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Premium increases Archives — Protect Our Care

Back To Business: Drug Prices Continue To Rise Under Trump

Washington, DC — Just days following the midterm elections that gave Democrats control of the House of Representatives, the Wall Street Journal reports that Pfizer will resume jacking up prices while the Trump administration continues its repeal-and-sabotage agenda. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“To no one’s surprise, now that the election is over, it’s back to business as usual for the drug companies, President Trump, and the Republicans who will allow them to charge consumers whatever they want for life-saving and sustaining prescription drugs. Not two weeks ago, voters delivered the House of Representatives to Democrats and elected scores of other Democrats to public office on the issue of health care — all in a repudiation of the Republicans’ repeal and sabotage agenda and their failure to do anything to address the high cost of prescription drugs.  Republicans might be living by the adage that they are going to dance with the one who brought them, but if they fail to work with the new Democratic majority in the House to address drug prices they may just be dancing their way out of office in two years time.”

 

BACKGROUND:

Wall Street Journal: Pfizer To Raise Prices On 41 Drugs In January. “Pfizer plans to raise the list prices of 41 of its prescription drugs, or 10 percent of its portfolio, in January, according to a person familiar with the matter. The plans mean Pfizer would resume its practice of raising drug list prices after the company rolled back some increases in July under criticism from President Trump.” [Wall Street Journal, 11/16/18]

Bloomberg: Pharma Earnings Reveal “Trump’s Most Visible Efforts To Strong-arm Them On Prices Hasn’t Caused Much Pain.” “Earnings are now in at most of the biggest pharmaceutical firms, and one thing is clear from their results: One of President Donald Trump’s most visible efforts to strong-arm them on prices hasn’t caused much pain. Pfizer Inc. was called out by Trump in a July tweet over mid-year price increases the drug giant pushed through on a number of its medicines, and the public shaming prompted the company to roll back the increases. That was followed by appeasement from other big pharma firms including Merck & Co., Novartis AG and Roche Holding AG. It’s been obvious from the start that these moves were cosmetic. Roche, for example, promised to forego further price increases this year only after it had already enacted hikes on some of its biggest sellers. But the earnings reports are further proof that efforts intended to mollify the president didn’t involve much if any sacrifice.” [Bloomberg, 10/31/18]

In October, Pfizer Announced That It Would Return To “Business As Normal,” Raising Prices Despite Trump Pressure. “Pfizer CEO Ian Read said the company will return to ‘business as normal’ on its drug pricing in January, after agreeing to hold off on price increases earlier this year following pressure from President Trump…Trump has touted his efforts to get drug companies to hold off on price increases. Fighting high drug prices has been a major focus of his presidency. Pfizer, though, affirmed on Tuesday that the price increases could return in January, given that the agreement only lasted until then.” [The Hill, 10/30/18]

REALITY CHECK: ACA Marketplaces Experiencing Widespread Premium Increases Due to GOP Sabotage

Washington, D.C – On the heels of President Trump’s widely panned and highly deceptive health care op-ed, CMS issued a similarly misleading press release in a transparent effort to conceal how the Trump Administration has raised health care costs. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

 

“Another day, another set of lies from the Trump Administration, desperate to hide the truth about how they’ve jacked up health care costs for Americans. Here’s the simple truth: People buying health insurance in America today are paying more for it than they should because of the relentless sabotage campaign by the Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress and the states. People who are seeing substantial premium increases are paying more than they should and the people seeing small rate decreases should be paying even less. The fact that Americans are paying more because of Trump’s sabotage when insurance companies are getting massive tax breaks and their profits and CEO salaries are soaring — and projected to skyrocket even further — is outrageous, and underscores why millions are fed up with this Republican war on health care and preparing to take this anger out at the polls.”

 

FACT: ACROSS THE BOARD, AMERICANS ARE PAYING MORE DUE TO TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S SABOTAGE CAMPAIGN

 

Brookings Analysis Estimates That Individual Market Premiums Would Decrease If Not For GOP Sabotage. Among its key findings:

