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Capitol Hill

“This is Survival of the Richest:” Morgantown, WV Resident with Type 1 Diabetes Reacts to Senator Manchin’s Sunday Show Appearance

Morgantown, WV – Today, after months of negotiation, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated that he now opposes the Build Back Better Act. If Senator Manchin fails to support the Build Back Better Act, he is fighting against lower drug prices, lower health care costs, and improved care for millions of seniors and working families. In response, Mindy Salango, type 1 diabetic from Morgantown, West Virginia, issued the following statement:

“Type One diabetics like me are left with one decision at the pharmacy counter: pay the high price of insulin or die. Unchecked greed has ruled the pharmaceutical industry for far too long, but Build Back Better would lower drug prices and improve care for millions of seniors and working families. Without Build Back Better, diabetics could still be forced to pay hundreds of dollars on insulin instead of just $35 per month. In the greatest country in the world, we are not meant to beg and depend on the kindness of strangers in order to obtain insulin. This is ‘survival of the richest’ and it must stop.

“I’m not giving up the fight – for myself and on behalf of those who are rationing their insulin, those who are not caring for their chronic disease as they should, those who are suffering irreparable harm to their bodies, those who are dying, and those who have died. Senator Manchin, you promised West Virginians lower drug prices, and I took you at your word. Please fight for us.”

The Fight Isn’t Over: If Joe Manchin Really Cares About Lowering Drug Costs for the People of West Virginia, He Will Do the Right Thing and Pass the Build Back Better Act

Washington, D.C.– Today, after months of negotiation, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated that he now opposes the Build Back Better Act. If Senator Manchin fails to support the Build Back Better Act, he is fighting against lower drug prices, lower health care costs, and improved care for millions of seniors and working families. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“Senator Manchin has long said he wants to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices for American families, but he just went on Fox News and said he’d oppose the bill that does exactly that. It’s outrageous. Build Back Better drives down prescription drug prices, caps insulin costs, lowers health insurance premiums, and expands coverage to millions of Americans. For people like Mindy Salango, a type 1 diabetic from Morgantown, the Build Back Better Act would mean sleeping easier knowing she will be able to afford the insulin she needs to stay alive. Joe Manchin cannot turn his back on families who are depending on this relief.

“The fight isn’t over. President Biden said he is committed to helping Americans with their child care, health care, prescription drug costs, and elder care—and combating climate change. The fight for Build Back Better is too important to give up.”

Senator Warnock Continues to Fight to Level the Playing Field for Working Families and Lower Drug Costs

The Capping Prescription Costs Act Would Lower Drug Costs for Families Nationwide

Washington, DC — Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) introduced the Capping Prescription Costs Act, legislation that could save families thousands on their prescription drug costs every year. Under this legislation, millions of individuals with private insurance would pay no more than $3,000 per year for their prescription drugs, and families’ drug costs would be capped at $6,000 annually. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement: 

“American families could save thousands of dollars a year under the Capping Prescription Drug Costs Act. In the wealthiest country on earth, no one should be forced to choose between essentials like food or rent and the medications they need to survive. This legislation works to lower families’ everyday health care costs so they can have a little bit more breathing room. Senator Reverend Warnock is a true health care champion, and this bill is just a testament to his unwavering commitment to ensuring every American is able to afford the health care they need.”

TODAY: Chairman Frank Pallone and New Jersey Health Advocates to Discuss Historic Health Provisions in Build Back Better Act and Call for Immediate Passage in the Senate

New Jersey —  Today, Monday November 29 at 10:30 AM ET, U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) and local advocates will join Protect Our Care New Jersey and Honest Arizona to discuss the House passage of the Build Back Better Act, the most significant expansion of affordable health care since the Affordable Care Act

The landmark legislation includes measures to deliver relief to American families by lowering insurance premiums, giving Medicare the power to negotiate for lower drug prices, expanding affordable coverage to millions by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, expanding Medicare benefits, and investing $150 billion in home care for seniors and people with disabilities. During the call, speakers will stress the urgent need for the Senate to move quickly to pass the bill so millions of Americans can finally afford the health care they need.

PRESS EVENT: 

WHO

U.S. Representative Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-06) 

Mayor Brian C. Wahler, Township of Piscataway 

Stephanie Hunsinger, AARP New Jersey State Director

Maura Collinsgru, New Jersey Citizen Action Health Care Program Director

Lisa Ann Trainor, Patient Advocate 

WHAT: Press Conference to Discuss Historic Health Provisions in Build Back Better Act and Call for Immediate Passage in the Senate 

WHEN: Monday November 29 at 10:30 AM ET

WHERE: Piscataway Township Senior Center, 700 Buena Vista Avenue, Piscataway, NJ 0885

Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap Must Remain in Build Back Better Act

Closing the Medicaid Coverage Gap Would Extend Coverage to More Than 2 Million People & Dramatically Reduce Racial Disparities in Health Care

Washington, D.C. — According to recent press reports, a small handful of lawmakers are considering blocking a federal fix to provide coverage to families in states that have refused Medicaid expansion in the final Build Back Better Act. Closing the Medicaid coverage gap would finally extend health insurance to over 2 million individuals and address deep disparities in our health care system. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“It is unfathomable that some lawmakers are considering dropping the single most important policy to expand coverage and reduce racial inequities in our health care system. Because of Republicans’ partisan war on health care, millions of people have been left uninsured in states like Texas, Florida, and Georgia — it’s just not right. Lawmakers must work to ensure our most vulnerable citizens have access to the health care they need. Working people, rural Americans, older adults, and people with disabilities are depending on Congress to fix this broken system and close the coverage gap now. Lives are on the line.” 

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.”