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North Dakota Archives — Protect Our Care

Court Ruling Helps Kevin Cramer Rip Away Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Decision From Federal Judge Means:

Medicaid Expansion is Gone

Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions are Gone

Hundreds of Thousands of North Dakotans Will Lose Health Care

And Kevin Cramer OWNS IT

Washington, D.C. –  On Friday night, conservative U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor issued his ruling in Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al., siding with Republican attorneys general, governors, the Trump Administration, and Senator Kevin Cramer  to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA). Whether it’s repealing the individual mandate to pay for tax cuts or ramming through partisan repeal legislation, repeal cheerleader Kevin Cramer has done nothing but support the GOP’s efforts to strip coverage from hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement:

“Like two sides of the same coin, Kevin Cramer and the Trump Administration have worked relentlessly to undermine the Affordable Care Act. Today, they are one step closer to ripping health care away from millions of North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, or asthma. If this ruling isn’t overturned, Kevin Cramer will roll back the clock and take North Dakotans back to the days where insurance companies had the power to once again deny, drop, or charge more for coverage. They will once again have the power to impose annual or lifetime limits and charge women and seniors more based on their age and gender. Make no mistake, these actions will hurt hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans.”

BACKGROUND:

Due to Judge O’Connor’s ruling yesterday, 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. Under this ruling:

  • 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.

What’s at stake for North Dakota:

  • The coverage that 15,000 North Dakotans gained through the ACA by 2015.
  • Protections for 316,000 North Dakotans who have a pre-existing health condition.
  • Coverage for 21,400 North Dakotans enrolled through the state’s Medicaid expansion.
  • The health care of roughly 7,000 young adults in North Dakota who have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.
  • The nearly 359,052 North Dakotans most of whom have employer coverage, who can access free preventive care at no cost.
  • The 253,000 North Dakotans with employer coverage who no longer have to worry about lifetime or annual limits.
  • Seniors’ drug savings — 11,110 North Dakota seniors saved $11.5 million on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,037 per beneficiary because the ACA closed the Medicare prescription drug donut hole.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, 17.1 Million People Could Lose Their Coverage

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Be Put Back In Charge, Ending Protections For The 130 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition

  • According to a recent analysis by the Center for American Progress, roughly half of nonelderly Americans, or as many as 130 million people, have a pre-existing condition. This includes:
    • 44 million people who have high blood pressure
    • 45 million people who have behavioral health disorders
    • 44 million people who have high cholesterol
    • 34 million people who have asthma and chronic lung disease
    • 34 million people who have osteoarthritis and other joint disorders
  • 17 million children. One in four children, or roughly 17 million, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 68 million women. More than half of women and girls nationally have a pre-existing condition.
  • 30 million people aged 55-64. 84 percent of older adults, 30.5 million Americans between age 55 and 64, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 316,000 North Dakotans have a pre-existing condition.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Deny Or Drop Coverage Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition

Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies routinely denied people coverage because of a pre-existing condition or canceled coverage when a person got sick.

  • A 2010 congressional report found that the top four health insurance companies denied coverage to one in seven consumers on the individual market over a three year period.
  • A 2009 congressional report found that the of the largest insurance companies had retroactively canceled coverage for 20,000 people over the previous five year period
Conditions That Could Cost You Your Care:

  • AIDS/HIV
  • Alcohol/drug Abuse
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Cancer
  • Heart Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Kidney Disease
  • Severe Epilepsy
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Pregnancy
  • Muscular Dystrophy
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
Jobs You Could Be Denied Coverage Because Of:

  • Active military personnel
  • Air traffic controller
  • Body guard
  • Pilot
  • Meat packers
  • Taxi cab drivers
  • Steel metal workers
  • Law enforcement
  • Oil and gas exploration
  • Scuba divers
Medications That You Could Be Denied Health Care For Taking:

