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Republicans Archives — Protect Our Care

Wisconsin Governor Fights Back Republicans Attempts To Weaken Protections For Pre-existing Conditions

Washington DC —  Republicans in the Wisconsin Senate are attempting to pass new legislation that falsely claims to ensure protections for people with pre-existing conditions continue, despite their efforts to invalidate them in federal court. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response:

“Republicans efforts in Wisconsin to push a bill that allows lifetime limits and annual caps on health care coverage is a travesty. Calling this bill any sort of ‘protection’ for people with pre-existing conditions is a fraud. Governor Evers rightly pledged to fully defend his constituents who have pre-existing conditions by vowing to oppose any legislation that rolls back protections for Wisconsinites. Let’s be clear: AB 1 would roll back the clock on vital protections and take Wisconsin back to the days where insurance companies could write the rules.”

BACKGROUND:

What Policies Would Actually Ensure Pre-existing Conditions Are Protected?

  1. Guaranteed Issue and Community Rating: Forbids insurance companies from denying coverage based on health status or charging more.
  2. Essential Health Benefits: Required coverage benefits that help consumers with common health needs and prevent insurers from cutting benefits to lower costs.
  3. Prohibitions On Lifetime And Annual Limits: Prevents insurance companies from saying a consumer has maxed out their benefits in a given year.
  4. Prohibitions On Pre-existing Condition Exclusions: Insurance companies must not be able to sell coverage that can exclude coverage for certain conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, or asthma.

WISCONSIN REPUBLICANS’ BILL FAILS THIS TEST

The language of the bill does nothing to prevent insurance companies from reinstating annual and lifetime limits that insurers use to restrict the amount of coverage someone can use.

The bill does not preserve the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, essentially allowing insurers to sell plans exempt from covering basic services like maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs.

Absent these protections, an insurance company could sell coverage to a cancer patient but refuse to cover their hospitalization or prescription drugs and drop their coverage once they reach their lifetime limit.

The bill does nothing to withdraw Wisconsin’s support for the Texas lawsuit that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act and its current protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

 

MILLIONS OF WISCONSINITES AT RISK

2,435,700 Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. About one in two Wisconsinites, 51 percent, lives with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

1,187,000 Wisconsin Women And Girls Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Approximately 1,187,000 women and girls in Wisconsin live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress and the National Partnership For Women and Families, June 2018]

308,100 Wisconsin Children Already Have A Pre-Existing Condition. Roughly 308,000 Wisconsinites below age 18 live with a pre-existing condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

616,900 Older Wisconsinites Live With A Pre-Existing Condition. 616,900 Wisconsin adults between the ages of 55 and 64 live with at least one pre-existing condition, meaning attacks on these protections significantly threaten Wisconsinites approaching Medicare age. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

 

THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT OUTLAWED DISCRIMINATION BASED ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS — GOP LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN THE LAW BRINGS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS BACK

Because Of The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Deny Coverage Or Charge More Because Of Pre-Existing Conditions. Under current law, health insurance companies can’t refuse to cover you or charge you more just because you have a ‘pre-existing condition’ — that is, a health problem you had before the date that new health coverage starts.” [HHS]

The ACA Outlawed Medical Underwriting, The Practice That Let Insurance Companies Charge Sick People And Women More. As the Brookings Institution summarizes, “The ACA outlawed medical underwriting, which had enabled insurance carriers to court the healthiest customers while denying coverage to people likely to need costly care. The ACA guaranteed that all applicants could buy insurance and that their premiums would not be adjusted for gender or personal characteristics other than age and smoking.”

The ACA Stopped Companies From Charging Women More Than Men For The Same Plan. The Affordable Care Act eliminated “gender rating,” meaning American women no longer have to pay an aggregated $1 billion more per year than men for the same coverage.

Thanks To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Rescind Coverage Because of Illness. Because of the ACA, insurance companies can no longer rescind or cancel someone’s coverage arbitrarily if they get sick.

 

HEALTH CARE WAS THE TOP ISSUE FOR WISCONSIN VOTERS

A Public Policy Polling election day survey of Wisconsin voters found that health care was the top issue for voters in the state and that they overwhelmingly favored Democrats on it, propelling Tony Evers to victory.

  • 68% of voters said that health care was either a very important issue or the most important issue to them. Those voters supported Evers over Scott Walker 65-33.
  • When asked to name the single issue most important to them in 2018, a plurality (27%) picked health care. Among those voters who said health care was their single most important issue in the election, Evers defeated Walker by a whopping 89-7 margin.
  • Evers especially had an advantage over Walker when it came to the issue of who voters trusted more to protect people with pre-existing conditions. 50% preferred Evers to protect pre-existing conditions to only 41% who preferred Walker.
  • Scott Walker’s support for the Republican health care repeal agenda hurt him badly. Only 32% of voters said his support for repeal made them more likely to vote for him, while 47% said it made them less likely to support him.
  • An overwhelming majority of Wisconsinites want to see the Affordable Care Act stay in place – 62% think it should be kept with fixes made to it as necessary, compared to only 32% of voters who support repealing it.

Elections Have Consequences: State and Local Leaders are Protecting and Expanding Health Care Even as President Trump and Republicans Continue Their Repeal and Sabotage Agenda Nationally

Last year, health care was the number one issue that drove people to the polls and fueled the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  And, even as President Trump and Republicans continue to pursue their repeal and sabotage agenda, elected leaders at the local and state level are fighting back and responding to voters by taking action to protect and expand coverage, and lower costs for their constituents. Elections do indeed have consequences.

