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This Week in the War on Health Care

The Trump Administration continued its unprecedented assault on the American health care system this week. Here’s what happened this week in Republicans’ war on health care – and how polls and rallies across the country showed the Administration is fighting a losing battle with the American people:

SABOTAGE STRIKE ONE: 18% PREMIUM INCREASES AND “THE HEALTH OF MILLIONS” AT RISK

Last week, the Trump Administration announced a proposal to move forward with short-term, junk insurance plans – the Administration’s latest form of sabotage. On Monday, a bombshell Urban Institute study found that these short-term junk plans will cause an average premium increase of 18 percent in 43 states, making clear just how high the cost of the GOP’s sabotage efforts will be for Americans.

The Urban Institute wasn’t the only entity which questioned these plans, however. They were also savaged by the nation’s leading editorial boards:

Washington Post: This Trump Administration Health-Care Rule Would Return Us to the Bad Old Days.The department’s plan would allow insurance companies to sell virtually unregulated health policies. This would signal a return to the bad old days when insurers could sharply limit benefits, impose caps on coverage and discriminate against people with preexisting conditions… Allowing healthy people to buy junk insurance plans is not worth risking sick and vulnerable people’s access to real coverage.” [2/26/18]

New York Times: Trump Tries to Kill Obamacare By a Thousand Cuts. “Not mentioned in the department’s talking points is the fact that these policies do not cover things like mental health services, substance abuse treatment, cancer drugs and maternity care. As a result, people who buy skimpy plans could end up being hit with exorbitant bills if they actually need medical care… The cost for [the Administration’s] rage will be the health care of millions of low-income and middle-class families.” [2/21/18]

Los Angeles Times: The Trump Administration Wants to Cut Premiums for the Healthy at the Expense of the Sick. Again. “These plans don’t have to comply with Obamacare’s insurance reforms, which means they typically provide much less coverage — and that they may not be as cheap, or as available, for people with preexisting conditions. Oh and yes, it would likely cost the taxpayers more.” [2/26/18]

Baltimore Sun: Trump’s Latest Effort to Undermine the ACA Makes Maryland Action All the More Crucial. “If the Trump administration’s goal was to increase the ranks of the uninsured, it could scarcely have thought of a better policy than the one it announced Tuesday… Coupled with the end of the federal requirement that most taxpayers buy insurance or pay a penalty, the administration has come up with a recipe for destabilizing individual insurance markets and putting coverage out of reach for those who really need it.” [2/20/18]

Bloomberg View: A New Way to Wreck Obamacare.Don’t be misled by the seeming modesty of this idea. It’s an impressive combination of bad policy and bad faith… If the courts fail to stop the change to short-term health insurance, states ought to step in, [place] their own time limits on short-term policies, and demand that such plans cover the health care people need. Sadly, people in states that won’t provide this protection will be left waiting for leaders in Washington who will.” [2/23/18]

SABOTAGE STRIKE TWO: PREMIUM INCREASES AND FURTHER MARKET DESTABILIZATION

Last month, the Department of Labor proposed a rule promoting association health plans (AHPs). This week, Avalere released a new study which found that this proposed rule would cause premiums for individual and small-group plans to rise 4% and reduce Affordable Care Act plans enrollment by as many as 4.3 million, further destabilizing the marketplace.

It was the second study in three days to conclude the sabotage agenda being pushed by Donald Trump and his Administration will have massive negative consequences on Americans’ care.

SABOTAGE STRIKE THREE: LESS CONFIDENCE AND LESS COVERAGE

For more than a year, the Trump Administration and its GOP allies in Congress have been carrying out an extensive sabotage campaign designed to harm the Affordable Care Act. While many analyses have found the effect this has had on premiums and the open enrollment period, a new report from the Commonwealth Fund analyzed another aspect of this sabotage: its effect on consumer confidence.

