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TOMORROW MORNING: As Negotiations Continue on Health Care Priorities in Forthcoming Reconciliation Legislation, Senator Reverend Warnock and Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Host News Conference to Champion Inclusion of Life-Saving Medicaid Fix in Final Package

***MEDIA ADVISORY FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 AT 8:45 AM ET***

TOMORROW MORNING: As Negotiations Continue on Health Care Priorities in Forthcoming Reconciliation Legislation, Senator Reverend Warnock and Bicameral Group of Lawmakers Host News Conference to Champion Inclusion of Life-Saving Medicaid Fix in Final Package

 Senator Reverend Warnock to be joined by Senators Baldwin, Ossoff, Warren, and Representatives Clyburn and Bourdeaux to address vital need to include comprehensive, stable Medicaid-like coverage provisions in reconciliation bill

 ICYMI: Senators Reverend Warnock, Baldwin, Ossoff Call on Senate Leadership to Address Medicaid Coverage Gap in Forthcoming Economic Package – MORE HERE

ICYMI: “Closing the ‘Medicaid gap’ would save lives and $2 billion in medical debt, study finds” – MORE HERE from Yahoo Finance

Washington, D.C. – For your planning purposes, tomorrow morning, Thursday September 23, 2021 at 8:45 AM ET, U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) will be joined by a group of lawmakers from the U.S. Senate and U.S. House to underline the critical importance of addressing the coverage gap in America in the forthcoming reconciliation package, and urge negotiators to ensure the final package includes a Medicaid fix that will provide comprehensive, stable health care to the 4.4 million Americans who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid coverage—including hundreds of thousands of uninsured Americans.

The lawmakers, all co-sponsors of the Medicaid Saves Lives Act originally introduced by Senator Reverend Warnock along with U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jon Ossoff (D-GA), will also highlight the benefits of Medicaid, which in addition to saving lives has been proven to improve health outcomes, bolster health systems and strengthen public health. The news conference also follows Senators Warnock, Baldwin and Ossoff’s push last week to Senate leadership urging them to address closing the coverage gap as negotiations on the reconciliation package progress.

PRESS CONFERENCE:

WHO:
U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA)
U.S. Senator Jon Ossoff (D-GA)
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-SC-06)
U.S. Representative Carolyn Bourdeaux (D-GA-07)

WHAT: Medicaid Saves Lives: The Importance of Including a Comprehensive, Stable Medicaid Fix in the Reconciliation Package news conference

WHERE: U.S. Senate Radio-TV Gallery, United States Capitol,  S-325, Interested media may RSVP HERE. Please direct any additional questions to [email protected]

WHEN: Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 8:45 AM ET (Livestream will be made available HERE)

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.” 

MEMORANDUM:

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.

Senator Klobuchar Stressed “This Is Our Moment” To Pass Medicare Negotiation At Virtual Rally for Lower Drug Prices

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Joined Health Care Storytellers and Advocates from Across the Country To Call for Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices Now

Watch the Event Here 

Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) headlined a virtual rally with Protect Our Care to illustrate the growing momentum for keeping Medicare negotiation in upcoming budget legislation. Health care advocates from Alaska to Florida shared their personal stories, demonstrating the dire need for lawmakers to take action to lower drug prices. Voters across the country agree Medicare negotiation is a critical step to lower drug costs and improve care for all Americans. 

Congress is closing in on a budget agreement that will transform the lives of American families nationwide. President Biden and Democrats are fighting to include Medicare negotiation and other key health care priorities in the Build Back Better package, but the fight is not over: Big Pharma is ramping up its lobbying and scare tactics to protect its profits and lie to the American people. Today’s event made clear that Democrats will not cower to the demands of drug companies and will deliver on their promises to the American people. 

“Too many Americans, and in particular our seniors, have been crushed by the weight of the system. They feel it when the price of their prescription drugs double, when they have to choose to take their medications or pay their electric bill, and when they stretch their supply by skipping doses and rationing pills,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). “If we allow the government to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies, it’s going to mean lower drug prices and billions in savings. We can fix this in this reconciliation bill. This is our moment.”

The insulin I currently use, Humalog, has a list price of almost $300 per vial,” said Iesha Meza, patient storyteller from Arizona. “I shouldn’t have to make life-threatening sacrifices in order to afford the medication that I literally need to survive. Right now, Congress has the best chance to pass Medicare negotiation than it has had in years. I can envision a reality where I no longer have to live in fear of not being able to afford my insulin. I know I’m not alone; Arizonans like me need lower drug prices and they need them now.” 

“People like me have become medical refugees, relying on other countries to provide medicines at affordable prices,” said Travis Paulson, a patient storyteller from Minnesota. “Every day the government doesn’t take action is another day Big Pharma is lining its pockets at our expense. We can’t allow them to get away with what their price gouging is doing to American families. We’re struggling right now, and this is the best chance America has had in years to pass legislation that’ll allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices on behalf of the American people.” 

