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ACA At 11: Coverage For Children & Young Adults

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of young Americans gained coverage and critical protections as a result. Almost three million children nationwide gained coverage thanks to the ACA. Millions of young adults also experienced coverage gains and improved access to health care as a result of the health care law. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Health care for children and young adults is especially important as the nation continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic. As millions of families have lost their health care as a result of pandemic-related job losses, the ACA and Medicaid expansion have given them a place to turn to for comprehensive, affordable coverage. 

Thanks To The ACA:

Young adults can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. Because of the ACA, roughly 2.3 million young adults have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.

More Than 28 Million Children & Young Adults With Pre-Existing Conditions Gained Protections. Thanks to the ACA, children with pre-existing conditions like asthma and diabetes cannot be charged more or denied coverage by their insurers. Nationwide, 135 million Americans have a pre-existing condition, including more than 17 million people under the age of 18 and 11.3 million people aged 18 to 24. And now, millions of Americans who have contracted the coronavirus are also protected from discrimination by their insurance companies. 

Free Preventive Services And Annual Check-Ups. The ACA guarantees well-child visits with no cost-sharing for patients. These visits help prevent the development of chronic conditions and increase vaccinations among children. Plans sold on the ACA must also cover preventive pediatric health benefits, including oral health and vision services. More than 40 million children with private insurance are also guaranteed access to free preventive care and are protected from lifetime and annual limits.

Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive, which is critical for children with complex medical needs. According to First Focus, without these protections, “children with cancer and other pediatric conditions, or babies that were born prematurely and spent the first weeks or months of their lives in the neonatal intensive care unit, could exhaust their annual and lifetime limits in a short time.” 

Improvements To CHIP & Medicaid Coverage. The ACA improved children’s coverage by increasing the federal matching rate for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and standardizing–and in many states, expanding–Medicaid eligibility for children. The ACA also ensures that states provide Medicaid coverage to children in foster care up to age 26. 

Medicaid Expansion Improved Coverage & Access To Care For Young Americans 

Research confirms expanding access to Medicaid for parents has had ripple effects for their children. At the same time, states that continue to reject expansion are limiting children’s health care access: 

Uninsurance Rates Among Young Adults Fell By Nearly Half As A Result Of The ACA’s Medicaid Expansion. “Uninsurance among young adults ages 19 to 25 fell 14.2 percentage points between 2011 and 2018, from 30.2 percent to 16.0 percent (figure 1). The share of young adults covered by Medicaid increased 4.3 percentage points over that period, from 11.1 percent to 15.4 percent. Changes in both uninsurance and Medicaid coverage were concentrated between 2013 and 2016, when most major ACA coverage provisions were implemented, including Medicaid expansion and the establishment of the Marketplaces.” [Urban Institute, February 2021

  • Medicaid Expansion Improved Access To Care For Young Adults. “Between 2011 and 2018, access to health care improved for young adults in both expansion and nonexpansion states. For young adults in low-income households and young adults with lower educational attainment, Medicaid expansion was associated with an increased likelihood of having a personal doctor. It was also associated with a large decrease in the likelihood of delaying needed care because of cost in the past year among non-Hispanic Black young adults.” [Urban Institute, February 2021

Medicaid Expansion Led To Gains In Coverage For Children As Well As Parents. A study in Health Affairs found that “710,000 children gained public coverage when their parents enrolled in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. If the remaining 19 non-expansion states expanded Medicaid, 200,000 additional children would gain health coverage through existing programs. The effect was largest among children whose parents gained Medicaid eligibility through the expansion.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

When Parents Have Medicaid, Their Children Are More Likely To Have Regular Care. As summarized by Georgetown University’s Center on Children and Families, recent research finds that “Parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 29 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit. The relationship is strongest for families with household incomes between 100% and 200% [of the federal poverty line]. In these families, parents enrolled in Medicaid have children who are 45 percentage points more likely to receive a well-child visit.” [Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, 1/12/18]

Children In States That Have Not Expanded Medicaid Are Almost Twice As Likely To Be Uninsured — And That Gap Is Growing. “Growing numbers of uninsured children are concentrating in states that have not expanded Medicaid. Between 2016 and 2019, the child uninsured rate in non-expansion states grew at nearly three times the rate of expansion states. Non-expansion states saw their child uninsured rate jump from 6.5 percent to 8.1 percent during the period examined while expansion states saw it increase from 3.5 percent to 4.1 percent (see figure 3 ). Moreover, two non-expansion states, Texas and Florida, were responsible for 41 percent of the coverage losses for children over the three-year period.” [Georgetown Center For Children And Families, 2/17/21

ACA At 11: Health Care For People With Disabilities

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. By expanding Medicaid and introducing key protections, the ACA has improved coverage and health care access for the 61 million people with disabilities across the country. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the health care law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in more than a decade. Solidifying and expanding the ACA is especially important as millions of Americans have contracted the COVID-19, with some “long haulers” facing the possibility of lifelong disabilities. Without the ACA’s protections, survivors of COVID-19 would likely be deemed as having a pre-existing condition and be at the mercy of their insurance companies who could refuse to pay for needed care. 

The Affordable Care Act Provided Affordable Coverage And Health Security To People With Disabilities: 

The ACA Prevents Insurance Companies From Charging Americans With A Disability More, Or Denying Them Coverage Altogether. Prior to the ACA, insurance companies were allowed to charge people more or deny coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. The ACA banned this practice, requiring that insurance companies offer people coverage regardless of their health status. Without the ACA, premium surcharges could once again be in the six figures for some conditions. 

Thanks To The ACA, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Impose Annual And Lifetime Limits On Coverage. Before the ACA, insurance companies could restrict the dollar amount of benefits someone could use per year or over a lifetime. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage. 

Under The ACA, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Practice Medical Underwriting, A Process That Lets Insurers Make It Harder For People With Disabilities To Get The Coverage They Needed. Before the ACA, insurance companies could screen applicants for any conditions that might be costly to the company. If someone had condition that was predicted to cost the insurer more, the company would follow a practice called “medical underwriting” that allowed them to charge the applicant a higher premium, specifically exclude coverage for the condition that was expected to be costly, charge the applicant a higher deductible, or limit the applicant’s benefits (for instance, offer a policy that did not cover prescription drugs).

