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Susan Collins Failed to Deliver On Her Health Care Promises

In response to a statement put out by Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“After casting a vote for health care repeal in the middle of the night, Susan Collins admitted that she failed to deliver on her promises to Mainers,” said Woodhouse. “First she asserted she wouldn’t vote for repeal without health care stabilization bills being signed into law. Then she claimed she wouldn’t vote for repeal without a concurrent vote on the stabilization bills. Then she said she wouldn’t vote for repeal without a promise of their becoming law in the future. Now, she has basically said she trusts Paul Ryan – who has shown no indication of support for these measures – to make this happen.

“At the end of the day, we’re left with 13 million Americans who will lose their health insurance, millions more who will see their premiums increase and assurances which are getting weaker and weaker with each subsequent press release. Millions of Americans – and hundreds of thousands of Mainers, who just one month ago overwhelmingly voted to expand Medicaid – will suffer because of it.”

Protect Our Care Statement on Senate Passage of GOP Tax Scam, Sneaky Health Care Repeal

In response to the Senate passing the GOP tax scam containing sneaky repeal, which will kick 13 million Americans off of their insurance, raise premiums double digits for millions more and slash Medicare by $25 billion, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“After rejecting health repeal over the summer, today, in the early hours of the morning, Senate Republicans voted to kick 13 million people off of their health insurance, raise premiums double digits for millions more and trigger a $25 billion cut in Medicare – all so the wealthiest and large corporations can get a tax break,” Woodhouse said.

“One of the primary reasons this tax bill passed with sneaky repeal was because Senator Susan Collins was assured Congress would pass two bills to stabilize the marketplace. Make no mistake: none of these bills will mitigate the damage done by this repeal vote the Senate just took.

“And to the shock of no one, before the bill even passed, Sens. Lindsey Graham, Bill Cassidy and others were plotting to bring back the GOP’s full health repeal legislation. Apparently kicking 13 million Americans off of their health insurance and raising premiums double digits wasn’t enough – the Republicans want to dump 32 million, raise premiums 20 percent and cut Medicaid by $4.1 trillion. Those who have previously opposed such measures, like Sens. Collins and Lisa Murkowski, must pledge to oppose any further repeal efforts – the health care system has already been harmed enough.”

Protect Our Care Statement on House Passage of GOP Tax Scam, Sneaky Health Care Repeal

In response to the House passing the GOP tax scam containing sneaky repeal, which will kick 13 million Americans off of their insurance, raise premiums double digits for millions more and slash Medicare by $25 billion, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Today, Republicans made clear their claims about expanding health care access, lowering the deficit and evening the playing field for the middle class were complete lies,” Woodhouse said. “This legislation will kick 13 million people off of their health insurance, raise premiums double digits for millions more and trigger a $25 billion cut in Medicare – all so the wealthiest and large corporations can get a tax break.

“This bill is atrocious in all aspects. It was written in a dark room without outside analysis or bipartisan input. When nonpartisan analyses found that GOP claims were severely misleading, Speaker Paul Ryan just said they were wrong. When asked to make the conference report public, Chairman Kevin Brady responded by releasing its text at 5:30 on a Friday afternoon. When experts warned about rushing the bill through, Republicans ignored them, to the point that GOP Members literally cannot name the tax brackets in the bill they voted in favor of. And all of this was done to pass a massively unpopular bill that guts health care for the middle-class and makes the one-percent even richer.

“The Republican war on health care has not gone unnoticed by the American people. Health care has dominated every Congressional recess, it’s the number one issue on the minds of voters, it powered Democrats in last month’s elections in Virginia, Maine and New Jersey and the GOP’s efforts to repeal and sabotage the law have contributed to historically-low approval ratings for President Trump and congressional Republicans. Republicans are going to get their tax scam – but at great cost to American health care and to the GOP’s own political standing.”

She Did What?! Susan Collins’ Position on the Tax Bill Hurts the Middle Class, the Environment and Health Care, Undermining Her Claims to Leadership on All of These Issues

For years, Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) has claimed to support the middle-class, favored the expansion of health care coverage and pledged to protect the environment. The GOP tax scam hammers the middle class, guts health care coverage and will irreparably hurt the environment. Who is harmed under this bill, and why does Sen. Collins continue to support it?