(CA) Gov. Gavin Newsom Moves To Expand Access To Health Care In California. “Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a broad overhaul of health care on his first day in office Monday, promising to throw the state’s financial power into an effort to lower prescription drug costs, expand Obamacare so middle-class families can receive subsidies to buy insurance, and offer Medi-Cal coverage to undocumented immigrants up to age 26. Newsom aides said the expansion of Affordable Care Act subsidies would be funded by a California version of the individual mandate, the former federal requirement that people either carry health insurance or pay a penalty on their taxes. Congressional Republicans and President Trump repealed the mandate in 2017, although the penalty does not disappear until the 2019 tax year. Newsom would reinstate it on the state level.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 1/7/19]

(CO) Colorado Democrats Introduce Public Option Health Care. “Creation of a public option health care plan is one of the most ambitious changes Colorado Democrats proposed Friday as they kicked off a new session of the General Assembly in control of both chambers for the first time in four years. The first five bills introduced in each chamber — indicators of lawmakers’ top priorities for the year — largely relate to health care and education costs. A Senate bill would create a public option health insurance plan that Coloradans who live in the highest-cost areas — mainly the Western Slope — could buy instead of their current insurance starting in the fall of 2019. A House bill would expand that program to the entire state by the fall of 2020.” [The Denver Post, 1/4/19]

(ME) On First Day In Office, Gov. Janet Mills Signs Executive Order Directing State To Implement Medicaid Expansion. “Medicaid expansion is finally advancing in Maine, more than a year after voters approved it at the ballot box. Newly sworn in Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat who campaigned on broadening access to health insurance, used her first executive order to direct the Maine Department of Health and Human Services to begin implementation of Medicaid expansion.” [CNN, 1/3/19]

(NM) In New Mexico, Democrats Plan To Introduce A Bill To Create A Medicaid Buy-in Program. “New Mexico Democrats eye creating the nation’s first Medicaid buy-in program, one of many blue-state efforts expected this year to expand health insurance coverage.” [Politico, 1/9/19]

(WA) Gov. Jay Inslee Proposes Public Option For Washington. “Gov. Jay Inslee and Democratic lawmakers Tuesday announced proposed legislation for a new “public option” health-care plan under Washington’s health-insurance exchange. The proposal, which Inslee said is the first step toward universal health care, is geared in part to help stabilize the exchange, which has wrestled with double-digit premium increases and attempts by Republicans in Congress and President Donald Trump to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. ‘We are proposing to the state Legislature that we have a public option that is available throughout the state of Washington so that we can increase the ability to move forward on the road to universal health care in the state of Washington,’ said the governor, who is considering a run for president in 2020.” [The Seattle Times, 1/8/19]

(WI) Gov. Tony Evers Signs Executive Orders To Direct State To Develop Plan For Expanding Medicaid, Find Ways To Protect ACA’s Consumer Protections. “In his second day on the job, Gov. Tony Evers signed executive orders Tuesday to study expanding health coverage and providing insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions…One order directs the state Department of Health Services to develop a plan to expand the state’s BadgerCare Plus health care program for low-income people under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. Republican lawmakers have fiercely opposed the idea. The issue is expected to come to a head this year as Evers and lawmakers work on a state budget that will determine whether the state taps into additional federal aid through Obamacare. The second order tells state agencies to prepare plans to find ways to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, bolster consumer protections, improve the public’s understanding of insurance, and require insurers to make their costs and terms easily understandable. Evers has said the best way to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions is to keep the Affordable Care Act in place. He campaigned on getting Wisconsin out of a multistate lawsuit challenging the law.” [Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, 1/8/19]

(NY) Governor Cuomo and the legislature to pursue reproductive rights protections. “Gov. Andrew Cuomo called Monday for including abortion rights in the New York Constitution, calling it an unprecedented opportunity to protect a woman’s right to choose… Cuomo took his call a step further, vowing to push an amendment that would enshrine a woman’s right to choose in the state Constitution. Such a move would make it more difficult for future governors and lawmakers to reverse: A constitutional amendment has to be approved by successively elected Legislatures and approved by a vote of the public. [Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, 1/7/19]

(NYC) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio To Fund Health Care For All, Including Undocumented. “New York Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a $100 million plan that he said would provide affordable ‘healthcare for all,’ reaching about 600,000 people, including undocumented immigrants, low-income residents not enrolled in Medicaid and young workers whose current plans are too expensive. The plan, which de Blasio dubbed ‘NYC Care,’ will offer public health insurance on a sliding price scale based on income, the mayor said during an interview Tuesday morning on MSNBC. It will begin later this year in the Bronx and will be available to all New Yorkers in 2021, and would cost at least $100 million once it reaches full enrollment, according to the mayor’s office.” [Bloomberg, 1/8/19]

Welcome To Washington’s 116th Congress

“The New Democratic House Of Representatives Will Be Relentless In Defending Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions And Affordable Health Care For Every American.” – Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Since regaining control of the House, Democrats who ran and won the midterm election on protecting health care have wasted no time doing just that. On day one, under Speaker Pelosi’s leadership, Democrats voted to defend the Affordable Care Act and protect people with pre-existing conditions, and they are just getting started.

 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi: “The New Democratic House Of Representatives Will Be Relentless In Defending Protections For People With Pre-existing Conditions And Affordable Health Care For Every American.” “The new Democratic House of Representatives will be relentless in defending protections for people with pre-existing conditions and affordable health care for every American…Republicans should end their assault on health care and join us to do the right thing for the American people.” [The Hill, 1/3/19]

U.S. News & World Report: “The Chamber That Once Led The Fight To Undo Obamacare Will Now Be Fighting For Its Survival In The Courts.” “Democrats are making it brazenly clear they are back in power in the House of Representatives, providing a critical roadblock to the GOP agenda in an already-gridlocked government…The chamber that once led the fight to undo Obamacare will now be fighting for its survival in the courts. The old committee to examine global warming will be reconstituted – and renamed, more ominously, the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.” [U.S. News & World Report, 1/4/19]

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): In 116th Congress, “Nancy Pelosi will fight to lower healthcare costs, strengthen the affordable care act, protect people with pre-existing conditions.” “But Nancy Pelosi is just getting started. In the 116th Congress, she will continue to fight hard For The People. Nancy Pelosi will fight to lower healthcare costs, strengthen the affordable care act, protect people with pre-existing conditions, increase pay for everyday Americans, enact a real infrastructure plan, clean up corruption, defend the dreamers, fix the voting rights act and end the era of voter suppression once and for all.” [Hakeem Jeffries Website, 1/3/19]