  • Estimates That Average Premium Would Fall By 4.3 Percent In 2019 In Stable Policy Environment. “I estimate that the nationwide average per member per month premium in the individual market would fall by 4.3 percent in 2019 in a stable policy environment.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Insurance Companies’ Revenues Will Far Exceed Their Costs In 2018. “I project that insurers’ revenues in the ACA-compliant individual market will far exceed their costs in 2018, generating a positive underwriting margin of 10.5 percent of premium revenue. This is up from a modest positive margin of 1.2 percent of premium revenue in 2017 and contrasts sharply with the substantial losses insurers incurred in the ACA-compliant market in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The estimated 2018 margin also far exceeds insurers’ margins in the pre-ACA individual market. ” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]
  • Absent Republican Sabotage, Average Premiums For ACA-Compliant Plans Would Likely Fall In 2019. “In this analysis, I define a stable policy environment as one in which the federal policies toward the individual market in effect for 2018 remain in effect for 3 2019. Notably, this scenario assumes that the individual mandate remains in effect for 2019, but also assumes that policies implemented prior to 2018, like the end of CSR payments, remain in effect as well. Under those circumstances, insurers’ costs would rise only moderately in 2019, primarily reflecting normal growth in medical costs.” [Brookings Institution, 8/1/18]

American Academy of Actuaries Point To Trump Administration Sabotage As Drivers Of 2019 Premium Increases. “Key drivers of 2019 premium changes include…Recent legislative and regulatory changes, including the elimination of the individual mandate penalty, the pending expanded availability of short-term limited duration plans and association health plans, and whether changes are made regarding how insurers are instructed to load premiums to account for cost-sharing reduction subsidies.” [American Academy of Actuaries, 6/13/18]

 

American Enterprise Institute Says Deregulating the Individual Market will not Lower Overall Health Costs. “When these proposed rules are made final, which is likely to occur in the coming months, many middle-class consumers will be able to exit the ACA-regulated markets for less expensive options. But overall costs will not decline. Insurers will simply shift higher premiums onto those who remain in the current market, which in turn will mean the federal government will pay higher subsidies for those eligible for premium assistance.” [American Enterprise Institute, 4/26/18]

 

FACT: TRUMP CAN’T TAKE CREDIT FOR STABILIZATION THAT WAS HAPPENING BEFORE HE CAME INTO OFFICE — AND ON A BETTER TRACK BEFORE HIS REPEAL-AND-SABOTAGE CAMPAIGN

 

Larry Levitt, SVP for Health Reform at Kaiser Family Foundation: Before Republican Sabotage, The Individual Marketplaces Were Stabilizing. “With insurers now mostly profitable in the ACA individual insurance market, I would have expected single-digit premium increases for 2019 reflecting health-cost growth…With repeal of the individual mandate and expansion of short-term plans, double-digit hikes are now likely.” [Rampell, Washington Post, 5/14/18]

  • Larry Levitt, SVP for Health Reform at Kaiser Family Foundation: If Not For Republican Sabotage, Premium Increases Would Be Modest.If not for actions by Congress and the Trump administration, we’d be looking at very modest premium increases for next year.” [Larry Levitt, 5/17/18]

Analysis By The Kaiser Family Foundation Confirms what Experts Have Been Saying For Months, Before Sabotage Took Affect, The Individual Market Was Stabilizing. “Annual results from 2017 suggest the individual market was stabilizing and insurers in this market were regaining profitability. Insurer financial results through 2017 – after the Administration’s decision to stop making cost-sharing subsidy payments and before the repeal of the individual mandate penalty in the tax overhaul goes into effect – showed no sign of a market collapse.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

Kaiser Family Foundation: “Absent any policy changes, it is likely that insurers would generally have required only modest premium increases in 2018 and in 2019 as well.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

Between 2016 and 2017, Premiums Increased At A Much Faster Pace Than Claims Did. “Driving recent improvements in individual market insurer financial performance are the premium increases in 2017 and simultaneous slow growth in claims for medical expenses. On average, premiums per enrollee grew 22% from 2016 to 2017, while per person claims grew only 5%.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 5/17/18]

 

FACT: CMS IS CHERRY PICKING. THEY IGNORE GIANT RATE INCREASES AND ONLY CITE THE AVERAGE OF SILVER PLANS BECAUSE, OVERALL, PLANS ARE GOING UP BY AN AVERAGE OF THREE PERCENT THIS YEAR (ON TOP OF 30 PERCENT INCREASES LAST YEAR)

In citing the decrease that some Tennesseans will experience next year, CMS completely neglects to mention that other Tennesseans will see increases as high as 10.84 percent on top of last year’s 36 and 21 percent rate hikes. Health insurance experts and analysts blame GOP sabotage.

