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Capitol Hill

Welcome To Washington’s 116th Congress

“The New Democratic House Of Representatives Will Be Relentless In Defending Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions And Affordable Health Care For Every American.” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Since regaining control of the House, Democrats who ran and won the midterm election on protecting health care have wasted no time doing just that. On day one, under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats voted to defend the Affordable Care Act and protect people with pre-existing conditions, and they are just getting started.

 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The New Democratic House Of Representatives Will Be Relentless In Defending Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions And Affordable Health Care For Every American.” “The new Democratic House of Representatives will be relentless in defending protections for people with pre-existing conditions and affordable health care for every American…Republicans should end their assault on health care and join us to do the right thing for the American people.” [The Hill, 1/3/19]

U.S. News & World Report: “The Chamber That Once Led The Fight To Undo Obamacare Will Now Be Fighting For Its Survival In The Courts.” “Democrats are making it brazenly clear they are back in power in the House of Representatives, providing a critical roadblock to the GOP agenda in an already-gridlocked government…The chamber that once led the fight to undo Obamacare will now be fighting for its survival in the courts. The old committee to examine global warming will be reconstituted – and renamed, more ominously, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.” [U.S. News & World Report, 1/4/19]

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): In 116th Congress, “Nancy Pelosi will fight to lower healthcare costs, strengthen the affordable care act, protect people with pre-existing conditions.” “But Nancy Pelosi is just getting started. In the 116th Congress, she will continue to fight hard For The People. Nancy Pelosi will fight to lower healthcare costs, strengthen the affordable care act, protect people with pre-existing conditions, increase pay for everyday Americans, enact a real infrastructure plan, clean up corruption, defend the dreamers, fix the voting rights act and end the era of voter suppression once and for all.” [Hakeem Jeffries Website, 1/3/19]

Politico: “House Democrats In Power For The First Time In Nearly A Decade Are Opening A Sustained Campaign To Hammer Republicans On Obamacare.” “House Democrats in power for the first time in nearly a decade are opening a sustained campaign to hammer Republicans on Obamacare, seeking to force the GOP’s hand on popular policies like protecting patients with pre-existing conditions…Those votes are just opening salvos from House Democrats, who also plan to go after the Trump administration policies that they say have purposefully undermined Obamacare by depressing enrollment, cutting subsidies, promoting skimpy alternative health coverage, and even having the Department of Justice take the unusual move of supporting key elements of a lawsuit against the federal health law.” [Politico, 1/4/19]

Washington Post: “House Democrats Used Their New Majority On Thursday To Squeeze Republicans On Health Care.” “House Democrats used their new majority on Thursday to squeeze Republicans on health care, taking the first step to intervene in a court case in which a Texas judge has ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. That move will be followed by a vote next week designed to force GOP lawmakers into a political corner: agree to defend a law many members have spent years reviling or appear to oppose popular ACA protections for millions of Americans with preexisting medical conditions that many have pledged to uphold.” [Washington Post, 1/3/19]

CNN: “In Their First Hours In Control Of The House Of Representatives, Democrats Filed A Motion To Intervene In An Ongoing Lawsuit That Threatens To Bring Down The Affordable Care Act.” “In their first hours in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit that threatens to bring down the Affordable Care Act…As part of its rules package for the 116th Congress, the Democrats granted themselves authorization to intervene in the lawsuit that threatens to bring down the landmark health care law. It directed the House’s Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorizes hiring of outside counsel. The House late Thursday voted in the rules package, which the majority party — now the Democrats — adopts at the start of a new Congress. The newly empowered Democratic leadership also scheduled a vote for next Wednesday on a standalone resolution affirming the House’s authorization to intervene in the lawsuit. This would put Republicans on the record voting specifically for or against defending Obamacare and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.” [CNN, 1/4/19]

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Chairman On The Rules Committee: “We’re On Offense” On Health Care. “We’re on offense…The American people made it very clear in the last election that health care is important, and they don’t want Republicans screwing around with it. And we’re going to have their backs.” [Politico, 1/4/19]

CNN: “House Democrats Are Moving Quickly To Defend The Affordable Care Act Once They Retake Control Of The Chamber Thursday.” “House Democrats are moving quickly to defend the Affordable Care Act once they retake control of the chamber Thursday. As part of its rules package for the 116th Congress, the party is granting itself authorization to intervene in the lawsuit that threatens to bring down the landmark health reform law. It directs the House’s Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorizes hiring of outside counsel…Supporting the Affordable Care Act, including its popular provisions that protect those with pre-existing conditions, helped Democrats retake the House in the midterm elections in November. Since then, the party’s leaders have repeatedly said they will swiftly work to uphold the law.” [CNN, 1/2/19]

