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President Trump Archives — Protect Our Care

New KFF Poll Confirms Hidden Cost of Sabotage

Anxiety About Health Care Mounts Due to Destructive Republican Rhetoric

Washington, DC – After new polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation confirmed Americans’ mounting anxiety about Republican health care sabotage, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Despite everything Republicans have thrown at it, the Affordable Care Act still protects every single American with health insurance and connects millions of previously uninsured people with coverage but you wouldn’t know it listening to Trump and Republicans in Congress. Republicans need to realize that misleading the public, sabotaging the law and spreading fear has real and damaging consequences. Whether you’re a person with a pre-existing condition or the parent of a sick kid, you deserve elected officials who make life easier, not scarier. The constant anxiety Americans now face is yet another hidden cost of Republicans’ relentless repeal-and-sabotage campaign against our health care.”

Key takeaways from the survey:

  • About half the public overall believes the ACA marketplaces are “collapsing,” including six in ten of those with coverage purchased through these marketplaces. This belief reflects the ongoing uncertainty caused by Republican sabotage and Trump’s divisive rhetoric, but contradicts what the President’s own economic advisors have confirmed about the stability and strength of the individual market.
  • Because of Republican sabotage, the number of people who are “very worried” or “somewhat worried” that rate hikes will make coverage unaffordable has skyrocketed to 67%, compared with 38% in October 2017.
    • People are more worried about copays and deductibles – up from 42% to 69%.
    • People are more worried that insurance companies will stop selling plans – up from 34% to 49%.
    • People are more worried that there won’t be any plans in their area – up from 33% to 51%.
  • One-third (34 percent) of shoppers in the individual market say the individual mandate that Republicans repealed was a “major reason” why they chose to buy insurance, and one in ten say they will not buy coverage without it. Research indicates that those most likely to drop coverage are “young invincibles,” who balance the risk pool and act as a downward pressure on premiums. Because of Republicans’ individual mandate repeal, CBO forecasts that average premiums in the nongroup market will increase by 10% in most years of the coming decade.

Ahead of International Women’s Day, Coalition Mobilizes Against Trump’s War on Women’s Care

womenshealthcare

Washington, DC – Ahead of International Women’s Day, the Protect Our Care coalition is announcing the Protect Women’s Care Week of Action to fight back against President Trump’s war on women’s care. Throughout the week, Protect Our Care, its partners, and elected officials will highlight recent progress in women’s care achieved thanks to the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion, and mobilize American women to fight back against the Republican war on health care, which threatens all those gains and more.

“From Day One of this Administration, American women have been engaged in the fight of our lives against the Trump Administration’s radical anti-women’s health agenda,” said Protect Our Care Communications Director Marjorie Connolly. “Over the coming days, the Protect Women’s Care Week of Action will put President Trump and his Republican allies on notice: women know we have better care now thanks to the Affordable Care Act, and we are fighting ongoing Republican efforts to drag us back to the bad old days and worse.”

As study after study shows, the Affordable Care Act has increased women’s access to health care and improved women’s health outcomes. New data show the improved health and economic outcomes women are experiencing now that the Affordable Care Act has covered more women than ever before, improved breast cancer and maternity care, guaranteed copay-free access to birth control, and stopped insurance companies from charging women more.

Meanwhile, the Republican war on health care is using the twin tactics of repeal and sabotage to turn back the clock, making it harder for American women to access coverage and care.

These are some of the gains in women’s health care that Trump and his Republican allies want to reverse through their repeal and sabotage campaign:

Historic Gains in Women’s Coverage

ACA Brought Women’s Uninsured Rate To All-Time Low.

“By 2016, the number of working-age women…lacking health insurance had fallen by almost half since 2010, from 19 million to 11 million.” [Commonwealth Fund, 8/10/17]

After Medicaid Expansion, More Women Of Reproductive Age Have Health Coverage.

“ACA Medicaid expansions decreased uninsurance among women of reproductive age with incomes below 100% FPL by 13.2 percentage points.” [Women’s Health Issues Journal, 2/28/2018]

With Pre-Existing Discrimination Ban, More Women With Cancer Histories Now Have Coverage

Women With Gynecologic Cancer More Likely To Be Insured Following ACA.