Mainers’ Health Because Premiums Will Rise and Medicare Cuts Are on the Horizon. Analysis from the Center for American Progress found that Mainers will see their premiums increase $2,350 under this tax bill. 50,000 Mainers will lose their insurance, and Medicare funding will see a $120 million cut in 2018. The immediate cuts are not the only cuts facing health care, either. In a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), CBO Director Keith Hall made clear what Republicans have long said won’t be the case: Medicaid cuts are coming, to the tune of $18 billion. And Republicans, from Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio, are now admitting these cuts will be the next step. Sen. Collins previously highlighted Medicaid cuts as one of her primary concerns with GOP health care legislation and told CBS, “I don’t want seniors to have the anxiety of wondering whether the tax bill somehow is going to trigger a cut in Medicare.”

Middle Class Mainers’ Pocketbooks. The tax scam benefits the wealthiest earners at the expense of the middle class Per JCT analysis, “high-income households would get the largest tax cuts as a share of after-tax income, on average, while households with incomes below $30,000 would on average face a tax increase.” Sen. Collins previously criticized tax cuts for the highest earners.

Saddling Future Generations with More Debt. The tax bill would raise the budget deficit by nearly $1.5 trillion according to every independent analysis which has been conducted. The Joint Committee on Taxation found that the bill would cost $1.63 trillion, the Penn Wharton Budget Model found that it would cost $1.64 trillion and the Tax Foundation found that it would cost $1.78 trillion. Sen. Collins previously said she didn’t want the tax bill to “blow a hole in the deficit.”

Allowing More Drilling in Alaska. Buried in the bill is a provision allowing drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). ANWR drilling is a clear giveaway to the country’s largest oil companies at the expense of the planet, and is unpopular on both sides of the aisle. Twelve GOP Members of Congress recently urged its removal from the bill, and poll found wide opposition across eight key GOP Congressional districts. Sen. Collins previously was the only Republican to vote against ANWR drilling in a budget proposal.

Sen. Collins, it’s clear that the vast majority of this country will be harmed under this bill. It’s massively unpopular, with the opposition nearly doubling those who favor it. And Mainers are already furious about it. It’s not too late to change your vote – come out against this appalling piece of legislation, and instead return to the principles you’ve claimed to want to advance.

Protect Our Care Statement In Response to GOP Finally Releasing Tax Scam Text

In response to the text of the GOP tax scam – which kicks 13 million people off of their insurance, raises premiums double digits for millions more and cuts Medicare by $25 billion – finally being released, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“This GOP tax plan was negotiated behind closed doors, and now they’re releasing it as a Friday night news dump on the weekend before the vote because they want this hidden from the American people and only shared with their donors,” said Woodhouse. “They know the American people reject giving tax breaks to billionaires and big corporations at the expense of health care for middle class families. The more people learn about this plan, the worse things will get for its supporters. Thirteen million Americans will lose their insurance, tens of millions more will see their premiums increase by double digits and Medicare will be slashed by $25 billion, all to give a tax break to the wealthiest and corporations..

“After being written in a back room, without hearings, expert input or a bipartisan debate, and passing the Senate in the middle of the night, this bill went through conference in complete secrecy, with Democratic amendments refused and Democratic Members being given just two hours to examine it. And of course, this comes just days after a special election in Alabama where the Trump/GOP agenda was soundly rejected and just a month after GOP electoral losses across the country where healthcare played the dominant role.

“This bill is a mockery of the democratic process  This bill gives the top 0.1% a $200,000 tax break while raising health care premiums for people by 10%. That is indefensible. Any GOP Member of Congress who cares about their constituents’ health care should vote against it.”

Voters Unaware of Changes to ACA Open Enrollment, Think Cuts Will Lead to More Uninsured   

From: Jim Williams, Public Policy Polling®

To: Interested Parties

Subject: Voters Unaware of Changes to ACA Open Enrollment, Think Cuts Will Lead to More Uninsured