The ACA Requires Insurance Companies To Cover Basic Health Services. The Affordable Care Act established the ten essential health benefits, requiring insurance companies to cover rehabilitative or habilitative services, hospitalization, maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health services, and more. Before the ACA, many people with disabilities had insurance that didn’t cover basic health care needs.

The ACA Allowed States To Expand Medicaid — A Lifeline For People With Disabilities. Nearly 8.7 million adults enrolled in Medicaid have a disability. Of this group, only 43 percent qualify for supplemental security income (SSI). The remaining 5 million beneficiaries do not receive SSI and therefore do not qualify for coverage based on their disability status alone, meaning they rely on the ACA’s Medicaid expansion or eligibility as low-income parents. 

The ACA Boosted Employment For People With Disabilities

Thanks to the ACA, people with disabilities have more flexibility to leave jobs or change career paths without fear of losing access to comprehensive health care. Per the Center for American Progress: “People with disabilities no longer had to weigh serious concerns about accessing coverage—which in the past may have caused them to stay in a job that paid poorly or that they had advanced beyond professionally or even to take a job out of state that offered the benefits they needed. The ACA helped guarantee the disability community was not disproportionately penalized when pursuing a career based on their own desires and personal choices rather than out of fear of losing health care.”

Study: Medicaid Expansion Increased Employment For People With Disabilities.Individuals with disabilities are significantly more likely to be employed if they live in a state that has expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, a new study has found. Researchers at the University of Kansas co-authored a study that found a 6 percentage-point difference in employment rates among working-age adults with disabilities in states that expanded Medicaid and those that chose not to.” [The University Of Kansas, 12/21/16

ACA At 11: Lower Drug Costs

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. In addition to expanding coverage to more than 20 million Americans, the ACA improved health care affordability, particularly for patients purchasing prescription drugs. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with problems filling a prescription fell by 27 percent, while those with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who skipped a test or treatment fell by 24 percent, and the share who didn’t visit a provider when needing care fell by 19 percent.

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the ACA, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the health care law to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. Making health insurance more affordable and accessible is especially important as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and millions have lost their jobs and their health insurance.

The ACA Included Key Provisions To Help Reduce Drug Prices: 

  • GAINED: Requirements that insurance companies cover prescription drugs. 
  • GAINED: Nearly 12 million seniors pay less for prescription drugs. 
  • GAINED: More than 60 million people gained access to birth control with no out-of-pocket fees. 
  • GAINED: Rules that increase competition in the prescription drug market and help Americans access cheaper drugs. 
  • GAINED: Consumer protections that prohibit drug companies from paying off doctors behind closed doors to influence the drugs they prescribe to patients.

Guaranteed Coverage Of Prescription Drugs. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and mental health treatment. 

Lower Drug Costs For Seniors. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services report.

More Than 60 Million Gained Access To Birth Control With No Out-Of-Pocket Fees. The ACA guarantees that private health plans cover 18 methods of contraception and make them available to 62.4 million patients with no out-of-pocket costs. More than 99 percent of sexually-active women have used contraceptives at some point in their lifetimes, and approximately 60 percent of women of reproductive age currently use at least one birth control method. In addition to increasing access to this essential treatment, this ACA provision has saved money for women and their families: women saved $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.

Patients Have Access To Cheaper Drugs. The ACA’s Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act paved the way for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve biosimilars, cheaper alternatives to expensive biologics. This provision is projected to save $54 billion between 2017 and 2026.

Drug Companies Are Barred From Paying Doctors Behind Closed Doors (To Prescribe Drugs You Don’t Necessarily Need). Thanks to the ACA’s Physician Payments Sunshine Act, Big Pharma can no longer make payments and offer gifts to doctors behind closed doors. When these payments are made with no transparency, they can create conflicts of interest and blur the line between objective and promotional research. 

ACA At 11: Medicaid Expansion

Protect Our Care Is Marking the 11th Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act With 11 Days Celebrating the Success of the Health Care Law

Eleven years ago, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became the law of the land and millions of people gained coverage and critical protections as a result. The ACA opened the doors for states to expand Medicaid, and the results are piling in: Medicaid expansion works. In addition to covering 15 million people, expansion has resulted in healthier people, communities and economies. 

After four long years of Republican efforts to repeal and sabotage the law, President Biden and Democrats in Congress are now working to build on the strong foundation of the ACA to expand coverage, lower costs, and reduce racial disparities in health care. On March 11, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, historic legislation that includes the most significant health care expansion in a decade. In addition to providing affordable coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans through the ACA, the American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion has served as a critical safety net as millions have lost jobs and their employer-based health insurance. Between February and November 2020, states that expanded their programs saw a 22 percent increase in Medicaid enrollment. An estimated four million uninsured adults — including 640,000 frontline workers, 500,000 people with disabilities, and 926,000 older adults aged 50 to 64 — could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. 

The Results Are In: Medicaid Expansion Works

Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has also played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access.

Medicaid Expansion Saves Lives. 

  • Reduced mortality in adults by nearly 4 percent. A study published in the Journal of Health Economics found that Medicaid expansion reduced mortality in people aged 20 to 64 by 3.6 percent.
  • Saved the lives of at least 19,200 older adults. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Medicaid expansion saved the lives of 19,200 adults aged 55 to 64 between 2014 and 2017. At the same time,15,600 older adults died prematurely as a result of their states’ decision not to expand the program. 
  • Reduced cancer and heart-related deaths. While scientific advancements have led to improved prognosis for many diseases, Medicaid expansion increased access to care and, subsequently, improved disease outcomes. Between 1999 and 2017, cancer deaths dropped more in states that expanded Medicaid coverage under the ACA than in states that rejected expansion. Additionally, research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions found that Medicaid expansion was tied to fewer heart-related deaths. 
  • Reduced infant & maternal mortality. Multiple studies draw the connection between Medicaid expansion and reduced infant and maternal mortality rates. One study published in the American Journal of Public Health found the gains made in reducing infant mortality was more than 50 percent greater in states that expanded Medicaid, compared to those that did not. 

Medicaid Expansion Leads To Better Health Outcomes.

  • Improved health of enrollees. A survey of more than 3,000 Michigan Medicaid expansion enrollees found that the percentage of those reporting poor health days decreased over time, with the biggest decreases among Black and low-income patients. Similar research showed that patients in expansion states were less likely to report declining physical and mental health. Additionally, one study shows that tobacco users were more likely to quit in Medicaid expansion states.
  • Improved infant & maternal health. The uninsured rate for women of childbearing age in non-expansion states is nearly double than in states that expanded their programs (16 vs. 9 percent). Research from the Georgetown Center for Children and Families found that Medicaid expansion has helped fill gaps in maternal health coverage, leading to healthier mothers and babies. It also helps new mothers maintain access to coverage and important postpartum care after giving birth. 