“Among survey respondents who were extremely pessimistic about their ability to maintain their marketplace or Medicaid coverage going forward,” the report found, “nearly half pointed to actions by the Trump administration and Congress as the main source of their unease.”

Additionally, the report found that those with insurance through the ACA marketplace or Medicaid were “significantly less likely” to have confidence that they would be able to keep their insurance, with 32 responding it was because “they didn’t think the Trump administration would carry out the ACA” and 15 percent “[expecting] Congress to repeal the law.”

“Last year’s debate over the ACA likely affected some uninsured adults’ decisions not to shop for marketplace coverage,” the report continued, noting 26 percent of those asked said they did not because they thought the law was going to be repealed, underscoring the effects this sabotage campaign has had.

The report’s conclusion? “As our findings suggest, policy changes could increase coverage, including greater outreach and advertising in all states and reforms to improve plan affordability.” The most specific suggestion: Medicaid expansion “remains the most obvious means for expanding coverage nationwide.” We agree! Now if only President Trump and the GOP would listen…

STUDY CONFIRMS: MEDICAID A LIFELINE FOR OPIOID ADDICTION DESPITE FALSE RHETORIC

Yesterday, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released an analysis showing that states which expanded Medicaid saw higher rates of insurance coverage for people with opioid-use disorders.

As President Trump hosted a White House summit to address the opioid crisis, this analysis made clear that Medicaid is a lifeline for those battling the scourge of opioid addiction, further undercutting false GOP claims about the program and showing that Republican plans to gut the Medicaid program would have disastrous ramifications for the millions of Americans courageously doing so. If they truly care about ending this crisis, President Trump and GOP Members of Congress should end their partisan war on health care and immediately call for the expansion of Medicaid in states which have not done so.

POLLS CONFIRM: ACA MORE POPULAR THAN EVER, MEDICAID IS WORKING, HEALTH CARE TOP ISSUE ON VOTERS’ MINDS

This morning, the February Kaiser tracking poll came out, finding that 54% of those surveyed had a favorable view of the Affordable Care Act, the highest proportion supporting the ACA in the nine years the poll has been conducted. The poll also found that:

  • The ACA favorable view rose from 50 percent in January 2018 to 54 percent this month, a change “largely driven by independents.
  • More than twice as many voters mention health care costs (22 percent) as mention repealing/opposing the ACA (7 percent) as the top health care issue.
  • 74% of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of Medicaid, while 52% believed the Medicaid program is working well for most low-income people covered by the program.
  • 64% of independents oppose lifetime limits for Medicaid benefits.
  • A larger share of the public believes the proposed Medicaid changes are to reduce government spending (41 percent) than to help lift people out of poverty (33 percent).

This follows a Tuesday poll from CNN, which found that health care remains voters’ top priority, with 83% of those surveyed listing it as either extremely or very important. Other findings included:

  • 53% of voters said health care was extremely important, the highest among all issues – a 20% increase from the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in August of 2010, when health care supposedly dominated the midterm elections.
  • 78% of independent voters said health care was important, which tied with the economy as their top issue.
  • At least 70% of voters in every demographic category said health care was important – a trend that stretches across gender, age, income level, education level, ideology, and party affiliation.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: AMERICANS ACROSS THE COUNTRY FIGHT BACK

More than what polls can show, however, is the grassroots momentum sweeping the country against the Trump Administration’s sabotage. Over the past week, health care advocates of all backgrounds came together in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia to launch the Enough is Enough campaign. The campaign calls on voters to tell their Senators that the GOP war on health care and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act must end.