“Between 2011 and 2014…uninsured rates decreased by 50% for those diagnosed with uterine and ovarian cancer…and by 25% in cervical cancer.[Gynecologic Oncology, June 2017]

Better Access to Contraception

Under ACA, Women Saved $1.4 Billion On Birth Control Pills Alone In 2013.

Prior to the ACA, co-pays as low as $6 deterred women from obtaining the health care that they needed, and some women chose to forgo birth control because of cost. But data on prescription drug use in 2013, after the birth control benefit went into effect, indicate a nearly five percent uptick in filled birth control pill prescriptionsThe birth control benefit saved women $1.4 billion on birth control pills alone in 2013.[National Women’s Law Center, 5/3/17]

Improved Maternity Care & Newborn Outcomes

Before The ACA, 75% Of Individual Market Plans Did Not Include Maternity Care.

“Three in four health plans in the non-group insurance market did not cover delivery and inpatient maternity care in 2013, before the [ACA] essential health benefits requirement took effect.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 6/14/17]

ACA Improved The Health Of Women And Their Babies.

“The dependent coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until they were 26 was associated with increased use of prenatal care, increased private insurance payment for births, and a modest reduction in preterm births.” [JAMA, 2/13/18]

Infant Mortality Decreased In States That Expanded Medicaid.

“New data shows that infant mortality rates decreased in states that expanded Medicaid.” [Newsweek, 1/31/18]

Better Breast Cancer Care & Prevention

Medicaid Expansion Improves The Quality Of Breast Cancer Care.

“[The study] found a connection between Medicaid expansion and improved quality of breast cancer care…The number of screening mammograms covered by Medicaid increased from 5.6 percent before expansion to 14.7 percent afterward.” [Daily Kos, 2/21/18]

Following ACA’s Lower Costs, Mammogram Screening Rates Increase.

After the [ACA] eliminated cost sharing for screening mammograms, their rate of use rose six percentage points among older woman for whom such screenings were recommended.” [Brown University, 1/17/18]

 

It’s Back: President Trump’s Budget Seeks to Revive Health Repeal

To: Interested Parties

From: Leslie Dach, Campaign Chairman, Protect Our Care

Subject: It’s Back: President Trump’s Budget Seeks to Revive Health Repeal

Date: February 13, 2018

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President Trump’s fiscal year 2019 budget proposal calls for the passage of the so-called Graham-Cassidy bill, the worst of the partisan repeal bills Congress considered last year. If you forgot – and who can blame you, there were a lot of repeal bills! – Graham-Cassidy was deemed “crueler and more cynical” than previous repeal proposals, in large part due to its draconian Medicaid cuts, and garnered just 24% approval before it died in the Senate without a vote. It was opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP, the American Cancer Society, insurers, physicians, faith leaders, nearly every medical and patient’s rights organization, a coalition representing all 50 state Medicaid directors, and Jimmy Kimmel – who analysts said had a “better grasp of health care policy” than the GOP senators who pushed the proposal.

Specifically, the Graham-Cassidy bill Trump wants to bring back would:

  • Take away coverage from 32 million Americans by 2027, with 15 million Americans losing their insurance and premiums increasing by 20 percent in the first year.
  • Gut Medicaid by imposing severe cuts and per-capita caps, forcing states to either raise people’s taxes or make draconian cuts to schools and other vital programs.
  • Raise costs on working- and middle-class families by eliminating financial assistance that helps pay for care. Graham-Cassidy ends premium subsidies, which help 9 million Americans pay for coverage, and Medicaid expansion, which has helped 15 million people get the care they need. These programs would be converted into a block grant and eventually zeroed out.
  • Remove protections for those with pre-existing conditions, with the Congressional Budget Office finding that many people with pre-existing conditions “might not be able to purchase coverage at all.”
  • Harm women’s health by preventing Medicaid enrollees from accessing preventive health and family planning services through Planned Parenthood.

In short, Graham-Cassidy would irreparably harm the American health care system, and the fact that President Trump still considers it a good option shows just how out of touch he is with the American people. The negative reaction to its inclusion have been swift:

New York Times Editorial Board: “It calls for (yet again) the repeal of the Affordable Care Act… Medicare and Medicaid, which benefit one-third of Americans, are targeted for cuts of hundreds of billions of dollars. If Congress adopted Mr. Trump’s proposal, millions of people would stand to lose health insurance.”

