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Medicaid Expansion Archives — Page 2 of 2 — Protect Our Care

Kaiser Poll Show Yet Again that Americans Want Supreme Court, Congress to Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Washington, D.C. – This morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation released its July tracking poll showing that protecting people with pre-existing conditions is the top health issue for voters, the latest of a series in recent months – and the second released this week – showing health care as a top issue in the upcoming elections.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Poll after poll has shown the American people want their leaders to continue to protect people with pre-existing conditions from discrimination, yet Donald Trump and Republicans’ continue with their repeal and sabotage campaign to weaken these protections, raise premiums, and cut coverage. But the American people see this war on their health care and are experiencing the effects of it every day. We will make sure Americans remember who is siding with them, and who is siding with insurance companies making record profits after Republicans cut their care and gave them a huge tax cut, in November.

AMONG THE POLL’S FINDINGS:

  • Protections for people with pre-existing conditions is the top health care issue for voters.
  • From the poll: “This issue cuts across voter demographics with most Democratic voters (74 percent), independent voters (64 percent), and voters living in battleground areas (61 percent), as well as half of Republican voters (49 percent) saying a candidate’s position on continued protections for pre-existing health conditions is either the single most important factor or a very important factor in their 2018 vote.”
  • Sixty-four-percent of voters do not want the Supreme Court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including 71 percent of Independents.
  • A majority of Americans — 56 percent of those polled — say President Trump and his Administration are working to make the ACA fail.
  • A majority — 51 percent — of people living in states that have not yet expanded Medicaid support expansion want their state to expand Medicaid.

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

Since Assuming Office, President Trump And Congressional Republicans Have Repeatedly Attempted To Repeal The Affordable Care Act And With It, Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions.

  • The Trump administration just asked courts to eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In early June, the Trump Administration’s Department of Justice decided to argue that courts should throw out the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • The Senate Republican repeal bill would have allowed states to waive ACA protections, allowing insurance companies to charge sick patients more.
  • The House Republican repeal bill would have allowed insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions “prohibitively high premiums.”

GOP Sabotage Has Persisted for 18 Months, and Has Caused Massive Premium Increases

  • Last year, Republican sabotage pushed 2018 insurance premiums up by a national average of 37 percent and this year GOP sabotage has resulted in 2019 premium increases in all but two states where the data is available.
  • A new report released this week found that, in 2019:
    • A typical family of four will see a marketplace premium that is $3,110 higher.
    • A 55-year-old couple will see a premium $3,330 higher on average.
    • An unsubsidized 40-year-old will pay an extra $970 on average.
  • Meanwhile, other acts of sabotage would eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions and raise costs. View a comprehensive list of acts of health care sabotage here.

A Year After Repeal Defeated in the Senate, Health Care is the Top Issue to Voters, and May be the Issue that Most Influences the Midterm Elections

  • The Kaiser tracking poll finds that continuing protections for people with pre-existing health conditions is the top health care campaign issue for voters across all demographics.
  • A new Protect Our Care-PPP poll found voters will support candidates who want to improve the ACA rather than repeal it, and strongly oppose the Trump Administration going to court to overturn protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Last month’s June Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll found health care to be the top issue for voters, ranked higher than all issues, including the economy and jobs.
  • A June NBC News poll found health care to be top midterm issue.
  • In a May CBS News poll, voters said health care is the most important issue in deciding who to vote for Congress in November.
  • A year ago, ACA repeal bills were among the least popular pieces of major legislation in history. When the House was considering the “American Health Care Act,” (AHCA) polls at the time showed it to be the most unpopular piece of major legislation Congress had considered in decades. Then, the so-called Graham-Cassidy repeal bill had a 24 percent approval, even more unpopular than the AHCA.

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Medicaid Expansion, Junk Plan Bans, and a Law to Shore Up the Marketplace: the ACA Has a Banner Week in the States

While congressional Republicans and their cheerleaders, like former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, are on the verge of making another run at health care repeal, legislators and everyday citizens in states across the country this week took actions to expand health care access and shore up their marketplaces. Here’s what happened this week, from Virginia to California:

In Virginia, the state Senate joined with the House of Delegates, sending a measure to expand Medicaid to Gov. Ralph Northam to sign into law. The expansion will extend health insurance to 400,000 Virginians.

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Virginia Set To Expand Medicaid As Senate And House Back Budget Deal. “Six years after the U.S. Supreme Court left the decision to states on whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, Virginia is about to extend health care coverage to hundreds of thousands of Virginians without it… [Republican State Senators Ben Chafin and Jill Vogel] defended their decisions as necessary to invest in core public services, while expanding health coverage to people who need it and the hospitals that provide it. ‘I came to the conclusion that ‘no’ just wasn’t an answer anymore,’ he said.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/31]

In New Jersey, the legislature acted to stabilize the state’s insurance marketplace by implementing a state-level individual mandate, following in the footsteps of Maryland, which passed stabilization measures last month. Congressional Republicans repealed the federal mandate in December’s tax bill, which, combined with the Trump Administration’s short-term plan regulations, had been projected to increase premiums in New Jersey by nearly 11%.