Date: December 14, 2017

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that many voters are unaware of the shortened open enrollment time period under the Affordable Care Act – 57% of voters are either not sure when the deadline is, or they think it’s later than it actually is. This is also true for 50% of voters who buy their own health insurance. Further, when informed of the Trump Administration’s decision to cut the open enrollment period in half from 90 days to 45 days, 61% of voters believe that this will results in less people having health care coverage, including 49% of those who buy their own insurance.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Voters are largely in the dark about when the open enrollment period ends. Just 43% of them think it ends on December 15th, while 57% aren’t sure or say they think it’s later in the future than it actually is. Crucially, 50% of voters who buy their own insurance either aren’t sure of the closing date or get the date wrong.
  • The Trump Administration’s moves to curb advertising to raise awareness of open enrollment seem to be having an effect – just 36% of voters say they’ve seen any advertising about HealthCare.gov this year, 55% say they have not. Just 29% say they’ve heard “a lot” about the open enrollment period for signing up for healthcare in 2018; over 40% say they’ve heard “just a little” or “not much at all.” Only 41% of voters who buy their own insurance say they’ve heard “a lot” about open enrollment this year.
  • 61% of voters say they think that the Trump administration cutting the open enrollment period in half so that this year it only lasts 45 days compared to previous Open Enrollment periods that lasted 90 days will have the result of less people having health care coverage, including 49% of those who buy their own insurance.PPP surveyed 585 registered voters nationally from December 12-13, 2017. The margin of error is +/- 4.1%. This poll was conducted using automated telephone interviews for Protect Our Care.

The full results of the national survey can be found here.

The Facts Are In: Despite ACA Popularity, The Trump Administration’s Sabotage Will Deny Affordable Health Coverage to Large Numbers of Americans

This is what health care sabotage looks like.

As open enrollment ends tomorrow, people are starting to notice that the Trump Administration’s extensive sabotage – shortening the enrollment period, eliminating outreach and TV  advertising, cutting funding for navigators – means less people will get health care coverage than would have otherwise.

See for yourself …

Washington Post: ACA Enrollment “Almost Sure To Fall Short In The End Because Of A Compressed Enrollment Season.”  

Kaiser Family Foundation: ‘If not for the pronouncements of its death, and steps taken to hobble it, the ACA marketplace would actually seem, well, alive,’ Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation said.

NBC News: “The Total Number Is Likely To Fall Short Of Last Year, Which Featured Both A Longer Enrollment Period And A Far More Robust Outreach Campaign.”

Huffington Post: “Another Reason Experts Expect An Enrollment Decline Is The Trump Administration’s Management Of The Program, Which Has Included Neglect And Outright Sabotage.”

Reuters: “The Trump Administration Has Worked Hard To Undercut” Enrollment.

The Hill: “The Trump administration’s abbreviated enrollment period has left advocates acknowledging the numbers are almost surely going to be lower than the 9.2 million who signed up on HealthCare.gov at the end of the last open enrollment season.”

Bloomberg BNA: “Major Changes Made By The Trump Administration – Such As Cutting Funding For Outreach – Are Making It Challenging To Get As Many People Signed Up This Year.”

Protect Our Care Statement On Paul Ryan’s Inability To Accept The Truth

In response to the news that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) told reporters that lawmakers need to “revisit” the Affordable Care Act, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Like a zombie, the GOP repeal agenda and their lies on the Affordable Care Act simply won’t go away,” said Woodhouse. “It’s not enough that Paul Ryan and Congressional Republicans have snuck health care repeal into the tax bill to rip coverage away from 13 million Americans and increase premiums by double digits on millions more, they are continuing to insist they will return to repeal in 2018 and they will lie through their teeth in the process. No, Speaker Ryan, the Affordable Care Act is not failing – in fact, it’s succeeding despite the GOP agenda of repeal and sabotage. Every county in the country has coverage, plans are affordable and despite the efforts by the Trump Administration to sabotage open enrollment millions of Americans are shopping for and enrolling in plans.

“Speaker Ryan, your party is in a downward political spiral because of your repeal and sabotage agenda on health care. It was reported today that you might retire at the end of the current Congress in 2018. Mr. Speaker, if you continue efforts to repeal the ACA and deny Americans affordable access to health care the issue of your retirement may well be decided for you.”

In Alabama, Health Care Wins Again

Doug Jones’ shocking win in Alabama might have changed the political landscape, but when one compares his victory to those on Election Day last month, there’s at least one striking similarity: health care. In November, candidates up and down the ballot in Virginia and Maine, Georgia and New Hampshire, ran on the expansion of health care and won. In Alabama, Doug Jones was deemed a “proud supporter of Obamacare,” loudly rejected GOP attempts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act and made funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program the first policy mentioned in his victory speech. In short, despite the swirl of other issues, in Alabama, health care won again.