Planned Parenthood: “This year’s budget plan proposes sweeping changes that, if implemented, would radically reduce people’s access to health care and information through vital programs, especially for women. Whether or not Congress subscribes to the president’s priorities, the entire proposal is a blueprint for policymaking that the administration will no doubt use to advance its agenda.”

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: “Eliminating the health insurance marketplace subsidies and transforming Medicaid funding into a per-capita cap or block-grant structure could leave millions of Americans unable to access critical health services. Medicaid serves as an essential safety-net for more than 2.3 million Americans with a history of cancer, including one-third of all pediatric cancer patients at the point of diagnosis.”

American Lung Association: “Over the past year, Americans have been hit by repeated public health crises, from devastating wildfires and deadly storms to an influenza epidemic. President Trump’s budget proposal would simply make things worse.

Initial news coverage of the budget proposal also focused on the havoc it would wreak in the American health care system:

Los Angeles Times: “The White House is doubling down on the repeal effort, calling for massive cuts to healthcare assistance in its 2019 budget … Cuts of this magnitude – which parallel repeal legislation pushed unsuccessfully by GOP congressional leaders last year – would likely leave tens of millions more Americans without health coverage, independent analyses have indicated.”

Washington Post: “On healthcare for low-income Americans, Trump’s budget calls for cutting federal Medicaid funding by $250 billion over the next 10 years, as the administration envisions passing a law ‘modeled closely’ on a Senate Republican proposal that failed last fall to repeal the Affordable Care Act…  Experts say the overall reduction in government spending would cost millions of Americans their health insurance.”

Wall Street Journal: “The budget proposal includes $68.4 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services, a 21% drop from the funding level enacted last year. The proposal would also revive a repeal of the Affordable Care Act and cut spending on Medicare and Medicaid. It calls for enactment of a law to scrap the ACA and instead give block grants to states to establish their own health systems, a plan modeled after GOP legislation that failed to pass last year.”

CNBC: The new budget proposal also would seek a rollback of Obamacare’s expansion of Medicaid benefits to poor adults. Medicaid offers health coverage to primarily low-income people. Before Obamacare, most states either denied Medicaid coverage to people who did not have dependent children or set very low limits on how much a person could earn and still qualify for coverage.

Business Insider: “The budget contains cuts to funding for Medicare and other social safety net programs. During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to cut funding to these programs.”

USA Today: “The budget proposes repealing the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid and limiting the amount of money states receive for the jointly-funded health care program for the poor. It would also end after two years the private insurance subsidies for people who don’t get coverage through a government program or an employer, while giving states grants to develop their own programs.”

STAT News: “The proposals are a hodgepodge of relatively narrow policies that take aim at various parts of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. One would reduce the amount of money doctors and hospitals are reimbursed for hospital-administered drugs under Medicare Part B; another would let some states engage in more aggressive negotiation for drugs in their Medicaid programs. Others take aim at a drug discount program for hospitals and at seniors’ out-of-pocket spending.”

Since taking office last year, President Donald Trump and his Administration have carried out an unrelenting war on our health care with a goal of repealing the Affordable Care Act and gutting Medicaid. Trump has used his administrative powers to sabotage our health care and continue to beat the drum of partisan repeal of the increasingly-popular Affordable Care Act.

While the Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress want to keep up this war on health care in 2018, the American people are saying “Enough is Enough.” More than eleven million people signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov despite all the sabotage efforts. The Affordable Care Act is more popular than it has ever been. And millions of people across the country made their voices heard at rallies, town halls and through calling their Member of Congress to fight these repeal efforts. The American people are right: enough IS enough – it’s time for President Trump and the GOP to end their war on our health care.

Trump Administration Continues War on Health Care with FY19 Budget Blueprint

After President Trump released a budget blueprint that would continue his Administration’s assault on the American health care system, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“With today’s budget, the Trump Administration is doubling down on its relentless war on  American health care. By asking Congress to revive the deeply unpopular Graham-Cassidy repeal bill that ended protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, gutted Medicaid, ripped away coverage from millions, and raised costs for millions more, while also proposing drastic cuts to Medicare, Trump has chosen to ignore the American public’s overwhelming preference for a bipartisan path forward on health care. Instead, the Trump Administration continues its assault on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare, and Medicaid.