NJ.com: Phil Murphy Signs Law Protecting Obamacare From Trump With N.J. Mandate To Have Health Insurance. “Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed a law preserving a critical yet controversial part of the Affordable Care Act that President Donald Trump’s administration repealed last year… State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, one of the prime sponsors of the law, said keeping the mandate ‘was needed to maintain a foundation for the insurance market and to allow the success of the ACA to continue.’ Trump’s actions ‘will usher in an era of higher health insurance costs for everyone and lower health coverage rates. We want to protect New Jersey from the negative impact,’ said state Sen. Troy Singleton, D-Burlington, also a sponsor. About 800,000 people obtained insurance coverage under the law — 500,000 through Medicaid and about 300,000 through a commercial plan.” [NJ.com, 5/30]

In Illinois, the state legislature is expected to implement a six-month limit on the Administration’s proposed short-term junk plans, restoring them to their original intention and protecting Illinoisans’ health and the state’s insurance marketplace. The move follows similar legislative actions in Hawaii and California, which is considering banning short-term plans entirely.

Chicago Tribune: Illinois Groups Push To Restrict Short-term Insurance, As Trump Administration Seeks To Expand It. “Dozens of Illinois advocacy groups, under the umbrella of the Protect Our Care Coalition, are supporting a bill that would impose a six-month limit on the use of short-term insurance plans — coverage originally meant to serve as a stopgap for consumers between health insurance plans, such as people changing jobs who can’t afford continued coverage under a previous employer’s plan or students taking a semester off school… Short-term plans can leave consumers in a lurch because they often don’t cover things like maternity care, pre-existing conditions, mental health or prescription medications. In addition to the six-month time limit, the bill would require warnings about what the plans do not cover to be read aloud to consumers buying the plans or featured on websites where they’re sold. The state Senate on Friday unanimously passed the bill.” [Chicago Tribune, 5/25]

Speaking of Medicaid expansion, Utah and Idaho both advanced ballot measures to expand Medicaid, too:

The Hill: Medicaid Expansion Qualifies For Ballot In Utah. “A measure to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare in Utah will appear on the ballot in November after it was certified as having enough signatures. Liberal groups hailed the announcement from the state’s lieutenant governor as they hope to make the deep-red state the 33rd to expand the health insurance program for the poor under the health law. Medicaid expansion would extend coverage to about 150,000 people in the state.” [The Hill, 5/30]

Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Moves Closer To Possible Referendum. “A Medicaid expansion proposal has passed the signature threshold, officials confirmed on Thursday, but said further review is needed before it gets on the November ballot. Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane says county clerks across the state have verified roughly 58,000 signatures that organizers submitted earlier this month.” [US News & World Report, 5/24]

In Maine, the Bangor Daily News Editorial Board called for the legislature to fund the state’s Medicaid expansion, which passed overwhelmingly in a referendum last fall:

Bangor Daily News: Lawmakers Must Fund Medicaid Expansion, Which Is The Law, ‘Not A Suggestion.’ “By expanding Medicaid, Maine will make insurance coverage available to as many as 80,000 Mainers. These are people who work but can’t afford health insurance or their employer doesn’t offer it. They are not poor enough or do not have a disability to qualify for Medicaid without an expansion. Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government covers 90 percent of the cost. Maine is estimated to receive more than $525 million per year for a state investment of about $55 million annually, beginning in 2021, the first full year of implementation. Expanding Medicaid means thousands of Mainers who don’t have insurance will be able to access preventative care, vaccinations, addiction treatment, counseling and other needed care. It will also help stabilize the state’s hospitals, many of which are struggling financially.” [Bangor Daily News, 5/31]

And in Alabama, Jim Carnes, Policy Director of Alabama Rise, eloquently made the case for Medicaid expansion in an op-ed published by the Anniston Star:

Anniston Star: Expanding Medicaid Would Improve Alabama’s Health, Budgets And Economy. “The new Urban Institute report estimates that 314,000 Alabamians would enroll in Medicaid if Alabama extended eligibility to low-income workers. That would mean an additional $1.54 billion in federal funding surging into Alabama’s economy each year under the 9-to-1 federal match rate. It also would mean rural hospitals – like the one in Jacksonville that announced in May that it plans to close – would no longer be bleeding red ink through services to uninsured patients… In any other industry, the prospect of such gains would have political candidates of all stripes blowing trumpets and leading parades. And those other economic development plans wouldn’t have the added advantage that this one brings: giving people a new lease on life by helping them get the health care they need. Isn’t it time we broke the partisan gridlock on the coverage gap? Isn’t it time we demanded that anyone seeking to lead our state offer a vision of a healthier Alabama – and a path to getting there?” [Anniston Star, 5/29]

So while President Trump continued peddling lies about health care in Washington, D.C., states across the country continued the work of expanding health care access to hundreds of thousands of Americans. The ACA remains the law of the land, and its staying power shows it has become woven into the fabric of our nation’s health care system.