Despite Trump, GOP Agenda of Repeal and Sabotage, Kaiser Poll Finds ACA More Popular Than Ever

This morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its February Health Tracking Poll, which found that the Affordable Care Act has a 54% favorability rating, the highest since the poll started tracking the public’s views in 2010.  The increasing support for the Affordable Care Act comes in spite of the efforts of President Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal and sabotage the law.  Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“Today’s Kaiser tracking poll is the clearest evidence yet that the partisan war on health care of President Trump and Congressional Republicans has fallen flat with the American people and is a surefire political loser for the GOP,” said Woodhouse. “Congressional Republicans have spent eight years lying about the Affordable Care Act in attempts to repeal it, and President Trump has spent a year trying to repeal or sabotage it at every turn. Despite this, millions of people overcame the attempts to disrupt open enrollment and signed up for coverage, voters approved ballot measures supporting Medicaid expansion in Oregon and Maine, and when Democrats won big on election day in November health care was the major reason why.

“The reason for the ACA’s increased popularity is simple: it works. People support the ACA because it bars discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and bans lifetime limits on care; they support the ACA because it covers essential medical care, like maternity care and prescription drug coverage; and they support the ACA because it gives them an opportunity to live their lives without fear that a medical emergency can come along and leave them at the whims of insurers, as was the case for far too long. Americans recognize the GOP’s health care sabotage is already expected to raise their premiums 20% next year. People want reforms that lower costs, not sabotage and repeal which raise them, and President Trump and Congressional Republicans would be well-served to finally listen to the Americans who continue to make their voices heard loud and clear. Enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end their war on health care.”

Medicaid Remains Key In Addressing Opioid Epidemic, Trump’s Repeal and Sabotage Agenda Sets Back Effort to Address the Crisis

As the White House continues to pay lip service regarding the need to address our nation’s growing opioid epidemic, its policy does the opposite — stripping resources from the very programs working to address the crisis.

The Trump Administration has relentlessly attacked and sabotaged Medicaid, which helps people with opioid addiction receive care, paying for one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide. Beyond slashing funds for Medicaid, Trump has also encouraged states to impose burdensome work requirements, mandating that Medicaid enrollees work a set amount of hours each week and jump through administrative hurdles to prove their employment status. Adding insult to injury, the Trump Administration has proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which is charged with coordinating the federal response to the nation’s raging opioid crisis – a cut proposed for the second year in a row.

These policies are counterproductive at best, cruel and life-threatening at worst. Medicaid has played a central role in responding to the opioid epidemic, and cutting access will only make it harder for states to address the crisis.

MEDICAID GIVES STATES MORE RESOURCES TO ADDRESS THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

Medicaid Is A Sustainable Source Of Funding Compared To Short-Term Grants. “Now that more people with SUDs are eligible for Medicaid, states can significantly improve treatment for people with SUDs by improving Medicaid-covered services. Medicaid can be a sustainable funding source for providers, as opposed to capped, short-term grant funding.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

Thanks To Medicaid Expansion, The Uninsured Rate For Opioid-Related Hospitalizations Dropped In Expansion States. “In Medicaid expansion states, the uninsured rate for opioid-related hospitalizations plummeted by 79 percent, from 13.4 percent in 2013 (the year before expansion implementation) to 2.9 percent in 2015.  The decline in non-expansion states was a much more modest 5 percent, from 17.3 percent in 2013 to 16.4 percent in 2015.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

MEDICAID EXPANSION HAS INCREASED ACCESS TO TREATMENT

Medicaid Helps Make Buprenorphine And Naloxone, Drugs Used To Treat Opioid Use Disorder, Affordable. “These data are consistent with other evidence that Medicaid expansion is improving access to care for people with opioid use and other substance use disorders. Medicaid makes medications like buprenorphine and naloxone, which are prescribed to combat opioid use disorders, affordable for beneficiaries.“ [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

Medicaid Expansion Has Improved Access To Substance Treatment Services. “Evidence also suggests that Medicaid expansion improved access to substance use treatment services more broadly. After expanding Medicaid, Kentucky experienced a 700 percent increase in Medicaid beneficiaries using substance use treatment services.  Use of treatment services rose nationally as well; one study found that expanding Medicaid reduced the unmet need for substance use treatment by 18.3 percent.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