“As a deadly flu epidemic continues to sicken people across America, President Trump’s budget today shows that he remains worse than indifferent to our health care. Enough is enough: the sabotage, cuts, and repeal attempts must stop. Congress should declare this budget’s anti-health care proposals dead on arrival.”

BACKGROUND

Today’s Trump budget proposes a $1.7 trillion cut to Medicare and other mandatory programs and pushes Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut Medicaid by passing legislation modeled on Graham-Cassidy.

Trump’s Opioid Mess Keeps Getting Worse

New Report: Congressional Republicans Fed Up With Inaction

After new POLITICO reporting reveals mounting frustration among even Congressional Republicans about the Trump Administration’s failure to confront the national opioid crisis, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“When Republican Members of Congress are willing to go on record about your Administration’s continuing failure to confront a massive public health crisis, you have a problem. President Trump needs to wake up to reality and get serious about this out-of-control crisis instead of continuing his harmful efforts to gut the agency charged with fighting it and to sabotage Medicaid, which funds one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide.”

Kellyanne Conway’s ‘opioid cabinet’ sidelines drug czar’s experts

POLITICO // BRIANNA EHLEY and SARAH KARLIN-SMITH // 02/06/2018

President Donald Trump’s war on opioids is beginning to look more like a war on his drug policy office.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway has taken control of the opioids agenda, quietly freezing out drug policy professionals and relying instead on political staff to address a lethal crisis claiming about 175 lives a day. The main response so far has been to call for a border wall and to promise a “just say no” campaign.

Trump is expected to propose massive cuts this month to the “drug czar” office, just as he attempted in last year’s budget before backing off. He hasn’t named a permanent director for the office, and the chief of staff was sacked in December. For months, the office’s top political appointee was a 24-year-old Trump campaign staffer with no relevant qualifications. Its senior leadership consists of a skeleton crew of three political appointees, down from nine a year ago.

“It’s fair to say the ONDCP has pretty much been systematically excluded from key decisions about opioids and the strategy moving forward,” said a former Trump administration staffer, using shorthand for the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which has steered federal drug policy since the Reagan years.

The office’s acting director, Rich Baum, who had served in the office for decades before Trump tapped him as the temporary leader, has not been invited to Conway’s opioid cabinet meetings, according to his close associates. His schedule, obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request, included no mention of the meetings. Two political appointees from Baum’s office, neither of whom are drug policy experts, attend on the office’s behalf, alongside officials from across the federal government, from HHS to Defense. A White House spokesperson declined to disclose who attends the meetings, and Baum did not respond to a request for comment, although the White House later forwarded an email in which Baum stressed the office’s central role in developing national drug strategy.

The upheaval in the drug policy office illustrates the Trump administration’s inconsistency in creating a real vision on the opioids crisis. Trump declared a public health emergency at a televised White House event and talked frequently about the devastating human toll of overdoses and addiction. But critics say he hasn’t followed through with a consistent, comprehensive response.

He has endorsed anti-drug messaging and tougher law enforcement. But he ignored many of the recommendations from former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential commission about public health approaches to addiction, access to treatment, and education for doctors who prescribe opioids. And he hasn’t maintained a public focus. In Ohio just this week, it was first lady Melania Trump who attended an opioid event at a children’s hospital. The president toured a manufacturing plant and gave a speech on tax cuts.

Much of the White House messaging bolsters the president’s call for a border wall, depicting the opioid epidemic as an imported crisis, not one that is largely home-grown and complex, fueled by both legal but addictive painkillers and lethal street drugs like heroin and fentanyl.

“I don’t know what the agency is doing. I really don’t,” said Regina LaBelle, who was the drug office’s chief of staff in the Obama administration. “They aren’t at the level of visibility you’d think they’d be at by now.”

Conway touts her opioids effort as policy-driven, telling POLITICO recently that her circle of advisers help “formalize and centralize strategy, coordinate policy, scheduling and public awareness” across government agencies.

That’s exactly what the drug czar has traditionally done.