“Another Nail In the Coffin for Efforts to Repeal Obamacare”: Virginia Legislature Votes to Expand Medicaid for 400,000 Virginians

Yesterday afternoon, the Virginia Senate approved a bipartisan measure to expand Medicaid. Now Gov. Ralph Northam (D), who campaigned extensively on Medicaid expansion, is expected to sign expansion into law. Advocates secured expansion despite attempts from the White House and conservative activists to stop it, paving the way for Virginia to become the 34th state, including the District of Columbia, to expand Medicaid – with Utah, Idaho, and Nebraska seeking to follow suit through ballot measures this fall.

Here’s a roundup of reactions:

Washington Post: “It’s Another Nail In The Coffin For Efforts To Repeal Obamacare.” “As Joe Biden put it a little differently when Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act eight years ago, Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid on Wednesday is a big dang deal. And not just because 400,000 low-income citizens will now have access to government health insurance. It’s another nail in the coffin for efforts to repeal Obamacare… Years of obstruction in the commonwealth gave way because key Republicans from rural areas couldn’t bear to deny coverage for their constituents any longer, moderates wanted to cut a deal and, most of all, Democrats made massive gains in November’s off-year elections.” [Washington Post, 5/31]

Republican State Senator Ben Chafin: “I Came To The Conclusion That ‘No’ Just Wasn’t An Answer Anymore.” “In the final hours, Sen. Ben Chafin, a Republican lawmaker from Virginia’s economically depressed southwest coal country, announced his support for expansion on the Senate floor. He said his rural area needs expansion to bolster its hospitals and provide care for constituents. ‘I came to the conclusion that no just wasn’t the answer anymore,’ Chafin said.” [USA Today, 5/31]

Republican State Senator Frank Wagner: “It Is The Number One Issue On Our Voters’ Minds.” “‘This is not just about helping this group of people,’ said Sen. Frank Wagner (Virginia Beach), one of four Republicans in the Senate who split from their party to join Democrats and pass the measure by a vote of 23 to 17. ‘This is about getting out there and helping to bend the cost of health care for every Virginian. . . . It is the number one issue on our voters’ minds. By golly, it ought to be the number one issue on the General Assembly’s mind.’” [Washington Post, 5/30]

Richmond Times-Dispatch: GOP State Senators “Defended Their Decisions As Necessary,” Supported Expanding Coverage “To People Who Need It And Hospitals That Provide It.” “In the end, three other Republican senators — Frank Wagner of Virginia Beach, Ben Chafin of Russell County and Jill Vogel of Fauquier County — joined Hanger and the Senate’s 19 Democrats in adopting the pair of budget bills to end a standoff that has been watched closely by national bond-rating agencies and institutional investors who hold the state’s AAA-rated bonds… But Chafin and Vogel defended their decisions as necessary to invest in core public services, while expanding health coverage to people who need it and the hospitals that provide it.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, 5/31]

Wall Street Journal: “The Growing Interest In Medicaid Expansion, Even In Some Conservative States, Suggests The Program Is Becoming More Accepted.” “Virginia is poised to expand Medicaid after a hard-fought legislative battle, making it one of a growing number of states where there is interest in expanding the program after Republicans failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year… Organizers who support Medicaid expansion in Utah learned this week that they had obtained enough signatures to put the initiative on the ballot in November, potentially expanding coverage to more than 100,000 people… A push is also under way to get expansion on the ballot in Idaho, where voters will select a new governor this fall. Democratic nominee Paulette Jordan supports an expansion and Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who claimed the GOP nomination in the primary, has said he would follow the will of the people if the initiative passes… The growing interest in Medicaid expansion, even in some conservative states, suggests the program is becoming more accepted as it appears less likely congressional Republicans will successfully revive efforts to repeal the ACA.” [Wall Street Journal, 5/30]

New York Magazine: “For A Health Care Law That Donald Trump Has Been Declaring ‘Dead’ Or ‘Dying’ Since 2013, Obamacare Seems To Have A Lot Of Life Left In It.” “One of the nation’s longest and bitterest battles over implementation of the Affordable Care Act looks likely to end very soon as the Virginia Senate approved a budget that included funds to expand Medicaid… For a health-care law that Donald Trump has been declaring ‘dead’ or ‘dying’ since 2013, Obamacare seems to have a lot of life in it yet, no thanks to his administration. Obama himself is probably sharing a bit of the good feelings among Democrats in Virginia.” [New York Magazine, 5/30]