Politico: “House Democrats In Power For The First Time In Nearly A Decade Are Opening A Sustained Campaign To Hammer Republicans On Obamacare.” “House Democrats in power for the first time in nearly a decade are opening a sustained campaign to hammer Republicans on Obamacare, seeking to force the GOP’s hand on popular policies like protecting patients with pre-existing conditions…Those votes are just opening salvos from House Democrats, who also plan to go after the Trump administration policies that they say have purposefully undermined Obamacare by depressing enrollment, cutting subsidies, promoting skimpy alternative health coverage, and even having the Department of Justice take the unusual move of supporting key elements of a lawsuit against the federal health law.” [Politico, 1/4/19]

Washington Post: “House Democrats Used Their New Majority On Thursday To Squeeze Republicans On Health Care.” “House Democrats used their new majority on Thursday to squeeze Republicans on health care, taking the first step to intervene in a court case in which a Texas judge has ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. That move will be followed by a vote next week designed to force GOP lawmakers into a political corner: agree to defend a law many members have spent years reviling or appear to oppose popular ACA protections for millions of Americans with preexisting medical conditions that many have pledged to uphold.” [Washington Post, 1/3/19]

CNN: “In Their First Hours In Control Of The House Of Representatives, Democrats Filed A Motion To Intervene In An Ongoing Lawsuit That Threatens To Bring Down The Affordable Care Act.” “In their first hours in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats filed a motion to intervene in an ongoing lawsuit that threatens to bring down the Affordable Care Act…As part of its rules package for the 116th Congress, the Democrats granted themselves authorization to intervene in the lawsuit that threatens to bring down the landmark health care law. It directed the House’s Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorizes hiring of outside counsel. The House late Thursday voted in the rules package, which the majority party — now the Democrats — adopts at the start of a new Congress. The newly empowered Democratic leadership also scheduled a vote for next Wednesday on a standalone resolution affirming the House’s authorization to intervene in the lawsuit. This would put Republicans on the record voting specifically for or against defending Obamacare and its protections for those with pre-existing conditions.” [CNN, 1/4/19]

Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), Chairman On The Rules Committee: “We’re On Offense” On Health Care. “We’re on offense…The American people made it very clear in the last election that health care is important, and they don’t want Republicans screwing around with it. And we’re going to have their backs.” [Politico, 1/4/19]

CNN: “House Democrats Are Moving Quickly To Defend The Affordable Care Act Once They Retake Control Of The Chamber Thursday.” “House Democrats are moving quickly to defend the Affordable Care Act once they retake control of the chamber Thursday. As part of its rules package for the 116th Congress, the party is granting itself authorization to intervene in the lawsuit that threatens to bring down the landmark health reform law. It directs the House’s Office of General Counsel to represent lawmakers in any litigation involving the act and authorizes hiring of outside counsel…Supporting the Affordable Care Act, including its popular provisions that protect those with pre-existing conditions, helped Democrats retake the House in the midterm elections in November. Since then, the party’s leaders have repeatedly said they will swiftly work to uphold the law.” [CNN, 1/2/19]

CNBC: House Democrats Set Up Framework To Intervene In Federal Court Case Striking Down Obamacare. “Democrats about to take over control of the House of Representatives have moved to defend Obamacare from a court challenge that threatens to kill the landmark health-care reform law. In an action Tuesday night, Democratic leaders said they will authorize their next speaker, likely Nancy Pelosi, to intervene in a pending federal case, Texas v. United States, in which a judge has ruled Obamacare unconstitutional. Democrats regain control of the House when Congress returns for the 116th congressional session Thursday.” [CNBC, 1/2/19]

Washington Post: Democratic Wishlist Includes “Health Care (With A Focus On Prescription Drug Prices And Protecting People With Preexisting Conditions).” “At the top of the list is a sweeping political reform package linked to a new Voting Rights Act. Taking on the ‘special interests,’ she said, will ‘give people confidence’ in the rest of the Democratic wish list that includes health care (with a focus on prescription drug prices and protecting people with preexisting conditions), workforce training and ‘building the infrastructure of America in a green way.’ For the longer term, Democrats would be looking for ways to expand health coverage by strengthening the Affordable Care Act.” [Washington Post, Dionne Jr., 1/2/19]

The Hill: House To Vote Next Week On Intervening To Defend ObamaCare In Court. “A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the vote on having the House formally intervene in court to defend ObamaCare will come next week, in addition to a vote on Thursday on intervening in the lawsuit as part of the larger package of rules for the new session of Congress. Holding the separate additional vote next week will put Republican lawmakers on record, highlighting the political pressure that Democrats hope to put on vulnerable GOP lawmakers who campaigned last year pledging to support protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Democrats say if GOP lawmakers vote against defending ObamaCare, they will be showing that they don’t actually support protections for people with pre-existing conditions contained in the health law.” [The Hill, 1/2/19]

Daily Mail: Nancy Pelosi’s First Move As Speaker Will Be A Public Stand On Saving Obamacare By Intervening In Court Case Where Judge Struck It Down As Unconstitutional. “Incoming likely speaker Nancy Pelosi is laying down a marker that newly-empowered Democrats will go to court to protect Obamacare, in one of the first acts of the Democratic-run House. Pelosi, who stands for election on Thursday, has assembled a new rules package that specifically commits the House to a legal case that has once again thrown President Obama’s signature health plan into jeopardy. Pelosi helped marshall through Obamacare during her first term as speaker. Now, the new rules package that the Democratic House will codify in their traditional first legislative action, will specifically authorize the House to intervene in the case.” [Daily Mail, 1/2/19]

Despite Democrats making monumental gains to become a pro-health care Congress, Republicans are touting a bill that would have ripped coverage from millions of Americans and decimated important consumer protections, continuing their tone-deaf message despite voters’ strong rejection of the GOP’s repeal and sabotage agenda:

In Her Speech Nominating Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) For Speaker Of The House, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Boasted About Republican Effort To Repeal The Affordable Care Act. “Leader McCarthy has led us through the 115th Congress in unmatched historic productivity, including passage of the historic Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, because we know, Madam Clerk, that the American people know better than the government how to spend their money…Leader McCarthy also led to ensure that we passed the American Health Care Act to expand access and options and put patients and families in the driver’s seat, not government bureaucrats.” [Cheney Floor Speech, 1/3/19]

Protect Our Care Praises House Democrats for Making Health Care a Top Priority in New Congress

On Day One, House Rules Package Includes

Provision to Oppose Texas Lawsuit to Overturn the Affordable Care Act

 

Washington DC – Today, it was reported that the House of Representatives will vote tomorrow on the Restoring Congress For The People Resolution, which takes direct aim at the relentless health care repeal and sabotage campaign waged by Republicans in Congress and President Trump. The Resolution specifically addresses the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit that would strike down the Affordable Care Act. The resolution authorizes the House counsel to intervene in the lawsuit on behalf of the House of Representatives to protect the health care for millions of Americans, including 130 million with pre-existing conditions. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Starting with their first action in the new Congress, House Democrats are once again showing the American people who is fighting for them on health care. This resolution takes direct aim at the disastrous Texas court decision, pushed by Republicans and President Trump, that would end all protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and raise health care costs for millions. This lawsuit must be overturned. If Republicans truly cared about keeping health care affordable and protecting people with pre-existing conditions, they would vote against this lawsuit and for protecting the tens of millions of Americans.”

All You Need To Know About Troy Balderson, David Joyce and Jim Renacci Ahead Of Trump’s Visit to Ohio

Washington DC — Tonight, President Trump will stump for Congressional Republicans in Cincinnati, Ohio. These incumbent Republicans – Troy Balderson, David Joyce and Jim Renacci – are all working overtime to gut health care as we know it. But after two years with Donald Trump in the White House and the GOP-controlled Congress, a new report shows Ohioans are still struggling to keep up with the rising costs of health care and prescription drug prices and recent polling released by Protect Our Care shows Ohioans will cast their ballots in the issue next month.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement ahead of Trump’s campaign appearance:

 

“Make no mistake, Balderson, Joyce, and Renacci are thick as thieves, laying in wait for their next chance to rip coverage away from millions of hard-working Americans. They have worked nonstop to help the Trump Administration gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, and they show no signs of quitting.”   

 

Additional Background:

Jim Renacci Are Still Working To Repeal The ACA And Its Protections For 4.8 Million Ohioans with Pre-Existing Conditions, While Balderson Made It a Campaign Promise

 

  • Renacci has said as recently as this year that he is still “working to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.” He also voted for the AHCA in 2017, which would have caused 539,700 Ohioans to lose coverage.

 

  • Balderson has vowed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Balderson campaigned on repealing the ACA, saying “I would vote to repeal and replace Obamacare once and for all.” A full repeal of the ACA would eliminate protections that prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to or charging the 4.8 million Ohioans who have a pre-existing condition.

 

Jim Renacci Voted For The AHCA, Which Would Have Devastated Ohioans’ Health Care

 

  • If the AHCA had passed, 539,700 Ohioans would have lost coverage.

 

 

  • In Ohio, 21 percent of marketplace consumers live in rural areas, and could see an average cost increase of $1,116. People in rural areas tend to face higher health costs, which is one of the reasons why the ACA based the amount of premium tax credits in part on geographic location. The AHCA did not, meaning people in rural areas would have faced even higher costs.

 

Troy Balderson Voted To Freeze Medicaid Expansion, Supports Medicaid Work Requirements, Despite Medicaid’s Crucial Role In Fighting The Opioid Epidemic

  • Troy Balderson Supports Medicaid Work Requirements. “I support work requirements for able-bodied individuals before they can utilize Medicaid and have worked to help streamline the state’s Medicaid program, saving taxpayers over a billion dollars.” [Columbus Dispatch, 7/27/18]

 

  • Troy Balderson Voted To Freeze Ohio’s Medicaid Expansion, Which Covers Over 700,000 Low-Income Ohioans. “Gov. John Kasich once again stood against fellow Republicans in the Ohio Legislature on Friday to support Medicaid expansion, which now provides health insurance to 700,000 low-income Ohioans…Conservatives had called on the outspoken Kasich to set a national example by leaving in place state budget provisions calling for freezing new expansion enrollment starting July 1, 2018, and preventing those who drop off from re-enrolling. Exemptions were written into the bill for those undergoing mental health or drug addiction treatment, but the administration said they had no legal force.” [Cleveland Plain Dealer, 7/1/17; Ohio Record – p. 1027, 6/28/18]

 

David Joyce Is Trying To Duck And Cover From His Health Care Record

 

  • In 2016 Joyce boasted that he “fought to repeal and defund Obamacare every chance he’s had.” He voted for total repeal of the ACA in 2013 and 2015. Although he voted against AHCA, Joyce promised to continue “working to repeal the federal-government controlled health care system.”

 

  • Now Joyce has scrubbed his website to conceal his record. Though in 2016 Joyce’s website read, “‘Dave Joyce has fought to repeal and defund ‘Obamacare’ every chance he’s had. Dave Joyce has voted to defund, repeal or delay Obamacare every chance he’s had, 30+ times,” it has since been updated to eliminate mentions of repeal.

 

 

 

 

House Republicans Scramble To Rewrite History On Pre-existing Conditions

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response to Republicans desperate attempt to disown their war on health care:

“Republicans are getting clobbered because of their constant attacks on people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. But in order to survive the midterms, Republicans are trying to rewrite history as if their repeal and sabotage agenda never existed. These phony attempts prove that Republicans know the deficit they’ve created for themselves on health care is too steep to climb. Let’s not forget, these are the same people who tried to slash coverage for millions of Americans and gut all protections for pre-existing conditions. We all know Republicans are no defenders of health care and the American people aren’t going to let them flip the script.”