 

Charles Gaba, Health Care Analyst: Tennessee Premiums Would Have Dropped By 23 Percent If Not For GOP Sabotage. “Regardless, the net effect of all this is that Tennessee premiums are now expected to drop by around 11.1% overall instead of 5.7%…but they still would have dropped even further (around 23% by my estimates) if not for ACA sabotage factors.” [ACASignups, 8/22/18]

Julie Mix McPeak, President of National Association of Insurance Commissioners and TN Insurance Commissioner: GOP Sabotage Could Raise Premiums Yet Again For Next Year. “Obamacare premiums for 2019 would go up 5 percent to 10 percent on top of rate increases that were previously expected because of uncertainty raised by the Trump administration’s suspension of payments among insurers to cover sick enrollees. That is what Tennessee Insurance Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak told me in an interview about the impact of the Department of Health and Human Services’ July 7 announcement that it was suspending $10.4 billion in transfer payments among insurers due to a ruling in February by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico.” [Bloomberg Law, 7/20/18]

 

FACT: ON HIS FIRST DAY IN OFFICE, PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNED AN EXECUTIVE ORDER DIRECTING THE ADMINISTRATION TO IDENTIFY EVERY WAY IT CAN UNRAVEL THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

 

…and he’s been sabotaging our health care each day since.

Why Californians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive: The Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Keep Sabotaging Health Care

Washington, D.C. – As preliminary California rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicated a potential double-digit average premium increase due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care and now families in California are being asked to pay the price. While insurance companies make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans, they are planning to charge working families even more. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, health care experts predict that rates will keep rising by double digits. Washington Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Californians.”

From Covered California:

Peter Lee, Executive Director of Covered California: Rate Changes Should Have Been Much Lower. “It is unfortunate when a rate change of nearly 9 percent is generally viewed as good news, when the rate change could — and should — have been much lower.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 7/19/18]

Covered California Director Says That California Insurance Companies Added Between 2.5 And 6 Percent To Their Rates Because Of Republican Sabotage. “Lee said the elimination of the penalty for those who choose not to buy health insurance had a negative impact on rates for 2019. Carriers added between 2.5 and 6 percent to their rates, with an average of 3.5 percent, due to concerns that the removal of the penalty will lead to a less healthy and costlier consumer pool. Covered California estimates the 3.5 percent increase added to the rates will mean Californians will be spending more than $400 million more on their health care coverage in 2019.” [Covered California, 7/19/18]

Why Californians’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive: The Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Keep Sabotaging Health Care

While spending most of last year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and waging a war on our health care, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have also used their control of Washington to actively undermine the Health Insurance Marketplaces every chance they get – leading insurance companies to raise premiums for 2018 and 2019 and, in some cases, forcing them out of the individual market altogether. Washington Republicans’ goal is simple: sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act, then blame everyone but themselves for the consequences of their actions. President Trump keeps rooting for disaster, saying that “The best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode” and “Let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.

Now, initial rate filings in California forecast potential double-digit rate hikes this fall because of Republican sabotage.

Republicans never ended their war on our health care. After Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration is aggressively sabotaging our health care system and refusing to work to make coverage better and more affordable.

  • Experts from AARP, the Congressional Budget Office, and a wide range of other nonpartisan organizations agree that Republican actions are forcing up health care costs.
  • Republicans in Congress are supporting the Administration’s many actions to undermine health care, despite widespread opposition from patient and disease groups, doctors, nurses, hospitals, plus health care and consumer advocates.
  • The Trump Administration officials keep rewriting the rules to let big insurance companies cover fewer and fewer services while charging people more and more. The sabotage doesn’t stop there: last year the Administration fired many of the community assisters who help people enroll in health care; this year they are planning more enrollment cuts, making it even harder to sign up for coverage.
  • And now, Republicans are encouraging insurance companies to sell more junk plans that don’t have to cover basic care like hospitalization and prescription drugs, and that are allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions more or even deny them coverage altogether. In California, no short-term plans available have to cover maternity care, and only 0 percent of plans cover prescription drugs.

The Trump Administration’s sabotage will punish Americans by jacking up premiums again, compounding the damage done last year, when Republican sabotage pushed rates up by a national average of 37%.

  • The Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act provision and the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal will increase individual market premiums in California by an average 17.8 percent this fall, according to a recent Urban Institute study.
  • This sabotage-driven rate hike will make the damage Republicans inflicted last year through repeal attempts and sabotage even worse.
  • Higher premiums will mean fewer working families can afford coverage: during the first year of the Trump Administration, millions more Americans joined the ranks of the uninsured – the highest increase since Gallup started tracking the uninsured rate.

This could have been avoided: if Republicans had stopped sabotaging health care, American families wouldn’t be facing another huge increase this fall.

