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AARP Study: Trump’s Junk Plan Rule Punishes Older Americans

60-year-olds set to pay $2000 more in premiums next year after latest Trump sabotage

According to a new study by the AARP, the Trump Administration’s plot to let insurance companies sell junk plans would cause premiums for older Americans to jump by double digits next year, with the average 60-year-old paying an average of 16.6% more for individual-market coverage. In response, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Too many older Americans are already getting squeezed, and now a new AARP study proves that Trump’s new junk health insurance proposal would not only hurt those stuck with junk coverage, but would also drive up costs for people over age 50 who buy real insurance. If the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal moves forward, older Americans will face an eye-popping average increase of over $2000 in annual premiums next year. This latest attack in the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage campaign must be stopped before it drives rates even higher, leaving older Americans struggling to pay the price.”

STATE-BY-STATE AARP ESTIMATES

Pew Poll: Health Care Is The #1 Pocketbook Issue for American Families

Today, the Pew Research Center released a new survey that finds the number-one pocketbook issue for Americans of all income brackets is health care, confirming the vital importance of this issue to American families. The new data echoes a body of recent polling that indicates health care is a top issue heading into the 2018 midterm elections.

Key findings include:

  • More than half of those surveyed said that health care affects their household’s financial situation “a lot,” the only issue which more than half of Americans rated a key economic issue.

  • Health care is “a top household financial issue” across all income levels, with 53% of those earning more than $100,000 and 52% of those earning $30,000 or less saying it has a large effect.

 

Kaiser Poll Confirms Public Support for Affordable Care Act

This morning, on the 8th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act’s signing, the Kaiser Family Foundation’s March Health Tracking Poll finds that the law’s popularity remains above water, with half of Americans having a favorable opinion. The poll also confirms that Americans want Congress to improve the law, not to repeal it, with 63% saying Republicans in Congress should focus their efforts on improvements and only 32% supporting repeal.

“Today’s tracking poll confirms that after eight years, the Affordable Care Act has stood the test of time and is now woven into the fabric of the American health care system. Two-thirds of the public want to see the law improved and strengthened. Unfortunately, just this week, Republicans in Congress continued to ignore Americans’ desire to improve health care by refusing to pass bipartisan stabilization legislation to undo some of the rate hikes President Trump has caused with his relentless sabotage of the Affordable Care Act. It’s time for Republicans to listen to their constituents, who want Congress to put the partisan fight over the Affordable Care Act in the rearview mirror once and for all, and start working on bipartisan fixes and improvements. And it’s time for President Trump to face up to the facts and stop his Administration’s ongoing sabotage of our health care system,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse.

Protect Our Care on Eighth Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act: We Won’t Go Back

On the eighth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act being signed into law, Protect Our Care Campaign Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Eight years after the Affordable Care Act became law, twenty million people have gained coverage; the uninsured rate has been cut in half; and out-of-pocket spending has fallen double digits while medical bankruptcies are becoming more and more rare. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer deny coverage to the one-in-four Americans with a pre-existing condition or drop coverage due to a yearly or lifetime limit; plans must cover essential health benefits; women cannot be charged more than men; and young adults can stay on their parent’s plan until age 26.

“Today, not only is the ACA more popular than ever, but health care has become a driving factor in elections across the country. The two times Medicaid expansion was on the ballot, in Maine and Oregon, it won overwhelmingly, and voters have cited health care as a top issue, powering Democratic victories in Virginia, New Jersey, Alabama, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. And despite almost a decade of attacks on the law, the American people are more united than ever in favor of expanding access to health care.

“Despite all this, Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans continue their relentless repeal-and-sabotage campaign, raising premiums and out of pocket costs for millions including demanding an age tax for older Americans, taking away protections for people with pre existing conditions, and gutting Medicaid.

“The past eight years have shown just how much progress has been made in the American health care system, and the past year has made clear just how much Americans value the quality, affordable care provided by the ACA. The Affordable Care Act made health care in America immensely better, and we won’t go back.”

COLLINS V COLLINS: SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT

In December, Senator Susan Collins voted for a tax bill that will raise health care premiums by double digits and result in millions more uninsured Americans. She asked her constituents to trust her by promising that Congress would pass a bill to fix the insurance markets she voted to throw into disarray. Now she is trying to rewrite history by claiming that she never made that promise. In response to her shocking claim, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“If Susan Collins thinks she can rewrite history and push a partisan bill that would force more Americans off coverage, allow discrimination against seniors and people with pre-existing conditions, and enshrine Mike Pence’s favorite new anti-choice restriction, she should know better: her constituents simply won’t accept it. Senator Collins should stop spreading tall tales about a partisan bill that would only further destabilize our health care system.”