CNBC: House Democrats Set Up Framework To Intervene In Federal Court Case Striking Down Obamacare. “Democrats about to take over control of the House of Representatives have moved to defend Obamacare from a court challenge that threatens to kill the landmark health-care reform law. In an action Tuesday night, Democratic leaders said they will authorize their next speaker, likely Nancy Pelosi, to intervene in a pending federal case, Texas v. United States, in which a judge has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. Democrats regain control of the House when Congress returns for the 116th congressional session Thursday.” [CNBC, 1/2/19]

Washington Post: Democratic Wishlist Includes “Health Care (With A Focus On Prescription Drug Prices And Protecting People With Preexisting Conditions).” “At the top of the list is a sweeping political reform package linked to a new Voting Rights Act. Taking on the ‘special interests,’ she said, will ‘give people confidence’ in the rest of the Democratic wish list that includes health care (with a focus on prescription drug prices and protecting people with preexisting conditions), workforce training and ‘building the infrastructure of America in a green way.’ For the longer term, Democrats would be looking for ways to expand health coverage by strengthening the Affordable Care Act.” [Washington Post, Dionne Jr., 1/2/19]

The Hill: House To Vote Next Week On Intervening To Defend ObamaCare In Court. “A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the vote on having the House formally intervene in court to defend ObamaCare will come next week, in addition to a vote on Thursday on intervening in the lawsuit as part of the larger package of rules for the new session of Congress. Holding the separate additional vote next week will put Republican lawmakers on record, highlighting the political pressure that Democrats hope to put on vulnerable GOP lawmakers who campaigned last year pledging to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats say if GOP lawmakers vote against defending ObamaCare, they will be showing that they don’t actually support protections for people with pre-existing conditions contained in the health law.” [The Hill, 1/2/19]

Daily Mail: Nancy Pelosi’s First Move As Speaker Will Be A Public Stand On Saving Obamacare By Intervening In Court Case Where Judge Struck It Down As Unconstitutional. “Incoming likely speaker Nancy Pelosi is laying down a marker that newly-empowered Democrats will go to court to protect Obamacare, in one of the first acts of the Democratic-run House. Pelosi, who stands for election on Thursday, has assembled a new rules package that specifically commits the House to a legal case that has once again thrown President Obama’s signature health plan into jeopardy. Pelosi helped marshall through Obamacare during her first term as speaker. Now, the new rules package that the Democratic House will codify in their traditional first legislative action, will specifically authorize the House to intervene in the case.” [Daily Mail, 1/2/19]

Despite Democrats making monumental gains to become a pro-health care Congress, Republicans are touting a bill that would have ripped coverage from millions of Americans and decimated important consumer protections, continuing their tone-deaf message despite voters’ strong rejection of the GOP’s repeal and sabotage agenda:

In Her Speech Nominating Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) For Speaker Of The House, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Boasted About Republican Effort To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. “Leader McCarthy has led us through the 115th Congress in unmatched historic productivity, including passage of the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, because we know, Madam Clerk, that the American people know better than the government how to spend their money…Leader McCarthy also led to ensure that we passed the American Health Care Act to expand access and options and put patients and families in the driver’s seat, not government bureaucrats.” [Cheney Floor Speech, 1/3/19]

Protect Our Care Congratulates Nancy Pelosi on Speakership

Washington DC – As Democrats begin the 116th Congress by taking control of the House of Representatives, Protect Our Care issued the following statement congratulating Nancy Pelosi on today’s historic vote making her the Speaker of the House for a second time. Speaker Pelosi will continue making health care a top priority, first by passing the Restoring Congress For The People Resolution, which takes direct aim at the relentless health care repeal and sabotage campaign waged by Republicans in Congress and President Trump:

“Nancy Pelosi is a true health care champion and Protect Our Care is proud to congratulate her on being selected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care. “The American people voted for a pro-health care Congress and now they have a health care champion at the helm. Speaker Pelosi worked tirelessly to ensure that millions of Americans gained access to affordable health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and continuously defeated Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda. The House once again has a pro-health care leader whose unrelenting discipline and long track record will make health care and protecting people with pre-existing conditions a top priority.”