Medicaid Expansion Helps People Access Treatment & Preventive Care. 

  • Increased access to preventative care, cancer screenings and disease-specific treatment. Medicaid expansion has helped patients access preventative care, including colon cancer screenings. Expansion also increased patient access to kidney transplants and made diabetes medication more affordable for low-income patients. The program was also tied to earlier diagnosis of colorectal cancer and reducing diabetes-related amputations.
  • Improved access to primary care & family planning. Two studies from Michigan showed that Medicaid expansion doubled low-income patients’ access to primary care, and that enrollees experienced improved access to birth control and family planning. 
  • Increased access to substance abuse treatment. Study after study has shown that Medicaid expansion has increased access to addiction treatment and mental health services. And new research shows that as many as 8,132 people were saved from fatal opioid overdoses as a direct result of Medicaid expansion.
  • Increased coverage for children. When parents have health insurance, their children are more likely to be insured. A study in Health Affairs found that 710,000 children gained public coverage as a result of their parents enrolling in Medicaid between 2013 and 2015. 

Medicaid Expansion Reduces Racial Disparities In Health Care. 

  • Reduced racial disparities in health insurance coverage and access to care. The ACA led to historic reductions in racial disparities in access to health care, but racial gaps in insurance coverage narrowed the most in states that adopted Medicaid expansion. Per the Commonwealth Fund: “Coverage disparities in expansion states narrowed the most over the period…The black–white coverage gap in those states dropped from 8.4 percentage points to 3.7 points, while the difference between Hispanic and white uninsured rates fell from 23.2 points to 12.7 points.” 
  • Reduced disparities in infant and maternal health. One study found that reductions in maternal mortality in expansion states were concentrated among Black mothers, “suggesting that expansion could be contributing to decreasing racial disparities in maternal mortality.” Expansion has also been tied to improving health outcomes for black babies, significantly reducing racial disparities in low birth weight and premature birth. 
  • Better access to care. Medicaid expansion reduced racial disparities in cancer care and resulted in earlier diagnosis and treatment for Black patients. According to the Center for American Progress, Black women were more likely to receive care because of the ACA.

Medicaid Expansion Improves Financial Security. 

  • Reduced income inequality. A January 2021 study from Health Affairs found that the ACA helped reduce income inequality across the board, but much more dramatically in Medicaid expansion states. The bottom 10th percentile of earners In Medicaid expansion states saw a 22.4 percent boost in their income, compared to 11.4 percent in non-expansion states. A study in Health Affairs found that Medicaid Expansion also caused a “significant” reduction in poverty. 
  • Reduced medical debt. The chance of accruing medical debt is 20 percent lower in states that have expanded Medicaid. Additionally, a 2018 National Bureau of Economic Research analysis found that Medicaid expansion led to a nearly $6 billion decline in unpaid medical bills and to higher credit scores. 
  • Lowered uncompensated care costs. Medicaid expansion has saved hospitals an average of $6.4 million In uncompensated care costs. In 2017, uncompensated care costs comprised 6 percent of total expenses for hospitals in states that rejected Medicaid expansiondouble the amount for hospitals located in expansion states. Additional research shows that expansion states saw a reduction in preventable hospitalizations and lower hospital costs. 
  • Increased hospital profits. More than 120 rural hospitals have closed since 2010. The vast majority closed in states that had not expanded Medicaid at the time of the hospital closure. Research confirms that expansion increased rural and safety-net hospital profit margins. 
  • Boosted employment. Reports from Ohio and Michigan found that Medicaid expansion helped enrollees hold down jobs and look for work. Relatedly, a study from the University of Kansas found that people with disabilities are much more likely to be employed in states that have expanded Medicaid coverage. Additionally, the number of people who report not working because of a disability declined in expansion states.  

HISTORIC VOTE: Democrats in Congress Pass Vital Pandemic Relief, Most Significant Health Care Reform in a Decade

American Rescue Plan Heads to President Biden’s Desk

Washington, DC — Today, Democrats in the House passed the Senate version of the American Rescue Plan, sending desperately needed pandemic relief and historic health care reform to President Biden’s desk. The American Rescue Plan includes measures to lower health care costs, expand coverage, and address inequities in care. In response, Protect Our Care Chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“Democrats in Congress have delivered a historic victory to Americans battling the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan has broad bipartisan support across the country because it will put money into the pockets of families struggling with the health and economic consequences of the pandemic, ensure more people get vaccinated, and help safely reopen schools and the economy. After years of Republican attacks on the Affordable Care Act, the American Rescue Plan includes the most significant health care reform in more than a decade, building on the ACA to provide lower health insurance premiums for millions, get more Americans covered, and help address racial inequities. While Republicans continue to oppose desperately needed pandemic relief, Democrats are delivering on their promises and enacting policies that will have a huge impact on the daily lives of Americans.”

BACKGROUND:

The American Rescue Plan Will Expand Coverage, Dramatically Reduce Health Care Costs For Americans

As part of the American Rescue Plan, Democrats included major provisions to lower health care costs and expand coverage, building on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This legislation will lower premiums for people purchasing coverage through the ACA marketplaces and expand access to financial assistance for more middle-class families. Additionally, the American Rescue Plan includes robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion. 

Making health insurance more affordable and accessible is especially important as the country continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic and millions have lost their jobs and their health insurance. Measures to increase affordability also reduce racial disparities in health care access. Despite significant progress after the implementation of the ACA, Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than white adults to have low incomes and face financial barriers to receiving care.

Lower Costs: 

Increasing financial assistance on the ACA marketplaces means more people will be able to get the affordable coverage they need during the pandemic. Similar legislation previously passed by the House would lower costs for more than 10 million Americans and provide affordable options for uninsured Americans at a time when access to health care is paramount. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 1.3 million uninsured people will gain coverage as a result of these provisions alone. 

