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Healthcare Archives — Page 2 of 18 — Protect Our Care

The Barrasso Bill: Less Choices, Worse Outcomes, More Repeal and Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – In response to Sen. John Barrasso’s (R-WY) introduction of the latest Republican ACA repeal and sabotage bill, the Improving Choices in Health Care Coverage Act, which would codify the expansion of the Trump Administration’s proposed short-term, junk insurance plans, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse release the following statement:

“This legislation is nothing more than the GOP’s latest attack against Affordable Care Act, and it should be dead on arrival in the Senate. A permanent embrace of junk insurance plans would once again allow insurers to discriminate against those with pre-existing conditions and re-implement lifetime caps, eliminate essential health benefits, allowing maternity care and substance abuse treatment to be denied, and leave Americans holding the bill – often running into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“Like the many GOP sabotage legislative efforts before it, the Barrasso bill must be rejected. Congressional Republicans should instead be work with their Democratic counterparts to come up with commonsense, bipartisan solutions which actually stabilize the marketplace and provide relief to Americans. Enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end their war on health care.”

Protect Our Care Outlines Must-Haves to Repair Trump-Inflicted Sabotage & Stabilize Health Markets

Washington, D.C. – As time runs out to repair the severe damage President Trump has inflicted on health care markets and stabilize them in order to protect American families from crippling rate hikes and coverage losses, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement and the minimum policy prescriptions Republicans must include in any stabilization bill to roll back President Trump’s and the GOP’s sabotage of American health care:

“From the moment Donald Trump took the oath of office, his Administration and its Republican allies in Congress have waged an unrelenting war on our health care. In the last week, analyses have been published showing that Administrative sabotage through short-term junk plans will increase premiums eighteen percent and increase the number of uninsured by nine million people; sabotage through the expansion of association health plans will increase individual market premiums four percent and reduce enrollment in ACA plans by three million; and the sabotage campaign against the open enrollment period has eroded consumer confidence. Just yesterday, in fact, the Administration approved a Medicaid waiver from Arkansas designed to deny the most vulnerable  health care coverage.

“Current Congressional Republican efforts to undo the damage they and President Trump have caused are wholly insufficient and rely on failed ideas like high risk pools which will leave Americans with higher costs and worse coverage. Make no mistake, impending rate hikes and coverage losses are the responsibility of Republicans and President Trump, and they are the ones who will pay the price with the public and at the polls if they don’t do what is necessary to reverse the damage. Any bill to stabilize the insurance marketplaces and reverse Republican-caused sabotage must:

  • Expand affordability by increasing the value of premium tax credits and cost-sharing reduction protections;
  • Ensure cost sharing protections fulfill their original purpose of improving affordability and Basic Health Plans are fully funded in order to protect coverage levels;
  • Apply the consumer protections of the Affordable Care Act – such as guaranteed issue, community rating, protections for preexisting conditions – to short term duration plans and protect the essential health benefits from being undermined;
  • Provide for a national meaningful reinsurance program that reduces current premium levels and stabilizes the market;
  • Adequately fund outreach and enrollment efforts;
  • Reject bringing back high-risk pools and Association Health Plans; two failed experiments that would have a destabilizing effect on the marketplace by incentivizing healthier individuals to leave the ACA compliant market, thereby negatively affecting the risk pool and increasing premiums; and
  • Reject punitive and duplicative new anti-choice restrictions on health centers.

“Many of these provisions are included in the recent bills introduced in the Senate by Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and in the House by Frank Pallone (D-NJ), Richard Neal (D-MA), and Bobby Scott (D-VA).  If Republicans in Congress truly care about stabilization, they will work with Democrats to adopt these provisions and implement a bipartisan, common-sense package to lower premiums and expand coverage options. Anything else will be mere crocodile tears from elected officials more worried about partisan politics than Americans’ health.”