“With today’s vote, the American people gained a steadfast and experienced leader who not only delivered quality health care to millions of Americans but who continues to fight every day to check Republicans and the Trump administration,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “I have no doubt that Speaker Pelosi will fight to lower health care costs, protect Medicaid and Medicare, and stop Republican sabotage efforts. By scheduling a vote on the Restoring Congress For The People Resolution, Nancy Pelosi is once again, putting health care first. This resolution puts a bullseye on the dangerous Texas court decision that threatens to strip health care from millions of Americans. The choice couldn’t be more clear. There is no one better prepared for this role than Nancy Pelosi and we congratulate her on this monumental win.”

Elections Matter: Virginia Medicaid Expansion Already Bringing Affordable Care to 200,000 Virginians

Washington, D.C. – Less than a year after Democrat Ralph Northam was sworn in as Virginia’s Governor, 200,000 people have already gained access to health care as a result of Medicaid expansion which officially took effect yesterday.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Elections matter, and nowhere is this more clear than in Virginia. Virginia Republicans spent years rejecting Medicaid expansion, but Virginia had its highest voter turnout in the past two decades in 2017, electing Democrats up and down the ballot, clearing a path for Medicaid expansion. Over the past two years, five states have voted to expand Medicaid, a clear and direct rebuke to the Trump Administration’s ongoing sabotage agenda on Medicaid and Americans’ health care. Make no mistake, from Virginia and Maine to Idaho, Nebraska and Utah, elections matter and hundreds of thousands of Americans are gaining access to life-saving coverage and rejecting the ongoing Republican war on health care which continues to this very day.”

What does Medicaid expansion mean for Virginians?

AP: More Than 200,000 People Have Already Been Enrolled. “Thousands of uninsured, low-income Virginians will have new health care coverage starting in the new year. Virginia is joining more than 30 states that have expanded Medicaid, a key part of former President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul… The state’s Medicaid office has been working with hospitals, advocates for the poor, insurance companies and others to help enroll the newly eligible into Medicaid. Coverage starts Jan. 1 and the state said Friday that more than 200,000 people have been enrolled.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

WSLS: “More People In The Commonwealth Have Access To Health Coverage.” “More people in the commonwealth have access to health coverage starting today.  That’s because Virginia joins 32 other states in expanding Medicaid coverage. This will give more adults between the ages of 19 and 64 access to quality low-cost and no-cost health insurance.” [WSLS, 1/1/19]

Delegate Sam Rasoul: “It’s Been A Long Process But Is Fantastic.” “‘It’s been a long process but is fantastic. Over the past couple months, there’s been open enrollment. And 200,000 Virginians have already been signed up into Medicaid and have health care coverage and many others, for the first time ever, starting today. And we still have another couple hundred thousand to go,’ said Delegate Sam Rasoul.” [WSLS, 1/1/19]

Casey Thompson, 21-Year Old Virginian: “It’s Massive.” “Casey Thompson, a 21-year-old who has been uninsured for two years, said she lost all her savings when she had to go to a hospital in May for a ruptured cyst. She said she is thrilled she’ll be covered under Medicaid expansion starting in January and will no longer have to worry about unexpected medical costs. ‘It’s massive,’ she said.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

What spurred this change?

AP: Expansion Occurred After 2017 Democratic Wave Election, GOP Repeal Attempts. “Opponents argued that Medicaid expansion was fiscally irresponsible because the long-term costs are unsustainable. Several factors contributed to Republicans switching position on the issue after years of opposition. They include a Democratic wave election in 2017 and the inability of President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans to repeal Obama’s signature health care law.” [Bradenton Herald, 12/31/18]

Was this mindset limited to just Virginia?

Lincoln Journal Star: After Republicans Refused, Nebraskans Voted To Expand Medicaid. “After seven years of legislative refusal to expand Medicaid in Nebraska, voters in November extended coverage to an estimated 90,000 adult Nebraskans who are working at low-wage jobs. That decision will bring a projected $1.3 billion in federal funding flowing into the state during the first three years of the new program.” [Lincoln Journal Star, 12/28/28]

Forbes: After Republicans Refused, Idahoans Voted To Expand Medicaid. “Idaho voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act via ballot initiative, overcoming conservative Republican state legislators who refused for years to pass additional coverage for the state’s poor. With nearly 60% support and two-thirds of the votes counted, voters in Idaho were following the lead of voters in Maine who last November voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in a public referendum at the ballot box. Supporters of Idaho’s Medicaid expansion put it on Tuesday’s midterm general election ballot after their Republican-controlled legislature for years balked at the idea.” [Forbes, 11/7/18]

