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Five Things You Should Know Before Sec. Azar Testifies Today

Yesterday, Sec. Azar used his testimony before the Energy and Commerce Committee on the HHS FY20 budget to distract from the damage his agency has done and is going into overdrive to continue to do to Americans’ health care. Unfortunately for Azar, he can’t hide the truth. Here’s what you should know before he testifies today at the House Appropriations Labor-HHS Subcommittee:

  1. Trump’s Budget Would Repeal The Affordable Care Act And Its Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions. In his testimony yesterday, Azar falsely claimed that Trump’s budget requires genuine protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The truth is just the opposite. Trump’s budget would repeal Affordable Care Act, completely eliminating its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
  2. The Trump Administration Is Actively Pushing Consumers To Purchase Junk Plans That Can Discriminate Against People With Pre-existing Conditions. Though Azar said it was important that consumers be “fully aware” that junk plans do not cover pre-existing conditions, the truth is that his administration is pushing consumers to sign up for those very plans. In July, CMS announced that it would encourage health navigator groups that are intended to help consumers enroll in ACA-compliant health plans to instead direct consumers to junk plans that lack important consumer protections.
  3. Medicaid Work Requirements Inherently Increase Paperwork And Red Tape, Causing Eligible People To Lose Coverage. The Trump administration’s budget seeks to impose a national Medicaid work requirement, despite estimates that it would cause millions to lose coverage. Already, an Arkansas work requirement has led more than 18,000 to lose coverage. Yesterday Azar claimed that he did not have data on why so many lost coverage, but multiple studies and news reports have found high levels of confusion and lack of awareness among Medicaid enrollees. The truth is simple: work requirements add barriers and reduce access to health care for people who desperately need it.
  4. Republicans Are Not Trying To Give States More Choices, They Are Trying To Dismantle Medicaid. Azar has marketed a number of policies — block granting Medicaid, imposing work requirements, allowing partial expansion — as policies that give states more choices. Not coincidentally, these policies would all radically transform Medicaid and give states the power to restrict access to their Medicaid programs.
  5. Reminder: Republicans Are So Eager To End Pre-existing Condition Protections That Trump Held A Garden Party At The Prospect Of Signing Into Law A Bill That Would Let Insurance Companies Discriminate Against People With Pre-existing Conditions. When he claimed yesterday that Trump would never sign into law a bill that does not protect people with pre-existing conditions, Azar seemed to forget that Trump threw a party in the Rose Garden at the prospect of signing the House repeal bill, which would have let insurance companies charge people with pre-existing conditions significantly more, into law. Trump was so excited that NBC wrote, “Trump, GOP Leaders Take Victory Lap After House Passes ‘Trumpcare.’”

All-Lies on Azar

Day One of Secretary Azar’s Testimony On the Budget Featured Blame-Shifting and Deceit on Everything from Junk Plans to Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Medicare

Is Congress In for More of the Same Tomorrow?

Washington, DC – In response to today’s dishonest testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on President Trump’s FY20 budget before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“It’s no surprise that Trump’s HHS Secretary, a former pharmaceutical executive, would refuse to level with the American people at today’s hearing about the administration’s plans to terminate the ACA through the Texas lawsuit, sell junk insurance plans, and slash Medicare and Medicaid by over $2 trillion. Time and again, Secretary Azar refused to answer questions about the Trump budget’s deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare or provide any evidence for his baseless claim about this administration’s interest in providing protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Make no mistake, Alex Azar is President Trump’s Field General in this administration’s war on American health care. Under his watch, the uninsured rate has increased, open enrollment has been sabotaged, junk insurance plans are poised to undermine Americans’ health care and thousands of people in states like Arkansas have lost coverage due to ridiculous (paper) work requirements. While Alex Azar has learned from his boss how to lie his way through direct question, the results of his policies speak for themselves: insurance and drug companies make out like bandits while the American people get the shaft.”