To: Interested Parties
From: Brad Woodhouse, Campaign Director, Protect Our Care
Subject: Enough is Enough: the Trump Administration’s Sabotage of Our Health Care Must Stop
Date: January 16, 2018
Since taking office last year, President Trump, his Administration, and allies in Congress have waged an unrelenting war against our health care. Their twin weapons have been repeal and sabotage: the innocent victims, the American people. Their agenda takes health care away from millions, raises premiums by double digits for millions more, guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions and attempts to destroy the insurance markets.
As research released today by Gallup shows, the consequences of the GOP agenda of sabotage are abundantly clear – President Trump has overseen the largest-ever one-year increase in the uninsured rate since Gallup began tracking:
The percentage of U.S. adults without health insurance was essentially unchanged in the fourth quarter of 2017, at 12.2%, but it is up 1.3 percentage points from the record low of 10.9% found in the last quarter of 2016. The 1.3-point increase in the uninsured rate during 2017 is the largest single-year increase Gallup and Sharecare have measured since beginning to track the rate in 2008, including the period before the Affordable Care Act (ACA) went into effect. That 1.3 point increase represents an estimated 3.2 million Americans who entered the ranks of the uninsured in 2017.
As the Obama Administration came to a close after the fourth quarter of 2016, the uninsured rate reached an all-time low. When the Trump Administration took over, it had all the tools it needed to continue that progress and keep driving down the uninsured rate. Instead, as last week’s bombshell report from POLITICO revealed, Trump’s HHS did the opposite:
Early last year, as an Obamacare repeal bill was flailing in the House, top Trump administration officials showed select House conservatives a secret road map of how they planned to gut the health care law using executive authority.
The March 23 document, which had not been public until now, reveals that while the effort to scrap Obamacare often looked chaotic, top officials had actually developed an elaborate plan to undermine the law — regardless of whether Congress repealed it.
Top administration officials had always said they would eradicate the law through both legislative and executive actions, but they never provided the public with anything close to the detailed blueprint shared with the members of the House Freedom Caucus, whose confidence — and votes — President Donald Trump was trying to win at the time. The blueprint, built off the executive order to minimize Obamacare’s “economic burden,” which Trump signed just hours after taking the oath of office, shows just how advanced the administration’s plans to unwind the law were — plans that would become far more important after the legislative efforts to repeal Obamacare failed.
President Trump famously said “the best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode,” and “let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.” But the newly revealed HHS document shows just how low this Administration is willing to go in order to sabotage the law – literally putting on paper a calculated plan to take away health insurance from Americans. The plan went high up: according to POLITICO, the document was “a key part” of a meeting with Speaker Paul Ryan and former HHS Secretary Tom Price, whose job was ostensibly to protect the health of the American people. President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress are not simply letting Obamacare fail – they are making Obamacare fail.
The increase in the uninsured rate is the most clear evidence yet that Republicans’ sabotage plan is having its intended effect: taking away Americans’ coverage. Here are some of the other ways the Trump Administration sabotaged health care in 2017:
- On his first day in office, President Trump signed an Executive Order directing the administration to find any ways they could to unravel the Affordable Care Act.
- The Trump Administration cut the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.
- House Republicans voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that causes 23 million people to lose coverage and guts protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
- The Administration cut the outreach advertising budget for open enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – likely to result in 1.1 million fewer people getting covered. Advertising is a critical way for people to know when and how they can get covered.
- Republicans refused to move forward on the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill even though it had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate.
- Senate Republicans tried but failed to pass BCRA, Skinny Repeal and Graham-Cassidy, all of which would cause millions to lose their health coverage and raise premiums by double digits for millions more.
- The Administration ordered the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in open enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell said, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”
- The Administration dramatically cut in-person assistance that helped people sign up for 2018 coverage.
- The Trump administration took direct aim at birth control by rolling back a rule that guaranteed women access to contraception. (A court has since delayed their effort.)
- After threatening for months to stop funding cost-sharing reductions (CSRs) that help lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the Trump Administration stopped CSR payments altogether in October. The CBO found failing to make these payments would increase premiums by 20 percent and add nearly $200 billion to the debt.
- President Trump signed an Executive Order that would roll back key protections and result in garbage insurance, raise premiums, reduce coverage and expose millions of Americans again to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.
- House and Senate Republicans repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill in order to pay for massive tax breaks to the ultra wealthy and big corporations. CBO predicts millions will lose coverage and premiums will go up double digits.
And they aren’t done yet. Just last week the Trump Administration announced so-called “work requirements” to Medicaid, which will have the effect of removing millions of Americans – nearly all of whom are already working – from their health insurance. And Republicans have promised to go after Medicare, which insures 44 million Americans, and have their sights on the Affordable Care Act, too.
While the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress want to keep up this war on health care in 2018, the American people are saying “Enough is Enough.” Nearly 9 million people just signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov despite all the sabotage efforts. The Affordable Care Act is more popular than it has ever been. And millions of people across the country made their voices heard at rallies, town halls and through calling their Member of Congress to fight these repeal efforts.
The American people are right: enough IS enough.