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Medicaid Expansion Makes Sense “Both Fiscally And Socially.” “Experts and the evidence agree, increasing access to MAT is one of the most important policy changes we could implement to combat the opioid epidemic. They also agree that Medicaid expansion is a key move that could be made to improve access; it is the largest source of funding for treatment. Medicaid, which has broad public support, covers the poorest, most marginalized people in our communities who often have some of the most complicated health care needs. In the past, Wisconsin’s Medicaid program had a high-caliber reputation. Like all state Medicaid programs, BadgerCare is jointly financed by the state and federal government, which has a generous matching structure for any state dollars spent. As Wisconsin’s opioid mortality continues to skyrocket above the national average, expanding Medicaid here makes sense both fiscally and socially.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/2/19]

Protect Our Care Praises House Democrats for Making Health Care a Top Priority in New Congress

On Day One, House Rules Package Includes

Provision to Oppose Texas Lawsuit to Overturn the Affordable Care Act

 

Washington DC – Today, it was reported that the House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on the Restoring Congress For The People Resolution, which takes direct aim at the relentless health care repeal and sabotage campaign waged by Republicans in Congress and President Trump. The Resolution specifically addresses the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit that would strike down the Affordable Care Act. The resolution authorizes the House counsel to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of the House of Representatives to protect the health care for millions of Americans, including 130 million with pre-existing conditions. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Starting with their first action in the new Congress, House Democrats are once again showing the American people who is fighting for them on health care. This resolution takes direct aim at the disastrous Texas court decision, pushed by Republicans and President Trump, that would end all protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and raise health care costs for millions. This lawsuit must be overturned. If Republicans truly cared about keeping health care affordable and protecting people with pre-existing conditions, they would vote against this lawsuit and for protecting the tens of millions of Americans.”

Shelley Moore Capito Suddenly Supports the Affordable Care Act

Facing re-election, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) is now telling voters one thing while consistently having done the opposite. This morning, she told the Los Angeles Times she supports maintaining protections for people with pre-existing conditions and letting children stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, two main provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Where has this been for the previous two years?

SHOT: “I think it would be in our best interest as Republicans to assure the public that [on] the issues like preexisting conditions, staying on your parents’ insurance until age 26 and things like that, we’re committed,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, who is up for reelection in West Virginia in 2020.” [Los Angeles Times, 12/30/18]

CHASER: Sen. Capito voted to fully repeal the ACA as a House Member, which would have repealed provisions to protect people with pre-existing conditions and allow kids to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26. And she voted to repeal the ACA as a Senator last summer.

In 2011, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito Voted For A Full Repeal Of The ACA, “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act.” [House clerk, 1/19/11]

In 2012, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito Again Voted For A Full Repeal Of The ACA. [House clerk, 7/11/12]

In 2017, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Voted For The Better Care Reconciliation Act, Which Would Kicked 22 Million Americans Off Of Their Insurance. [New York Times, 7/28/17; Congressional Budget Office, 6/26/17]

In 2017, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito Also Voted For The GOP’s Final Repeal Bill. [New York Times, 7/28/17]. As a reminder, under repeal:

  • 184,000 West Virginians would lose health coverage, a 208% increase in the number of uninsured. [Urban Institute]
  • West Virginians would lose $1.794 billion in federal financial assistance through the insurance marketplaces from 2019-2028, leading to a dramatic spike in the number of uninsured. [Urban Institute]
  • 29,163 West Virginians would lose an average monthly advanced premium tax credit of $388 which currently helps them pay for insurance [Kaiser Family Foundation]
  • West Virginia would lose $12.2 billion in federal Medicaid or Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funding, currently providing lifelines to 562,183 West Virginians. [Urban Institute, Kaiser Family Foundation]
  • Repealing the ACA would result in 16,000 West Virginia jobs lost, including 7,200 jobs in the healthcare sector. [Commonwealth Fund]

On The 19th Day Of Christmas, The GOP Gave America: A NO Vote On Stopping The Lawsuit To Overturn The Affordable Care Act

Washington DC – Today, Senate Democrats attempted to intervene on behalf of the American people and authorize the Senate legal counsel to defend the Affordable Care Act in the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al lawsuit following the terrible ruling from conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor to overturn the Affordable Care Act (ACA). But in true sabotage fashion, the Republicans blocked the measure from moving forward. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response:

“If anyone thought Republicans would end their war on health care after they were wallopped on the issue in November they were sadly mistaken. Republicans blocking the Senate from intervening in the Texas lawsuit confirms that they will do everything in their power to repeal and sabotage health care.  Americans do not want to roll back the clock and go back to the days where insurance companies could drop coverage or deny it altogether simply for having a pre-existing condition. Enough is enough. It’s time for the GOP to wake up and end this relentless war on health care.”