In Ohio, Medicaid Has Helped Those With Substance Use Disorders Access Mental Health Services. “An Ohio study found that 59 percent of people with opioid-use disorders who had gained Medicaid coverage under expansion reported improved access to mental health care. Nationwide, the share of people forgoing mental health care due to cost fell by about one-third as the ACA, including Medicaid expansion, took effect.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 2/28/18]

THE REPUBLICAN CLAIM THAT MEDICAID CONTRIBUTED TO THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC IS FALSE

PolitiFact: “No evidence to prove Medicaid expansion is fueling the opioid crisis.” [PolitiFact, 10/23/17]

CBPP: States That Have Expanded Medicaid Have Reduced Unmet Need For Substance Abuse Treatment. “Expansion states have reduced the unmet need for the treatment of substance use disorders by 18 percent. All states’ Medicaid programs cover at least one medically assisted treatment medication, and the Medicaid expansion has granted health coverage to an estimated 99,000 people with an opioid use disorder.” [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 10/5/17]

Opioid Deaths In Medicaid Expansion States Predates The Affordable Care Act.  “The opioid epidemic started decades before Medicaid expanded … Expansion states did have relatively more drug deaths than non-expansion states in 2015, but the upward trend in deaths in expansion states started in 2010, four years before the Medicaid expansion began. The results are the same if we exclude the six early expansion states. By the simplest criterion for causality, that causes must precede effects, these results cannot be taken as evidence of Medicaid expansion causing these deaths.” [Health Affairs, 8/23/17]

Medicaid Is Part Of The Solution To Curbing Opioid Epidemic. “Medicaid is the most powerful vehicle available to states to fund coverage of prevention and treatment for their residents at risk for or actively battling opioid addiction….The greatest opportunity to address this crisis is in those states that have elected to expand Medicaid, given the greater reach of the program, additional tools available, and the increased availability of federal funds.” [State Health Reform Assistance Network, 7/16]

CDC: “There Is No Evidence Medicaid Leads To Opioid Abuse.” “The Republican argument is flawed because the Medicaid expansion began in 2014, and opioid addiction was declared an epidemic by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011. The federal science agency has also said there is no evidence that Medicaid leads to opioid abuse.” [Newsweek, 1/17/18]

Vox: “This Claim Runs Into A Basic Problem: The Concept Of Time.” “But this claim runs into a basic problem: the concept of time. Medicaid didn’t expand under Obamacare until 2014 — well after opioid overdose deaths started rising (in the late 1990s), after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2011 declared the crisis an epidemic, and as the crisis became more about illicit opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, rather than conventional opioid painkillers. ‘It’s pretty ridiculous,’ Andrew Kolodny, an opioid policy expert at Brandeis University who’s scheduled to testify at the Senate hearing, told me.” [Vox, 1/17/18]

David Wyman, Georgetown University Law Center: “Just Because A Precedes B Doesn’t Mean That A Causes B. That’s Statistics 101.”  “The witnesses included one anti-Medicaid ideologue, two local prosecutors who testified that they’ve seen a lot of addicts in their work and lots of them seem to be on Medicaid, and two experts who, tactlessly, pointed out that the causes of the opioid epidemic are many and complex, that it started years before Medicaid expansion, and that it involves patients and doctors in Medicare and private insurance as well as the uninsured… Efforts to demonize Medicaid expansion because it was launched as the opioid crisis really took off confuse correlation with causation, David Hyman of the Georgetown University Law Center warned Johnson’s committee. ‘Just because A precedes B doesn’t mean that A causes B,’ he said. ‘That’s statistics 101.’” [Los Angeles Times, 1/17/18]