WHAT SENATOR COLLINS SAYS ABOUT STABILIZATION PROMISE TODAY:

“The idea that this was the one and only issue, and that there was some kind of deal, is not an accurate assessment of what happened.” [The Hill, 3.22.18]

WHAT SENATOR COLLINS SAID ABOUT STABILIZATION PROMISE LAST FALL:

Here’s what she told the Washington Post in December:

That means Collins will have to cast her vote on the tax bill without knowing for certain that commitments made to her will be honored, leading critics to say she’s getting played for a fool.

If she prevails, Collins will have been responsible for the passage of significant legislation that could help make insurance coverage more affordable for tens of thousands of Americans.

And if not?

“I’m counting on the administration to make sure that does not happen,” Collins said in an interview. “I would consider it a very serious breach of a promise to me.”

And what she said in November:

“I’m pushing to make sure they are passed and signed into law prior to the conference report coming back. So I would know for certain that we’re going to be able to mitigate the impact of repealing the individual mandate.”

AND HOW HER BROKEN PROMISE IS PLAYING:

Today’s editorial in Maine’s newspaper of record: Republicans responsible for looming chaos in health care marketplaces.

“It’s tempting to blame both parties for the latest stalemate, but Republicans own most of this one because they control the process…Collins took a brave stand against repeal of the ACA last summer, but she was on board with the tax bill even though she knew it would have a bad effect on health insurance markets. At the time, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that Collins’ proposal to offset that disruption would get a vote, but House Speaker Paul Ryan made no such commitment.” [Portland Press Herald, 3/22/18]

Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin:

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) — who was promised in exchange for her vote on the tax bill (that stripped out the individual mandate) measures to reduce Obamacare premium costs — was once again stiffed. Her proposal to restore cost-sharing reduction subsidies and fund state high-risk pools was left out of the omnibus. (As many observed at the time, she was snookered by Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.)” [Washington Post, 3.22.18]

The Republican War on Health Care: First They Sabotaged It, Then They Refused to Fix It, Now they Own It

Republicans Bear 100% of Responsibility for Avoidable Premium Increases Set to Hit Millions of Middle Class Families This Fall

BEFORE PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE, THE MARKETS WERE STABILIZING

Trump White House Today Admits The Marketplaces Were Stabilizing. “After an initial adjustment period, insurers’ financial health, as measured by their stock prices, surpassed earlier levels … While insurers initially incurred losses in the ACA marketplaces as they adjusted to new regulations and a relatively unhealthy risk pool, insurers are now profiting on the individual market as well.” [CEA, 3/18/18]

In 2017, Congressional Budget Office Reports: ACA Market Is Stable. “The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable.”  [Congressional Budget Office, 3/13/17]

In 2017, S&P Global Reports: ACA Market Will Remain Stable So Long As The Trump Administration Is Not “Disruptive.” S&P Global repeatedly reports that “2016 results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the ACA individual market is not in a ‘death spiral.’ However, every time something new (and potentially disruptive) is thrown into the works, it impedes the individual market’s path to stability.” [S&P Global, 4/7/17]

THEN REPUBLICAN REPEAL ATTEMPTS UNDERMINED THE MARKET

Ongoing Republican repeal attempts throughout 2017 created uncertainty that insurance companies said forced them to hike premiums: “Obamacare markets are undergoing a slow-motion meltdown as Republicans stoke a climate of uncertainty while struggling to agree on their own plan for overhauling American health care.” [Politico, 6/8/17]

AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, PRESIDENT TRUMP STARTED TO SABOTAGE THE MARKETS, WHILE REPUBLICANS ON THE HILL DID NOTHING TO STOP IT

On October 13, 2017, President Trump Ended Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs), Payments To Insurers That Help Lower Income Americans Afford Health Coverage In The ACA Marketplace. [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Lack Of CSR Payments Resulted In Surcharge In Premiums Of 7.1 To 38 Percent. “As shown in Table 1, among those insurers that specify the surcharge on silver plans for the discontinuation of CSR payments, the amount of the surcharge ranges from 7.1% to 38%.” [KFF, 10/27/17]