Good Riddance to the Least Successful, Most Anti-Health Care Speaker in American History

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Speaker Paul Ryan will give his farewell address at the Library of Congress. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“Paul Ryan sat around a keg in college and dreamed of slashing Medicaid, tried to end Medicare as we know it as a Budget chairman, and tried to rip health care away from 23 million people by repealing the Affordable Care Act as Speaker of the House. As he leaves Washington, voters and legislatures across the country are expanding Medicaid; the public overwhelmingly rejected Ryan’s vouchers to upend Medicare, with the discussion today about how to strengthen and expand the program rather than end it; and despite his best efforts to repeal health care, kick tens of millions of people off of their coverage and end protections for those with pre-existing conditions, the ACA is more popular than ever, repeal went down in flames, and the Ryan-led effort to upend the American health care system swept his party from power in the House. There is no finer karma. Paul Ryan is perhaps the most anti-health care Speaker in American history – fortunately for the American people he was also the least successful and least competent. Good riddance.”

Arizonans Have Rejected Martha McSally Before, and They Will Reject Her Again

Washington, D.C. – This morning, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that defeated Senate candidate and health repealer Martha McSally will be appointed to the Senate seat previously held by Sen. John McCain. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“No one fought harder to repeal and sabotage health care than Martha McSally, who has spent years on the front lines of taking away protections for pre-existing conditions. When her colleagues expressed reservations about supporting a bill which would have kicked 23 million Americans off of their coverage, gutted protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and imposed an ‘age tax’ on people over 50, she implored them to, “Get this $#$$ thing done!” When confronted about her positions, she lied. When she faced the voters, she was sent home by the people of Arizona. It’s outrageous that Governor Ducey would now appoint her to a post the voters said she didn’t deserve. Arizonans rejected Martha McSally because of her relentless war on health care, and when they have another chance, they will reject her again.”

BACKGROUND:

Health Care Was A Top Issue For Voters, Who Overwhelmingly Backed Kyrsten Sinema On It, Propelling Her To Victory. A Public Policy Polling election day survey of Arizona voters found that health care was a top issue for voters in the state and that they overwhelmingly favored Democrats on it, propelling Kyrsten Sinema to victory. 62% of voters said that health care was either a very important issue, or the most important issue to them. Those voters supported Sinema over Martha McSally 68-29. Although the final result was close overall, voters said they trusted Sinema over McSally on the issue of health care by 10 points, 49-39.” [PPP, 11/6]

  • Arizona Republic: Health Care Was A “Defining Issue” In McSally’s Loss. “Especially for women — who tend to be primary caregivers for children and aging parents — health care was a defining issue. Sinema made it the centerpiece of her campaign from the outset. Everywhere she went, she reminded people of her votes to maintain the Affordable Care Act, the eight-year-old federal law commonly referred to as Obamacare, which Republicans have tried to repeal or roll back… In the weeks before the election, McSally found herself racing to reposition herself on health care. She was on the defensive when trying to explain her votes to both fully repeal the ACA and repeal and replace. And, she insisted that she was leading the fight to ‘force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions,’ a characterization rated ‘Mostly False’ by Politifact.” [Arizona Republic, 11/14]
  • KTAR: McSally Refused To Ask Mark Brnovich To Remove Arizona From Anti-Obamacare Lawsuit. “In February, Arizona became one of 19 Republican-led states to join Texas in the lawsuit. That was before Obamacare, and its protections for pre-existing medical conditions, became a key issue in the November elections. Across the nation, voters most concerned with health care supported Democrats overwhelmingly. In Arizona, Republican U.S. Rep. Martha McSally’s record of voting to repeal Obamacare is considered a major factor in her loss to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in their Senate race.” [KTAR, 12/17/18]

McSally Backed The American Health Care Act, Encouraging Her GOP Colleagues To “Get This [Bleeping] Thing Done.” “Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and his GOP leadership team held what amounted to a pep rally for rank-and-file members in the Capitol basement Thursday morning as they predicted victory in their push to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Leaders played the ‘Rocky’ theme song as lawmakers walked into the meeting. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) put an image of George S. Patton on the screen and read inspirational quotes from the general. ‘Let’s get this f–king thing done!’ Rep. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) told her colleagues, according to sources in the room.” [The Hill, 5/4/17]

  • What Did The So-Called Affordable Health Care Act Mean for Arizona?
    • In 2026, 465,200 Arizonans would have lost coverage.
    • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the AHCA would have raised premiums 20 percent in 2018.
    • The negative economic impact of the AHCA would have caused 60,714 Arizonans to lose their jobs by 2022.