Republicans are scrambling to rewrite their history of opposing protections for pre-existing conditions now that they have been caught for their years of supporting health care repeal and sabotage. In addition to scrubbing their websites of mentions of repeal, House Republicans are trying to hide behind figleafs — a bill (H.R. 1121), a House resolution (H. Res. 1066), and another resolution (H.Res. 1089)— that they falsely claim are evidence that they are on the right side of this issue.

These pieces of legislation are nothing more than hollow promises that read well but in reality fail to protect people with pre-existing conditions from attacks by the Trump administration and their own earlier votes. Here’s what you need to know:

In reality, none of these actually protects people with pre-existing conditions. The language of Young’s resolution and of Sessions’ resolution, both intentionally vague, include no specifics on exactly which protections should be preserved. Though H.R. 1121 prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, it does nothing to prevent insurance companies from charging people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage or reinstating annual and lifetime limits that insurers use to restrict the amount of coverage someone can use, and it does not preserve the Affordable Care Act’s essential health benefits, essentially allowing insurers to sell plans exempt from covering basic services like maternity care, hospitalization, and prescription drugs. Absent such protections, an insurance company could sell coverage to a cancer patient, but charge them more and drop their coverage once they reach their lifetime limit.

Two thirds of those who signed on to Rep. Young’s House resolution (H.Res. 1066) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act last summer. Of the 28 members of the House who have signed on to the resolution expressing support for pre-existing condition protections, 19 voted for the Republican repeal bill last summer. Last year’s repeal bill, the AHCA, would have dramatically weakened protections for 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, allowing insurance companies to charge people more when they get sick, for instance up to $140,510 more for people battling metastatic cancer.

All but two co-sponsors of Rep. Sessions’ House resolution (H.Res. 1089) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act last summer. Of the eighteen co-sponsors of Rep. Sessions’ resolution, sixteen voted for the Republican repeal bill last summer, which would have allowed insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

All but eight co-sponsors of the House bill (H.R. 1121) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and weaken pre-existing condition protections last summer. Of the 75 cosponsors who voted on the AHCA last summer, 67 voted in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act and weakening protections for 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition. Their vote would have allowed insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage.

None of the co-sponsors of the bill or either resolution have shown they oppose the Republican lawsuit backed by the Trump Administration that would completely gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Two thirds of those who signed on to Rep. Young’s House resolution (H.Res. 1066) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act last summer. Of the 28 members of the House who have signed on to the resolution expressing support for pre-existing condition protections, 19 voted for the Republican repeal bill last summer. Last year’s repeal bill, the AHCA, would have dramatically weakened protections for 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition, allowing insurance companies to charge people more when they get sick, for instance up to $140,510 more for people battling metastatic cancer.

All but two co-sponsors of Rep. Sessions’ House resolution (H.Res. 1089) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act last summer. Of the eighteen co-sponsors of Rep. Sessions’ resolution, sixteen voted for the Republican repeal bill last summer, which would have allowed insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

All but eight co-sponsors of the House bill (H.R. 1121) voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and weaken pre-existing condition protections last summer. Of the 75 cosponsors who voted on the AHCA last summer, 67 voted in favor of repealing the Affordable Care Act and weakening protections for 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition. Their vote would have allowed insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing conditions more for coverage.

None of the co-sponsors of the bill or either resolution have shown they oppose the Republican lawsuit backed by the Trump Administration that would completely gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

If House members really wanted to defend people with pre-existing conditions, here are two concrete actions they could take:

  • Support the House Democrats’ resolution that would allow the House to defend pre-existing condition protections in court. This summer, the Trump Administration refused to defend against a lawsuit brought by 20 conservative states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. In July, House Democrats introduced a resolution that would authorize the General Counsel of the House of Representatives to intervene in the lawsuit and defend protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Not a single Republican has offered support.
  • Join the House effort to overturn Trump administration’s junk plan rule that lets insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that allows insurance companies to deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. Experts warn that this move will only increase the cost of comprehensive care, ultimately making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get the care they need. House Democrats introduced legislation that would override Trump’s rule, but not a single Republican has signed on.

 

 

Blackburn Can’t Hide From Her Shameful Record On Health Care

“Make no mistake, Blackburn’s idea of healthcare means Americans get ZERO while Big Pharma takes all,” said Brad Woodhouse, chair of Protect Our Care

Tonight in Johnson City, Tennessee, President Trump will stump for Marsha Blackburn in her run for Senate. Blackburn has come under fire for her repeal-and-sabotage health care record, as well as the moves she has made to weaken the DEA’s opioid enforcement at a time when deaths due to the opioid epidemic in Tennessee were twice the national average. Said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, in response to Blackburn’s Senate run:

“Blackburn’s heartless record of ripping health care away from people while doing favors for big drug companies disqualifies her from a promotion to the U.S. Senate. With Blackburn in the Senate, there’d be no more protections for people with pre-existing conditions and insurance companies could once again charge Americans over 50 more for their coverage. Make no mistake, Blackburn’s idea of health care would mean Americans get zero while Big Pharma takes all, at a time when their profits are higher than ever.”

 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

Although Marsha Blackburn Has Claimed To Support Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions, the Truth Is:

BLACKBURN VOTED TO REPEAL PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, AND MORE

2011:  Blackburn Voted To Repeal And Defund The ACA.  Blackburn voted for the fiscal 2012 budget that would have repealed and defunded the Affordable Care Act. [HCR 34, Roll Call Vote #277, 4/15/11]

2013:  Blackburn Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Blackburn 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:  Blackburn  Voted For A Total Repeal Of The ACA.  Blackburn 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]

 

What would full repeal of the Affordable Care Act Eliminate in Tennessee?