Health Care Was A Top Issue In The Election. “Using Google data, we can see the top-searched issue in almost every Alabama county when it comes to the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. The data covers five topics: immigration, crime, sexual harassment, abortion and healthcare… Healthcare follows crime in the list of most-searched topics in Alabama’s Senate race. That’s especially true in Marengo County, where a whopping 62 percent of Senate-related searches have to do with healthcare… There are four counties where Senate-related searches are evenly divided between crime and healthcare.” [AL.com, 11/29/17]

Doug Jones Was Labeled A “Proud Supporter Of Obamacare.” “Alabama Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones argued at a rally over the past weekend that ‘We’ve got to quit playing political football’ over whether to repeal Obamacare. Jones’ Republican competitor Judge Roy Moore said that he will ‘vote to repeal Obamacare.’ … The Roy Moore campaign has continued to label Doug Jones a ‘proud supporter of Obamacare.’ [Breitbart, 12/11/17]

Doug Jones: “I Am Disturbed About Repeated Repeal Efforts.” “On his campaign website, he declares that ‘health care is a right’ and praised former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
‘I am disturbed about repeated efforts to repeal the bill or weaken it, leaving as many as 32 million more Americans without insurance, driving up rates for others and likely leading to the closure of more rural health care facilities vital in many regions of Alabama. That is a nonstarter,’ Jones says on his website.” [CNN, 11/27/17]

Doug Jones: Repeal And Replace “Not Something That’s Workable.” “As he emphasized his concern over the national health care debate, Jones made clear that eliminating Obamacare is not the solution. And voters, he said, shouldn’t be led into thinking that it is. ‘Repeal and replace is a political slogan,’ Jones said. ‘It’s not something that’s workable.’ After Republican politicians promised voters they would replace Obamacare once President Obama left office, they have failed so far to do so. Jones said the Affordable Care Act needs to be improved and that’s where the energy should be spent – not on doing away with it altogether.” [AL.com, 12/5/17]

Doug Jones Made Clear He Opposed Repealing The ACA, Pledged To “Fix” Health Care. “Democratic Senate candidate Doug Jones released a new TV campaign ad on Monday, focusing on his pledge to help ‘fix’ the problems in health care while attacking Republican opponent Roy Moore. ‘If it’s broken, fix it,’ Jones said as the ad begins. ‘Health care, it’s broken. You know it and I know it. But Roy Moore’s grandstanding and extreme views will do nothing to fix it and his policies will take us back to the past.’ … Jones also said he opposes abolishing the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but said there are problems within the national health care law that need to be repaired.” [AL.com, 11/6/17]

Doug Jones Attacked Roy Moore Over The CHIP Program. “Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones has accused Republican nominee Roy Moore of refusing to support renewal of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provides insurance to about 150,000 children in the state. ‘Alabamians need leaders who will place a priority on improving the health care of all citizens, children and seniors,’ the Jones campaign said in a statement Wednesday.” [Montgomery Advertiser, 11/3/17]

Health Care Was The First Policy Jones Brought Up In His Victory Speech. “Jones thanked the volunteers who ‘knocked on 300,000 doors’ and made ‘1.2 million phone calls’ on his behalf, and said he’s ready to go to Washington to work on health care, particularly funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).” [The Week, 12/12/17]

Doug Jones Called On Congress To Re-Authorize CHIP “Before I Get Up There.” “So I – I have a challenge. I have a challenge to my future colleagues in Washington. Don’t wait on me… Take this opportunity, in light of this election, and go ahead and fun that CHIP program before I get up there. Put it aside and let’s do it for those million kids and 150,000 here in Birmingham.” [New York Times, 12/12/17]

Protect Our Care Statement On GOP Tax Scam Following Doug Jones Victory

#DelayforDoug

Washington, D.C. – Following Doug Jones’ historic victory in Alabama and the continued insistence of GOP leadership to ram their tax scam through and ignore the will of the people, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement:

“If the GOP attempts to jam their tax scam through in the aftermath of this election without allowing Doug Jones to be sworn in and the people of Alabama to be heard, they will make this colossal political miscalculation for themselves even worse,” said Woodhouse. “The Republicans wrote their tax bill, including their sneaky health care repeal, in secret, without any hearings or true debate, and passed it in the middle of the night – and the American people overwhelmingly opposed it even before last night’s political earthquake.

“Now, after the voters of Alabama made their preference clear, the GOP seems prepared to ignore the will of the people – all to rip health care away from 13 million people and raise premiums double digits for tens of millions more to give tax breaks to the wealthiest and big corporations. Majority Leader McConnell should commit to delaying final consideration of the tax bill until Doug Jones is seated. If he doesn’t, Jeff Flake, who supported Jones, and Susan Collins, who already has reservations about the bill, should compel him to do so with their votes.”