  • Guarantee coverage that costs less than 8.5 percent of income. This legislation lowers the cost of premiums for Americans purchasing coverage through the ACA marketplaces, ensuring enrollees have the option to purchase health care for less than 8.5 percent of their income for the next two years. 
  • Make coverage more affordable by temporarily expanding the eligibility for premium tax credits above 400 percent of the federal poverty level — roughly $51,000 for a single person or $105,000 for a family of four. Under current law, families earning just above 400 percent of the federal poverty level spend an average of 15 percent of their incomes on health insurance. According to estimates from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: 
    • The average 45-year-old earning $60,000 will save $86 in monthly premiums. 
    • A 60-year-old couple with a household income of $75,000 will save $1,389 in monthly premiums. 
    • A family of four with a household income of $120,000 will save $595 in monthly premiums. 
  • Improve affordability for low- and middle-income Americans by increasing the size of the tax credits for all income brackets for the next two years. This means a typical family of four with a household income of $75,000 will save $248 on monthly premiums, while a single adult earning $30,000 will save $110 per month. 
  • Eliminate premiums in the exchanges for people earning up to 150 percent of the federal poverty level (roughly $19,000 for a single person and $39,000 for a family of four) and for those receiving unemployment insurance in 2021. 

Expanded Coverage:

In addition to providing affordable coverage options for millions of uninsured Americans through the ACA, the American Rescue Plan provides robust financial incentives for the 14 states that have not yet implemented Medicaid expansion. Research confirms that Medicaid expansion increases access to care, improves financial security, and leads to better health outcomes. Medicaid expansion has played a vital role in reducing racial disparities in health care access and has served as a critical safety net during the pandemic. 

An estimated four million uninsured adults — including 640,000 frontline workers— could gain coverage if the remaining holdout states adopted expansion. Importantly, people of color make up nearly 60 percent of this group. 

NEW REPORT: American Rescue Plan Will Help Women Recover From Pandemic

Washington, DC — Today, Protect Our Care released a new report detailing how the expansion of the Affordable Care Act included the American Rescue Plan will help women recover from the pandemic and improve their health care access for years to come. The American Rescue Plan provides desperately needed pandemic relief and key health care provisions that will lower health care costs, expand coverage, and address inequities in care. 

REPORT: Women & The American Rescue Plan

“Women have been disproportionately impacted by the economic fallout caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Women are both on the front lines of responding to the crisis as health care workers and on the front lines at home. The pandemic has caused a surge of women leaving the workforce to care for children, leaving many without health insurance,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Anne Shoup. “Congress must pass the American Rescue Plan, President Biden’s COVID relief package that includes historic health care provisions to expand coverage and lower costs while addressing stark inequities in health care that have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. This report shows making health insurance more affordable and accessible is critical as we battle the pandemic, and just as the ACA did a decade ago, the American Rescue Plan will have profound impacts on women’s health care access and outcomes for years to come.”

Republicans Endanger Americans (And Their Own Political Futures) By Opposing President Biden’s Overwhelmingly Popular COVID Relief Plan

Washington, DC — Today, reporting shows Republican leaders are trying to prevent all their members from supporting President Biden’s overwhelmingly popular American Rescue Plan and endangering the health and safety of Americans in the process. In response, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement: 

“Republicans are going to learn again, just as they did in 2020 when they ignored the severity of the pandemic and in 2018 after trying to repeal American health care, that defying the will of a large majority of the American people is political suicide. Republicans want to make it more likely you get infected with the virus and less likely you can get health care if you do. Why? Because they’d rather appease the radicals and extremists in the base of their party instead of following the will of the majority of the American people. Americans know that this rescue plan creates a surge in vaccines, delivers relief checks, will help schools reopen and make health care more affordable and accessible for people in red states and blue states so they want it passed now.

“But hey, if Republicans are intent on committing political suicide, who are we to stop them?”

New polling continues to highlight broad, bipartisan support for President Biden’s pandemic response and American Rescue Plan:

  • New Polling From Gallup Has Found That 67 Percent Of Americans, Including One In Three Republicans, Support President Biden’s Handling Of The Pandemic. “Several weeks into his first term in office, 67% of Americans approve of President Joe Biden’s handling of the coronavirus… Biden’s current approval rating for his handling of the coronavirus includes 95% of Democrats, 66% of independents and 34% of Republicans.” [Gallup, 2/22/21]
  • According To Recent Polling By The New York Times, Seven In 10 Americans Support President Biden’s “American Rescue Plan.” “More than 7 in 10 Americans now back Mr. Biden’s aid package, according to new polling from the online research firm SurveyMonkey for The New York Times. That includes support from three-quarters of independent voters, 2 in 5 Republicans and nearly all Democrats. The overall support for the bill is even larger than the substantial majority of voters who said in January that they favored an end-of-year economic aid bill signed into law by President Donald J. Trump.” [New York Times, 2/19/21]

These new polls join the growing body of evidence that voters strongly support Biden’s response and want Congress to pass the American Rescue Plan:

  • A CBS Poll Found That A Large, Bipartisan Majority Of Americans Support Congressional Passage Of A New Stimulus Bill To Help Those Impacted By The Pandemic. “A very large and bipartisan majority of Americans would support congressional passage of a new stimulus bill to help those impacted by the pandemic… Large majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and independents, as well as Americans of all income levels would approve of a COVID relief package.” [CBS, 2/10/21]

[CBS, 2/10/21]

  • Meanwhile, The CBS Poll Found That “Most Americans” Say Their Family’s Finances Have Been Impacted By The Pandemic — Highlighting The Need For More Relief. “Most Americans say their family’s finances have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak in some way, including one in four Americans who say it has had a major impact. Lower-income Americans have been disproportionately affected: 35% of those with incomes under $50,000 say the coronavirus outbreak has left a major financial impact.” [CBS, 2/10/21]
  • Polling From Navigator Research Found That More Than Seven In Ten Americans Support Biden’s “American Rescue Plan.” “More than seven in ten support Biden’s ‘American Rescue Plan,’ and each provision of it earns support from at least three in five Americans.” [Navigator, 2/4/21]
  • The Navigator Poll Also Found That Key Provisions In The American Rescue Plan — Like Stimulus Checks — Have Support Across Demographic Groups, Including Republicans. According to the Navigator poll, 78 percent of Americans, including 60 percent of Republicans support new stimulus checks. Meanwhile, Republicans broadly support other key provisions: 57 percent support funding for vaccines and testing, 65 percent support paid family and sick leave, 64 percent support helping with health insurance premiums, 66 percent support small business grants, 53 percent support increasing the child tax credit, and 59 percent support rental assistance.
  • Hart Research Found That, Across Party Lines, Nearly Three Quarters Of Americans Favor Biden’s Rescue Plan And Want Congress To Pass It. “With support across party lines, large majorities favor President Biden’s COVID rescue plan and want Congress to pass it. After seeing the main provisions 74% favor the plan, including 46% who strongly favor it.” [Twitter, Geoff Garin, 1/28/21; polling for Protect Our Care]