Martha McSally Lied About Voting To Support Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions, Repeatedly Voting To Repeal The Affordable Care Act.

  • When Confronted About Voting To Take Away Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions, McSally Lied To The Face Of A Voter. [Matt McDermott Twitter, 11/3]

  • Politifact: McSally’s Claims To Support Protections For Pre-Existing Conditions Were “Mostly False.” “McSally claimed she’s ‘leading the fight’ to ‘force insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.’ It was the Obama-era Affordable Care Act that forced insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions. McSally in 2015 voted in favor of a full repeal of the law. The bill directed House committees to offer new proposals, including one that provided people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage. In 2017, McSally voted for the American Health Care Act, a Republican proposal that kept the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing conditions coverage. Despite language in the bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions, it included provisions that undermined that coverage and increased premiums for certain people, making insurance unaffordable in some cases, experts said. McSally did support an amendment to help reduce over 5 years increased premiums and out-of-pocket expenses that people with pre-existing conditions might face due to a state waiver allowed in the bill. McSally’s statement contains an element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression. We rate it Mostly False.” [Politifcat Arizona, 10/30]
  • 2016:  McSally Attacked “The Failed Top-Down Approach Of Obamacare” And Claimed It Was “Only Getting Worse.” “The failed top-down approach of Obamacare is leaving patients with less choice, not more, and it’s only getting worse. Instead of a law that favors bureaucracy over doing what’s best for each family and individual, we need a better approach that actually ensures affordable, quality health care for all Americans.” [Martha McSally Facebook Post, 8/16/16]
  • 2015:  McSally Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  McSally voted for HR 596, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”  The bill also ordered House committees to develop a replacement that would “provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage,” but provided no specifics. [HR 596, Roll Call Vote #58, 2/3/15]
  • 2012:  McSally Supported Repealing The ACA: “A Vote For Obamacare Is A Vote Against Small Business And A Vote Against Fiscal Responsibility.”  “The United States House of Representatives today passed the Repeal of Obamacare Act, 244-185, with bi-partisan support.  Arizona’s 8th Congressional District Representative and candidate in the newly drawn 2nd District, Ron Barber, voted against the Act and in support of Obamacare.   ‘Mr. Barber’s vote to save Obamacare is example number 1 of why he needs to be replaced in Congress. Obamacare is costing Americans jobs and driving up our debt. Ron Barber has only been in Washington for 3 weeks and has already become part of the problem. A vote for Obamacare is a vote against small businesses and a vote against fiscal responsibility.'” [Martha McSally for Congress Press Release, 7/11/12]

John McCain’s Former Chief Of Staff Endorsed Kyrsten Sinema Over McSally. “Grant Woods, the former Republican attorney general of Arizona who also served as the first congressional chief of staff for the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), backed Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) in a new ad released Friday. ‘Kyrsten Sinema is a tremendous public servant,’ Woods says in the video backing her in the Senate race over Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ).” [Daily Beast, 9/28]

Josh Hawley Gets His Wish: Texas Court Rips Health Care From Millions, Raises Premiums, and Guts Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Decision From Federal Judge Means:

Medicaid Expansion is Gone

Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions are Gone

Hundreds of Thousands of Missourians Will Lose Health Care

And Josh Hawley OWNS IT

Washington, D.C. –  On Friday night, conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued his ruling in Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al., siding with the Trump Administration and Republican governors and attorneys general, including Josh Hawley, arguably the most vocal and persistent proponent of overturning health care, to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Josh Hawley has led the charge to gut the ACA, championing a fraudulent lawsuit that would gut the protections Americans and Missourians depend on. If Josh Hawley has his way, 3 million Missourians with pre-existing conditions will lose their coverage; Missourians will once again be bankrupted by out-of-control medical bills; Missouri seniors will be subject to an age tax; and Missouri young adults will no longer be able to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26. He falsely claimed throughout his campaign that he would protect these provisions, and his lies are now clear as day. Josh Hawley is the dog that caught the truck – unfortunately for Missourians, it is they who will be left to suffer accordingly.”

