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Like Arsonists Coming to Put Out a Forest Fire, These Republicans Are Coming After Your Health Care Again

By June 19, 2018No Comments

Washington, D.C. – Tomorrow, Governors Matt Bevin (R-KY) and Phil Bryant (R-MS) will join with former senator Rick Santorum to announce their latest iteration of the GOP’s health care repeal legislation. Bevin has threatened to take health care away from 500,000 Kentuckians if a court strikes down his work requirements, Bryant thinks Americans go to to the doctor because they have “nothing else to do,” and Santorum compared the ACA to apartheid. In anticipation of the event, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“That Washington Republicans have turned to two governors who have actively attempted to prevent citizens of their states from obtaining health care coverage and a former senator who compared the ACA to apartheid tells you all you need to know. The GOP’s latest attempt to repeal the ACA would be just as devastating as previous versions, taking health care away from millions of Americans, remove protections for those with pre-existing conditions, ending Medicaid expansion, and implementing an age tax on seniors, leaving Americans from coast to coast to needlessly suffer the consequences of their vengeance-driven legislation. As Americans continue to say loud and clear: enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end its war on health care.”

Here’s a summary of three horrible records on health care:


Matt Bevin Threatens to Take Health Care From 500,000 Kentuckians If Courts Strike Down His Work Requirements.  “Attorneys for Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) will tell a federal court this Friday that that the governor plans to take his ball and go home if he can’t get his way on Medicaid work requirements, premiums, and other restrictions. Bevin, who campaigned on ending the Medicaid expansion but backed down from that threat once elected, is now arguing that he will scrap the state’s Medicaid expansion if the controversial new rules are struck down by federal courts. Kentucky was the first state in the nation to win permission from the Trump administration to impose the new Medicaid rules, which are expected to throw nearly 100,000 Kentuckians off the program. With at least a dozen other states looking to adopt their own Medicaid work requirements, the outcome of the case could determine the future of the program not only in Kentucky but across the country.” [Talking Points Memo, 6/14/18]

January 2017: Matt Bevin Proposed Repealing The ACA “In Its Entirety” Without Offering Replacement Ideas.  “Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin is urging GOP leaders in Congress to repeal Obamacare “in its entirety,” including the Medicaid expansion and popular consumer protections. In a Jan. 6 letter to House Republicans, Bevin did not advocate any major replacement ideas. Instead, he said Kentucky should be given ‘maximum flexibility’ to regulate health insurance as the state did before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010. ‘States understand the unique challenges and demographics of their own populations, so repealing the cumbersome one-size-fits-all’ law will allow states to ‘be nimble’ and develop their own health care solutions, Bevin wrote. ‘Congress should repeal the ACA in its entirety and permit Kentucky to return to regulating the health insurance market under its existing state authority.’” [Cincinnati Enquirer, 1/14/17]

Matt Bevin Dismantled Kentucky’s Successful State Run Health Exchange Leaving Nearly 75,000 Kentuckians To Re-Enroll On The Federal Exchange.  “Kentuckians who’ve purchased health insurance via Kynect will have to re-enroll on the federal exchange starting Nov. 1. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday told Gov. Matt Bevin that all major milestones for the switch had been met. As of this year, 74,640 people were enrolled via the state health care exchange, Kynect. […] In his campaign for governor, Bevin promised to dismantle Kynect and move Kentucky to the federal exchange. He called the state-run exchange ‘redundant’ and said it ‘adds no value.’” [WFPI,10/4/16]

HEADLINE:  “How One U.S. State Is Leading The Charge To Dismantle Obamacare” [Reuters, 5/5/17]


Phil Bryant Opposed Expanding Medicaid Because Recipients Go To The Doctor Too Often Because They Have “Nothing Else To Do.” Kaiser Health News: What is the cost to the state of having 17 percent of the population without health insurance? Phil Bryant: I would rather pay extra to Blue Cross [to help cover uncompensated costs for the uninsured], rather than have to raise taxes to pay for additional Medicaid recipients. Medicaid recipients multiply their visits to a physician. It’s clear once someone goes on Medicaid, the number of times they go to a physician doubles, quadruples. KHN: Some experts may argue people new to Medicaid have many health issues they need to address. Bryant: I make the argument that it’s free. It’s free and you have nothing else to do.” [Kaiser Health News, 1/23/13]

Phil Bryant:  Because Of Emergency Rooms “There Is No One Who Doesn’t Have Health Care In America.” Kaiser Health News: Are there any positive benefits to people being on Medicaid? Phil Bryant: Medicaid was meant to be a temporary [stop]gap for providing you medical treatment while you are looking for a job. Now we are saying, you can have a job and still receive Medicaid. So we have changed the whole dynamic. There is very little incentive for those 940,000 people on Medicaid to find a better job, or to go back to school, or to get [into] a workforce training program because they say: Look, if I go over $33,000,  [I] will lose Medicaid. There is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room. There are better ways to deal with people that need health care than this massive new program.” [Kaiser Health News,1/23/13]

Phil Bryant’s Refusal To Expand Medicaid Has Deprived 300,000 Mississippians Of Health Care.  “As Americans across the nation begin to find out what Obamacare has in store for them, many of Mississippi’s most needy will find out the answer is nothing. That is likely the case for William and Leslie Johnson of Jackson County, since the state decided not to expand the Medicaid program for the poor under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. As a result, nearly 300,000 adults there will fall through the cracks of healthcare reform.” [Reuters, 10/4/13]