    • Hart Research Found That Half Of Republicans Support The Relief Package. “There is broad, bipartisan support in the country for the Biden COVID package: 98% among Democrats; 72% among Independents; 50% among Republicans; 46% of Trump voters support it, even though it is explicitly identified with Biden.” [Twitter, Geoff Garin, 1/28/21; polling for Protect Our Care]
  • Quinnipiac University Polling Found That Nearly 8 In 10 Americans Support Sending $1,400 Stimulus Checks Directly To Americans. “Nearly 8 in 10 Americans are in favor of $1,400 stimulus payments to Americans with 78 percent supporting and 18 percent opposing.” [Quinnipiac University Poll, 2/3/21]
  • Quinnipiac Also Found That Most Americans — 61 Percent — Support Raising The Minimum Wage To $15 Per Hour.  “Respondents also favor Biden’s call for a $15 per hour federal minimum wage by a 61% to 36% margin, according to the [Quinnipiac] survey. [CNBC, 2/3/21]
  • According To Data For Progress, Nearly 70 Percent Of Americans, Including 80 Percent Of Democrats, 70 Percent Of Independents, And 55 Percent Of Republicans, Want To Pass More Relief As Soon As Possible.  “The majority of voters (69 percent) prefer to pass more relief as soon as possible to support small businesses, schools and Americans who are struggling, rather than wait and see what aid may be needed. Notably, we find bipartisan support: 80 percent of self-identified Democratic voters, 70 percent of Independents and 55 percent of Republicans want relief as soon as possible.” [Data for Progress/Invest in America, 2/21]
  • 68 Percent Of Americans — Including 67 Percent Of Independents And 55 Percent Of Republicans — Are Prioritizing Support For The Economic Recovery, Rather Than Being Concerned WIth The National Debt. “We find that the majority of voters (68 percent) support prioritizing as much support as possible for our future economic recovery, rather than being concerned with the national debt. Again, we find bipartisan support: 80 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and 55 percent of Republicans want as much recovery as possible now instead of prioritizing a bill that is less costly.” [Data for Progress/Invest in America, 2/21]
  • Voters Overwhelmingly Support The Key Provisions In The American Rescue Plan. “We tested voter support on the different areas of economic relief that President Biden’s plan proposes. This includes: additional $1400 stimulus checks, extending and expanding unemployment benefits, grants and loans for small businesses, extending moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures and providing utility aid to struggling families, expanding Child Income Tax Credits and Earned Income Tax Credits, increasing the minimum wage to $15, and a range of funding for vaccine distribution, to schools, and to state, local and territorial governments. Overwhelmingly voters support all of these key provisions, with extraordinarily high levels of support for immediate steps to increase our coronavirus response such as support for small businesses and funding to state, local and territorial governments to prevent layoffs of frontline essential workers and distribute the vaccine.“  [Data for Progress/Invest in America, 2/21]


[Data for Progress/Invest in America, 2/21]

  • More Than Twice As Many Americans Support Key Elements Of Biden’s Agenda Than Oppose Them — The Most Popular Policies Being Those At The Center Of Biden’s Pandemic Proposal.  “When asked about the 20 policies that define President Biden’s agenda, more Americans support than oppose all 20 of them, according to a new Yahoo News/YouGov poll. The margins are decisive. The majority of Biden’s proposals garner at least twice as much support as opposition. Nearly half are favored by more than 60 percent of Americans… Of all 20 policies covered by the poll, the two most popular were the ones at the center of Biden’s current COVID proposal: $2,000 relief checks (74 percent favor vs. 13 percent oppose) and increased federal funding for vaccination (69 percent favor vs. 17 percent oppose). A full 58 percent of Americans also support raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour, another key element of Biden’s COVID-19 rescue package.” [Yahoo News/YouGov, 2/1/21]
  • Meanwhile, Eight In Ten Americans Cite Strengthening The Economy And Fighting The Pandemic As Top Priorities For The President To Address. “Currently, about eight-in-ten Americans say strengthening the nation’s economy (80%) and dealing with the coronavirus outbreak (78%) should be top priorities for the president and Congress to address this year. Two-thirds (67%) rate improving the job situation as a top priority.” [Pew Research, 1/28/21]

COVERAGE: It’s a Big Week in Health Care (And It’s Only Thursday)

Democrats Make Historic Strides in Health Care

Just three weeks into Joe Biden’s presidency, he’s already proven himself as a health care champion. Since taking office, President Biden proposed the American Rescue Plan to help the country get the pandemic under control, proposed significant enhancements to the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid, and announced an upcoming special enrollment period so people impacted by the pandemic can get health insurance. This week, House Democrats worked to strengthen the vital health care provisions in the American Rescue Plan, and President Biden reversed Trump’s health care sabotage by putting the full support of the administration behind the ACA and denouncing the reckless lawsuit to invalidate the law. Coverage shows President Biden is prioritizing strengthening the ACA by expanding access to insurance and lowering costs. 

Democrats Include Key Health Care Measures In Their COVID Relief Package

Politico: Democrats Push Temporary Obamacare Expansion In Covid Bill. “Pieces of the Covid-19 relief package House Democrats released Monday night include the first major expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies in more than a decade — a key plank of President Joe Biden’s health care agenda that they hope to pass in the coming weeks. Democrats are hoping that the beefed up subsidies, combined with Biden’s recent executive order to reopen the ACA’s markets and advertise heavily to entice people to enroll, will make a major dent in the ranks of uninsured Americans that have grown during the pandemic and ensuing economic recession.” [Politico, 2/8/21

The Hill: House Dems’ COVID-19 Relief Bill Includes 2-Year Boost To ObamaCare Subsidies. “House Democrats’ coronavirus relief legislation released Monday would increase the Affordable Care Act’s financial assistance for two years, providing greater help for enrollees’ to afford their premiums…Increasing ObamaCare’s financial assistance to make premiums more affordable has been a major Democratic goal for years, viewed as an improvement to the original ACA, but has been blocked by Republicans who oppose spending more money on a health care law they oppose.” [The Hill, 2/8/21

