Washington DC – During a recent interview regarding conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor decision in the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit, Senator Cory Gardner refused to denounce the efforts of Republican attorneys general, governors, and the Trump Administration. By siding with his GOP allies, Sen. Gardner is once again supporting the Republican war on health care to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response:
“Don’t be fooled, Gardner voted to do what the court has just accomplished: rollback the health care law, end people’s protections, and kick people off their life-saving coverage. If he feels differently now, he should denounce the lawsuit and sign on to the Senate resolution to intervene in opposition to it. Otherwise, you can count on Cory Gardner continuing to stand with the Trump administration and Republicans who want to repeal the law, kick kids off their parent’s policies and deny coverage to millions of Americans and Coloradans. And in the end, if Gardner continues to be a soldier in the Republican war on American health care, voters will show him the door just as they did scores of his congressional colleagues in November.”
What’s at stake for Colorado:
- The coverage that 419,000 Coloradans gained through the ACA by 2015.
- Protections for 2,350,900 Coloradans who have a pre-existing health condition.
- The health care of roughly 40,000 young adults in Colorado who have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.
- 450,900 Coloradans who have coverage because of Medicaid expansion.
- The nearly 2,519,638 Coloradans, most of whom have employer coverage, who can access free preventive care at no cost.
- The 2,949,000 Coloradans with employer coverage who no longer have to worry about lifetime or annual limits.
- Seniors’ drug savings — 56,531 Colorado seniors are saving $61.1 million on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,081 per beneficiary because the ACA closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole.
Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, 17.1 Million People Could Lose Their Coverage
According to the Urban Institute, 17.1 million people would lose coverage in the first year by repealing the Affordable Care Act, leading to a 50 percent increase in the uninsured rate.
Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Be Put Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 130 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition
- According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 130 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
- 44 million people who have high blood pressure
- 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
- 44 million people who have high cholesterol
- 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
- 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
- 17 million children. One in four children, or roughly 17 million, have a pre-existing condition.
- 68 million women. More than half of women and girls nationally have a pre-existing condition.
- 30 million people aged 55-64. 84 percent of older adults, 30.5 million Americans between age 55 and 64, have a pre-existing condition.
- 2,350,900 Coloradans have a pre-existing condition.
Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Deny Or Drop Coverage Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition
Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick.
- A 2010 congressional report found that the top four health insurance companies denied coverage to one in seven consumers on the individual market over a three year period.
- A 2009 congressional report found that the of the largest insurance companies had retroactively canceled coverage for 20,000 people over the previous five year period
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Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Charge You More
- More than 100 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition Could Be Forced to Pay More. An analysis by Avalere finds that “102 million individuals, not enrolled in major public programs like Medicaid or Medicare, have a pre-existing medical condition and could therefore face higher premiums or significant out-of-pocket costs” thanks to the Republican lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
- Insurance Companies Could Charge Premium Surcharges in the Six Figures. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, insurance companies would be able to charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The health repeal bill the House passed in 2017 had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.
- Women Could Be Charged More Than Men for the Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
- People Over the Age of 50 Could Face a $4,000 “Age Tax,” Including $ 4,302 in Colorado. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, insurance companies could be able to charge people over 50 more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, including $ 4,302 in Colorado, according to the AARP.
- Nine Million People in the Marketplaces Would Pay More for Coverage, Including 102,628 Coloradans. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, consumers would no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage will have to pay more, including 102,628 in Colorado.
- Seniors Would Have to Pay More for Prescription Drugs. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, seniors could have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 CMS report. In Colorado, 56,531 seniors each saved an average of $1,081.
Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have the Power to Limit the Care You Get, Even If You Have Insurance Through Your Employer
- Insurance Companies Do Not Have to Provide the Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.
- Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage.
- Large Employers Could Choose to Follow Any State’s Guidance, Enabling Them Put Annual and Lifetime Limits on Their Employees’ Health Care. Without the ACA’s definition of essential health benefits (EHB) in even some states, states could eliminate them altogether. Large employers could choose to apply any state’s standard, making state regulations essentially meaningless. Because the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits only applies to essential health benefits, this change would allow employers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on their employees’ coverage.
Because Judge O’Connor Sides With Republicans, Medicaid Expansion Could Be Repealed
- Fifteen million people have coverage through the expanded Medicaid program, including 450,900 in Colorado.