Protect Our Care Supports Baldwin Bill to Stop Junk Plans

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced the introduction of the Fair Care Act, legislation which would block insurers from selling the short-term, junk insurance plans proposed by the Trump Administration. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in support:

“Senator Baldwin’s bill to stop junk plans would protect Americans from the Trump Administration’s latest attack on American health care, and the Senate should take it up and pass it immediately. Short-term plans are nothing but junk insurance, and if Trump’s rule goes through it will allow insurance companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, deny coverage when it is needed most, and drive up costs for real insurance by further destabilizing states’ individual insurance markets. The vast majority of leading health care experts oppose bringing back these junk plans. Millions of Americans’ health care depends on stopping this junk plan proposal, and our coalition thanks Senator Baldwin and her bill’s cosponsors for taking action to stop this sabotage.”

RESOURCES

  • Protect Our Care fact sheet on Trump’s proposed junk plan rule, which Senator Baldwin’s bill would block
  • Timeline summarizing Trump Administration health care sabotage

New Trump-Backed Poll: Health Care Is Top Issue, Voters Don’t Support Trump On It

This poll can’t be fake news.

A new poll from President Donald Trump’s own organization – America First Policies – confirms that health care is the top issue to voters and that voters don’t support the Trump Administration’s health care repeal and sabotage. Voters have figured out that Trump and Republicans in Congress are driving up health care costs already while putting coverage for pre-existing conditions at risk and, if successful in repeal, will drive costs up even more.

Trump’s polling showed…

1) By 17 points, voters DISAPPROVE of the Trump’s “handling of health care and health insurance” with only 38% approving (16% strongly) and 55% disapproving (44% strongly).

2) When asked what the President and Congress should focus on is lowering health care costs, a plurality of voters (41%) say it should be the top priority.

3) Among the 41% of voters who say lowering health care costs should be the top priority, 68% want Congress to either leave the Affordable Care Act as it is or work to fix it. Only 31% support the Republicans health care repeal agenda.  

This new polling, found by CNBC, comes to light the same week as polling from CNN that found health care was – by far – the most important issue to voters and the latest Kaiser Health Care tracking poll, which found the Affordable Care Act to be more popular than ever before.

Despite Trump, GOP Agenda of Repeal and Sabotage, Kaiser Poll Finds ACA More Popular Than Ever

This morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its February Health Tracking Poll, which found that the Affordable Care Act has a 54% favorability rating, the highest since the poll started tracking the public’s views in 2010.  The increasing support for the Affordable Care Act comes in spite of the efforts of President Trump and Congressional Republicans to repeal and sabotage the law.  Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“Today’s Kaiser tracking poll is the clearest evidence yet that the partisan war on health care of President Trump and Congressional Republicans has fallen flat with the American people and is a surefire political loser for the GOP,” said Woodhouse. “Congressional Republicans have spent eight years lying about the Affordable Care Act in attempts to repeal it, and President Trump has spent a year trying to repeal or sabotage it at every turn. Despite this, millions of people overcame the attempts to disrupt open enrollment and signed up for coverage, voters approved ballot measures supporting Medicaid expansion in Oregon and Maine, and when Democrats won big on election day in November health care was the major reason why.

“The reason for the ACA’s increased popularity is simple: it works. People support the ACA because it bars discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions and bans lifetime limits on care; they support the ACA because it covers essential medical care, like maternity care and prescription drug coverage; and they support the ACA because it gives them an opportunity to live their lives without fear that a medical emergency can come along and leave them at the whims of insurers, as was the case for far too long. Americans recognize the GOP’s health care sabotage is already expected to raise their premiums 20% next year. People want reforms that lower costs, not sabotage and repeal which raise them, and President Trump and Congressional Republicans would be well-served to finally listen to the Americans who continue to make their voices heard loud and clear. Enough is enough – it’s time for the GOP to end their war on health care.”

Second Study Confirms Trump Health Care Proposals A Disaster

Today, Avalere released a new study finding that the Trump Administration’s proposed Association Health Plans rule will increase premiums in the individual marketplace as much as 4% while reducing the enrollment in Affordable Care Act plans by 3 million. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“This is the second study in three days to conclude that the sabotage agenda being pushed by Donald Trump and his Administration will have massive negative consequences on Americans’ care,” said Woodhouse. “People will lose their coverage, premiums will rise across the board, and the marketplace will become even more jumbled, all while the Administration sits back and continues to play political games. It’s time for President Trump and Congressional Republicans to work with Democrats on real solutions to expand access and bring down costs for Americans rather than continuing to push their partisan sabotage efforts. Enough is enough – it’s time for the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress to end their war on health care.”