BACKGROUND:

Due to Judge O’Connor’s ruling on Friday, Republicans are one step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act and eliminating key protections, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in his court — “chaos” in our entire health care system. Under this ruling:

  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people: GONE.
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people: GONE.
  • Protections for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own: GONE.
  • Allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26: GONE.
  • Free annual wellness exams: GONE.
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits: GONE.
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women: GONE.
  • Contraception with no out-of-pocket costs: GONE.
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs: GONE.
  • Requirement that insurance companies cover essential benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization: GONE.
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs: GONE.
  • Closed Medicare prescription drug donut hole: GONE.
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable: GONE.
  • Small business tax credits: GONE.

What’s at stake for Missouri:

  • The coverage that 103,000 Missourians gained through the ACA by 2015.
  • Protections for 2,495,900 Missourians who have a pre-existing health condition.
  • The health care of roughly 44,000 young adults in Missouri who have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.
  • The nearly 2,778,803 Missourians most of whom have employer coverage, who can access free preventive care at no cost.
  • The 2,148,000 Missourians with employer coverage who no longer have to worry about lifetime or annual limits.
  • Seniors’ drug savings — 102,643 Missouri seniors saved $108.2 million on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,054 per beneficiary because the ACA closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, 17.1 Million People Could Lose Their Coverage

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Be Put Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 130 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition

  • According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 130 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
    • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
    • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
    • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
    • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
    • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
  • 17 million children. One in four children, or roughly 17 million, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 68 million women. More than half of women and girls nationally have a pre-existing condition.
  • 30 million people aged 55-64. 84 percent of older adults, 30.5 million Americans between age 55 and 64, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 2,495,900 Missourians have a pre-existing condition.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Deny Or Drop Coverage Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick.

  • A 2010 congressional report found that the top four health insurance companies denied coverage to one in seven consumers on the individual market over a three year period.
  • A 2009 congressional report found that the of the largest insurance companies had retroactively canceled coverage for 20,000 people over the previous five year period.
Conditions That Could Cost You Your Care:

  • AIDS/HIV
  • Alcohol/drug Abuse
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Kidney Disease
  • Severe Epilepsy
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
Jobs You Could Be Denied Coverage Because Of:

  • Active military personnel
  • Air traffic controller
  • Body guard
  • Pilot
  • Meat packers
  • Taxi cab drivers
  • Steel metal workers
  • Law enforcement
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Scuba divers
Medications That You Could Be Denied Health Care For Taking:

  • Anti-arthritic medications
  • Anti-diabetic medications (including insulin)
  • Anti-cancer medications
  • Anti-coagulant and anti-thrombotic medications
  • Medications used to treat autism
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Medications for HIV/AIDS
  • Growth hormone
  • Medication used to treat arthritis, anemia, and narcolepsy
  • Fertility Medication

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Charge You More

  • More than 100 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition Could Be Forced to Pay More. An analysis by Avalere finds that “102 million individuals, not enrolled in major public programs like Medicaid or Medicare, have a pre-existing medical condition and could therefore face higher premiums or significant out-of-pocket costs” thanks to the Republican lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • Insurance Companies Could Charge Premium Surcharges in the Six Figures. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, insurance companies would be able to charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The health repeal bill the House passed in 2017 had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.
  • Women Could Be Charged More Than Men for the Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
  • People Over the Age of 50 Could Face a $4,000 “Age Tax,” Including $4,554 in Missouri. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, insurance companies could be able to charge people over 50 more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, including $4,554 in Missouri, according to the AARP.
  • Nine Million People in the Marketplaces Would Pay More for Coverage, Including 188,072 Missourians. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, consumers would no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage will have to pay more, including 188,072 in Missouri.
  • Seniors Would Have to Pay More for Prescription Drugs. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, seniors could have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 CMS report. In Missouri, 102,643 seniors each saved an average of $1,054.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have the Power to Limit the Care You Get, Even If You Have Insurance Through Your Employer

  • Insurance Companies Do Not Have to Provide the Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.
  • Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage.
  • Large Employers Could Choose to Follow Any State’s Guidance, Enabling Them Put Annual and Lifetime Limits on Their Employees’ Health Care. Without the ACA’s definition of essential health benefits (EHB) in even some states, states could eliminate them altogether. Large employers could choose to apply any state’s standard, making state regulations essentially meaningless. Because the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits only applies to essential health benefits, this change would allow employers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on their employees’ coverage.