  • Even the Trump Administration has admitted that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces had been stabilizing prior to them coming into office.
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had predicted only modest rate increases if Republicans hadn’t sabotaged the markets.
  • Even Senate Republicans admitted this fall’s upcoming rate hikes were “avoidable,” but then they torched bipartisan stabilization talks at the last minute, prioritizing partisan politics over their last opportunity to help American families afford health care next year.

Despite Republican sabotage, the Affordable Care Act has improved Californians’ care.

  • 1,521,524 Californians signed up for Marketplace coverage this year.
  • Thanks to the Marketplace and Medicaid expansion, California’s uninsured rate fell by 7.6 percent between 2013 and 2016 as Californians have gained access to affordable coverage.
  • Before today’s announcement, the Urban Institute predicted that California premiums for 2019 could rise 17.8 percent more because of the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal and the Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act coverage incentive.
  • Even despite sabotage, Affordable Care Act subsidies help keep coverage affordable for 86 percent of California Marketplace consumers, whose average 2018 premium is $114 per month.
  • But because of the Republican sabotage agenda, many middle-income Californians could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more than they would have otherwise.

Californians won’t forget that Republicans and the Trump Administration keep forcing up health care costs to score political points.

  • Health care costs are a top issue in nearly every major issue-ranked poll in 2018.
  • Voters overwhelmingly trust Democrats over Republicans on health care costs.
  • In poll after poll, voters resoundingly reject President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

KEY QUOTES

Former HHS Secretary Tom Price: GOP Actions Responsible For Premium Increases. “President Trump’s former top health official on Tuesday said the Republican tax law would raise the cost of health insurance for some Americans because it repealed a core provision of the Affordable Care Act. Tom Price, Trump’s first secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said people buying insurance on government-run marketplaces will face higher prices because the tax law repealed the ACA’s individual mandate. The mandate had forced most Americans to have health coverage or face a financial penalty. ‘There are many, and I’m one of them, who believes that that actually will harm the pool in the exchange market, because you’ll likely have individuals who are younger and healthier not participating in that market, and consequently that drives up the cost for other folks within that market,’ Price said at the World Health Care Conference in Washington.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

America’s Health Insurance Plans: Republican Sabotage Will “Drive Up The Rate Of Premium Increases.” “Policies that disproportionately draw healthy consumers away from the individual market, like expanding access to short-term plans, will likely have an even more devastating effect on affordability, choice and competition. This will further result in adverse selection, drive up the rate of premium increases, and exacerbate affordability issues for many other people.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

Cynthia Cox, Kaiser Family Foundation: “In The Absence Of Efforts To Undermine The Market, We Would Be Seeing A Period Of Relatively Small Premium Increases.” “‘In the absence of efforts to undermine the market, we would be seeing a period of relatively small premium increases, driven mostly by the underlying growth in health care costs,’ said Cynthia Cox, the lead author of the Kaiser Family Foundation report. ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if we’re in for another year of double-digit premium increases. And if that does happen, it would be in large part due to policy changes that are happening.’” [Huffington Post, 5/18/18]

Kris Haltmeyer, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association Vice President: “With The Repeal Of The Individual Mandate And The Failure Of Congress To Enact Stabilization Legislation, We Are Expecting Premiums To Go Up Substantially.” Kris Haltmeyer, a vice president at the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, told reporters that the premium increases were in part due to the repeal of ObamaCare’s individual mandate in the Republican tax reform bill in December. He also cited lawmakers’ failure to pass a bill aimed at shoring up the market, which fell apart earlier this year amid a partisan dispute over abortion restrictions. ‘With the repeal of the individual mandate and the failure of Congress to enact stabilization legislation, we are expecting premiums to go up substantially,’ Haltmeyer said. He estimated that average premium increases nationwide will be in the ‘low teens,’ but that there will be major variation across areas, ranging from the low single digits to up to 70 or 80 percent.” [The Hill, 5/23]

New York Times Editorial Board: “The Administration’s Health Care Sabotage Efforts Have Already Had A Big Impact”: A 30-Percent Premium Increase. “The administration’s health care sabotage efforts have already had a big impact — but not the kind of impact officials promised. Insurance companies raised average premiums for 2018 A.C.A. policies by 30 percent. This has mostly hurt middle-class families who have to pay full freight for health insurance because they make too much money to qualify for subsidies and don’t get coverage through their employer. Few experts were surprised when the Commonwealth Fund found that the percentage of American adults who did not have health insurance jumped to 15.5 percent this year, from 12.7 percent before Mr. Trump took office. Experts say those numbers could climb higher still when the penalty for not having insurance goes away next year.” [NYT, 5/3/18]