Washington Post: Affordable Care Act Subsidies Likely To Increase Under Congressional Plan. “The expansion of federal subsidies for Affordable Care Act health plans, stretching to reach people who are in the middle class or unemployed, is woven into a proposal the House Ways and Means Committee is expected to approve by the end of this week. The proposal also would raise ACA insurance subsidies for consumers already eligible for that help. The ideas have been adopted in the past year by the Democratic-led House but had no chance of becoming reality until the Senate and the White House shifted last month into Democratic hands.” [Washington Post, 2/10/21

Axios: Democrats Eye Big ACA Changes In COVID Relief Bill. “Democrats’ coronavirus relief proposal includes major changes to the Affordable Care Act, aiming to make health insurance more affordable for the millions of people who have lost their employer-based coverage during the pandemic.” [Axios, 2/10/21

Washington Post: The Health 202: Democrats Are Using Their Coronavirus Relief Package To Try Expanding Health Coverage.  “Legislation from the House Energy and Commerce Committee offers the dozen states that haven’t expanded their Medicaid programs under Obamacare a fresh new incentive to do so. Under the proposal released late last night, the federal government would cover an extra 5 percent of costs for all of their Medicaid enrollees – not just the expansion population – if states agreed to expand the program. The extra contributions would last two years.” [Washington Post, 2/10/21]

The Hill: Black Maternal Health Omnibus Package Introduced By Democratic Lawmakers. “A trio of Black lawmakers on Monday introduced an omnibus bill aimed at combating the significant health inequities that Black mothers face across the country…The package of bills would fund community organizations and state and local governments working to improve maternal health outcomes, training programs on bias, racism and discrimination in maternity care settings, and efforts to grow the perinatal workforce. It would also seek to address social determinants of health that can lead to poor health outcomes including access to housing, healthy food and water, transportation, child care services and improving access to health care.”  [The Hill, 2/8/21

Washington Post: The Health 202: Congress Is Moving To Lengthen Medicaid Coverage For New Moms. “Congressional Democrats have taken on a side project as they push forward President Biden’s coronavirus relief bill: nudging states to broaden their Medicaid programs. That includes lengthening coverage for new moms — a key Medicaid population who, in some states, can still get kicked off the program relatively quickly after giving birth. Legislation being marked up today says state Medicaid programs can cover new mothers for a full year.” [Washington Post, 2/11/21]

Stat: House Democrats Slip Drug-Pricing Proposal Into Covid-19 Relief Bill. “The policy aims to help states recoup some of the costs they incur in their Medicaid programs when drug makers hike the prices of certain drugs. Right now, federal law caps how much states can collect. Congress’s new policy would rescind that so-called ‘Medicaid rebate cap.’ The policy will have the biggest impact on drugs like insulin, which have seen massive price hikes and for which drug makers also give big discounts to private insurers.” [Stat, 2/9/21

President Biden Defends The ACA In Court

Wall Street Journal: Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court To Reject Challenge To Affordable Care Act. “The move was expected, as President Biden campaigned on expanding Obamacare along with a more vigorous federal response to the coronavirus pandemic. Former President Trump throughout his term denounced the signature law of the Obama administration, although he never proposed any alternative healthcare program after the Republican-controlled Congress rejected legislation to repeal the measure.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/10/21

Washington Post: Biden Administration Tells Supreme Court Obamacare Is Constitutional, Should Be Saved. “Just as Trump vowed to demolish Obamacare, as former president Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement is known, Biden, who was Obama’s vice president, promised during the 2020 campaign to strengthen and build on the health-care law.” [Washington Post, 2/10/21

New York Times: Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Uphold Affordable Care Act. “In the years since the enactment of the law in 2010, Republicans have worked hard to destroy it, and President Donald J. Trump relentlessly criticized it. But attempts to repeal it failed, as did two earlier Supreme Court challenges, in 2012 and 2015. With the passing years, the law grew in popularity and was woven into the fabric of the health care system, and its future has appeared increasingly secure.” [New York Times, 2/10/21

CNN: Biden Administration Asks Supreme Court To Save Obamacare, Flipping Trump Arguments. “The Biden administration told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it should uphold the Affordable Care Act, reversing the position of the Trump administration that had urged the justices to strike down the entire law amid the coronavirus pandemic…Wednesday’s move highlights President Joe Biden’s belief that the law is on strong legal footing. Last month, Biden announced he would reopen enrollment on the Affordable Care Act exchanges for three months, announcing that he was signing executive orders related to the law to ‘undo the damage Trump has done.’ The special enrollment period starts on Monday.” [CNN, 2/10/21

The Hill: Biden Administration Urges Supreme Court To Uphold ObamaCare. “The Biden administration on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act, a reversal from the Trump administration’s backing of a constitutional challenge to the sweeping health care law…The development, while unsurprising, marked a dramatic shift in legal positions since November when the justices heard oral arguments in the case.” [The Hill, 2/10/21

Politico: Biden Admin Asks SCOTUS To Uphold Obamacare, Reversing Trump Support For Lawsuit. “The Biden administration is withdrawing the federal government’s support for a challenge to Obamacare, telling the Supreme Court that the law should remain on the books. The move by the Justice Department follows speculation on whether Biden would try to withdraw from the high-profile red state lawsuit — fully supported by the Trump administration — to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.” [Politico, 2/10/21

Modern Healthcare: Biden Administration Supports ACA At Supreme Court, Drops Trump-Era Challenge. “While the U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule on the fate of the Affordable Care Act, the Biden administration on Wednesday took steps to support the landmark healthcare law. In a letter to the high court, the Justice Department under the new administration said it believes Obamacare’s individual mandate is constitutional. But if the justices disagree, the Biden administration believes the rest of the Affordable Care Act can stand without the provision requiring insurance coverage.” [Modern Healthcare, 2/10/21

Reuters: Biden Administration Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Uphold Obamacare Law. “President Joe Biden’s administration on Wednesday told the U.S. Supreme Court that the Obamacare healthcare law should be upheld, reversing the position taken by the government under his Republican predecessor Donald Trump.” [Reuters, 2/10/21

NBC News: Justice Department Switches Sides, Urging Supreme Court To Uphold Obamacare. “The Justice Department notified the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it no longer supports the effort by Texas and other red states to declare the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional.” [NBC News, 2/10/21

HEADLINES: President Biden Delivers on Campaign Promise to Expand Access to Health Care

On Thursday, President Biden signed executive orders to reopen HealthCare.gov for a special enrollment period to help people get coverage and remove barriers to enrolling in Medicaid. These executive orders build on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act just as Americans who are facing an ever-worsening public health crisis need help the most. Coverage shows President Biden is committed to delivering on his health care promises and reversing the health care sabotage agenda of Trump and Republicans. These executive orders are important first steps to making sure Americans have more affordable health coverage and access to better care. 