Conway’s role has also caused confusion on the Hill. For instance, the Senate HELP Committee’s staff has been in touch with both Conway and the White House domestic policy officials, according to chairman Lamar Alexander’s office. But lawmakers who have been leaders on opioid policy and who are accustomed to working with the drug czar office, haven’t seen outreach from Conway or her cabinet.

“I haven’t talked to Kellyanne at all and I’m from the worst state for this,” said Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, a Republican from West Virginia, which has the country’s highest overdose death rate. “I’m uncertain of her role.” The office of Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio,) another leader on opioid policy, echoed that – although Portman’s wife, Jane, and Conway were both at the event with Melania Trump this week.

Some drug abuse experts and Hill allies find a silver lining, noting that Conway’s high-rank brings White House muscle and attention.

“If I want technical advice, I’m going to work with Baum,” said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ), a co-chair of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force. “If I want to get a message to the president, Kellyanne is somebody that I know I can talk to.”

“It’s a really good sign that one of the president’s top advisers has been assigned to such an important topic,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and CEO of the Addiction Policy Forum.

Baum’s email called the drug office the “lead Federal entity in charge of crafting, publishing and overseeing the implementation of President Trump’s National Drug Control Strategy,” which multiple agencies review. He called Conway’s opioids cabinet an “interagency coordinating apparatus for public-facing opioids-related initiatives” and said that it was not overseeing national policy. But several administration officials did say her cabinet was indeed focused on a variety of policies.

Whatever Conway’s ties to the president, her career has been in polling and politics, not public health, substance abuse, or law enforcement.

Some of her “cabinet” participants do have a broad, general health policy background. But they don’t match the experience and expertise of the drug office’s professional staff. In her circle is Lance Leggitt, the deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council who was also chief of staff to former HHS Secretary Tom Price. Another top Price aide, Nina Schaefer, recently returned to the Heritage Foundation. The conservative think tank then touted her as having managed “the development of the HHS response to the opioid abuse crisis,” but when POLITICO recently tried to contact her, she said through a spokesperson she was not an expert on the topic.

Among the people working on the public education campaign that Trump promised is Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani’s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy, multiple administration sources told POLITICO. Nor has Conway spent her career in the anti-opioid trenches.

“Kellyanne Conway is not an expert in this field,” said Andrew Kessler, the founder of Slingshot Solutions, a consulting group that’s worked on substance abuse with many federal agencies.“She may be a political operative and a good political operative,” he added. “But look. When you appoint a secretary of Labor, you want someone with a labor background. When you appoint a secretary of Defense, you want someone with a defense background. The opioid epidemic needs leadership that ‘speaks’ the language of drug policy.”

The set-up befuddles other experts who’ve worked on substance abuse for prior administrations. Fresh ideas are fine, they say. But the drug office has a purpose.

“The whole reason we created ONDCP in 1988 was to be a coordinating force with power in the government and to bring together 20 agencies, many reluctant to be involved in drug control,” said Bob Weiner, who served in that office in both the George W. Bush and Clinton White Houses. “This is exactly when the agency should get maximum support from the White House,” he added.

An ONDCP spokesperson told POLITICO the office “works closely with other federal agencies and White House offices, including Kellyanne Conway’s office, to combat the opioid crisis” but declined to say whether the office’s career experts have attended any of her “opioids cabinet” sessions. The drug office is still crafting the annual drug control strategy, outside the Conway group, administration officials said.

A senior White House official confirmed that officials considered kicking off the media campaign with a big splash during the Super Bowl, but that fell through. Beyond that, many experts on drug policy and substance abuse say messaging alone won’t solve the problem anyway. People with addiction need treatment, and many people get addicted in the first place to painkillers their doctors have prescribed. An ad campaign won’t solve that.

One big test for the drug office will come when Trump releases his budget Monday, which is expected to slash the office’s budget, turning much of its work over to HHS and the Department of Justice. Both departments are developing their own opioid approaches; in past administrations, the drug czar would have coordinated. Lawmakers are already sounding the alarms over the budget plan.

A bipartisan group of senators last week wrote a letter to White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, urging him to reconsider and maintain the office’s programs that “prevent and fight against the scourge of drug abuse.”