The People Who Hate Obamacare the Most Think the Texas Decision is the Worst

Since Judge Reed O’Connor’s decision to overturn the Affordable Care Act on Friday night, Republicans and Democrats alike have condemned his ruling. Some of the strongest criticism has come from the columnists, editorial pages, and legal scholars that have led the opposition to the ACA.

Philip Klein, Executive Editor Of Washington Examiner: “I Hate Obamacare, But Texas Judge’s Decision On Its Constitutionality Is An Assault On The Rule Of Law.” “I hate Obamacare so much that it’s possible I’ve written more words criticizing it over the past decade than any person alive. I have supported multiple previous legal efforts against the legislation and its implementation. In the fall of 2012, after the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare, my Halloween costume depicted John Roberts turning into a chicken. If Congress repealed all of Obamacare tomorrow, I’d throw a party. Despite my policy preferences, I’d say the latest decision from U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor of Texas declaring Obamacare unconstitutional is an assault on the rule of law… What’s happening here is an effort to short-circuit the normal process and implement policy preferences through judicial activism. Embracing unelected judges using shoddy reasoning to impose their policy preferences on the country just when they produce outcomes conservatives agree with would do significant long-term damage to everything conservatives hold dear.” [Washington Examiner, 12/17/18]

Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: “No One Opposes ObamaCare More Than We Do” But Federal Judge’s Decision “Is Likely To Be Overturned On Appeal And May Boomerang Politically On Republicans.” “No one opposes ObamaCare more than we do, and Democrats are now confirming that it was designed as a way-station to government-run health care. But a federal judge’s ruling Friday that the law is unconstitutional is likely to be overturned on appeal and may boomerang politically on Republicans.” [Wall Street Journal, 12/16/18]

Conservative Legal Scholar Jonathan Adler And Abbe Gluck, Professor Of Health Law At Yale Law School: “This Decision Makes A Mockery Of The Rule Of Law And Basic Principles Of Democracy.” “A ruling this consequential had better be based on rock-solid legal argument. Instead, the opinion by Judge Reed O’Connor is an exercise of raw judicial power, unmoored from the relevant doctrines concerning when judges may strike down a whole law because of a single alleged legal infirmity buried within…We were on opposing sides of the 2012 and 2015 Supreme Court challenges to the Affordable Care Act, and we have different views of the merits of the act itself. But as experts in the field of statutory law, we agree that this decision makes a mockery of the rule of law and basic principles of democracy — especially Congress’s constitutional power to amend its own statutes and do so in accord with its own internal rules.” [New York Times, 12/15/18]

Ilya Somin, George Mason University Law Professor: Judge Was “Badly Wrong” To Declare Entire Affordable Care Act Unconstitutional On Basis Of Individual Mandate. “Federal District Court Judge Reed O’Connor issued an important ruling in a case brought by twenty GOP-controlled state governments, arguing that the Obamacare individual health insurance mandate is now unconstitutional, because the tax reform bill Congress passed in December 2017 eliminates the monetary penalty for violation. Much more importantly, the states also claim that the rest of the Affordable Care Act must fall with the mandate because it cannot be “severed” from it. Judge O’Connor ruled in favor of the states on both counts. I think he was right on the first issue, but badly wrong on the second.” [Reason, 12/14/18]

Jonathan Adler, Professor Of Law At Case Western Reserve School Of Law: “This Is A Surprising Result, And One That Is Hard To Justify.” “This is a surprising result, and one that is hard to justify…And did I mention standing? The Justice Department somehow neglected to raise standing in its briefing, but Judge O’Connor addressed it nonetheless (as he should have, as Article III standing is jurisdictional). Despite recognizing the need to address standing, Judge O’Connor completely botched the relevant analysis, concluding the plaintiffs have standing to challenge a provision of a law that has no legal effect… However superficially plausible the plaintiff states’ claims initially appear, they melt upon inspection. The more one digs into them, the less substantial they appear.” [Reason, 12/14/18]

Jennifer Rubin, Conservative Blogger At Washington Post: “Susan Collins And Republicans Better Have Better Answers On Obamacare. “Republicans are the proverbial dog who caught the bus. They are to blame if the law, with no alternative, is not revived by a higher court; they are to blame if either by litigation or administrative action those with preexisting conditions are priced out of the market. We just had an election that turned on this precise issue. Democrats overwhelmingly carried the day by accusing Republicans of seeking to sabotage protection for preexisting conditions. Now that Collins, Blunt and others have made a mess, it is up to them to fix it — or face the wrath of the voters in 2020.” [Washington Post, 12/17/18]