  • Protections for 2.7 million Tennesseans  if they buy coverage on their own
  • 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
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable
  • Small business tax credits
  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 200,000 Tennesseans

 

BLACKBURN VOTED TO STRIP COVERAGE FROM TENNESSEANS AND GUT COVERAGE FOR PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS

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

What Did AHCA Mean for Tennessee?

  • In 2026, more than 630,000 Tennesseans would lose coverage under this bill.
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that the American Health Care Act would have raised premiums 20 percent in 2018.
  • AHCA imposed what the AARP calls an “age tax” on older Americans. In Tennessee, out-of-pocket costs for older people could increase by as much as $12,325  by 2026.
  • The negative economic impact of the American Health Care Act would cause 32,241 Tennesseans to lose their jobs by 2022.

What Did AHCA Mean For Pre-Existing Conditions?

  • The American Health Care Act weakens key protections of the Affordable Care Act by allowing states to let insurers charge people with pre-existing conditions more, among other provisions. The bill would also make it more likely insurers would cherrypick young and healthier people, causing costs to skyrocket for older, sicker people.
  • The American Health Care Act allowed states to eliminate community rating, meaning insurers would be able to charge people with pre-existing conditions more. This surcharge could be in the tens of thousands of dollars and even six figures: up to $4,270 for asthma, $17,060 for pregnancy, $26,180 for rheumatoid arthritis and $140,510 for metastatic cancer.
  • Politifact found that AHCA “would weaken protections” for those with pre-existing conditions and “would allow states to give insurers the power to charge people significantly more.”

2018: Blackburn Said She Remains Committed To Repealing The Affordable Care Act.  “Last year, the Senate failed its promise to the American people when it refused to repeal the law, but Marsha remains committed to returning health care to a patient-centered system where families and doctors can make their decisions.” [Marsha for Senate, accessed 9/28/18]

 

House Republicans Pass More Tax Cuts for the Rich

“What this bill really means is more Republican health care cuts for the rest of us, and the American people are sick of it,” says Brad Woodhouse

Washington, DC – Today House Republicans passed a second set of tax cuts to benefit the wealthiest Americans and big corporations at the expense of working families. Their tax cuts have led to trillion dollar deficits, which Republicans are now using as an excuse to go after Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“What this bill really means is more Republican health care cuts for the rest of us, and the American people are sick of it. Since Paul Ryan and his allies have repeatedly made it plain that they will pay for these tax breaks for the wealthy by making deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, today’s vote calcifies the damage Republicans are doing to America’s working families and seniors all so they can give handouts to wealthiest. Thankfully, Americans see right through this Republican tax scam and are ready to give it a giant thumbs down at the polls in November.”

 

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

President Trump and Congressional Republicans are targeting Medicaid and Medicare to pay for their tax cuts to the wealthy. Earlier this month, Larry Kudlow, Director of the National Economic Council, confirmed that they still have their sights set on Americans’ care. Asked when programs like Social Security and Medicare will be looked at for reforms, Kudlow replied, “Everyone will look at that — probably next year.” And last December, when President Trump signed the first round of $1.5 trillion tax bill that disproportionately benefits the wealthy, Speaker Paul Ryan made it clear they would cut programs like Medicaid that support working families. “Frankly, it’s the health care entitlements that are the big drivers of our debt.” Since that time:

Following Massive GOP Tax Cuts, Administration Predicts Medicare Trust Fund Will Be Depleted In 8 Years. “The financial outlook for Medicare’s Hospital Insurance Trust Fund deteriorated in the last year, and Social Security still faces serious long-term financial problems, the Trump administration said on Tuesday. The projections are the first from the administration since President Trump signed a $1.5 trillion tax cut into law in December. They show no sign that a burst of economic growth will significantly improve the finances of the government’s largest entitlement programs. The Medicare trust fund will be depleted in 2026, the administration said. By contrast, the government said last year that the trust fund would be exhausted in 2029.” [New York Times, 6/5/18]

Advocates, Elected Officials Fight Trump’s Junk Plans on All Fronts

New Lawsuit Filed by Health Care Organizations Seeks to Invalidate Trump’s Harmful Junk Plan Rule

New House Resolution, Mirroring One in the Senate, Would Override The Trump Administration’s Rule To Stop Junk Plans

Washington, D.C. – On the heels of the Trump Administration expanding junk plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, that are not required to cover key benefits, such as cancer treatments and prescription drug coverage, and that can refuse to pay for costs after a person gets sick, health care advocates and Democrats in Congress are fighting back.

Today, the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Mental Health America, American Psychiatric Association (APA), AIDS United, National Partnership for Women & Families, and Little Lobbyists filed suit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to invalidate the Trump Administration’s short-term junk plan rule issued last month. This lawsuit comes just after Congresswoman Kathy Castor (D-FL-14) introduced a resolution that would override the Trump Administration’s rule to allow insurance companies to sell junk plans that charge people more money for less care. The Senate has a companion resolution that is awaiting any Republican support.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care issued the following statement in response to the multi-front fight against junk plans:

“The Trump Administration’s never-ending war on health care is not going unanswered. It is facing resistance on the Hill, resistance in the courts and — as poll after poll shows — resistance from the public. House and Senate Democrats have entered the arena to fight for hard-working Americans. Now, it’s time for Republicans to join them.”