THEN CONGRESS PASSED A TAX CUT FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS THAT ALSO RAISED PREMIUMS AND WILL TAKE COVERAGE AWAY FROM MILLIONS OF PEOPLE

Last December, Congressional Republicans Passed A Tax Bill That Strips 13 Million Of Insurance And Raises Premiums By Double Digits. “The Senate bill’s repeal of the individual mandate (the requirement that most people get health coverage or pay a penalty) would cause 13 million more people to become uninsured, raising the uninsured rate among the non-elderly from 11 percent to about 16 percent, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. It also would raise premiums by an average of 10 percent in the individual market by 2027, according to CBO.” [CBPP, 12/8/17]

Urban Institute Predicts Near 20 Percent Premium Increases Next Year And Millions Of Americans Losing Coverage Due To The Repeal Provision In The Tax Law And Trump Sabotage.  According to a study by the non-partisan Urban Institute, Republican health care sabotage is set to artificially inflate premiums by double digits for millions of families this fall. The study forecasts an 18.2% increase in 2019 premiums for Affordable Care Act plans and millions of Americans losing their coverage because the Trump and Congress repealed the individual mandate and the Trump Administration’s proposal to sell junk plans that do not meet ACA requirements. [Urban Institute, 3/14/18]

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS BROKE THEIR PROMISE TO PASS A STABILIZATION BILL IN 2017

After Being Promised To Have A Stabilization Bill As Part Of The Tax Bill, Sens. Alexander And Collins Issued A Statement Saying They Asked Sen. McConnell To Postpone Stabilization Until 2018. ‘Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs,’ said the Senators.  ‘For this reason, we have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual market. Instead, we will offer it after the first of the year when the Senate will consider the omnibus spending bill, the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization, funding for Community Health Centers, and other legislation that was to have been enacted this week.’” [Alexander and Collins Statement, 12/20/17]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS INDICATED THEY WOULDN’T SUPPORT STABILIZATION

Speaker Ryan Opposed Efforts To Stabilize The ACA Dating Back To October 2017. Last October, Ryan spokesman, Doug Andres, said, “The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on the repeal and replace of Obamacare.” [Matt Fuller, Huffington Post Reporter, 10/18/17]

House Conservatives Called Alexander-Murray Stabilization Bill A “Nonstarter.” “House conservatives appear united in opposition to the health care stabilization proposal crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray. ‘Right now it’s a nonstarter,’ House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat said Tuesday during a Conversations with Conservatives press event.” [Roll Call, 10/24/17]

Rep. Tom Cole: “The Idea You’re Going To Vote For Billions Of Dollars To Stabilize A System You Never Supported In The First Place — Pretty Hard To Choke Down.”  “In addition to the dispute over abortion language, GOP lawmakers were reluctant to sign off on provisions that shored up the Affordable Care Act, a law they all opposed. ‘Nobody in that room voted for Obamacare, so the idea you’re going to vote for billions of dollars to stabilize a system you never supported in the first place — pretty hard to choke down,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).” [Washington Post, 3/19/18]

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SPEAKER RYAN REPEATEDLY TRIED TO DERAIL STABILIZATION NEGOTIATIONS BY ADDING MORE CONSERVATIVE DEMANDS

September 2017: “House Speaker Paul Ryan And The White House Have Informed Senate Republican Leaders That They Oppose A Bipartisan Plan To Stabilize Obamacare Being Written In The Senate.” “House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law.” [Politico, 9/19/17]

March 2018: The White House Released A List Of Conservative, Deal-breaking Demands To Stabilization. In the middle of bipartisan negotiations on stabilization, the White House released a list of its conservative demands, including:

  • Expanding the Hyde abortion language
  • Codifying the Administration’s Short-Term proposal into law that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions
  • Expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that is essentially another tax cut for the wealthy
  • Imposing an age tax on older Americans by letting insurers charge people over 50 five times more than younger people. [White House Document, obtained by Politico, 3/8/18]

The Hill: White House pushes for conservative changes to ObamaCare fix

Politico: White House pitch to bolster Obamacare includes tough trade-offs for Democrats

Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Pushes Conservative Goals in Health-Care Market Changes

Vox: The White House might have just blown up the last best hope to stabilize Obamacare

Talking Points Memo: White House Demands Threaten Bipartisan Effort To Bring Down Health Premiums