  • Anti-arthritic medications
  • Anti-diabetic medications (including insulin)
  • Anti-cancer medications
  • Anti-coagulant and anti-thrombotic medications
  • Medications used to treat autism
  • Anti-psychotics
  • Medications for HIV/AIDS
  • Growth hormone
  • Medication used to treat arthritis, anemia, and narcolepsy
  • Fertility Medication

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have The Power To Charge You More

  • More than 100 Million People With A Pre-Existing Condition Could Be Forced to Pay More. An analysis by Avalere finds that “102 million individuals, not enrolled in major public programs like Medicaid or Medicare, have a pre-existing medical condition and could therefore face higher premiums or significant out-of-pocket costs” thanks to the Republican lawsuit to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
  • Insurance Companies Could Charge Premium Surcharges in the Six Figures. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, insurance companies would be able to charge people more because of a pre-existing condition. The health repeal bill the House passed in 2017 had a similar provision, and an analysis by the Center for American Progress found that insurers could charge up to $4,270 more for asthma, $17,060 more for pregnancy, $26,180 more for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 more for metastatic cancer.
  • Women Could Be Charged More Than Men for the Same Coverage. Prior to the ACA, women were often charged premiums on the nongroup market of up to 50 percent higher than they charged men for the same coverage.
  • People Over the Age of 50 Could Face a $4,000 “Age Tax,” Including $3,709 in North Dakota. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, insurance companies could be able to charge people over 50 more than younger people. The Affordable Care Act limited the amount older people could be charged to three times more than younger people. If insurers were to charge five times more, as was proposed in the Republican repeal bills, that would add an average “age tax” of $4,124 for a 60-year-old in the individual market, including $3,709 in North Dakota, according to the AARP.
  • Nine Million People in the Marketplaces Would Pay More for Coverage, Including 18,139 North Dakotans. If Judge O’Connor’s ruling is upheld, consumers would no longer have access to tax credits that help them pay their marketplace premiums, meaning roughly nine million people who receive these tax credits to pay for coverage will have to pay more, including 18,139 in North Dakota.
  • Seniors Would Have to Pay More for Prescription Drugs. Because Judge O’Connor sided with Republican lawmakers, seniors could have to pay more for prescription drugs because the Medicare “donut” hole got reopened. From 2010 to 2016, “More than 11.8 million Medicare beneficiaries have received discounts over $26.8 billion on prescription drugs – an average of $2,272 per beneficiary,” according to a January 2017 CMS report. In North Dakota, 11,110 seniors each saved an average of $1,037.

Because Judge O’Connor Sided With Republicans, Insurance Companies Could Have the Power to Limit the Care You Get, Even If You Have Insurance Through Your Employer

  • Insurance Companies Do Not Have to Provide the Coverage You Need. The Affordable Care Act made comprehensive coverage more available by requiring insurance companies to include “essential health benefits” in their plans, such as maternity care, hospitalization, substance abuse care and prescription drug coverage. Before the ACA, people had to pay extra for separate coverage for these benefits. For example, in 2013, 75 percent of non-group plans did not cover maternity care, 45 percent did not cover substance abuse disorder services, and 38 percent did not cover mental health services. Six percent did not even cover generic drugs.
  • Reinstate Lifetime and Annual Limits. Repealing the Affordable Care Act means insurance companies would be able to impose annual and lifetime limits on coverage.
  • Large Employers Could Choose to Follow Any State’s Guidance, Enabling Them Put Annual and Lifetime Limits on Their Employees’ Health Care. Without the ACA’s definition of essential health benefits (EHB) in even some states, states could eliminate them altogether. Large employers could choose to apply any state’s standard, making state regulations essentially meaningless. Because the prohibition on annual and lifetime limits only applies to essential health benefits, this change would allow employers to reinstate annual and lifetime limits on their employees’ coverage.

Because Judge O’Connor Sides With Republicans, Medicaid Expansion Could Be Repealed

  • Fifteen million people have coverage through the expanded Medicaid program, including 21,400 in North Dakota.