House Republicans Who Claim to Support Pre-existing Conditions Protections Should Prove It and Join Castor’s Resolution:

Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ): “Rep. McSally Is Committed To Ensuring That Individuals With Pre-Existing Conditions Have Access To Affordable Coverage Options And Cannot Be Denied Health Insurance.” “Rep. McSally is committed to ensuring that individuals with pre-existing conditions have access to affordable coverage options and cannot be denied health insurance. She will work to ensure the House reform package includes these protections.” [Tucson Weekly Dispatch, 3/1/17]

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL): “We’re Keeping The Things That Work, Like Guaranteed Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions.” “We’re keeping the things that work, like guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions, allowing young people to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, and prohibiting discrimination against women.” [Sunshine State News, 3/11/17]

Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL): “We Also Need To Ensure That Patients With Pre-Existing Conditions Won’t Be Denied Coverage.” “We also need to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions won’t be denied coverage and that those who rely on Medicaid have access to quality care.” [Palm Beach Post, 3/9/17]

Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME): Rep. Poliquin Would Only Support A Repeal Of The ACA If The Replacement Includes Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions.” “Poliquin would support a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, but only if the alternative plan includes coverage for pre-existing conditions, allows young adults to remain on their parents’ plans until the age of 26, and doesn’t immediately end Obamacare exchange policies.” [WABI TV5, 1/24/17]

Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN): “Rep. [Erik] Paulsen has long supported protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions, and he continues to do so,” a spokesman for Paulsen, the Republican representing Minnesota’s Third Congressional District, said in a statement. [Star Tribune, 6/23/18]

Rep. John Culberson (R-TX): “Health Care Should Be Accessible For All, Regardless Of Pre-Existing Conditions Or Past Illnesses.” [Rep. Culberson Website Content Current as of 4/20/17]

Rep. Dave Brat (R-VA): Rep. Brat Stresses Care Would Continue For Those With Pre-Existing Conditions.” “He calmed nerves, for some, by stressing care would continue for those with preexisting conditions.” [CBS WTVR 6 News, 2/21/17]

Rep. Scott Taylor (R-VA): “We Will Protect Those With Pre-Existing Conditions.” “We will protect those with preexisting conditions, we will work help those who can’t help themselves, work to get more access and more people covered.” [Republican Party of Virginia, 3/10/17]

 

Republicans Knew Premiums Would Go Up When They Sabotaged Your Health Care, But They Did It Anyway

For the past year and a half, Republicans have waged a non-stop war against the Affordable Care Act. Throughout 2017, Republicans tried time after time to repeal the Affordable Care Act, slashed funding for outreach, ended cost-sharing reduction payments that helped low income Americans afford health care, and passed a tax bill that the Congressional Budget Office predicts will strip health care from 13 million Americans and raise premiums by double digits.  

Throughout their many layers of sabotage, Republicans have played ignorant, trying to cover up the fact that their votes will send Americans’ premiums skyrocketing. Just this morning, former HHS Secretary Tom Price called out Republicans’ lies, saying that the tax bill’s repeal of the individual mandate “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.”

Just one month after voting for a tax bill that the CBO projected would raise insurance premiums by double digits, Sen. Ted Cruz acted as though he had wanted to lower premiums the whole time: “I think lowering premiums is a win-win for everybody…The number one reason people despise Obamacare is that premiums have skyrocketed.” As much as Republicans try to distance themselves from it, the fact of the matter is clear: they knew they were voting to raise premiums, and they chose to do it anyway.

EACH STEP OF THE WAY, EXPERTS WARNED THAT SABOTAGE WOULD DRIVE PREMIUMS UP

The Trump Administration Deliberately Tried To Reduce Enrollment Of Healthy Individuals By Halting Outreach, Despite Commonly Understood Consequence That This Would Increase Premiums.

  • January 2017: In “Transparent Effort To Damage Stability Of Health Insurance Marketplace,” President Trump Abruptly Halts Open Enrollment Ads. In the final week of open enrollment, President Trump ended ads that let people know they could sign up for the Affordable Care Act. As Politico notes, “The last five days of the open enrollment season are seen as critical because many individuals procrastinate and then join a last-minute sign-up surge. That’s particularly true for younger and healthier customers who are crucial to making insurance markets work.”
  • February 2017: Analysis Shows Trump’s Cuts To Outreach Prevent Nearly 500,000 People From Getting Coverage. Following Trump’s initial cuts to outreach, it was estimated that Trump’s cuts blocked nearly 500,000 people from getting coverage. When fewer healthy people are able to purchase care, experts agree that premiums increase.
  • August 2017: Trump Administration Cuts Aca Advertising Budget By 90 Percent, Despite Evidence That It Will Cause Premiums To Increase. [Vox, 8/31/17]
  • Because The Administration Still Refuses To Adequately Fund Outreach, Insurance Commissioners Warn That Premiums Will Continue To Increase. Peter Lee, the head of California’s ACA Marketplace wrote in a letter to HHS that premiums would go up because of the Administration’s failure to properly fund outreach: “The reality is clear: If the federal government maintains the current cuts in marketing and outreach, premiums will be higher than necessary, consumers will be hurt as a result and taxpayers will pay the price by supporting higher [than] necessary subsidies. This does not need to happen and can easily be avoided…Drops in new enrollment are a formula for a worse risk mix and higher premiums.” [Letter to HHS, 4/25/18]

Months Before The Trump Administration Ended Payments That Helped Lower Income Americans Afford Insurance, The CBO Warned That Doing So Would Raise Premiums By 20 Percent. President Trump Ended Them Anyway:

  • August 2017: CBO Warns That Premiums Will Increase By 20 Percent If Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments Are Terminated. “If President Trump follows through on his threat to stop paying billions of dollars of subsidies critical to insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, insurance premiums for certain plans would rise by 20 percent next year, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.” [Washington Post, 8/15/17]
  • October 2017: Trump Administration Decides To Halt Cost-Sharing Reduction Payments. Despite the CBO’s warning that ending cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) would cause premiums to rise by 20%, the Trump Administration decided to do so anyways. [Washington Post, 10/13/17]
  • After The Fact, Insurance Commissioners Did Exactly What The Cbo Said Would Happen — They Raised Premiums. Jessica Altman, Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner: This is not the situation I hoped we would be in, but due to President Trump’s refusal to make cost-sharing reduction payments for 2018 and Congress’s inaction to appropriate funds, it is the reality that state regulators must face and the reason rate increases will be higher than they should be across the country.” [CNN Money, 10/17/17]
  • Now, Research Confirms That Ending CSRs Caused Premiums To Jump, And Is Expected To Do So Again In 2019. RWJ’s interviews with ten insurance companies found that the loss of cost-sharing reduction plan reimbursements drove premium increases in 2018 ranging from 10 to 20 percent. [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Urban Institute, 3/19/18]