Commonwealth Fund: Rollback Of Health Insurance Gains Spurred By “Actions By The Current Administration.” “The marked gains in health insurance coverage made since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 are beginning to reverse, according to new findings from the latest Commonwealth Fund ACA Tracking Survey. The coverage declines are likely the result of two major factors: 1) lack of federal legislative actions to improve specific weaknesses in the ACA and 2) actions by the current administration that have exacerbated those weaknesses. These include the administration’s deep cuts in advertising and outreach during the marketplace open-enrollment periods, a shorter open enrollment period, and other actions that collectively may have left people with a general sense of confusion about the status of the law. Signs point to further erosion of insurance coverage in 2019: the repeal of the individual mandate penalty included in the 2017 tax law, recent actions to increase the availability of insurance policies that don’t comply with ACA minimum benefit standards, and support for Medicaid work requirements.” [Commonwealth Fund, 5/1/18]

Center For American Progress: “Combined, The Recent Tax Law’s Repeal Of The Individual Mandate And The Administration’s Short-Term Plan Rule Will Undermine The Individual Insurance Market And Increase Premiums For ACA-Compliant Coverage.” “Last year, as part of the tax law, Congress eliminated the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate penalty. Given the mandate’s important role in encouraging healthier people to enroll in the marketplaces, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that, in 2019, this will increase average premiums in the individual market by 10 percent. Furthermore, in February 2018, the Trump administration proposed a rule to expand short-term health insurance plans… Along with the repeal of the individual mandate penalty, this expansion of short-term plans will drive up average premiums for ACA-compliant coverage in the individual market. Recent preliminary rate filings in Virginia demonstrate that these actions are contributing to significant premium increases for marketplace coverage in 2019. In fact, some Virginia insurers specifically cited the individual mandate repeal and short-term plan rule as major factors in their rate filings… Combined, the recent tax law’s repeal of the individual mandate and the administration’s short-term plan rule will undermine the individual insurance market and increase premiums for ACA-compliant coverage.” [CAP, 5/18]

New York Times: “Rather Than Trying To Eliminate Obamacare In One Fell Swoop, [Republicans Are] Trying To Undermine It With Multiple Acts Of Sabotage – While Hoping Voters Won’t Realize Who’s Responsible For Rising Premiums And Falling Coverage.” “At the beginning of 2017, Republicans promised to release the kraken on Obamacare — to destroy the program with one devastating blow. But a funny thing happened: Voters realized that repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean taking health insurance away from tens of millions of Americans. They didn’t like that prospect — and enough Republicans balked at the backlash that Obamacare repeal fizzled. But Republicans still hate the idea of helping Americans get health care. So instead of releasing the kraken, they’ve brought on the termites. Rather than trying to eliminate Obamacare in one fell swoop, they’re trying to undermine it with multiple acts of sabotage — while hoping voters won’t realize who’s responsible for rising premiums and falling coverage.” [NYT, 5/8/18]

Washington Post Editorial Board: “The Numbers Suggest That [The ACA’s] Critics’ Sabotage Efforts Are To Blame. “The effects of the president’s underinformed instincts, enabled by the ideologues in his administration, are beginning to show up in some of the numbers, representing real pain that Americans are suffering for Mr. Trump’s deficient leadership… Obamacare critics regularly describe all problems as the inevitable result of a poorly designed law. But the numbers suggest that the critics’ sabotage efforts are to blame. After impressive declines during President Barack Obama’s second term, the fund found that the uninsured rate increased in both of the years Mr. Trump has been in office. During the campaign, Mr. Trump regularly complained that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) left too many Americans uncovered. The result of nearly a year and a half of Mr. Trump’s leadership is 4 million people added to that group.” [Washington Post, 5/8/18]

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: 2018 Premium Increase Was Due To Federal Policy.Three factors connected to federal policy decisions are responsible for 14.7% of the 24.3% total average individual premium increase: Weakened enforcement of the Individual Mandate…Elimination of federal funding for Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), [and] 2018 reinstatement of Health Insurance Tax…Were it not for the three factors within the control of the Federal Government, Horizon BCBSNJ’s individual premiums would have an average increase of 9.6%.” [Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, 10/17/17]