New Poll: Health Care Far-And-Away Top Issue Among Voters

A new poll from CNN finds that health care remains voters’ top priority, with 83% of those surveyed listing it as either extremely or very important, the highest percentage recorded in the poll dating back to 2002. The new numbers echo Protect Our Care/Hart Research polling conducted last month.

Key CNN results include:

  • 83% of voters said health care was extremely important or very important, the highest among all issues.
  • 53% of voters said health care was extremely important, the highest among all issues – a 20% increase from the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in August of 2010, when health care supposedly dominated the midterm elections.
  • 78% of independent voters said health care was important, which tied with the economy as their top issue.
  • At least 70% of voters in every demographic category said health care was important – a trend that stretches across gender, age, income level, education level, ideology, and party affiliation.

“No matter how much the GOP wishes health care would go away, results like today make clear that this is the top issue for American voters,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse. “Health care is energizing voters of all backgrounds, the majority of whom are furious about the GOP’s sabotage attempts, and Republicans only have themselves to blame. Enough is enough: it’s time for Republicans to end their war on health care.”

Just last week, Save My Care launched a national “Enough is Enough” ad campaign with a six-figure national TV and digital ad buy. The campaign encourages Americans to call on Congress to end the partisan war on health care.

Across the Nation, Health Care Advocates Urge Senators to Stand Up Against President Trump’s Partisan War on Health Care

This week, health care advocates in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia launched the Enough is Enough campaign to tell their Senators that the GOP war on health care and attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act must end.

The “Enough is Enough” effort is part of a multi-pronged national and local campaign to end the partisan war on health care with a clear message: protecting Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act is now a potent and positive issue in American politics. While Congress was in recess this week, health care advocates held Enough is Enough events across multiple states, featured TV, digital, and print advertising all along with a robust social media campaign and grassroots activity.  

From the polls that show health care is the number one issue for midterm voters, to the momentum in favor of Medicaid expansion in states like Maine and Virginia, to the success of candidates in race after race who are speaking out to defend the ACA, Medicaid, and CHIP – Americans are telling lawmakers: ”Enough is enough. Stop the partisan war on health care.”

   

Below is a sampling of activity in the states:

Alaska

Arizona

Colorado

Maine

Nevada

Ohio

Tennessee

  

West Virginia

Trump Brags About His War on Health Care at CPAC

Trump Header Background

In response to President Trump’s outrageous comments at CPAC, where he bragged that his Administration is “wip(ing) out” the Affordable Care Act “piece by piece,” Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“President Trump said loud and clear today that his Administration will stop at nothing to wage a war on our health care and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, confirming that recent HHS actions amount to nothing less than back-door health care repeal. Republicans on the ballot in 2018 will try to pretend they didn’t vote to repeal health care and endorse the sabotage of our health care. President Trump, the Saboteur-in-Chief,  just admitted that’s exactly what they’re trying to do.”

BACKGROUND

This Week in The War on Health Care [Protect Our Care, 2/22/18]

Idaho Reactions: Will Secretary Azar Uphold His Oath or Allow State to Blatantly Violate Federal Law?

Today, Blue Cross of Idaho announced that it will follow Republican Governor Butch Otter’s lead and violate federal law by offering insurance plans that don’t conform to the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Blue Cross of Idaho is leading the charge to take people back to a time when insurance companies could decide whether they were taken care of when they got sick, and it’s now incumbent upon the Trump Administration, specifically Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, to uphold the law of the land – just as he swore to do upon assuming his Cabinet position. How is this announcement being treated so far?