North Dakota Leaders Stand Up to Say, “It’s Time to End the Republican War on Health Care”

Local Health Care Advocates Join Protect Our Care to Call for an End to GOP Attacks on North Dakotans’ Health Care

Jennifer Westemeyer holds up a photo of her daughter, Allison, in Fargo.

NORTH DAKOTA – Today, Protect Our Care’s nationwide bus tour arrived in North Dakota to call attention to the ongoing Republican war on health care care. Headlined by State Senator Jim Dotzenrod, former State Senator Mac Schneider, and cancer survivor Laura Packard, events in Bismarck and Fargo highlighted the actions Republicans are taking to harm North Dakotans’ care and called on Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to work instead to protect our care.

“The House has voted 65 times to take away protections for pre-existing conditions,” said State Senator Jim Dotzenrod,” who went on to voice his disagreement with Attorney General Stenehjem’s decision to join the GOP-backed lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act. “If that is successful, it will take about $27 million away from rural hospitals in this state, and that hit will be the end of the road for many hospitals. We cannot take a hit like that.”

Senator Dotzenrod’s anguish was shared by former State Senator Schneider.

“There’s scarcely a more personal kitchen table issue than health care,” said Schneider. “Something I see over and over again are hard-working North Dakotans who through no fault of their own are diagnosed with cancer or diabetes or another condition… The important protections for North Dakotans are threatened through this unwise lawsuit brought by a group of attorneys down in Texas.”

The consequences of such a decision were made clear by West Fargo resident Jennifer Restemeyer, whose daughter Allison was born with a rare genetic disorder.

“In 2010, she was at $1.75 million of her $2 million max that our employer-based insurance company had for her. We didn’t know what we were going to do,” Restemeyer said. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she was able to stay on our health care and receive the medication that is keeping her as healthy as she is now,”

Restemeyer’s story of benefitting under the ACA was echoed by Packard, who explained why the bus tour is traveling 11,000 miles across country.

“I’m alive because of the Affordable Care Act,” said Packard. “I’m a stage four cancer survivor and I’m on this tour to defend our attacks against the GOP. President Trump may have blocked me on Twitter, but he can’t stop me and the American people from fighting to protect our care.”

State Senator Dotzenrod, former State Senator Scheider, Restemeyer, and Packard were joined by Suzy Fitterer, whose daughters were born as conjoined twins and underwent extensive care, which she worries would be jeopardized should health care be repealed, and Kristie Wolff, whose son was born with autism, a lifelong pre-existing condition, whose care could be at risk if Republicans get their way.

At today’s event, North Dakota residents, health care advocates, elected officials, and members of Protect Our Care detailed the numbers ways in which Republicans have attacked health care, and how these actions have cut coverage and increased costs for North Dakotans. Because of the Republican repeal-and-sabotage agenda:

  • North Dakotans will see their premiums rise by an average of 7.4 percent next year. It’s expected that 40 year old North Dakotans will face paying an extra $990 for marketplace coverage in 2019 because of Republican sabotage of the health care market.
  • In North Dakota, out of pocket costs for older people could have increased by as much as $11,461 by 2026 if the House-passed American Health Care Act had become law.
  • North Dakota expanded Medicaid under the ACA and the 20,000 North Dakotans who have gained coverage because of this program would find their care at risk if the law were repealed.
  • Junk insurance plans that charge money for skimpy coverage could return to North Dakota and 14,000 North Dakotans could lack comprehensive coverage in 2019 because they will either become uninsured or will be enrolled in junk plans that don’t provide key health benefits.
  • 20,000 North Dakotans who have obtained health insurance through the ACA marketplace could lose their coverage if a judge sides with North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, President Trump and the GOP in their lawsuit; and protections for 316,000 North Dakotans living with a pre-existing condition would be in jeopardy.
  • Hundreds of billions of dollars have been cut from Medicare.
  • Dozens of hospitals in rural areas have closed, exacerbating the care and coverage gaps that exist for families in America’s rural communities.
  • Representative Kevin Cramer voted for and passed a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing condition; voted for a budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone; voted for a tax scam that doubled as a sneaky repeal of the Affordable Care Act  by kicking 13 million people off of their insurance and raising premiums by double digits for millions more.