CEO of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield: Things Are “Materially Worse” Under Trump. “Continuing actions on the part of the administration to systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out the mission…If continued efforts at the federal level undermine the marketplaces, I would think the board would have to examine what they would want — that’s very much on their mind.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Lindsey Graham: Republicans “Own The Outcome” On Health Care. “Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, ‘In October, premiums are going up. Obamacare cannot be fixed. It’s going to continue to collapse, and then, we own the outcome. By repealing the individual mandate, which is a step forward in the eyes of the public, we own the issue. We have a responsibility to do something about the collapsing Obamacare system. I believe that we’re going to get blamed more than Democrats because we stopped trying to repeal Obamacare, and to suggest that we don’t own it is just simply politically naive.’ Graham continued, ‘It can hurt us in 2018. It can hurt by our base feeling like we betrayed them. It can hurt us from people suffering from Obamacare, like we don’t have a solution. It will energize Democrats. It can undercut everything we did on the tax cut side.’” [Breitbart, 2/6/18]

Rep. Charlie Dent: “We, The Republican Party…Own” Health Care Now. “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) argued Friday that President Trump was ‘ill-advised’ to end key ObamaCare payments, warning that the GOP now ‘owns’ whatever happens to ObamaCare. ‘I think the president is ill-advised to take this course of action because … we, the Republican Party, will own this,’ Dent, a key House moderate who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on CNN. Asked about Trump’s previous comments blaming problems with ObamaCare on former President Barack Obama, Dent pointed out that Republicans currently control the White House and have majorities in both chambers of Congress. ‘Barack Obama is a former president. President Trump is the president and he’s a Republican, and we control the Congress,’ Dent said. ‘So we own the system now. We’re going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation … This is on us.’” [The Hill, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “Trump’s Not Going To Be Able To Avoid Blame For Kneecapping Obamacare.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“After Months Of Pinning The Blame For Obamacare’s Shortcomings On Democrats And Watching His Own Party Fail To Act, President Donald Trump Just Took Ownership Of A Struggle That’s Consumed Republicans For Seven Years.” “After months of pinning the blame for Obamacare’s shortcomings on Democrats and watching his own party fail to act, President Donald Trump just took ownership of a struggle that’s consumed Republicans for seven years. Trump’s decision late Thursday to end government subsidies to insurers to help lower-income Americans afford to use their coverage under the Affordable Care Act was the most drastic step he’s taken to undermine his predecessor’s signature achievement. It also lobbed a live bomb into the laps of Republicans lawmakers 13 months before congressional elections after he publicly berated the party’s Senate leadership for being unable to keep a longstanding promise to repeal the law.” [Bloomberg, 10/13/17]

The American People Agree: President Trump And Congressional Republicans Are Playing Politics With People’s Health Care.  A poll conducted last September found that 61 percent of voters believed President Trump was “trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail,” and 64 percent of voters said Trump is “playing politics with people’s health care.” The poll also found that the American people seriously disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are treating health care: 80 percent of voters disapprove while only 20 percent approve. [Hart Research, 9/5/17]

Donald Trump Is Responsible for Premium Increases

This afternoon in Nevada, President Trump attempted to blame the rising premiums Americans are seeing due to actions by his Administration on the Affordable Care Act. Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in response:

“Donald Trump has waged a vengeful campaign which has harmed Americans’ health insurance from the moment he took office. He has supported every health care repeal bill, attempted to tank open enrollment, and introduced alternative junk plans have been projected to increase premiums by as much as twenty percent. As insurance companies announce their proposed rate increases for next year, they are continuously citing actions by the Administration as responsible for the increase. President Trump and Congressional Republicans like Dean Heller should be working on common-sense, bipartisan solutions to lower Americans’ costs rather than lighting the match that starts the fire and then blaming the house for burning down.”

Maryland Insurance Companies, Citing Trump Health Care Sabotage, Plan to Raise Rates Again this Fall

Washington, D.C. – As preliminary Maryland rate filings for 2019 individual-market health insurance indicated a potential double-digit average premium increase due to Washington Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage agenda, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“For the past year and a half, President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have engaged in a deliberate, aggressive campaign to undermine health care and now families in Maryland are being asked to pay the price. While insurance companies make huge profits and enjoy record tax breaks from Republicans, they are planning to charge working families even more. Until we stop Republicans’ war on health care, health care experts predict that rates will keep rising by double digits. Washington Republicans should start working on bipartisan solutions to make coverage more affordable, instead of helping their friends in the insurance industry make another buck on the backs of hardworking Marylanders.”