“We need our lawmakers’ support for lower drug prices. It’s crucial,” said Mindy Salango, a patient storyteller from West Virginia. “We’ve all been suffering. Across the country, people are suffering and dying because they can’t afford their medications. They’re rationing their insulin and not taking their medication as they should because they can’t afford it. It’s time it stopped. The time is now!”

“Every patient I’ve served wants the same thing, they want quality, affordable care, which includes the cost of medications,” said Nedra Fortson, Executive Director of Samaritan Clinic and nurse practitioner from Georgia. “This is the number one concern I hear from my patients, regardless of their station in life. Those who can’t afford the cost will either forgo the medication altogether or have to wait weeks for pharmaceutical programs to approve their application for a brand equivalent. Now is the time to act. We need Medicare negotiation now.”

“A lifesaving drug does not save a person’s life if they cannot afford to buy it,” said Jay Gupta, Director of Pharmacy at Harbor Care in New Hampshire. “Medicare helps this country’s most vulnerable populations afford medications, and lower drug prices have the potential to impact every beneficiary. Here’s my appeal to the pharmaceutical companies: please stop making silly excuses, you will only lose pocket change. ” 

“I spend $18,000 every ten days to treat my hemophilia and, if you add that up, just for the medicine alone, it’s $670,000 a year. With all the additional costs, it’s well over $750,000 a year,” said Dustin Klein, patient storyteller from Wisconsin. “That’s why it’s so important now that we are able to negotiate for lower drug costs with Medicare and other insurance. We need Congress to act to ensure people of all backgrounds and on all types of insurance are able to benefit from negotiated lower drug prices. Let’s get it done.” 

“Americans are tired. They’re tired of the broken system that allows drug companies to charge them three times more for medications than people in other countries. They’re tired of the price  increases that come year after year for drugs that have been around for decades. And they’re tired of making impossible choices between putting food on the table and affording the medications they need to survive,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “Congress is closer than ever to putting an end to Big Pharma’s greed and finally giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices for all Americans. With leaders like Senator Klobuchar, there is no doubt we’re getting this across the finish line.”

New Census Data Reveals Devastating Impact of the Medicaid Coverage Gap

Data Released Today Only Underscores the Need for Congress to Close the Coverage Gap in Upcoming Budget Legislation

Washington, DC– Today, newly-released Census data revealed that nearly 4 in 10 (38%) nonelderly adults in states that have not expanded Medicaid are uninsured. This represents the Medicaid coverage gap, which consists of millions of people who are unable to access Medicaid coverage because of Republican leaders’ refusal to adopt Medicaid expansion. The new data comes as President Biden and Democrats in Congress are working to include a federal solution to close the Medicaid coverage gap as part of the upcoming budget reconciliation package. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement: 

“If lawmakers need another reason to close the Medicaid coverage gap, look no further than today’s Census data. As it stands, millions of people in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia are blocked from accessing affordable coverage because of Republican lawmakers’ refusal to do the right thing. Medicaid expansion improves care, strengthens economies, and saves lives. Closing the coverage gap is the single most important thing Congress can do to address the inequities laid bare by the pandemic. The millions of people in the coverage gap cannot wait; the time to act is now.” 

Senator Klobuchar to Headline Virtual Rally for Standing Up to Big Pharma and Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices 

***VIRTUAL RALLY ON SEPTEMBER 14 AT 4:00 PM ET // 3:00 PM CT***

Senator Klobuchar to Headline Virtual Rally for Standing Up to Big Pharma and Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices 

Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) Will Join Health Care Storytellers and Advocates from Across the Country To Show the Growing Momentum for Keeping Medicare Negotiation in Upcoming Budget Legislation

Washington, DC — On Tuesday, September 14 at 4:00 PM ET // 3:00 PM CT Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will headline a virtual rally with Protect Our Care to illustrate the growing momentum for giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices. Health care advocates from across the country will share their personal stories and demonstrate the dire need for lawmakers to take action to lower drug prices. Voters across the political spectrum agree Medicare negotiation is a critical step to lower drug costs and improve care for all Americans. 

The event comes as Congress is closing in on a budget agreement that will transform the lives of American families nationwide. President Biden and Democrats are leading the charge to include Medicare negotiation and other key health care priorities in the Build Back Better package, but the fight is not over: Big Pharma is ramping up its lobbying and scare tactics to protect its profits and lie to the American people. This rally will make clear that Democrats will not cower to the demands of drug companies and will deliver on their promises to the American people. 