Pushback to a similar proposal last year led the Trump administration to reverse the decision and maintain the office’s budget. Lawmakers hope that there will be a similar outcome this time — along with a smarter utilization of the drug policy office.

“What we haven’t seen is the kind of coordination of critical programs that ONDCP has traditionally done,” said Sen. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat from New Hampshire, another state with one of the highest overdose death rates in the country.

Trump officials say it was the Obama administration that began undermining the drug policy office, demoting the director from the Cabinet, shrinking the staff and stressing the health aspects more than a law enforcement-focused “war on drugs.” They say the emergency requires a new approach.

Bob Dupont, who served as the second White House drug czar under President Gerald Ford, before the formal drug policy office was created, and still informally advises the Justice Department on drug policy, believes the White House will eventually realize it needs the expertise that ONDCP has to offer.

The West Wing doesn’t “have the staff or capability” to carry out drug policy work like ONDCP does, Dupont told POLITICO. “I don’t think swashbuckling your approach is going to last very long.”

 

This Week In the War on Health Care — January 29 – February 2, 2018

While Washington focused on the State of the Union, the Trump Administration continued its unprecedented assault on the American health care system. Here’s what happened this week in Republicans’ war on health care – and why they’re losing battles to the American people:

LIES FROM THE LECTERN

During his State of the Union address, President Trump doubled down on the war on health care his administration and his Republican allies in Congress waged last year, saying he “repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare” — a widely debunked lie. He also failed to mention that:

The President then pivoted to the opioid crisis, attempting to take credit for addressing the epidemic. But in reality, Trump has done nothing to facilitate treatment for Americans struggling with addiction. In fact, his attacks on critical federal health care and opioid response programs stand to make the situation worse:

  • His public health emergency declaration speech freed up just $57,000, pathetically short of the billions experts say are desperately needed.
  • His Administration sabotaged Medicaid, which pays for one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide.
  • He proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which coordinates the federal opioid response – and he did so for the second year in a row.

Sadly, the Trump Administration is not only offering a pathetic response to the nation’s most urgent public health crisis, it’s actively sabotaging communities that are fighting to turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.

A NEW GENERAL TAKES HIS OATH

On Monday, former Big Pharma lobbyist Alex Azar was sworn in as the new secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar lied about the Trump Administration’s sabotage throughout his confirmation process, choosing to embrace the Republican agenda that takes coverage from millions of Americans, raises costs for millions more, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Whether Azar upholds the oath he swore will soon be tested because of…

IDAHO’S ATTEMPT TO FLOUT FEDERAL LAW

Negative reactions continued as experts digested Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s illegal proposed assault on the Affordable Care Act. University of Michigan law professor and former Department of Justice attorney Nicholas Bagley called such an action “crazypants illegal,” noting that Idaho, “appears to be claiming they do not have to adhere to federal law.”

What Secretary Azar does with this will be an excellent indicator of whether he plans to truly support the health of the American people, like he claimed, of if he will merely be another foot soldier in the Administration’s war on health care.

COSTS FOR SENIORS CONTINUE TO RISE

A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights massive increases in out-of-pocket medical costs for Medicare beneficiaries – costs that are projected to keep skyrocketing.

While President Trump has claimed he wants to lower costs, the reality is the opposite: he has consistently supported proposals making health care more expensive, from repeal legislation allowing insurance companies to charge people over 50 an ‘age tax’ with rates five times higher to the GOP tax scam set to raise premiums double digits. Seniors should rightly be furious, as are…

HEALTH CARE PROTESTS IN WEST VIRGINIA

As GOP Members of Congress retreated to West Virginia, they were greeted by protesters furious about the ongoing war on health care:

OPEN ENROLLMENT NUMBERS BLOW EXPECTATIONS OUT OF THE WATER

And finally, yesterday was the scheduled final day of open enrollment. Despite the widespread attempts at sabotage by the Trump Administration, from cutting the sign-up period in half to dropping advertising by ninety percent, we have already reached 96% of last year’s enrollment total:

  • Nearly 8.8 million people signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.
  • Demand from new consumers outpaced new enrollments every single week of last year, with 2.5 million new people signing up for coverage.
  • Almost 6.3 million returning consumers actively renewed their coverage or were automatically re-enrolled compared to 6.2 million people last year.