Katherine Baicker, University Of Chicago Harris School Of Public Policy Dean: “I Don’t Think Anybody Would Suggest Because Overprescribing Of Opioids Poses A Series Health Risk, People Shouldn’t Go See The Doctor.” “If [Republicans] argue against Medicaid based on the idea that it potentially allows more patients to get prescriptions for opioids, they could use that same reasoning to oppose expansion of private health insurance. Expanding health insurance of any variety increases people’s access to health care. Much of that care is beneficial; some may not be, Katherine Baicker, dean of the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, told me. ‘I don’t think anybody would suggest because overprescribing of opioids poses a series health risk, people shouldn’t go see the doctor,’ Baicker said.” [Washington Post, 1/17/18]

THOSE WHO ARE MOST FAMILIAR WITH THE OPIOID CRISIS AGREE THAT MEDICAID IS CRUCIAL IN FIGHTING IT

A Panel Of Public Health Officials, Policy Experts, And Law Enforcement Officials Found Medicaid Among Most Important Programs In Combating Opioid Epidemic. Investing in Medicaid was the third most cited response when a panel of thirty experts were asked where they would put money to combat the opioid epidemic. [New York Times, 2/14/18]

Jay Unick, University Professor: Medicaid Expansion Is Most Important Intervention To Improve Opioid Epidemic. Medicaid expansion would be “the most important intervention for improving outcomes related to the opiate epidemic…all the other interventions discussed here only work if individuals have access to quality health care.” [New York Times, 2/14/18]

160 National, State, and Local Organizations Warn That Trump’s Medicaid Sabotage Will Hurt Those With Substance Use Disorders in Letter to Secretary Azar: “CMS’s Medicaid work requirements policy is directly at odds with bipartisan efforts to curb the opioid crisis…and will have a significant and disproportionately harmful effect on individuals with chronic health conditions, especially those struggling with substance use disorders (SUDs) and mental health disorders.”  [Letter, 2/15/18]

Signatories include: ADAP Advocacy Association (aaa+); Addiction Policy Forum, Advocacy Center of Louisiana; AIDS United, Alameda County Community Food Bank; American Association on Health and Disability; American Association of People with Disabilities; American Association for the Treatment of Opioid Dependence (AATOD); American Civil Liberties Union; American Federation of State; County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME); American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; American Group Psychotherapy Association; American Psychological Association; American Society of Addiction Medicine; Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare; Bailey House, Inc.; Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists; Brooklyn Defender Services; CADA of Northwest Louisiana; California Consortium of Addiction Programs & Professionals; California Hepatitis Alliance; Caring Across Generations; Caring Ambassadors Program; CASES; Center for Civil Justice; Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO); Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation; Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP); Center for Medicare Advocacy; Center for Public Representation; Charlotte Center for Legal Advocacy; CHOW Project; Coalition of Medication Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates; Colorado Center on Law and Policy; Community Access National Network (CANN); Community Catalyst; Community Health Councils; Community Legal Services of Philadelphia; Community Oriented Correctional Health Services; Community Service Society; Connecticut Legal Services; Consumer Health First; C.O.R.E. Medical Clinic, Inc.; Council on Social Work Education; CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants); DC Coalition Against Domestic Violence; Desert AIDS Project; Disability Rights Arkansas; Disability Rights Wisconsin; Drug Policy Alliance; EAC Network (Empower Assist Care); EverThrive Illinois; Facing Addiction with NCADD; Faces & Voices of Recovery; FedCURE; First Focus; Florida Health Justice Project, Inc.; Food & Friends; The Fortune Society; Forward Justice; Friends of Recovery – New York; Futures Without Violence; God’s Love We Deliver; Greater Hartford Legal Aid; Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice; Harm Reduction Coalition; Health Law Advocates; Hep Free Hawaii; Hepatitis C Support Project/HCV Advocate; Heartland Alliance; HIV Medicine Association; Horizon Health Services; Hunger Free America; ICCA; Illinois Association of Behavioral Health; The Joy Bus; JustLeadershipUSA; Katal Center for Health, Equity, and Justice; The Kennedy Forum; Kentucky Equal Justice Center ; Kitchen Angels ; Justice in Aging ; Justice Consultants, LLC; Lakeshore Foundation; Law Foundation of Silicon Valley; Legal Action Center; The Legal Aid Society; Legal Council for Health Justice; Life Foundation; Live4Lali; Liver Health Connection; Maine Equal Justice Partners; MANNA (Metropolitan Area Neighborhood Nutrition Alliance); Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; McShin Foundation; Mental Health America; Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS); Michigan Poverty Law Program; Minnesota Recovery Connection; Mississippi Center for Justice; NAACP; The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health; National Alliance on Mental Illness; NAMI-NYS; National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors; National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers; National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors; National Association for Rural Mental Health; National Association of Social Workers; National Center for Law and Economic Justice; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence; National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Phoenix; National Council for Behavioral Health; National Council of Churches; National Disability Rights Network; National Employment Law Project; National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health; National Health Care for the Homeless Council; National Health Law Program; National HIRE Network; National Juvenile Justice Network; National LGBTQ Task Force; National Low Income Housing Coalition; National Organization for Women; The National Viral Hepatitis Roundtable; NC Justice Center; New Haven Legal Assistance Association; New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse; New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services; New York Lawyers for the Public Interest; New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare; Open Hands Legal Services; Osborne Association; Outreach Development Corp.; The Partnership for Drug Free Kids; PICO National Network; The Poverello Center, Inc.; Project Inform; Public Justice Center; Root & Rebound; Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition; Safer Foundation; Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law; School Social Work Association of America; Sea Island Action Network, South Carolina; The Sentencing Project; Shatterproof; Society of General Internal Medicine; Southern Center for Human Rights; Southern Poverty Law Center; Students for Sensible Drug Policy; TASC of the Capital District, Inc.; Tennessee Justice Center; Three Square Food Bank; Transitions Clinic Network; Treatment Action Group; Treatment Alternatives for Safe Communities (TASC) – Illinois; Treatment Communities of America; Virginia Poverty Law Center; Western Center on Law & Poverty