  • Mississippi Is The Unhealthiest State In The Country.  “It’s time again for the United Health Foundation’s annual state health rankings report, and like last year, Mississippi comes in 50th. Despite being a leader in telehealth and, historically, childhood vaccinations, Mississippi’s high rate of childhood poverty, obesity and cigarette smoking contributes to it being the unhealthiest state in the country, according to the 2017 America’s Health Rankings report. Of the five categories examined in the report, Mississippi ranked overall 50th for one: clinical care. This has to do with Mississippi’s doctor shortage, lack of mental health providers and preventable hospitalizations. The state ranked 49th for behaviors and 44th for community and environment — both in which Louisiana came in last — 47th for policy and 48th for health outcomes. Mississippi has the highest infant mortality rate of any state with 8.8 deaths per every 1,000 live births.” [Jackson Clarion Ledger, 12/12/17]

Phil Bryant Pushed For Passage Of The AHCA.  “Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has joined seven other Republican governors in a letter endorsing the GOP plan to repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s health care law. The Thursday letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan was also signed by the governors of Indiana, Alabama, Idaho, Kanas, Maine, Missouri and Utah. The governors say they support the plan’s more flexible Medicaid program and phased-in transition from Obama’s law. The letter says the plan offers states more freedom on how they use money for Medicaid and allows them to require that participants have a job or go through job training.” [Associated Press, 3/24/17]


Rick Santorum Compared The ACA To Apartheid.  “Nelson Mandela stood up against a great injustice and was willing to pay a huge price for that, and that’s the reason he is mourned today, because of that struggle that he performed…and I would make the argument that we have a great injustice going on right now in this country with an ever increasing size of government that is taking over and controlling people’s lives, and Obamacare is front and center in that.” [“O’Reily Factor,” Fox News, 12/5/13]

Rick Santorum Claimed That The ACA Made “100 Percent” Of Americans Dependent On The Federal Government And Called It “The Beginning Of The End Of Freedom In America.”  “What we have — what we will go to in a very short period of time, the next two years, a little less than 50 percent of the people in this country depend on some form of federal payment, some form of government benefit to help provide for them. After Obamacare, it will not be less than 50 percent; it will be 100 percent. Now, every single American will be looking to the federal government — not to their neighbor, not to their church, not to their business or to their employer, or to the community or nonprofit organization in their community — will be looking always to those in charge, to those who now say to you that they are the allocator and creator of rights in America. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the beginning of the end of freedom in America. Once the government has control of your life, then they got you.” [Rick Santorum, Election Night Speech, Steubenville, OH, 3/6/12]

Rick Santorum Called The ACA “The Final Death Knell” For America.  “They are fundamentally different than my grandfather. He cared about freedom. He cared about it more than anything else. Didn’t want to be taken care of by Mussolini and told what to do and his kids grow up and march in whatever military and conformity that the fascists were dictating at the time. As I was saying to Jim today earlier, I think we’re at a critical junction of American history right now where that freedom that my grandfather fought for is fundamentally at stake. We are ever-gradually — and not-so-gradually in the last couple of years — edging our way toward the same kind of country that my grandfather left. […] What got me into this race was Obamacare. I’m no history professor like Newt Gingrich, but I am a little bit of a student of history and I’ve seen what that, I believe, final death knell will be to America of having government control that very critical aspect of our life, which is access to the care that we need to stay alive.” [Rick Santorum, Campaign Speech, Waterloo, IA,12/14/11]

Rick Santorum Said That Government-Provided Health Care Is A Plot To Kill Off People Who Don’t Vote The Right Way.  “If we have a system where the government is going to be the principal provider of health care for the country, we’re done. Because then, you are dependent on the government for your life and your health…When Thatcher ran for prime minister she said — remember this, this is the Iron Lady — she said, ‘The British national health care system is safe in my hands.’ She wasn’t going to take on health care, because she knew once you have people getting free health care from the government, you can’t take it away from them. And the reason is because most people don’t get sick, and so free health care is just that, free health care, until you get sick. Then, if you get sick and you don’t get health care, you die and you don’t vote. It’s actually a pretty clever system. Take care of the people who can vote and people who can’t vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can’t vote against you. That’s how it works.” [Rick Santorum, Young Americans for Freedom Convention, Yorba Linda, CA, 12/3/13]

As a reminder, here are the stakeholders who opposed the initial version of Graham-Cassidy:

  • Physicians and Nurses: American Medical Association; American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Physicians, American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Osteopathic Association, American Psychiatric Association; American College of Physicians; American Nurses Association
  • Patient Groups: ALS Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Arthritis Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Family Voices, JDRF, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, National Health Council, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, National Organization for Rare Diseases, Volunteers of America, WomenHeart; More Than 35 Cancer Organizations; 469 Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Groups; The Arc
  • Hospitals: American Hospital Association; Children’s Hospital Association; Federation of American Hospitals; America’s Essential Hospitals; Catholic Health Association; Kansas Hospital Association; Greater New York Hospital Association; Kaiser Permanente
  • Insurers: America’s Health Insurance Plans; Blue Cross Blue Shield Association; Association for Community Affiliated Plans
  • Consumer Groups: AARP; Consumers Union