Protect Our Care Statement on What Should Have Been the Last Day of Open Enrollment

After the states that stuck with the original Open Enrollment schedule wrapped up strong enrollment seasons last night, Protect Our Care Executive Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“If President Trump hadn’t sabotaged Open Enrollment by cutting the signup period in half for the 36 states using HealthCare.Gov, yesterday could have marked the end of the annual sign-up season nationwide. But here’s the good news: despite the Trump Administration’s sabotage, millions of Americans again signed up for comprehensive coverage. Before the final numbers come in, we have already reached 96% of last year’s enrollment total nationwide. This year’s enrollment season succeeded thanks to thousands of enrollment assisters, community activists, and volunteers who banded together to do what the Trump Administration refused to: help their fellow Americans get covered. It’s time for Republicans to stop their war on health care, which stopped even more people from signing up by driving up unsubsidized premiums, because it’s clearer than ever that Americans want and need quality, affordable coverage.”

 

 

President Trump Ignores Health Care Damage Caused By Year of Sabotage in 2018 State of the Union

Trump Header Background

Washington, DC – In response to tonight’s State of the Union address, during which President Donald Trump falsely claimed to have repealed the Affordable Care Act, duplicitously claimed he is working to end the opioid crisis, and ignored the fact that under his watch, millions of Americans have lost coverage and millions more are facing skyrocketing health costs, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Tonight’s speech was a succinct summary of health care during the Trump Administration’s first year: full of lies, short on solutions and indifferent to the Americans who have been harmed by its policies. During last year’s speech, President Trump said he would lower premiums, protect those with pre-existing conditions, and protect Medicaid. Instead, he signed a bill which will raise premiums double-digits and deny coverage to millions, championed bills removing protections for pre-existing conditions and imposing an age tax, and implemented Medicaid requirements designed to deny coverage to people who need it the most. And 3.2 million Americans lost their health care in 2017 as a result of his sabotage.

“While President Trump and Republicans in Congress spent the year attempting to sabotage and repeal the Affordable Care Act, the American people refused to go along, voting out Republicans who supported sabotage and enrolling in Marketplace plans at near-record numbers. Today, the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever. If Donald Trump truly cares about the state of the nation he leads, he will end his repeal and sabotage campaign. Enough is enough – it’s time for President Trump and Congressional Republicans to end their war on health care.”

State of American Health Care Threatened by Trump & GOP’s War on Health Care

To: Interested Parties

From: Leslie Dach, Campaign Chair, Protect Our Care

Date: January 29, 2018

Re: State of American Health Care Threatened by Trump & GOP’s War on Health Care

On Tuesday, President Trump will deliver his first official State of the Union address. We anticipate he will gloat about his efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act (ACA), take insurance away from millions of people in order to fund tax cuts for big corporations and the wealthiest , cut hundreds of billions of dollars from care for the elderly, children, and people with disabilities, and promise a continuation of his partisan approach to health care in 2018. But his agenda is overwhelmingly unpopular. The American people are saying “enough is enough.” We demand that the Trump Administration and Congress stop their war on our care.

The 2017 Republican War on Health Care

Last year, the Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress waged a war on our health care. Their attacks included five attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, proposing to end Medicaid as we know it, and sabotaging our health care system. Under their agenda, millions would lose coverage, costs would increase, especially for those with pre-existing conditions, and insurers would be able to skirt the tough rules that currently protect consumers thanks to the health care law. At the end of the first year of the Trump Administration, 3.2 million people have lost their health coverage, and premium rates spiked because of uncertainty President Trump injected into the individual insurance marketplaces. Here is what the first year of Trump’s partisan war on health care looked like:

January 2017

  • On his first day in office, President Trump signs an Executive Order directing the administration to identify every way it can unravel the Affordable Care Act.

February 2017

  • The Trump Administration proposes a rule to weaken Marketplace coverage and raise premiums for millions of middle-class families.

March 2017

  • The Trump Administration sends a letter to governors encouraging them to submit proposals which include provisions such as work requirements that make it harder for Medicaid beneficiaries to get affordable care and increase the number of people who are uninsured.