Second Study Confirms Trump Health Care Proposals A Disaster

Today, Avalere released a new study finding that the Trump Administration’s proposed Association Health Plans rule will increase premiums in the individual marketplace as much as 4% while reducing the enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans by 3 million. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“This is the second study in three days to conclude that the sabotage agenda being pushed by Donald Trump and his Administration will have massive negative consequences on Americans’ care,” said Woodhouse. “People will lose their coverage, premiums will rise across the board, and the marketplace will become even more jumbled, all while the Administration sits back and continues to play political games. It’s time for President Trump and Congressional Republicans to work with Democrats on real solutions to expand access and bring down costs for Americans rather than continuing to push their partisan sabotage efforts. Enough is enough – it’s time for the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress to end their war on health care.”

As GOP Preaches Opioid Solutions, Medicaid Remains Key

Today, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities released an analysis showing that states which expanded Medicaid saw higher rates of insurance coverage for people with opioid-use disorders. As the House Energy and Commerce Committee holds hearings and President Trump hosts a summit to address the opioid crisis, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“This analysis makes clear what we have been saying for months: Medicaid is a lifeline for those battling the scourge of opioid addiction, and Republican plans to gut the Medicaid program would have disastrous ramifications for the millions of Americans courageously doing so,” said Woodhouse. “This report undercuts false GOP claims and shows that Medicaid expansion increased access to substance abuse treatment, period. If they truly care about combating the opioid crisis, President Trump and GOP Members of Congress should end their partisan war on health care and immediately call for the expansion of Medicaid in states which have not done so.”

New Poll: Health Care Far-And-Away Top Issue Among Voters

A new poll from CNN finds that health care remains voters’ top priority, with 83% of those surveyed listing it as either extremely or very important, the highest percentage recorded in the poll dating back to 2002. The new numbers echo Protect Our Care/Hart Research polling conducted last month.