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, Mended Little Hearts, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National MS Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders: “The Federal Government Must Uphold The Requirements Of Federal Law.” “Idaho’s insurance bulletin would allow insurers to sell individual market plans that do not comply with federal law. Because the Idaho Bulletin purports to authorize the issuance of insurance coverage that is prohibited by federal law, it is legally invalid… The federal government must uphold the requirements of federal law that protect patients, their families, and the health system against these consequences. On behalf of our patients, and all Americans, we urge you to make clear that Idaho cannot authorize the issuance of health insurance coverage that violates federal law, and that any insurer that issues such plans risks enforcement action and serious penalties.” [ACS-CAN, 2/14/18]

Los Angeles Times: “Not A Good Sign For The Rule Of Law.” “If he is serious about his duty to uphold the Affordable Care Act, Azar has no real option other than to nip the Idaho venture in the bud. He could have taken a strong stand during his appearance on Capitol Hill Wednesday, but failed. That’s not a good sign for the rule of law.” [LA Times, 2/14/18]

Business Insider: “HHS Is Required By The ACA To Step In And Take Over Regulation Of Any State That Does Not Meet Regulatory Standards.” “Blue Cross of Idaho announced Wednesday it would take advantage of the state’s new loophole for Affordable Care Act regulations, prompting questions over how the Trump administration will respond… HHS is required by the ACA to step in and take over regulation of any state that does not meet regulatory standards, and the department has done so in four states already.” [Business Insider, 2/14/18]

The Hill: The Proposed Plans Contain Features “Not Allowed.” “[The] proposal is legally questionable and has drawn backlash from Democrats who say he is simply ignoring federal law. The [plans] would charge people with pre-existing conditions more and have a limit of $1 million in claims per year, according to the Idaho Statesman. Both of those features are not allowed under ObamaCare… Democrats have been pressuring Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar to step in to stop Idaho’s plan and enforce the law.” [The Hill, 2/14/18]

Washington Examiner: Proposed Plans “Put Pressure On The Federal Government To Step In And Enforce Rules.” “Many experts have questioned whether this would survive a legal challenge, because Obamacare requires plans sold on the law’s insurance marketplaces, which offer coverage on the individual market, to meet certain benefit requirements… Idaho’s action has put pressure on the federal government to step in and enforce rules that the Trump administration has pushed to repeal.” [Washington Examiner, 2/14/18]

Bloomberg: Proposed Policies “Are Specifically Forbidden.” “[The policies proposed] are specifically forbidden by the 2010 law. The move sets up a potential conflict with the federal government. While President Donald Trump has said he opposes the law and has taken steps to undermine it, the administration will have to decide whether to enforce legal requirements that remain on the books.” [Bloomberg, 2/14/18]

Washington Times: The Trump Administration “Is Responsible For Enforcing [The Law].” “The Idaho situation is a key test for the Trump administration, which still wants to repeal and replace Obamacare but is responsible for enforcing the 2010 law while it remains on the books… Obamacare’s defenders say the Idaho plan skirts the law completely, however, so HHS must act to preserve hard-won consumer protections. ‘It’s cruel, and it’s an illegal attempt to repeal our health care,’ Save My Care, a pro-Obamacare coalition, says in new ads running in Boise, Idaho, and the nation’s capital. ‘Call Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. Tell him to block Governor Otter’s attack on our health care.’” [Washington Times, 2/14/18]

As a reminder, here’s what legal experts are saying about Idaho:

Tim Jost, Washington and Lee University School of Law Emeritus Professor: “What They’re Doing Is Completely Illegal.” “Both in terms of federal penalties and in terms of potential private lawsuits, they are taking on tremendous liabilities here. What they’re doing is completely illegal. It’s kind of jaw-dropping.” [Bloomberg, 2/14/18]

Larry Levitt, Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Vice President: “This Is Simply Not Allowed.” “Idaho is allowing health insurance plans that charge sick people more than healthy people, have an annual limit on coverage, and don’t cover maternity care. That’s simply not allowed under the ACA. If a state like Idaho is not enforcing the ACA’s insurance protections, the federal government is obligated to step in and enforce the rules…. If HHS does not step in and enforce the ACA’s insurance rules in Idaho, it won’t just be about Idaho. Other conservative states will no doubt then start to allow insurance plans that don’t comply with the ACA.” [Twitter, 2/14/18]

Will Secretary Azar follow the oath he swore to uphold just weeks ago? Or will he allow states to violate the very laws he pledged to uphold?