From the Insurers:

Kaiser Permanente: Proposed Rates Reflect “The Impact Of Eliminating The Individual Mandate Penalty.” “Kaiser Permanente’s proposed 2019 rates for Maryland Health Insurance Exchange members represent our efforts to ensure we can sustain and deliver high-quality health care for all our members over the long term.” the insurer said in a statement. “These proposed rates reflect the expected costs of providing coverage for these members, including the impact of eliminating the individual mandate penalty.” [Baltimore Sun, 5/7]

Why Marylanders’ Insurance Is Getting Even More Expensive: The Trump Administration and Washington Republicans Keep Sabotaging Health Care

While spending most of last year trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and waging a war on our health care, President Trump and Republicans in Congress have also used their control of Washington to actively undermine the Health Insurance Marketplaces every chance they get – leading insurance companies to raise premiums for 2018 and 2019 and, in some cases, forcing them out of the individual market altogether. Washington Republicans’ goal is simple: sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act, then blame everyone but themselves for the consequences of their actions. President Trump keeps rooting for disaster, saying that “The best thing we can do…is let Obamacare explode” and “Let it be a disaster because we can blame that on the Democrats.

Now, initial rate filings in Maryland forecast double-digit rate hikes again this fall because of Republican sabotage.

Republicans never ended their war on our health care. After Congress failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the Trump Administration is aggressively sabotaging our health care system and refusing to work to make coverage better and more affordable.

  • Experts from AARP, the Congressional Budget Office, and a wide range of other nonpartisan organizations agree that Republican actions are forcing up health care costs.
  • Republicans in Congress are supporting the Administration’s many actions to undermine health care, despite widespread opposition from patient and disease groups, doctors, nurses, hospitals, plus health care and consumer advocates.
  • The Trump Administration officials keep rewriting the rules to let big insurance companies cover fewer and fewer services while charging people more and more. The sabotage doesn’t stop there: last year the Administration fired many of the community assisters who help people enroll in health care; this year they are planning more enrollment cuts, making it even harder to sign up for coverage.
  • And now, Republicans are encouraging insurance companies to sell more junk plans that don’t have to cover basic care like hospitalization and prescription drugs, and that are allowed to charge people with pre-existing conditions more or even deny them coverage altogether. In Maryland, no short-term plans available have to cover maternity care, and only 0 percent of plans cover prescription drugs.

This could have been avoided: if Republicans had stopped sabotaging health care, American families wouldn’t be facing another huge increase this fall.

  • Even the Trump Administration has admitted that the Affordable Care Act’s insurance marketplaces had been stabilizing prior to them coming into office.
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office had predicted only modest rate increases if Republicans hadn’t sabotaged the markets.
  • Even Senate Republicans admitted this fall’s upcoming rate hikes were “avoidable,” but then they torched bipartisan stabilization talks at the last minute, prioritizing partisan politics over their last opportunity to help American families afford health care next year.

Despite Republican Sabotage, the Affordable Care Act Has Improved Marylanders’ Care.

  • 153,584 Marylanders signed up for Marketplace coverage this year.
  • Thanks to the Marketplace and Medicaid expansion, Maryland’s uninsured rate fell by 6 percent between 2013 and 2016 as Marylanders have gained access to affordable coverage.
  • Before today’s announcement, the Urban Institute predicted that Maryland premiums for 2019 could rise 18.4 percent more because of the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal and the Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act coverage incentive.
  • Even despite sabotage, Affordable Care Act subsidies help keep coverage affordable for 79 percent of Maryland Marketplace consumers, whose average 2018 premium is $131 per month.
  • But because of the Republican sabotage agenda, many middle-income Marylanders could pay hundreds or thousands of dollars more than they would have otherwise.

The Trump Administration’s sabotage will punish Americans by jacking up premiums again, compounding the damage done last year, when Republican sabotage pushed rates up by a national average of 37%.

  • The Republican tax bill’s repeal of a key Affordable Care Act provision and the Trump Administration’s junk plan proposal will increase individual market premiums in Maryland by an average 18.4 percent this fall, according to a recent Urban Institute study.
  • This sabotage-driven rate hike will make the damage Republicans inflicted last year through repeal attempts and sabotage even worse.
  • Higher premiums will mean fewer working families can afford coverage: during the first year of the Trump Administration, millions more Americans joined the ranks of the uninsured – the highest increase since Gallup started tracking the uninsured rate.