Washington Post: Biden Reopens ACA Enrollment for Three Months in Opening Bid to Extend Health Coverage. “The directive, part of a series of executive actions the president is taking during his first days in office, is a down payment on his pledge to make health care more accessible and affordable and a sign of his determination to rehabilitate the landmark law after four years of Republican battering. Those goals have taken on more urgency as 25 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and millions of others have lost jobs.” [Washington Post, 1/28/21

New York Times: Biden Moves to Expand Health Coverage in Pandemic Economy. “President Biden on Thursday ordered the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces reopened to give people throttled by the pandemic economy a new chance to obtain coverage, and he took steps to restore coverage mandates that had been undermined by his predecessor, including protecting those with pre-existing medical conditions. Thursday’s orders also took aim at Trump-era restrictions on Medicaid, especially on work requirements imposed by some states on poor people trying to obtain coverage.” [New York Times, 1/28/21

  • New York Times: “Perhaps No Policy Is as Important to [Biden] as the Affordable Care Act, Which He Helped Secure as President Barack Obama’s Vice President.” Mr. Biden used Thursday’s appearance at the White House to begin shoring up health care programs and policies that have been critical to a Democratic resurgence. Perhaps no policy is as important to him as the Affordable Care Act, which he helped secure as President Barack Obama’s vice president. President Donald J. Trump tried and failed to overturn the law, then weakened it with executive actions and rules, including making it easier for people to buy cheap, short-term plans that are not required to cover pre-existing medical conditions. [New York Times, 1/28/21

AP: Biden Opens ‘Obamacare’ Window For Uninsured As COVID Rages. “President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered government health insurance markets to reopen for a special sign-up window, offering uninsured Americans a haven as the spread of COVID-19 remains dangerously high and vaccines aren’t yet widely available. Biden signed an executive order directing the HealthCare.gov insurance markets to take new applications for subsidized benefits, something Donald Trump’s administration had refused to do.” [Chicago Tribune, 1/28/21]

USA Today: Biden Signs Executive Action to Reopen Obamacare Enrollment Amid COVID-19, End Gag Rule. “President Joe Biden on Thursday took initial steps to expand health care coverage and reverse some of the policies of former President Donald Trump, including directing that people be given a new chance to sign up for government-subsidized care and lifting restrictions on abortion and family planning services.” [USA Today, 1/28/21

The Hill: Biden Signs Health Care Executive Actions to ‘Undo The Damage’ Caused by Trump. “President Biden on Thursday signed two executive actions focused on health care, describing the directives as a necessary effort to ‘undo the damage’ done by former President Trump…The president repeatedly insisted Thursday that the directives did nothing but reverse the Trump administration’s policies and restore the policies of the Obama administration.” [The Hill, 1/28/21

CNN: Biden Signs Executive Order to Reopen Affordable Care Act Enrollment. “It’s Biden’s first move toward delivering on his campaign promise to bolster the landmark health reform law that he championed as vice president. And it comes as more Americans could be facing the loss of coverage because of the pandemic-fueled economic downturn.” [CNN, 1/28/21

Modern Healthcare: Biden to Reopen ACA Marketplace, Revisit Work Requirements. “President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered HHS to create a special enrollment period to allow people to sign up for a health plan through Affordable Care Act marketplaces and reexamine policies like Medicaid work requirements that make it more difficult for individuals to access or afford coverage.” [Modern Healthcare, 1/28/21

The Upshot: Biden’s Obamacare Do-Over: Another Chance to Sign Up, This One More Publicized. “In December, the last Obamacare enrollment period under the Trump administration closed. Now that the Biden administration has arrived, it’s trying a do-over. The renewed effort reflects the Biden team’s view that the Trump administration did too little to help people find coverage, despite a public health crisis and waves of job losses. Although insurance sign-ups were up a bit compared with last year, the growth did not match the increase in need.” [New York Times, 1/28/21

New York Times: Biden’s Health Care Moves. “Biden’s orders still matter, because Trump’s actions mattered. Biden will try to strengthen protections for people with medical conditions. He will also create a new three-month sign-up period for Obamacare, starting next month, aimed partly at people who lost their jobs during the pandemic. The most recent sign-up period was in the fall.” [New York Times, 1/29/21

  • New York Times: “Perhaps Most Significant, the Biden Administration Plans to Promote the Sign-Up Period Heavily.” “Perhaps most significant, the Biden administration plans to promote the sign-up period heavily, through advertisements, email and other outreach, according to my colleague Margot Sanger-Katz, who’s been covering Obamacare for most of its existence. ‘Biden’s people think the Trump people bungled the regular enrollment period,’ Margot told me.” [New York Times, 1/29/21

The Health 202: HealthCare.gov Will Now Be Open During Tax Season.“This special sign-up period could help the Biden administration start reversing incremental declines in ACA enrollment. Over the course of the Trump administration, the number of people buying coverage on HealthCare.gov gradually eroded. Biden, who has made boosting marketplace enrollment a top goal, said yesterday that ‘basically the best way’ to describe his action is that it is intended “to undo the damage Trump has done.” [Washington Post, 1/29/21

  • The Health 202: “Biden’s Health Care Order Puts Medicaid Work Requirements Under the Microscope.” “Biden’s health-care order puts Medicaid work requirements under the microscope. Biden’s executive order on health care also directs federal agencies to reexamine rules that have made it more difficult for people to enroll in Medicaid or that could undermine protections for people with preexisting conditions.” [Washington Post, 1/29/21

Talking Points Memo: Biden Signs Exec Order ‘Restoring the Affordable Care Act’ After Trump’s Sabotage Attempts. “During its first two years, the Trump administration gutted money for advertising and for community groups that helped people enroll, seeing such an effort as wasteful. Biden’s executive order to reopen enrollment for a three-month period, extending from  Feb. 15 and May 15, may help people who have lost coverage in the past year due to the pandemic. Enrollment will be open, however, to those seeking health insurance for any reason, in any of the 36 states that use Healthcare.gov.” [Talking Points Memo, 1/28/21]

State Leaders Praise Protect Our Care’s Agenda For “The Health Care Congress”

Health care activists and elected officials from across the country are praising Protect Our Care’s agenda for the 116th Congress that will lower costs and improve care for all Americans. Leaders in Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, North Carolina and Ohio are among those who have weighed in on the opportunity Congress has to build on the current health care law by making access to health care more affordable and accessible to all Americans.