NOW, THE LATEST REPUBLICAN STABILIZATION PLAN THREATENS PRE EXISTING CONDITIONS AND ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS

           [AARP, 3/21/18]

AND, REPUBLICANS ADDED A  PARTISAN POISON PILL THEY KNEW WOULD TORPEDO BIPARTISAN STABILIZATION NEGOTIATIONS

Statements

Sen. Patty Murray: “They’re Moving Further And Further Away From Their Original Goal.” “We’re not going to give them an expansion of Hyde and say that’s a goal we all agree to…They’re moving further and further away from their original goal, which was to make sure people have lower costs and access.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Sen. Patty Murray: “They Keep Throwing Obstacles In.” “If we would just go back to the basic premise here and do what we all agreed to do, we’d be able to get this done.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Speaker Paul Ryan Refuses To Introduce Stabilization Without Restricting Women’s Access To Health Care. “House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) told his GOP conference at a Tuesday meeting that he wouldn’t bring the measures to the floor without accompanying language known as the Hyde Amendment, ensuring taxpayer dollars can’t go toward plans that cover abortions.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Headlines

  • Washington Examiner: House Republicans seek anti-abortion protections in Obamacare stabilization bills
  • Huffington Post: Another Obamacare Stabilization Bill Is In Trouble, This Time Because Of Abortion

BY REFUSING TO ADDRESS THEIR OWN SABOTAGE WITH BIPARTISAN STABILIZATION, REPUBLICANS NOW BEAR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES

Lindsey Graham: Republicans “Own The Outcome” On Health Care. “Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, ‘In October, premiums are going up. Obamacare cannot be fixed. It’s going to continue to collapse, and then, we own the outcome. By repealing the individual mandate, which is a step forward in the eyes of the public, we own the issue. We have a responsibility to do something about the collapsing Obamacare system. I believe that we’re going to get blamed more than Democrats because we stopped trying to repeal Obamacare, and to suggest that we don’t own it is just simply politically naive.’ Graham continued, ‘It can hurt us in 2018. It can hurt by our base feeling like we betrayed them. It can hurt us from people suffering from Obamacare, like we don’t have a solution. It will energize Democrats. It can undercut everything we did on the tax cut side.'” [Breitbart, 2/6/18]

Rep. Charlie Dent: Republicans “Own” Health Care Now.  “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) argued Friday that President Trump was ‘ill-advised’ to end key ObamaCare payments, warning that the GOP now ‘owns’ whatever happens to ObamaCare. ‘I think the president is ill-advised to take this course of action because … we, the Republican Party, will own this,’ Dent, a key House moderate who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on CNN. Asked about Trump’s previous comments blaming problems with ObamaCare on former President Barack Obama, Dent pointed out that Republicans currently control the White House and have majorities in both chambers of Congress. ‘Barack Obama is a former president. President Trump is the president and he’s a Republican, and we control the Congress,’ Dent said. ‘So we own the system now. We’re going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation … This is on us.'” [The Hill, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “Trump’s Not Going To Be Able To Avoid Blame For Kneecapping Obamacare.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“After Months Of Pinning The Blame For Obamacare’s Shortcomings On Democrats And Watching His Own Party Fail To Act, President Donald Trump Just Took Ownership Of A Struggle That’s Consumed Republicans For Seven Years.” “After months of pinning the blame for Obamacare’s shortcomings on Democrats and watching his own party fail to act, President Donald Trump just took ownership of a struggle that’s consumed Republicans for seven years. Trump’s decision late Thursday to end government subsidies to insurers to help lower-income Americans afford to use their coverage under the Affordable Care Act was the most drastic step he’s taken to undermine his predecessor’s signature achievement. It also lobbed a live bomb into the laps of Republicans lawmakers 13 months before congressional elections after he publicly berated the party’s Senate leadership for being unable to keep a longstanding promise to repeal the law.” [Bloomberg, 10/13/17]

The American People Agree: President Trump And Congressional Republicans Are Playing Politics With People’s Health Care. A poll conducted last September found that 61 percent of voters believed President Trump was “trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail,” and 64 percent of voters said Trump is “playing politics with people’s health care.” The poll also found that the American people seriously disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are treating health care: 80 percent of voters disapprove while only 20 percent approve. [Garin Poll, 9/5/17]

The GOP Stabilization Sham

Let’s be clear about one thing, except for perhaps a handful of Republicans (and perhaps not even that many) Republicans don’t care one iota about stabilizing the Affordable Care Act (which only needs stabilizing because of their very own sabotage).  As a party, their operating theory has been to destroy the law for eight years and to believe that they now want to make it work better is pure fancy.