Republicans Knew That Repealing The Requirement That Most People Have Insurance Would Drive Up Premiums, And Rushed To Do So Without Public Comment:

  • November 2017: Congressional Budget Office (CBO) Estimates That Repealing The Individual Mandate Will Push Premiums Up By 10 Percent Annually. Last fall, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released numbers that repealing the requirement that most people have insurance would increase premiums by roughly 10 percent each year for the next decade. [Congressional Budget Office, November 2017]
  • November 2017: Sen. Susan Collins Acknowledges That Repealing Individual Mandate Would Raise Premiums. “‘One of the major concerns I had was the impact on premiums of repealing the individual mandate,’ [Collins] said Tuesday, referring to government estimates that repealing the mandate would raise insurance premiums by at least 10 percent as healthier consumers leave the market.” [Talking Points Memo, 11/29/17]
  • December 2017: Republican Senate Hurries To Pass Final Gop Tax Bill, Which Repeals Individual Mandate Despite Cbo Analysis That It Will Drive Premiums Up, In The Dark Of The Night And Without Public Hearings. Senate Republicans were determined to stop discussion on their tax bill from ever seeing the light of day. In December, they passed their tax bill in a matter of weeks, without hearing any public hearings. The process was so rushed that entire pagers were crossed out of the final version of the bill, and amendments were handwritten and barely legible.

After Sen. Collins Exchanged Her Vote On The Tax Bill For A Promise To Pass ACA Stabilization, Republicans Sabotage Bipartisan Efforts To Pass Bill That Would Help Control Premium Hikes:

  • December 2017: To Counteract The Increase In Premiums That Would Follow Repealing The Individual Mandate, Sen. Susan Collins Exchanges Tax Bill Vote For Aca Stabilization Bill. Sen. In exchange for her vote on the GOP tax bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, President Trump, and Vice President Trump committed to passing a health care stabilization measure. [Washington Post, 12/15/17]
  • March 2018: After Pushing The Stabilization Vote Into The Next Year, Republicans Refused To Vote On Stabilization Unless Democrats Agreed To A List Of Deal Breaking Demands. In the middle of bipartisan negotiations on stabilization, the White House released its list of demands, including: Expanding the Hyde abortion language, codifying the Administration’s Short-Term proposal into law that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, expanding Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) that is essentially another tax cut for the wealthy, mposing an age tax on older Americans by letting insurers charge people over 50 five times more than younger people. [White House Document, obtained by Politico, 3/8/18]
  • March 2018: There Is No Vote On Stabilization. [New York Magazine, 3/26/18]

Ignoring Warnings From Health Insurers, Trump Administration Proposes Changes To Short-Term Health Plans That Would Drive Up Premiums For Americans In Individual Marketplace:

  • July 2017: In Letter To HHS, America’s Health Insurance Plans Warns That Allowing Short-Term Plans To Offer Coverage For More Than Three Months At A Time Will Drive Up Premiums. “A blanket extension of the permitted length of short term policies will draw lower risk people out of the individual market single risk pool and drive up premium costs for consumers.” [America’s Health Insurance Plans Letter To HHHS, 7/12/17]
  • October 2017: President Trump Signs Executive Order That Expands Access To Short-Term Health Plans. President Trump’s executive order allows short-term plans to last for 12 months and be renewable, a notable change from the previous rule, which limited these plans to three months and prevented them from being renewed. [The Atlantic, 10/12/17]
  • February 2018: Administration Releases Fact Sheet On Short-Term Rule That Would Allow Insurers To Sell Year-Long Plans. [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, 2/20/18]
  • March 2018: Nonpartisan Urban Institute Says Premiums Will Increase By Nearly 20 Percent. Confirming what experts had warned of, the Urban Institute calculated that increasing the availability of short-term health plans, when combined with the repeal of the individual mandate, would lead premiums to increase by an average of 18.3 percent in 2019. [Urban Institute, March 2019]
  • March 2018: AARP Analysis Projects Short-Term Plans Will Cause Older Americans’ Premiums To Increase By 16.6 Percent. As a result of President Trump and his Republican allies’ pushing junk insurance plans, AARP expects premiums for older Americans buying marketplace health coverage to increase by an average of 16.6 percent in 2019.  [AARP, 3/21/18]

Each Of The Administration’s Decisions Is Designed Drive People Off Of Health Care And Increase Premiums:

  • Katherine Hempstead, health insurance expert at Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Anything That Undermines The ACA-Compliant Risk Pool Is Bad For Premiums.  “Anything that undermines the ACA-compliant risk pool is bad for premiums in the ACA market…Every exit ramp makes that market more expensive and less competitive than it otherwise would be.” [Modern Healthcare, 4/26/18]

NOW, THE CONSENSUS IS IN: REPUBLICANS KNOWINGLY DROVE UP PREMIUMS

Vox: Republican Sabotage To Blame For Premium Hikes. “The Trump administration’s multifaceted crusade against the health care law — slashing outreach budgets and pulling the law’s cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers — were already to blame for a 20 percent premium hike this year. Then Congress repealed the individual mandate in their tax bill, a huge political victory given the GOP’s vehement opposition to the mandate but one that insurers have said would drive up premiums even more next year.” [Vox, 4/25/18]

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]

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]

RECENT HEADLINES PAINT A TELLING PICTURE

EVEN REPUBLICANS ADMIT THEY’RE TO BLAME

Sen. Lamar Alexander: “Rates Will Go Up…They’re Going To Blame Every One Of Us, And They Should.” On the topic of failing to pass a stabilization bill, Sen. Alexander said: “Rates will go up. The individual market will probably collapse…There will be 11 million people who are between jobs, who are self-employed, who are working, who literally cannot afford insurance, and they’re not going to be very happy. And they’re going to blame every one of us, and they should.” [Vox, 4/25/18]

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: Republicans “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]