 

Arizona Republic: Gallego, Kirkpatrick Call For ‘Health Care Congress’ To Fight For ACA. “The partisan battle over health care continued Tuesday as the liberal group ‘Protect Our Care Arizona’ demanded that Congress keep fighting for the Affordable Care Act amid ongoing attacks by President Donald Trump’s administration. Joined by Reps. Ruben Gallego and Ann Kirkpatrick, the Democratic coalition known for defending former President Barack Obama’s signature health-care-reform law — which critics on the right dubbed ‘Obamacare’ — called for the new 116th Congress to right the wrongs they say Republicans have done in the health-care realm. [AZCentral,1/30/19]

Tucson Weekly: Reps. Gallego And Kirkpatrick Talk Health Care.Ruben Gallego (CD-7) and Ann Kirkpatrick (CD-2), two Democratic representatives in U.S. Congress joined Alicia Held, an Arizona healthcare advocate, to talk about the state of health coverage in Arizona. They discussed what citizens can expect in the future during a press call hosted by Protect Our Care Arizona. Rep. Gallego said more than 20 million Americans have healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act, while Republicans have ‘waged a war’ against it. He said Democrats need to fight back in order to keep coverage for those who need it most. ‘Americans shouldn’t have to choose between paying for healthcare and buying groceries,’ he said.” [Tucson Weekly, 1/29/19]

Denver Westword: Attacking Outrageous Health-Care Costs In Colorado And Beyond.A new report released today suggests ways for the U.S. Congress to fight rising health-care costs. Meanwhile, Colorado Governor Jared Polis just signed an executive order creating what’s been dubbed the Office of Saving People Money on Health Care. Anne Shoup, communications director for Protect Our Care, a coalition in Washington, D.C. (with staff assigned to Colorado), that put out the report, ‘The Health Care Congress: Cost, Coverage, Consumer Protections,’ sees these efforts as both timely and complementary. As Shoup notes, ‘We’re calling on Congress to enact cost-saving measures for people, but it’s hard to say what we can actually get done…it’s encouraging to see a state like Colorado step forward to find ways to lower costs for its constituents.’” [Westword, 1/24/19]

Daily Iowan, Iowa Starting Line, Iowa State Daily: This Must Be The Health Care Congress. “Iowans and Americans have demanded access to quality, affordable coverage at the ballot box and millions in our state and across the country deserve to have this year’s Congress be the ‘Health Care Congress. What would that mean, for this to be the Health Care Congress? First,Congress should do everything possible to overturn last year’s federal court decision that struck down the ACA, which President Trump has repeatedly celebrated and which has faced virtually no opposition from Senator Ernst and other Republican members of Congress…the Health Care Congress also has to end the Republican war on people with pre-existing conditions…the Health Care Congress can and should strengthen Medicaid and Medicare. Aside from extending and increasing federal funding for Medicaid expansion, they can improve Medicare’s affordability by adding an out-of-pocket maximum for older Americans.” [The Daily Iowan, 1/24/19]

BlueNC: Protect Our Care Announces Health Care Agenda for New Congress. “This week, Protect Our Care unveiled their health care agenda for the new Congress. The agenda is detailed in a new report, which calls for bold Congressional action to defend the Affordable Care Act against Republican attacks, strengthen Medicaid and Medicare, lower costs, and enact further protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions. Congressman David Price and State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri joined Protect Our Care North Carolina on a press call yesterday discussing the report – The Health Care Congress: Cost, Coverage, Consumer Protections – and what it means for North Carolina. ‘The voters want us to protect their health care,’ Representative David Price said. ‘They want us to protect the Affordable Care Act…and they want us to do whatever it takes to bring affordable, good health care to all of our people.’ ‘In November…affordable health care was the top issue for North Carolinians,’ State Sen. Jay Chaudhuri said. ‘Republicans…have two options for how they will govern – they can work with Democrats to find common ground, or they can continue to carry out a highly partisan agenda.’” [BlueNC, 1/25/19]

Gongwer News Service: Advocates Urge Congress To Expand Health Care Access. “During a Columbus press conference, representatives from Protect Our Care Ohio and several allied groups touted the organization’s January report laying out the group’s health care priorities for Congress. Titled ‘The Health Care Congress: Cost, Coverage, Consumer Protections,’ the paper outlines several steps advocates argue would shore up health care options and lower treatment costs for residents of the Buckeye State. The group’s report comes a day after Gallup found that the percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance increased 1.3 percentage points in the fourth quarter of 2017 compared to a year before, representing the largest single-year increase measured by the polling firm and Sharecare since they began tracking the rate in 2008. ‘There are many things this Congress could be doing to improve care and lower costs,’ Protect Our Care spokeswoman Amanda Wurst said. ‘Republicans in the Congress need to end their continued attack on the Affordable Care Act and join their Democratic colleagues in protecting our care.’” [Gongwer, 1/28/19]

Hannah Report: Groups Urge Congress to Protect the Affordable Care Act, Health Care. “Advocates who favor the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, urged Congress Friday to take steps to protect health care for Americans, including for those with pre-existing conditions and people who enrolled in Medicaid thanks to the ACA’s expanded requirements. The groups, which include For Our Future, Protect Our Care Ohio, ProgressOhio, and the Universal Health Care Action Network (UHCAN) Ohio, said the biggest threat to health care is a federal lawsuit originating in Texas that saw a federal judge rule the ACA was unable to stand on its own after Congress eliminated the tax penalty for not having health insurance. But they said there are other threats to the law as well, including efforts by the Trump administration to weaken it. Amanda Wurst, the Ohio director of Protect Our Care, said at a press conference held Friday in Columbus that Congress can take other steps to help lower the cost of health care in addition to preserving protections for those with preexisting conditions.” [Hannah Report, 1/25/19]