Virtual Rally:

WHO:
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
Iesha Meza, patient storyteller from Arizona
Travis Paulson, patient storyteller from Eleveth, Minnesota
Mindy Salango, Type 1 diabetic and patient storyteller from Morgantown, West Virginia
Nedra Fortson, Executive Director of Samaritan Clinic and nurse practitioner from Georgia
Jay Gupta, Director of Pharmacy at Harbor Care in New Hampshire
Dustin Klein, patient storyteller from Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Brad Woodhouse, Protect Our Care

WHAT: Virtual Rally for Giving Medicare the Power to Negotiate for Lower Drug Prices 

WHERE: Watch the Event Here

WHEN: Tuesday, September 14 at 4:00 PM ET // 3:00 PM CT

Energy and Commerce Committee Takes Pivotal Step To Close The Coverage Gap & Expand Health Care To Millions

Millions of Americans Stand To Gain Coverage

Washington, D.C.– Last night, the House Energy and Commerce Committee released legislative text for one of the most pressing priorities in health care: closing the Medicaid coverage gap. Nationwide, millions of adults in 12 states lack insurance coverage because of Republican leaders’ refusal to expand Medicaid. This includes older adults, people with disabilities, and working families. The vast majority of those stuck in the coverage gap are people of color. This legislation would ensure all of these individuals have access to affordable coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Democrats are delivering on their promises to lower health costs and improve care. In most states, Medicaid expansion is a lifeline; it reduces racial disparities in health care, creates healthier communities and strengthens economies. Closing the coverage gap is the single most important thing Congress can do to address the inequities laid bare by the pandemic. This legislation will drive down uninsured rates in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia, where we’ve seen devastating health care outcomes simply because patients cannot afford care. We commend Chairman Pallone and all the Democrats on the committee for their hard work to improve health care access for our nation’s most vulnerable.” 

Background:

Closing The Coverage Gap Will Expand Access To 5.8 Million Uninsured Americans In Non-Expansion States. The Energy and Commerce Committee’s plan to close the Medicaid coverage gap through establishing federal Medicaid programs in non-expansion states and reducing health care premiums through reinsurance programs would drop the number of uninsured Americans by nearly 6 million people. These provisions and making the American Rescue Plan Act subsidies permanent would decrease uninsured Black individuals by 33.5 percent, Latino/Hispanic individuals by 15.7 percent, Asian/Pacific Islander individuals by 16.7 percent, and American Indian and Alaskan Natives by 23.6 percent. 

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives

Expansion Increases Access To Preventive Care And Life Saving Treatments. Through Medicaid expansion, uninsured adults can gain access to preventive care and treatments such as colon cancer screenings, affordable diabetes medication, and mental health and addiction treatment

Medicaid Improves Health Outcomes And Reduces Mortality. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that Medicaid expansion reduced mortality in people aged 20 to 64 by 3.6 percent. Medicaid expansion also saved the lives of 19,200 older adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program.

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Income Inequality and Lowers Health Costs

Reduced Income Inequality And Medical Debt. Medicaid expansion under the ACA caused a “significant” reduction in poverty and reduced income inequality across the board by 5.3 percent. In states that have expanded Medicaid, the chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower than non-expansion states. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores.

Democrats Remain Laser-Focused on Health Care During August Recess

Washington, DC — Today, the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee released a memo outlining their priorities for the August recess. The memo makes clear Democrats are laser-focused on advancing American health care, including by lowering prescription drug costs and insurance premiums and expanding access to affordable coverage on the ACA marketplaces, while Republicans remain opposed to these highly popular reforms. 

The memo comes just days before Protect Our Care kicks off its 19-state bus tour in Bangor, Maine, which will promote the work of President Biden and dozens of Democratic lawmakers who are leading the charge to lower health costs, expand coverage, and reduce racial disparities in care. In response to the memo, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“The Democratic plan to focus on health care during the August recess reflects the fact that poll after poll shows that health care is the number one issue for voters. Just like in previous election cycles, health care will be a deciding issue in 2022. Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour kicking off next week will drive home the message that Democrats are delivering on their promises to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and insurance premiums while Republicans continue to oppose legislation to improve care and lower costs for the American people.” 

From the memo:

Democrats will highlight how we are lowering costs like health care for the American people: 

  • Thanks to President Biden and Democrats’ American Rescue Plan, 4 out of 5 people enrolled in a marketplace plan can now buy health care for $10 or less per month. Now, Democrats are fighting to make those premium reductions permanent – lowering millions of American families’ monthly health care costs — along with proposals that would further reduce the cost of health care, prescription drugs and expenses like elder care and child care.  
  • Since the Biden administration opened a special enrollment period because of the pandemic, more than 2 million Americans have signed up for health insurance since February.
  • Even in the midst of the pandemic, Republicans have continued their efforts to roll back, weaken and eliminate the Affordable Care Act — attempting to spike costs and gut coverage protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Democrats believe that every single American should have access to quality, affordable care.