KEY QUOTES

America’s Health Insurance Plans: Republican Sabotage Will “Drive Up The Rate Of Premium Increases. “Policies that disproportionately draw healthy consumers away from the individual market, like expanding access to short-term plans, will likely have an even more devastating effect on affordability, choice and competition. This will further result in adverse selection, drive up the rate of premium increases, and exacerbate affordability issues for many other people.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter to HHS, 4/20/18]

CEO of CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield: Things Are “Materially Worse” Under Trump. “Continuing actions on the part of the administration to systematically undermine the market and make it almost impossible to carry out the mission…If continued efforts at the federal level undermine the marketplaces, I would think the board would have to examine what they would want — that’s very much on their mind.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey: 2018 Premium Increase Was Due To Federal Policy.Three factors connected to federal policy decisions are responsible for 14.7% of the 24.3% total average individual premium increase: Weakened enforcement of the Individual Mandate…Elimination of federal funding for Cost Sharing Reductions (CSR), [and] 2018 reinstatement of Health Insurance Tax…Were it not for the three factors within the control of the Federal Government, Horizon BCBSNJ’s individual premiums would have an average increase of 9.6%.” [Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, 10/17/17]

Lindsey Graham: Republicans “Own The Outcome” On Health Care. “Sen. Graham told Breitbart News, ‘In October, premiums are going up. Obamacare cannot be fixed. It’s going to continue to collapse, and then, we own the outcome. By repealing the individual mandate, which is a step forward in the eyes of the public, we own the issue. We have a responsibility to do something about the collapsing Obamacare system. I believe that we’re going to get blamed more than Democrats because we stopped trying to repeal Obamacare, and to suggest that we don’t own it is just simply politically naive.’ Graham continued, ‘It can hurt us in 2018. It can hurt by our base feeling like we betrayed them. It can hurt us from people suffering from Obamacare, like we don’t have a solution. It will energize Democrats. It can undercut everything we did on the tax cut side.’” [Breitbart, 2/6/18]

Rep. Charlie Dent: “We, The Republican Party…Own” Health Care Now. “Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) argued Friday that President Trump was ‘ill-advised’ to end key ObamaCare payments, warning that the GOP now ‘owns’ whatever happens to ObamaCare. ‘I think the president is ill-advised to take this course of action because … we, the Republican Party, will own this,’ Dent, a key House moderate who is retiring from Congress at the end of his term, said on CNN. Asked about Trump’s previous comments blaming problems with ObamaCare on former President Barack Obama, Dent pointed out that Republicans currently control the White House and have majorities in both chambers of Congress. ‘Barack Obama is a former president. President Trump is the president and he’s a Republican, and we control the Congress,’ Dent said. ‘So we own the system now. We’re going to have to figure out a way to stabilize this situation … This is on us.’” [The Hill, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “The Pottery Barn Rule Comes To Mind: You Break It, You Own It.” “This is not ‘letting’ Obamacare fail. Many nonpartisan experts believe that these active measures are likely to undermine the pillars of the 2010 law and hasten the collapse of the marketplaces. The Pottery Barn rule comes to mind: You break it, you own it. Yes, the plate you just shattered had some cracks in it. But if you dropped it on the ground, the store is going to blame you.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Washington Post: “Trump’s Not Going To Be Able To Avoid Blame For Kneecapping Obamacare.” [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

“After Months Of Pinning The Blame For Obamacare’s Shortcomings On Democrats And Watching His Own Party Fail To Act, President Donald Trump Just Took Ownership Of A Struggle That’s Consumed Republicans For Seven Years.” “After months of pinning the blame for Obamacare’s shortcomings on Democrats and watching his own party fail to act, President Donald Trump just took ownership of a struggle that’s consumed Republicans for seven years. Trump’s decision late Thursday to end government subsidies to insurers to help lower-income Americans afford to use their coverage under the Affordable Care Act was the most drastic step he’s taken to undermine his predecessor’s signature achievement. It also lobbed a live bomb into the laps of Republicans lawmakers 13 months before congressional elections after he publicly berated the party’s Senate leadership for being unable to keep a longstanding promise to repeal the law.” [Bloomberg, 10/13/17]

The American People Agree: President Trump And Congressional Republicans Are Playing Politics With People’s Health Care. A poll conducted last September found that 61 percent of voters believed President Trump was “trying to make the Affordable Care Act fail,” and 64 percent of voters said Trump is “playing politics with people’s health care.” The poll also found that the American people seriously disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are treating health care: 80 percent of voters disapprove while only 20 percent approve. [Garin Poll, 9/5/17]