This whole thing has been a GOP led sham.  Remember, the whole notion of a stabilization bill was dead late last year until they needed Susan Collins’ vote for the tax scam bill which ripped away health care from millions to fund tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations.  Collins is a Republican and was always going to vote for the tax bill – but she needed cover to vote for a bill that ripped away coverage and spiked premiums for millions of Americans.  She got it in the form of a promise to pass legislation to stabilize the markets – a promise we said from the beginning Republican’s would never keep.  We used to say that Collins got played by a desperate leadership which needed her vote for the only piece of major legislation they had a prayer of passing in 2017, but she’s been in Washington 30 years, she knew this was never going to happen – or, at a minimum, should have known.

Fast forward to today.  Republicans have seen the studies – they know their sabotage is going to massively spike premiums and threaten coverage – but they hate the ACA – always have – and broadly speaking have no interest in helping it survive.  They also know they need to provide cover to Collins because given the margins in the Senate they still need her vote on close bills.  So they put forward a bill that they know Democrats won’t support – which all but codifies junk plans, sets the stage for high risk pools and imposes unacceptable restrictions on abortion – a classic poison pill if there ever was one.  And they’ll force a vote on this bill separate from the omnibus because they know it will fail – which is what they want – and then they will blame Democrats for what ensues in the market and try to claim they would have fixed it.  That’s complete and utter horse manure and no reporter, editorial writer or voter should buy the GOP’s crocodile tears over the failure of their so-called stabilization bill.

My mother taught me growing up that when in doubt consider the source.  Republicans are going to claim that THEY are the ones who want to stabilize OBAMACARE and that Democrats stood in the way?  Give me a break.

Brad Woodhouse, Campaign Director

Protect Our Care

The Alexander-Collins Sham Stabilization Bill

Protect Our Care Campaign Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement on the sham, partisan Alexander-Collins health care stabilization bill:

“The Alexander-Collins legislation should be rejected. It is bad for Americans’ health care. This proposal would result in net coverage losses, higher out-of-pocket costs, and fewer coverage options for many Americans. Despite what Republicans may be publicly saying, Alexander-Collins is not a serious attempt to stabilize the marketplaces. House Republicans admit they oppose stabilization. And Republicans are insisting on a poison pill that would further their war on women’s health. This proposal is a partisan bill designed to fail, and it represents nothing more politics at its worst from elected officials who otherwise have voted to repeal Americans’ health care.”

BACKGROUND

  • The Republican “stabilization” bill includes expansive and restrictive new anti-abortion policy that would have far-reaching consequences for women’s health. Republicans claim they want to apply the existing ‘no federal funding for abortions’ Hyde Amendment to stabilization legislation, but are in fact proposing something entirely new: language that would result in an effective ban on private insurance coverage for abortion, including in plans purchased by private individuals using no federal money, which experts predict would coerce insurance companies into dropping abortion coverage from all plans, both on and off the Marketplace, in order to receive CSRs or reinsurance payments.
  • This proposal would ban a woman from using her own money to buy insurance that covers a medical service the Supreme Court says she has a constitutional right to access and represent a new frontier in Republicans’ war on women’s health. And it’s entirely hypocritical, because the Affordable Care Act was signed into law with restrictions that prohibit insurance companies from using public funds for abortion coverage, with President Obama even having signed an executive order emphasizing that none of its funds can be used to cover abortion services.
  • As Aviva Aron-Dine with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explains, the CBO finds that this legislation would result in net coverage losses, with larger losses for moderate-income consumers than gains for middle- and upper-income consumers. Ultimately, this legislation would result in net coverage losses between 500,000 and one million people.
  • Moreover, Aron-Dine notes that the CBO has confirmed that the federal savings from restoring CSRs come from coverage losses, higher premiums, and higher out-of-pocket costs for those with incomes below 400 percent of the federal poverty line, which would result in worse outcomes for consumers between 200 and 400 percent of the poverty line. In fact, the savings would come from a combination of consumers dropping coverage and those maintaining coverage being forced to pay more for doing so.
  • When Republicans’ constituents face double-digit premium increases in the fall because their Congressmen scuttled stabilization, they’ll know exactly who to blame.