Democrats’ Budget Agreement Includes Historic Health Care Investments That Will Transform the Lives of Millions of Americans

This week, Senate Democrats unveiled a $3.5 trillion proposed FY2022 Budget Resolution framework that would make historic investments in Americans health care. The proposal, which has the strong support of President Biden, lowers the cost of prescription drugs, expands Medicare benefits to include vision, dental and hearing, closes the Medicaid coverage gap, and extends the premium reductions under the American Rescue Plan so millions of people can continue to afford their coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“After years of Republican efforts to rip away health care, the health care principles outlined in the Senate Democrats’ budget resolution framework represent a huge milestone in the fight for affordable care. Under the leadership of President Biden, Congress has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to meaningfully improve the health and well-being of millions of Americans, and as we come out of this pandemic, improving access to care could not be more urgent. This framework demonstrates that Democrats are committed to delivering on their promises for the American people. Well done.” 

BY THE NUMBERS

  • 53 percent of American adults, or roughly 130 million people, take prescription drugs in the U.S. and stand to benefit from legislation to lower drug prices. 
  • Nearly 38 million traditional Medicare enrollees would gain vision, dental, and hearing coverage. 
  • More than 2 million uninsured people stuck in the coverage gap would get access to quality, affordable insurance.
  • 4.2 million uninsured people would gain coverage if the American Rescue Plan’s subsidies are made permanent, and millions more would continue to save on health care costs.

NEW REPORT: Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap in Georgia

New Report Outlines Urgent Need for Federal Approach to Provide Relief to Millions of People Who Have Been Locked Out of Coverage

Report Comes After Sen. Warnock Released Bold Legislation for the Federal Government to Close the Coverage Gap

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care is releasing a report on the impacts of the Coverage Gap in Georgia, one of 12 states that refuse to expand Medicaid. Americans with low incomes should not be forced to go without health coverage simply because they live in a state that has refused Medicaid expansion. According to the report, nearly 646,000 Georgians could gain coverage if Medicaid were expanded.

However, despite hundreds of billions of dollars in financial incentives in the American Rescue Plan, state leaders continue to stand in the way of expansion, leaving hundreds of thousands of Georgia families without access to quality, affordable care. 

In response to Republican inaction in states like Georgia, President Biden and Congressional Democrats are working to bypass state governments who refuse to do the right thing. Just this week, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced legislation creating a federal solution to finally expand Medicaid coverage to millions of people stuck in the coverage gap.

The POC report comes after leaders of the Congressional Tri-Caucus, which includes the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Congressional Black Caucus (CBC), and Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), joined more than 60 of their colleagues on a letter advocating for closing the coverage gap through the American Families Plan.

“For too long leaders in Georgia and the other non-expansion states have put politics over people, refusing to strengthen public health by expanding Medicaid. And this robust report details how the nearly 275,000 Georgians who are in the coverage gap and the 500,000 Georgians who would be eligible for Medicaid have paid the highest price for these decisions,” Senator Reverend Warnock said. “This timely report underlines the urgency with which Congress must act to ensure hardworking people with low-incomes have access to affordable health care, and I’m going to keep pushing the Senate hard to include my legislation to close the coverage gap and provide affordable health care to millions of Georgians and Americans in the next recovery package.”

“Waiting for the Republican leaders in Georgia and the 11 other states that refuse to expand Medicaid to change course is no longer a viable option,” said Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse. “By refusing to expand Medicaid in their state, Georgia Republican lawmakers are denying coverage to their most vulnerable populations, including thousands of Georgians of color. Despite the overwhelming benefits of Medicaid expansion, and even with the additional incentives included in the American Rescue Plan, Republicans have put politics over people by continuing to reject the program. Senator Warnock and Congressional Democrats are now leading with a bold new approach for the federal government to close the expansion gap, and Congress must take action now to make it a reality.”

Read the new report on closing the coverage gap in Georgia here.

Read the previous reports on Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina. Texas, and Wisconsin.

Protect Our Care Praises Senator Warnock’s Legislation To Close The Medicaid Coverage Gap

Senator Warnock’s Legislation Would Expand Coverage To Millions, Including 2.4 Million People of Color

Washington, DC — Today, Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced legislation creating a federal solution to expand Medicaid coverage to millions of people stuck in the coverage gap in 13 states where Republicans have refused to expand Medicaid. Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach praised the legislation in a statement:

“Medicaid expansion reduces racial disparities in health care, creates healthier communities and strengthens economies. It is the single most important thing Congress can do to address the racial inequities laid bare by the pandemic. If we fail to expand Medicaid, we fail millions of people,” said Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach. “Congress must close the coverage gap once and for all. People of color, women, children, older adults, people with disabilities and so many more will benefit from this legislation, and we commend Senator Warnock’s leadership in ensuring better access to care.”