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ACA Archives — Page 2 of 2 — Protect Our Care

Wisconsin Governor Fights Back Republicans Attempts To Weaken Protections For Pre-existing Conditions

Washington DC —  Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate are attempting to pass new legislation that falsely claims to ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions continue, despite their efforts to invalidate them in federal court. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response:

“Republicans efforts in Wisconsin to push a bill that allows lifetime limits and annual caps on health care coverage is a travesty. Calling this bill any sort of ‘protection’ for people with pre-existing conditions is a fraud. Governor Evers rightly pledged to fully defend his constituents who have pre-existing conditions by vowing to oppose any legislation that rolls back protections for Wisconsinites. Let’s be clear: AB 1 would roll back the clock on vital protections and take Wisconsin back to the days where insurance companies could write the rules.”

BACKGROUND:

What Policies Would Actually Ensure Pre-existing Conditions Are Protected?

  1. Guaranteed Issue and Community Rating: Forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on health status or charging more.
  2. Essential Health Benefits: Required coverage benefits that help consumers with common health needs and prevent insurers from cutting benefits to lower costs.
  3. Prohibitions On Lifetime And Annual Limits: Prevents insurance companies from saying a consumer has maxed out their benefits in a given year.
  4. Prohibitions On Pre-existing Condition Exclusions: Insurance companies must not be able to sell coverage that can exclude coverage for certain conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, or asthma.

WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS’ BILL FAILS THIS TEST

The language of the bill does nothing to prevent insurance companies from reinstating annual and lifetime limits that insurers use to restrict the amount of coverage someone can use.

The bill does not preserve the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, essentially allowing insurers to sell plans exempt from covering basic services like maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs.

Absent these protections, an insurance company could sell coverage to a cancer patient but refuse to cover their hospitalization or prescription drugs and drop their coverage once they reach their lifetime limit.

The bill does nothing to withdraw Wisconsin’s support for the Texas lawsuit that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act and its current protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

 

MILLIONS OF WISCONSINITES AT RISK

2,435,700 Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. About one in two Wisconsinites, 51 percent, lives with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

1,187,000 Wisconsin Women And Girls Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Approximately 1,187,000 women and girls in Wisconsin live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress and the National Partnership For Women and Families, June 2018]

308,100 Wisconsin Children Already Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Roughly 308,000 Wisconsinites below age 18 live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

616,900 Older Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. 616,900 Wisconsin adults between the ages of 55 and 64 live with at least one pre-existing condition, meaning attacks on these protections significantly threaten Wisconsinites approaching Medicare age. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

 

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OUTLAWED DISCRIMINATION BASED ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS — GOP LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN THE LAW BRINGS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS BACK

Because Of The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Deny Coverage Or Charge More Because Of Pre-Existing Conditions. Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a ‘pre-existing condition’ — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.” [HHS]

The ACA Outlawed Medical Underwriting, The Practice That Let Insurance Companies Charge Sick People And Women More. As the Brookings Institution summarizes, “The ACA outlawed medical underwriting, which had enabled insurance carriers to court the healthiest customers while denying coverage to people likely to need costly care. The ACA guaranteed that all applicants could buy insurance and that their premiums would not be adjusted for gender or personal characteristics other than age and smoking.”

The ACA Stopped Companies From Charging Women More Than Men For The Same Plan. The Affordable Care Act eliminated “gender rating,” meaning American women no longer have to pay an aggregated $1 billion more per year than men for the same coverage.

Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Rescind Coverage Because of Illness. Because of the ACA, insurance companies can no longer rescind or cancel someone’s coverage arbitrarily if they get sick.

 

HEALTH CARE WAS THE TOP ISSUE FOR WISCONSIN VOTERS

A Public Policy Polling election day survey of Wisconsin voters found that health care was the top issue for voters in the state and that they overwhelmingly favored Democrats on it, propelling Tony Evers to victory.

  • 68% of voters said that health care was either a very important issue or the most important issue to them. Those voters supported Evers over Scott Walker 65-33.
  • When asked to name the single issue most important to them in 2018, a plurality (27%) picked health care. Among those voters who said health care was their single most important issue in the election, Evers defeated Walker by a whopping 89-7 margin.
  • Evers especially had an advantage over Walker when it came to the issue of who voters trusted more to protect people with pre-existing conditions. 50% preferred Evers to protect pre-existing conditions to only 41% who preferred Walker.
  • Scott Walker’s support for the Republican health care repeal agenda hurt him badly. Only 32% of voters said his support for repeal made them more likely to vote for him, while 47% said it made them less likely to support him.
  • An overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want to see the Affordable Care Act stay in place – 62% think it should be kept with fixes made to it as necessary, compared to only 32% of voters who support repealing it.

Americans Want To Know: Will Attorney General Nominee William Barr Keep His Promise On The Texas Lawsuit?