Key Quote: ‘Nobody in that room voted for Obamacare, so the idea you’re going to vote for billions of dollars to stabilize a system you never supported in the first place — pretty hard to choke down,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla).”

President Trump Ignores Real Opioid Solutions

Washington, D.C. – Today, President Trump spoke in New Hampshire about the opioid crisis. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“Heavy with rhetoric and short on solutions, President Trump’s speech today in New Hampshire was more of the same from a White House more committed to politicizing the opioid crisis than ending it. The Trump Administration has relentlessly attacked and sabotaged Medicaid, proposing to cut funding by hundreds of billions for the program that pays for one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide, and for two successive years has proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, charged with coordinating the federal response to the nation’s raging opioid crisis.

“If the White House truly cared about combating the opioid epidemic, they would be calling for every state that hadn’t expanded Medicaid to do so. That they’re not tells you all you need to know.”

Republicans Prioritize Partisan Politics Over Americans’ Health – Again

GOP Chooses to Push Extreme Agenda, Walks Away From Talks to Fix Trump’s Health Care Mess

After Congressional Republican leaders left the bipartisan negotiating table and unilaterally released a bill that includes a poison pill to effectively ban all private insurance from covering abortion services and would hamstring states’ efforts to avoid the disastrous effects of the Administration’s junk plan proposal, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“It’s a crying shame that Republicans chose to torch good, bipartisan proposals that would have counteracted the price hikes that Trump’s sabotage is set to inflict on millions of American families this fall. Many of the policies included in this package were the product of bipartisan negotiation, but once again, Republicans are choosing to prioritize an extreme agenda over their constituents’ interests. Republicans leaders themselves boasted that the noncontroversial elements of this stabilization package would have reduced premiums up to 40%.

“When Republicans had the opportunity to move on from their partisan war on health care, they instead added a poison pill that would effectively ban all private insurance from covering abortion services. Susan Collins will now need to explain to her constituents that when she could have finally kept her promise and undone some of Trump’s sabotage, she instead chose to let far-right Republicans’ anti-woman agenda scuttle the deal.

“What’s more, the legislation would prevent states from taking action against the harmful Trump Administration proposal to push junk insurance plans that can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions and refuse to cover essential benefits. Ultimately, today’s partisan stabilization proposal shows that despite their constituents’ wishes, Republicans will just keep going after pre-existing condition protections and women’s health while artificially inflating rates through their relentless sabotage of our care.”

BACKGROUND

The Republican “stabilization” bill includes expansive and restrictive new anti-abortion policy that would have far-reaching consequences for women’s health.

Republicans falsely claim they want to apply the existing ‘no federal funding for abortions’ Hyde Amendment to stabilization legislation. However, they are in fact proposing something entirely new: language that would result in an effective ban on private insurance coverage for abortion, including in plans purchased by private individuals using no federal money.

That’s because the language that Republicans are now pushing would block payments to insurance companies if health plans sold through the marketplace or elsewhere offer abortion coverage. Experts predict that this new language would coerce insurance companies into dropping abortion coverage from all plans, both on and off the Marketplace, in order to receive CSRs or reinsurance payments.

These Republicans are proposing to ban a woman from using her own money to buy insurance that covers a medical service the Supreme Court says she has a constitutional right to access. This would be a new frontier in Republicans’ war on women’s health.

And it’s entirely hypocritical, because the Affordable Care Act was signed into law with restrictions that prohibit insurance companies from using public funds for abortion coverage. The ACA’s Nelson Amendment requires plans sold on the marketplaces that cover abortion to segregate a consumer’s payment to ensure that federal funds (tax credits and CSRs) are not used to pay for abortion services except in the cases of life-endangerment, rape, or incest. After the ACA was passed, President Obama even signed an executive order to emphasize that none of its funds can be used to cover abortion services. Even anti-abortion Republicans agree that the new proposed language is a solution in search of a problem: Senator Lamar Alexander cited his 100% pro-life rating when he clarified that the traditional Hyde restrictions already apply to Affordable Care Act funding.

It is no coincidence Republicans started to aggressively push to expand this federal abortion restriction when it started to look like bipartisan stabilization could succeed. When Republicans’ constituents face double-digit premium increases in the fall because their Congressmen scuttled stabilization, they’ll know exactly who to blame.