CNN: “Despite Years Of Resistance, The State Will Become The Latest To Expand Access To Medicaid.” “Virginia lawmakers crossed an important hurdle Wednesday, ensuring that, despite years of resistance, the state will become the latest to expand access to Medicaid. The move to broaden the federal health care program for low-income Americans comes as a direct result of the political fallout from last November’s election.” [CNN, 5/31]

Los Angeles Times: Medicaid Vote “Serves As Something Of A Retort To President Trump And His Republican Allies In Congress.” “The breakthrough — made possible by a coalition of Democrats and a handful of Republicans in the statehouse — continues the expansion of the government safety net made possible by the 2010 healthcare law, often called Obamacare. Virginia’s move also serves as something of a retort to President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress, who have called for sweeping cuts in federal aid to states for Medicaid… Medicaid, the half-century-old government health plan for the poor, is a pillar of the 2010 healthcare law’s program for guaranteeing coverage, and it has helped drive a historic drop in the nation’s uninsured rate.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/30]

Business Insider: Medicaid Expansion “A Move That Shows The Resiliency Of The Landmark Healthcare Law.” “Virginia’s state Senate voted Wednesday in favor of a plan that would expand the state’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, in a move that shows the resiliency of the landmark healthcare law. The Virginia Senate voted 23 to 17 to pass a budget that included Medicaid expansion, which could extend healthcare coverage to roughly 400,000 low-income Virginians. The House must re-vote on the Senate package, but a similar measure already made it through that chamber and the second vote is expected to follow suit.” [Business Insider, 5/31]

Politico: “Trump Administration Officials And Conservative Activists Had Tried To Derail” Expansion.” “Trump administration officials and conservative activists had tried to derail the Virginia plan. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney in March urged the state to reject Medicaid expansion, and White House health care aide Brian Blase joined phone calls with Americans for Prosperity as the Koch brothers-supported group tried to rally opposition. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, who is pushing for another Obamacare repeal vote in Congress this summer, was spotted in the Virginia Statehouse on Wednesday before the vote to brief Republicans on the status of that effort.” [Politico, 5/31]

Talking Points Memo: “Lobbying Against The Expansion By Trump Administration Officials” Was “Not Successful.” “After years of political battles and weeks of procedural delays, the Virginia House and Senate voted Wednesday to expand Medicaid to cover between 300,000 and 400,000 more low-income residents. Four Republicans joined every Senate Democrat in voting for the expansion Wednesday afternoon. Later Wednesday evening, the House followed suite, passing a multi-year budget including the expansion by an overwhelming majority. Last-minute lobbying against expansion by Trump administration officials, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) and the Koch brothers’ group Americans for Prosperity was not successful.” [TPM, 5/30]

The Daily Beast: Law To Be Signed By Gov. Ralph Northam, Who “Campaigned On Expansion.” “The Virginia Senate on Wednesday voted to approve Medicaid expansion, which would impact the lives of up to 400,000 citizens in the state. As such, Virginia becomes just the second state during the Donald Trump presidency to approve such a program, following only Maine. Yet even there, Republican Gov. Paul LePage faces a lawsuit for his refusal to actually implement the program. Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam, who handily won election last November sweeping in enough Democrats to nearly flip the state’s House of Delegates, campaigned on expansion and will undoubtedly sign it into law.” [Daily Beast, 5/30]

Vox: Medicaid Expansion “Top Item On The State’s Agenda.” “In political terms, expansion is a huge victory for the state’s Democratic governor, Ralph Northam, who made expansion a key campaign priority, and for the many Democrats who swept into the state legislature last November and came extraordinarily close to securing a majority in the House of Delegates… Even since Northam won the governor’s mansion in November and down-ballot Democrats narrowed the GOP’s House majority dramatically, Medicaid expansion became the top item on the state’s agenda.” [Vox, 5/30]

The GOP War on Health Care Continues In Virginia

Richmond, VA – Following the news that a Virginia Senate committee rejected legislation to expand Medicaid on a party-line vote, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Just two months ago Virginians went to the polls and gave sweeping victories to pro-Medicaid expansion candidates up-and-down the ballot, with 39% of Virginia voters listing health care as the number one issue in their vote. Sadly, today eight Republican state senators in Richmond just ignored the will of their people, siding with party orthodoxy instead of Virginia values and voting against a plan to expand health care to hundreds of thousands of Virginians. The fight for Medicaid expansion in Virginia is far from over, but Virginia Republicans’ war on health care must end.”