Washington DC — Yesterday, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on William Barr’s nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General, Senator Kamala Harris pressed Barr to reconsider DOJ’s current position on the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit which would strike down the Affordable Care Act and its protections if not overturned. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response to Barr’s claims that he would like to review the department’s position if confirmed:

“Barr claimed he would review the department’s position on the Texas lawsuit, but that’s not enough. Let’s be clear, the Texas lawsuit is a politically motivated attack by Republican attorneys general, governors, and the Trump Administration to raise health care costs and take coverage away from millions of Americans. If confirmed, Barr must defend the law of the land and commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions. We will hold Barr to his word and sound the alarm if yesterday’s comments prove to be empty promises meant to secure his confirmation.”

 

Background:

During The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, William Barr Claimed He Would Review The Department Of Justice Position On The Texas Lawsuit. Watch for yourself.  

(click here)

Due to Judge O’Connor’s ruling on December 14th, Republicans are one step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act and eliminating key protections, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in his court — “chaos” in our entire health care system. If this ruling is allowed to stand:

  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people: GONE.
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people: GONE.
  • Protections for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own: GONE.
  • Allowing children to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26: GONE.
  • Free annual wellness exams: GONE.
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits: GONE.
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women: GONE.
  • Contraception with no out-of-pocket costs: GONE.
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs: GONE.
  • Requirement that insurance companies cover essential benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization: GONE.
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs: GONE.
  • Closed Medicare prescription drug donut hole: GONE.
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable: GONE.
  • Small business tax credits: GONE.

Federal Judge Puts The Breaks On Trump’s Birth Control Rules

Washington DC — Over the weekend, news broke that a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s request to implement new rules that would make it easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraceptives. Anne Shoup, communications director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s latest attempt to sabotage health care:

“There’s no doubt that the Trump administration will stop at nothing to prevent millions of Americans from gaining access to affordable health care. These new rules are just another desperate attempt by President Trump to rip away long-standing health care protections for women across the nation. But let’s be clear: millions of women have reliable access to reproductive care because of the Affordable Care Act. Under the ACA, contraception is covered as a preventive health service, meaning most employers and insurers are required to provide coverage at no charge. Because this ruling blocked Trump’s latest sabotage efforts, millions of women still have access to birth control — a critical piece of their reproductive care. But the fight isn’t over. We must remain vigilant and continue to block all attempts to take women back to the days when insurance companies had the power to deny, drop, or charge them more for coverage.”

After The GOP Was Routed On Health Care, Another Republican Is Running To Take Away Americans’ Care

Washington, D.C. – Last week health care delivered a Democratic wave, giving Democrats control of the House of Representatives, flipping more than 30 House seats, two Senate seats and electing seven health care champions as governor, while Medicaid expansion was handily approved in three conservative states. As the Mississippi Senate race goes to a run-off, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“When not making racially incendiary remarks, Cindy Hyde-Smith is plotting to take away Mississippians’ health care. Since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law, 147,000 Mississippians have gained coverage and the uninsured rate has fallen twenty-seven percent, with the uninsured rate for children falling more than fifty percent. But despite these gains in a state that ranks 50th in overall health, Cindy Hyde-Smith not only refuses to support Medicaid expansion, which would extend coverage to 300,000 Mississippians, but continues to call for repeal of the ACA. It’s unconscionable. How much longer must Mississippians suffer due to the Republican war on health care?”

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION:

Mississippi Ranks 50th In Overall Health. “Mississippi ranks 50th for the second year in a row in the United Health Foundation’s health rankings. The foundation specializes in clinical expertise and health data, focused on making the country healthier. The report cites the state’s challenges with obesity, children in poverty and high rate of cardiovascular deaths as integral to the last-place ranking. Specifically, Mississippi also ranks last place for women’s and children’s health, as well as senior health. The report assesses not only health outcomes but also access to medical care. The report shows that Mississippi ranks in the bottom 10 states for dentists, mental-health providers and primary-care physicians.” [Jackson Free Press, 12/14/17]

Cindy Hyde-Smith: “Believes The Patient Protection And Affordable Care Act, Better Known As Obamacare, Should Be Repealed.” “Senator Hyde-Smith supports common-sense, patient-centered healthcare reforms to help Mississippi families afford health insurance coverage without expanding the government’s role in providing health care. She believes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, should be repealed.” [HydeSmith.Senate.Gov, accessed 11/13/18]

Mike Espy Has Made Health Care A Priority In His Campaign.  “In winning control of the House last week, Democrats focused on health care and in particular, protecting insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. The provision is perhaps the most popular part of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. Espy has also made the issue a priority. On Friday, the campaign asked people to share stories related to health care. In a statement that day, Espy said: ‘I’ll stand up for everyone with pre-existing conditions, defend Medicare and take on the drug companies to make sure prescription drugs are affordable.’ Hyde-Smith supports repealing and replacing Obamacare.” [CNBC, 11/12/18]

Mike Espy: “Will Protect And Defend The Parts Of Our Health System That Currently Are Under Attack, Such As For People With Pre-Existing Conditions.” “Mike Espy will protect and defend the parts of our health system that currently are under attack, such as for people with pre-existing conditions. He believes strongly in increasing access for Mississippians to treatment programs to fight the current epidemic of opioid and substance abuse. He believes that Mississippians should have full access to the services and programs that are available to many other Americans through expanded funding of Medicaid and CHIP.” [Espy for Senate, accessed 11/13/18