Tomorrow, “Care Force One” will head to Billings, Montana. For more information, please visit protectourcarebustour.com.

New Poll: Health Care Is A Top Issue For North Dakotans

New poll released ahead of Protect Our Care’s “Care Force One” Bus Tour Rolling Into Fargo and Bismarck

Six in 10 Voters Disapprove Of Cramer’s Vote to Repeal Health Care and Revive Age Tax

Sixty Percent of Voters Oppose Trump Administration’s Lawsuit To Gut Pre-existing Conditions Protections and Cramer’s Support for Health Repeal

 

Washington DC — Ahead of the ‘Care Force One’ bus tour stops on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 in Fargo and Bismarck, a new poll by Change Research for Protect Our Care shows sixty percent of voters strongly oppose the Trump-GOP lawsuit to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions and fifty-two percent say health care is very important to them in the midterms. This poll shows danger ahead for Kevin Cramer, who has voted repeatedly to repeal health care for North Dakotans and served as one of the biggest cheerleaders of the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement upon the poll’s findings:

 

“Kevin Cramer thinks he can hide his shameful record on health care from the public, but he can’t: From his support of the Trump-GOP lawsuit that would eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions to ads that flat-out lie about his record, Cramer has done absolutely nothing to help North Dakotans have quality and affordable health care — and worse, he’s taken many steps to harm them. For years, Cramer has voted to repeal our care and give insurance companies the power to deny or drop coverage, or charge more because of a pre-existing condition or a person’s age. By putting big insurance companies ahead of working North Dakota families, Kevin Cramer has not earned a promotion to the Senate.”

 

Key Findings from the Protect Our Care-Change Research survey of North Dakota Voters:

  • Sixty percent of voters oppose the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to eliminate protections for pre-existing conditions, while only twenty-nine percent support
  • Fifty-two percent of voters say health care is very important when deciding their vote for the U.S. Senate
  • Sixty-one percent of voters have a major concern with Cramer’s vote to repeal the ACA and allow insurance companies to charge an age tax for people 50 and older.
  • Fifty-three percent of voters have a major concern with Cramer’s vote to repeal the ACA and undermine protections for people with pre-existing condition

This poll surveyed 967 registered voters online in North Dakota on October 3, 2018 using Change Research’s bias correct engine. The margin of error is +/- 3.15% and the post-stratification was done on age, gender, ethnicity, and 2016 presidential vote.

Health Care Repeal in North Dakota would mean the elimination of:

    • Protections for 316,000 North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions
    • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
    • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
    • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
    • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
    • Medicaid expansion currently covering 21,400 North Dakotans
    • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 20,000 North Dakotans.

 

Kevin Cramer Repeatedly Voted to Eliminate Repeal Health Care Protections for People Over Age 50 and People with Pre-existing Conditions

2013:  Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 45, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” [HR 45, Roll Call Vote #154, 5/16/13]

2015:  Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 596, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”  The bill also ordered House committees to develop a replacement that would “provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage,” but provided no specifics. [HR 596, Roll Call Vote #58, 2/3/15]

 

  • Cramer Said The Bill Would “Repeal The Affordable Care Act In Its Entirety.” “Today Congressman Kevin Cramer voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.” [Cramer Website, 2/3/15]

 

2017: Cramer Voted For AHCA.  Cramer voted for passage of the American Health Care Act.  [HR 1628, Roll Call Vote #256, 5/4/17]

 

Cramer supports the Trump Administration’s lawsuit to roll back coverage for people with pre-existing conditions

Kevin Cramer vigorously supports the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back coverage for people with pre-existing conditions via a lawsuit that would eliminate the protections for pre-existing conditions that exist in the ACA.  