Key CNN results include:

  • 83% of voters said health care was extremely important or very important, the highest among all issues.
  • 53% of voters said health care was extremely important, the highest among all issues – a 20% increase from the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in August of 2010, when health care supposedly dominated the midterm elections.
  • 78% of independent voters said health care was important, which tied with the economy as their top issue.
  • At least 70% of voters in every demographic category said health care was important – a trend that stretches across gender, age, income level, education level, ideology, and party affiliation.

“No matter how much the GOP wishes health care would go away, results like today make clear that this is the top issue for American voters,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse. “Health care is energizing voters of all backgrounds, the majority of whom are furious about the GOP’s sabotage attempts, and Republicans only have themselves to blame. Enough is enough: it’s time for Republicans to end their war on health care.”

Just last week, Save My Care launched a national “Enough is Enough” ad campaign with a six-figure national TV and digital ad buy. The campaign encourages Americans to call on Congress to end the partisan war on health care.

Across the Nation, Health Care Advocates Urge Senators to Stand Up Against President Trump’s Partisan War on Health Care

This week, health care advocates in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia launched the Enough is Enough campaign to tell their Senators that the GOP war on health care and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act must end.

The “Enough is Enough” effort is part of a multi-pronged national and local campaign to end the partisan war on health care with a clear message: protecting Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act is now a potent and positive issue in American politics. While Congress was in recess this week, health care advocates held Enough is Enough events across multiple states, featured TV, digital, and print advertising all along with a robust social media campaign and grassroots activity.  

From the polls that show health care is the number one issue for midterm voters, to the momentum in favor of Medicaid expansion in states like Maine and Virginia, to the success of candidates in race after race who are speaking out to defend the ACA, Medicaid, and CHIP – Americans are telling lawmakers: ”Enough is enough. Stop the partisan war on health care.”

   

Below is a sampling of activity in the states:

Alaska

Arizona

Colorado

Maine

Nevada

Ohio

Tennessee

  

West Virginia

“Trump Will Drive Up Obamacare Premiums Nearly 20%”: Today’s Health Care Sabotage Headlines

This morning, the Urban Institute published a bombshell study outlining the the high price Americans will pay for Republican health care sabotage, which 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. Here’s a roundup of today’s headlines:

Vox: Trump will drive up Obamacare premiums nearly 20%

Bloomberg: Trump’s Obamacare Changes to Push Up Premiums, Report Projects

Mic: Obamacare premiums could see double-digit increases thanks to Trump’s changes

CNN: 9 million fewer Americans expected to have health insurance in 2019

Axios: Millions of Americans won’t have health insurance next year

Huffington Post: These Are The Real-Life Effects Of Trump’s Obamacare Sabotage

The Hill: ObamaCare premiums to rise 18 percent from GOP-backed changes

“The Cost for their Rage Will be the Health of Millions”: Editorial Boards Respond to Trump’s Latest Sabotage

Last week, the Trump Administration announced its latest move to sabotage the Affordable Care Act: short-term, junk health plans. These plans will be allowed to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and eliminate guarantees that essential services like maternity and cancer care be covered. The new junk plans would leave people who get sick on the hook for substantial medical bills and destabilize the individual insurance marketplaces by encouraging insurers to cherry-pick who gets covered.

But don’t just take our word for it – here’s what the country’s leading editorial boards are saying:

Washington Post: This Trump Administration Health-Care Rule Would Return Us to the Bad Old Days. “The department’s plan would allow insurance companies to sell virtually unregulated health policies. This would signal a return to the bad old days when insurers could sharply limit benefits, impose caps on coverage and discriminate against people with preexisting conditions… Allowing healthy people to buy junk insurance plans is not worth risking sick and vulnerable people’s access to real coverage.” [2/26/18]

