rising during the pandemic, Biden reopened the law’s heath insurance markets as a backstop. Then, the virus aid package essentially delivered a health insurance price cut by making taxpayer subsidies more generous, while also allowing more people to qualify for financial assistance.” [Associated Press, 4/7/21

CNN: More Than 500,000 People Have Signed Up for Obamacare Coverage During Biden’s Special Enrollment Period. “More than 528,000 Americans have signed up for Affordable Care Act coverage on the federal exchange in the first six weeks of the special enrollment period President Joe Biden opened for the uninsured. That’s more than double the number that turned to the exchange,, in the same period over the past two years, when enrollment was limited to those losing job-based policies and experiencing other major life events, such as divorce, according to data released Wednesday by the Department of Health and Human Services.” [CNN, 4/7/21

The Hill: Over 500,000 People Sign Up for ObamaCare in Special Sign-Up Period. “The Trump administration last year declined to open an extra sign-up period, noting that people who lost job-based coverage were already eligible to enroll, but President Biden opened an extra period this year upon taking office. The sign-up period is still going, lasting until Aug. 15, meaning that there is the opportunity for the number to climb higher.” [The Hill, 4/7/21

HuffPost: Biden Administration Announces 500,000 New Sign-Ups At “So this is what it looks like when the people in charge of the Affordable Care Act want it to reach as many people as possible…The Biden administration has done more than simply make enrollment easier. It has also promoted coverage aggressively, though online and broadcast advertising, in order to reach people who are eligible for deeply discounted insurance but might not know about it. The promotions frequently tout new assistance that is now available because of the American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief program that Democrats in Congress passed and Biden signed in March.” [HuffPost, 4/7/21

NEW VIDEO: President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Schumer, and HHS Secretary Becerra Marking 11th Anniversary of the ACA with Protect Our Care

Video Features Democratic Leaders Celebrating the ACA and the Historic Improvements in the American Rescue Plan

Watch the Video Here

Washington, DC — As the celebration of the 11th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act wraps up, Protect Our Care released a new video featuring President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra talking about the achievements of the ACA and the latest expansions of the ACA included in American Rescue Plan. Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are delivering on their health care promises by passing the American Rescue Plan, which builds on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. 

Protect Our Care Praises the Biden Administration’s Extension of the ACA Special Enrollment Period

Three Month Extension Will Allow More Americans To Get Covered

Washington, DC — The Biden administration announced today it will extend the Affordable Care Act special enrollment period it opened to allow Americans to get coverage as they continue to face the health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. The news comes as millions of families will be able to access the American Rescue Plan’s enhanced financial assistance beginning on April 1. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“The American Rescue Plan makes health care more affordable for millions of people. Extending this special enrollment period will allow many more Americans to learn they can access low or zero premium coverage. Keeping the Affordable Care Act Marketplace open for enrollment will save people money and make Americans healthier — both especially important as we continue to battle this pandemic.”

ACA At 11: President Barack Obama Joins Protect Our Care, Health Care Storytellers to Reflect on the Success of the Affordable Care Act

Watch the Event Here

Washington, DC — Ahead of the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama joined Protect Our Care and health care advocates to discuss how the law has benefitted millions of Americans since its passage 11 years ago and the work still needed to ensure all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care. The former president reflected on the ACA, which was one of the most significant legislative achievements of his presidency, and the impact of the the American Rescue Plan, which further expands coverage and lower costs. On the 11th anniversary week of the law, millions of Americans now have access to care, reduced costs, and protections for pre-existing conditions.

“The American Rescue Plan built on the success we had in 2009 and 2010. It’s consolidating, protecting, improving, and building upon the kind of health care that we need. But we’ve still got more work to do — even with the American Rescue Plan,” said President Barack Obama. “Our success in the past should not be a source of complacency, but rather an inspiration to keep going until every single person in America has the kind of coverage that they need. We are one of the few countries on Earth with this much wealth that does not provide health insurance as a just, basic right to its citizens. The Affordable Care Act, and now the America Rescue Plan, have closed that gap, but still folks are falling through cracks. It’s all of our jobs to make sure that we build on these previous successes.”

“I had the honor of serving in the Obama administration where I was responsible for helping manage the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. I saw firsthand that President Obama was deeply committed to health care. He didn’t just fight to pass the ACA, he also worked tirelessly to make it a success,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “President Biden is building on the success of the ACA with the passage of the American Rescue Plan, the biggest expansion of health care in over a decade. Democrats passed the American Rescue Plan without a single Republican vote even though the law enjoys overwhelmingly bipartisan support among voters. It contains historic provisions that will reduce premiums for millions of Americans, including those who lost their jobs during the pandemic, and invest in addressing racial disparities in our health care system. The significance of the Affordable Care Act and the American Rescue Plan can’t be overstated.”

“I’m here today because Barack Obama saved my life. Four years ago, I walked into a doctor’s office with a nagging cough, and I walked out with a stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Without the Affordable Care Act, I never could have afforded the six months of chemotherapy and a month of radiation it took for me to be in remission today,” said Laura Packard, stage four cancer survivor and health care advocate. “I used to have junk insurance. If I still had that insurance, today I would be bankrupt or dead. The day after my first chemotherapy session, Republicans in the U.S. House voted to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and strip away the care that was keeping me alive. Not only did I have to fight cancer, but also the President and Congress just to stay alive. Thankfully, we won.”

Senate Confirms Health Care Champion Xavier Becerra As Health and Human Services Secretary in Bipartisan Vote

Washington, DC — The Senate just voted to confirm President Biden’s historic pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra. Becerra is a highly-qualified nominee with decades of health care experience and a strong advocate of the Affordable Care Act. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Facing a historic pandemic, Xavier Becerra is the right person at the right time for this job. He is ready to hit the ground running and lead Americans out of this pandemic. In Congress, Becerra worked to expand access and lower costs for health care, and as attorney general, he defended our health care against attacks. Now, as HHS secretary, he’ll do both. Vast majorities of voters in both parties support this administration’s health care agenda, and Republicans who made this a partisan vote are repeating the mistakes that cost them the House, the Senate, and the White House.” 

“The son of working class parents living in a one room apartment, Secretary Becerra knows what Americans who work for a living are going through. He’s dedicated his career to fighting to expand access to health care, protecting underserved communities, and taking on powerful special interests to lower costs. His historic confirmation comes at a time when Americans are struggling during the coronavirus pandemic, which has disproportionately impacted communities of color. Secretary Becerra was instrumental in the passage of the Affordable Care Act when he was a member of Congress and worked to defend the health care law from baseless Republican attacks as California’s attorney general. As HHS secretary, he will partner with President Biden to get the pandemic under control and build on the success of the ACA by expanding coverage and lowering health care costs.”