Cramer is now doubling down on his support for the AHCA last year, a bill which would have allowed insurance companies to go back to charging people with pre-existing conditions “prohibitively high premiums.”  

Cramer’s support for these measures puts the health of the 316,000 North Dakotans living with a pre-existing condition at risk and would take us back to the days when insurers routinely denied coverage or charged unaffordable premiums to people with pre-existing conditions, including cancer, asthma and hypertension.

 

 

The Truth Behind Kevin Cramer’s Health Care Record

“For years, Kevin Cramer has waged a war on our health care,” says Brad Woodhouse

Today in Fargo, President Trump will campaign for Kevin Cramer, a long-time supporter of the GOP repeal-and-sabotage agenda and a proponent of repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA). He is also a supporter of the Trump-Stenehjem-GOP lawsuit to eliminate the ACA’s protections for 275,000 North Dakotans living with pre-existing conditions. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement ahead of the joint appearance of these long-time enemies of health care:

“He’s made several desperate attempts to conceal his record, but make no mistake: for years, Kevin Cramer has waged a war on our health care, voting numerous times to eliminate the protections hundreds of thousands of North Dakotans with pre-existing conditions rely upon. That Cramer is taking the stage tonight with someone who on his first day in office vowed to do everything in his power to implode health care for North Dakotans is proof positive that Cramer would only supersize his dangerous repeal-and-sabotage agenda if elected to the Senate.”  

The Truth:

Although Cramer Has Falsely Claimed To Support Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions, the Truth Is Rep. Kevin Cramer Voted Multiple Times to Eliminate Protections for People with Pre-existing Conditions.

  • 2013: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA. Cramer voted for HR 25, which created a reserve fund for the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. [HR 25, House Vote #88, 3/21/13]
  • 2013: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 45, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.” [HR 45, Roll Call Vote #154, 5/16/13]
  • 2015: Cramer Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Cramer voted for HR 596, an act “to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and health care-related provisions in the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.”  The bill also ordered House committees to develop a replacement that would “provide people with pre-existing conditions access to affordable health coverage,” but provided no specifics. [HR 596, Roll Call Vote #58, 2/3/15]
  • In fact, Cramer’s own campaign website acknowledged his vote would “repeal the affordable care act in its entirety.” “Today Congressman Kevin Cramer voted with the U.S. House of Representatives to repeal the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.” [Cramer Website, 2/3/15]

Why The Truth Matters:

  • Roughly 275,000 North Dakotans Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. [CAP, 4/5/17]
  • Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care.
  • Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive.
  • Young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26. Because of the ACA, roughly 7,000 young adults in North Dakota have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.
  • Allowed states to expand Medicaid. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid. 18,000 North Dakotans have gained coverage because of this program.

 

 

Protect Our Care Launches 130 Million Strong Month of Action

Washington, D.C. – The Protect Our Care coalition today launches “130 Million Strong Month of Action,” a campaign to warn Americans about escalating Republican attacks on Affordable Care Act-guaranteed protections for over 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions. As the Trump Department of Justice asks the courts to take away these protections, the campaign will leverage earned and paid media as well as grassroots advocacy to highlight the true cost of letting insurance companies bring back discrimination.

“There are over 130 million Americans out there with pre-existing conditions who deserve to know that Republicans are trying to let insurance companies take away their coverage,” said Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse. “The Trump Department of Justice just declared war on people who have a history of diabetes, asthma, or cancer. This month, our coalition of health care advocates will be conducting an aggressive information campaign to make sure people know what’s at stake.”

The campaign launches this morning with a new digital ad targeted to 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

Watch Digital Ad

Protect Our Care is also rolling out 51 fact sheets this morning highlighting the impact residents would face in each state if the Trump Administration wins its case and takes away pre-existing condition protections, and dozens of events are set to take place across the country between now and Independence Day.