New York Times: Trump Tries to Kill Obamacare By a Thousand Cuts. “Not mentioned in the department’s talking points is the fact that these policies do not cover things like mental health services, substance abuse treatment, cancer drugs and maternity care. As a result, people who buy skimpy plans could end up being hit with exorbitant bills if they actually need medical care… If the administration were actually serious about reducing health care costs, it would try to improve the A.C.A., not dismantle it, [working with Congress to offer subsidies to middle-class families or pushing for the creation of a national reinsurance program that encourages insurers to offer policies at lower costs by protecting against steep losses]. But Mr. Trump and his Republican allies in Congress seem unwilling to pursue constructive health care policies because they are obsessed with undoing Obamacare. Regrettably, the cost for their rage will be the health care of millions of low-income and middle-class families.” [2/21/18]

Los Angeles Times: The Trump Administration Wants to Cut Premiums for the Healthy at the Expense of the Sick. Again. “These plans don’t have to comply with Obamacare’s insurance reforms, which means they typically provide much less coverage — and that they may not be as cheap, or as available, for people with preexisting conditions. Oh and yes, it would likely cost the taxpayers more. The vast majority of the people who shop in the Obamacare exchanges are low- to moderate-income Americans who receive federal subsidies; when premiums go up, their subsidies rise to cover the increase. That’s just one of the wrongheaded aspects of the proposal. The way to reduce premiums in that market is to pool risks more broadly by bringing more healthy people in. But seemingly every step the administration and Congress have taken lately has drawn healthy people out of the exchanges. This includes ending the requirement that virtually all Americans obtain insurance (as of 2019) and letting loosely defined associations offer plans that, like the temporary policies, don’t comply with Obamacare. This nasty trend is likely to continue until voters make it stop.” [2/26/18]

Baltimore Sun: Trump’s Latest Effort to Undermine the ACA Makes Maryland Action All the More Crucial. “If the Trump administration’s goal was to increase the ranks of the uninsured, it could scarcely have thought of a better policy than the one it announced Tuesday, in which it expands the short-term insurance plans that are exempt from Affordable Care Act standards. In one stroke, it found a way to make virtually useless plans more available for healthy people while making insurance that actually covers the treatments and services needed by people who are or could become sick more expensive. Coupled with the end of the federal requirement that most taxpayers buy insurance or pay a penalty, the administration has come up with a recipe for destabilizing individual insurance markets and putting coverage out of reach for those who really need it.” [2/20/18]

Bloomberg View: A New Way to Wreck Obamacare. “The Trump administration’s latest strike on the Affordable Care Act is to expand the availability of so-called short-term health insurance. Don’t be misled by the seeming modesty of this idea. It’s an impressive combination of bad policy and bad faith… If the courts fail to stop the change to short-term health insurance, states ought to step in, and should plan for this immediately by strengthening their own regulations. They should place their own time limits on short-term policies, and demand that such plans cover the health care people need. Sadly, people in states that won’t provide this protection will be left waiting for leaders in Washington who will.” [2/23/18]

Republican Sabotage Set to Spike Next Year’s Premiums Nationwide

As a new Urban Institute study pulls the alarm on dramatic double-digit rate hikes set to hit states because of President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ sabotage, which includes allowing the sale of junk plans that can discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and the TrumpTax’s repeal of the individual mandate, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Today’s bombshell report shows the high price Americans will pay for Republican health care sabotage, which is set to artificially inflate premiums by double digits for millions of families this fall. Health care advocates warned President Trump over and over about the devastating economic toll his sabotage would take on American families, and now we have the numbers to prove it. This report shows that Republican sabotage is set not only to spike premiums, but also to drive millions of Americans off real coverage, leaving them underinsured or uninsured, meanwhile increasing federal spending by billions.

“Even though much of the damage is done, Trump and his Republican allies in Congress still have time to work with Democrats on a bipartisan stabilization bill to moderate these premium spikes, but that window of time is closing quickly as insurance companies start to lock in premiums for the fall. It’s past time for Republicans in Congress to stand up to Trump’s partisan war on health care and start cooperating with Democrats to protect our care.”

Find a summary of state-by-state impacts here.