April 2017

  • The Trump Administration cuts the number of days people could sign up for coverage during open enrollment by half, from 90 days to 45 days.

May 2017

  • House Republicans vote for and pass a health care repeal bill that would cause 23 million people to lose coverage and gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions. It would have imposed an age tax and allowed insurers to charge people over 50 five times more for coverage and ended Medicaid as we know it, putting the care of seniors, children and people with disabilities in jeopardy.

June 2017

  • Senate Republicans embark on a monthslong failed attempt to pass BCRA, Skinny Repeal and Graham-Cassidy, all repeal bills that would have caused millions of Americans to lose their health coverage and raised premiums by double digits for millions more. They would have ended Medicaid as we know it, putting the care of children, seniors and people with disabilities at risk.

July 2017

  • The Trump Administration uses funding intended to support health insurance enrollment to launch a multimedia propaganda campaign against the Affordable Care Act.

August 2017

  • The Administration cuts the outreach advertising budget for Open Enrollment by 90 percent, from $100 million to just $10 million – which resulted in as many as 1.1 million fewer people getting covered.

September 2017

  • The Administration orders the Department of Health and Human Services’ regional directors to stop participating in Open Enrollment events. Mississippi Health Advocacy Program Executive Director Roy Mitchell says, “I didn’t call it sabotage…But that’s what it is.”

October 2017

  • The Trump Administration takes direct aim at birth control by rolling back a rule that guaranteed women access to contraception. (A court has since questioned the legality of the action.)
  • President Trump signs an Executive Order to roll back key consumer protections that will result in garbage insurance, raise premiums, reduce coverage and again expose millions of Americans to discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.
  • The Trump Administration dramatically cuts in-person assistance to help people sign up for 2018 health coverage.
  • After threatening for months to stop funding cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) that help lower deductibles and out-of-pocket costs, the Trump Administration stops the payments altogether. The CBO finds that failing to make these payments will increase premiums by 20% and add nearly $200 billion to the debt.

November 2017

  • Republicans refuse to move forward on the bipartisan Alexander-Murray bill to address the CSR crisis even though it had a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

December 2017

  • The Trump Administration proposes a rule to expand association health plans, which would gut consumer protections, raise costs for people with pre-existing conditions and further destabilize the insurance markets.
  • Congressional Republicans pass their tax scam, which doubles 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.

January 2018

  • The Trump Administration announces that it will support states that impose onerous work requirements on Americans covered by Medicaid, and approves Kentucky’s worst-in-the-nation waiver the next day.
  • The Trump Administration announces a move to allow providers to discriminate by allowing them to deny patient care for almost any reason.
  • The Trump Administration makes plans to announce even more exemptions from the requirement people have health coverage before this provision is repealed altogether.

Despite Attacks, the Affordable Care Act Continues to Help Americans

While the Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress had some success last year in their partisan war on health care, the Affordable Care Act is still here, and it is working. The reason the law survived is simple: the American people made their voices heard last year at town halls, rallies and the voting booth, thwarting the partisan repeal effort in Congress.

Despite Trump-led attacks, and because the American people spoke up, insurers still cannot deny or drop coverage because of a pre-existing condition; tax credits are still available to help people pay for coverage; young adults can still stay on their parents’ plan until age 26; the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is still closed; and Medicaid is still a lifeline for millions of seniors, children and people with disabilities. The recent open enrollment period saw nearly 9 million people sign up for coverage in the federal marketplaces, despite the Trump Administration’s decisions to cut the open enrollment period in half and refuse to promote it.  While any law can be improved, and the ACA is no exception, it continues to provide affordable health care and vital protections to millions of Americans.

Enough is Enough: Stop the Partisan War on Health Care

The Trump Administration and Republicans in Congress need to listen to the American people who are saying ‘enough is enough.’ It’s time to stop the partisan health care repeal effort and work on bipartisan solutions. If Republican politicians do not listen, they do so at their own peril. Recent polling by Protect Our Care showed that health care is far and away the number one issue on voters’ minds, and is one of the main reasons why voters disapprove of the job Republicans in Washington are doing.

Last week, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said, “I don’t think we should be spending time trying to do repeal and replace of Obamacare.” Her colleagues in Congress, and President Trump himself, would do well to listen to her.