Washington, DC – New Census Bureau data released today shows the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans continued sabotage of our health care system is increasing the number of uninsured Americans. 1.9 million Americans became uninsured last year, increasing from 25.6 million in 2017 to 27.5 million in 2018 – the first time in nearly a decade the number of uninsured has gone up. In response, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach issued the following statement:

“The latest Census numbers prove once again that the Trump-GOP sabotage agenda continues to wreak havoc on American health care and prevent Americans from getting the coverage they need. With their ongoing lawsuit to overturn the health care law, sabotage of open enrollment and promotion of junk insurance plans, Republicans have purposefully created chaos and uncertainty in our health care system. As a result of their sabotage, nearly two million more Americans were uninsured last year. The more Republicans continue to double down on their war on health care, the more we will see further drops in coverage and increased anxiety from Americans over the future of their health care.” 

BACKGROUND:

TRUMP’S SABOTAGE AGENDA

  • The Trump Administration Is Pushing Junk Plans That Allow Discrimination Against People With Pre-Existing Conditions And Don’t Require Coverage For Prescription Drugs, Maternity Care, And Hospitalization. In August 2018, the administration finalized a rule that expands the availability of so called short-term, limited duration plans from three months to just under twelve months and allows them to renew such plans for up to three years. Since finalizing the rule, the Trump administration has urged groups that help people sign up for coverage to push consumers toward these junk plans and has issued guidance urging states to let ACA subsidies be used to purchase these skimpy plans. Short-term plans can exclude or deny key medical services such as prescription drug coverage, hospitalization, and maternity care. Even when plans say they cover prescription drugs, the benefit is often capped at a limit, such as $3,000. Adding insult to injury, short-term plans have a history of finding ways to deny coverage after people become sick. Expanding access to short-term junk plans also siphons away younger and healthier people from the marketplace, leaving mostly older and sicker people to have to pay more for the coverage they need. These plans put insurance companies back in charge, not consumers. 
  • The Trump Administration Has Sabotaged Open Enrollment. They cut funding for navigator grants—programs designed to provide outreach, education, and enrollment assistance for marketplace consumers — from $37 million in 2018 to $10 million. In 2017, the Administration also cut the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – which resulted in as many as 1.1 million fewer people getting covered.
  • The Trump Administration Supports Onerous Paperwork Requirements That Take Health Care Away From Up To 4 Million Americans Covered By Medicaid. After Arkansas imposed the nation’s first so-called work requirements program, nearly 17,000 residents lost Medicaid coverage. While these state efforts have been blocked by a federal judge, the Trump administration keeps fighting to impose work reporting requirements in Medicaid, appealing federal court rulings that blocked such requirements because they are illegal.

More on Trump’s health care sabotage can be found here.