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Sabotage Archives — Protect Our Care

Protect Our Care Commends Speaker Pelosi, House Democrats For Introducing Aggressive Legislation On Health Care

Washington, DC — After Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats announced they will be unveiling sweeping legislation on Tuesday aimed at protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, lowering premiums and stopping the Trump Administration’s health care sabotage, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Protect Our Care strongly supports efforts by House Democrats to protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower costs, improve care, and push back on the Trump Administration’s reckless acts of sabotage. In November, the American people said they want aggressive action, and the legislation Democrats are unveiling on Tuesday is a giant step in that direction. It stands in stark contrast to President Trump’s ongoing war on America’s health care and his budget that cuts Medicaid and Medicare by nearly two trillion dollars and ends protections for people with pre-existing conditions by repealing the Affordable Care Act.”

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Lower Costs, Better Care: Ninth Anniversary of the Passage of the ACA is an Opportunity to Define Health Care Agenda

Washington, DC – Ahead of the ninth anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) this Saturday, March 23, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“As we mark the ninth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, it’s important to remind ourselves what the law has accomplished and what President Trump and his allies in Congress want to take away. While the President doubles down on his efforts to repeal our health care and release a budget with nearly $2 trillion in devastating cuts to Medicaid and Medicare, Democrats are moving forward with an aggressive agenda to lower costs and improve care.

“The Democratic agenda will protect people with pre-existing conditions, lower drug costs, and make health care more affordable. It will stop surprise bills, end price gouging for everyday drugs like insulin, and give Medicare the ability to negotiate for lower drug prices. While Democrats take concrete steps forward, Republicans are dead-set on taking us backwards, doing everything they can to sabotage health care, and put the interests of drug and insurance companies ahead of the needs of the American people.”

BACKGROUND:  

Here is how the Affordable Care Act is working across the country:

More than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage.

13 million people have coverage through the individual market. 13.3 million people are covered by marketplace or non-marketplace plans subject to ACA consumer protections. 82 percent of those enrolled through the marketplace are satisfied with their plans.

Insurers can no longer deny or drop coverage because of a pre-existing condition. Because of the ACA, insurers in the individual market can no longer drop or deny coverage, or charge you more because of a pre-existing condition. More than 130 million Americans have a pre-existing health condition.

Women no longer charged more than men. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for the same care, and insurers are now required to cover important health benefits like maternity care. Before the ACA, 75 percent of non-group plans refused to cover maternity care. 

Ended annual and lifetime limits. Because of the ACA, insurers can no longer put annual or lifetime limits on the care you receive.

Young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26. Because of the ACA, roughly 2.3 million young adults have coverage because they can stay on their parents coverage until age 26.

Allowed states to expand Medicaid. Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid. 17 million Americans have coverage through Medicaid expansion.

Free preventive care. Because of the ACA, health plans must cover preventive services — like flu shots, cancer screenings, contraception, and mammograms – at no cost to consumers. This includes nearly 137 million Americans, most of whom have employer coverage.

Comprehensive Coverage. Because of the ACA, insurers have to cover what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as maternity care, prescription drugs, and substance and mental health.

Tax credits are available to help people afford coverage. Because of the ACA, most people getting coverage on the marketplace qualify for tax credits to help pay for coverage. 8.9 million of the ACA’s 11.8 million marketplace enrollees receive premium tax credits.

Improved Access To Care And Financial Security. Between 2010 and 2018, the share of non-elderly adults with a problem paying a medical bill fell by 17 percent, the share who didn’t fill a prescription fell by 27 percent, the share who skipped a test or treatment fell by 24 percent, and the share who didn’t visit a provider when needing care fell by 19 percent.

Helping seniors afford prescription drugs. Because of the ACA, the Medicare prescription drug donut hole is closed. As a result, 4.9 million U.S. seniors are saving $5.7 billion on drugs in 2017, an average of $1,149 per beneficiary.

Helping increase access to employer-sponsored coverage. The Affordable Care Act’s individual and employer mandates are credited with helping increase rates of employer-sponsored health insurance. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that between 2013 and 2017, seven million more people gained employer coverage, nearly as many as gained coverage through the ACA marketplaces.

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Governor Evers’ Successful Fight to Withdraw From Disastrous Texas Lawsuit a Victory for Health Care in Wisconsin

Washington, DC – Following Governor Tony Evers’ decision Thursday to withdraw Wisconsin from the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit championed by Republican leaders in Wisconsin that would overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Governor Evers and Attorney General Kaul’s decision to pull Wisconsin out of the Texas lawsuit is a defeat for the Trump administration and Republican legislative leaders in Wisconsin’s relentless war on our health care. It is a victory for the nearly two and a half million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions. The governor’s decision makes clear that elections matter, and that Democrats across the country are making good on their promise to save our health care system from the ongoing acts of sabotage from Republicans and their disastrous lawsuit that would end protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”

BACKGROUND

In a December ruling, U.S. Northern District Court Judge Reed O’Connor used the courts to do what Republicans in Congress failed to do legislatively: strike down the Affordable Care Act. If O’Connor’s ruling is not overturned, it will rip coverage from millions of Americans, raise costs, end protections for people with pre-existing conditions, put insurance companies back in charge, and force seniors to pay more for prescription drugs. The result will be to — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in Court — unleash “chaos” in our entire health care system.

The ruling could have a devastating impact on Wisconsinites:

  • 2,435,700 Wisconsinites have a pre-existing condition, and would lose protections if this ruling is upheld.
  • 308,100 Wisconsin children have a pre-existing condition. One in four children, including 308,100 in Wisconsin, have a pre-existing condition.
  • 2 million Wisconsin women have a pre-existing condition. More than half of women and girls have a pre-existing condition, including 1,187,000 in Wisconsin.
  • 616,900 people aged 55-64 in Wisconsin have a pre-existing condition. 84 percent of older adults, 30.5 million Americans between age 55 and 64, have a pre-existing condition. This includes 616,900 in Wisconsin.

If not overturned, this ruling means:

  • Marketplace tax credits and coverage for 10 million people:
  • Medicaid expansion currently covering 15 million people:
  • Protections for more than 130 million people with pre-existing conditions when they buy coverage on their own, including more than 2.4 million Wisconsinites:
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26:
  • Free annual wellness exams:
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits:
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women:
  • Contraception with no out-of-pocket costs:
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs:
  • Requirement that insurance companies cover essential benefits like prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization:
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs:
  • Closed Medicare prescription drug donut hole:
  • Rules to hold insurance companies accountable:
  • Small business tax credits:

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Protect Our Care Statement on President Trump’s Shameful Attacks Against John McCain Over His Vote to Save Health Care

Washington, DC – After Donald Trump again insulted the memory of the late senator John McCain today over his vote to stop health care repeal Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Donald Trump’s latest attack against John McCain is a clear reminder that he remains obsessed with repealing and sabotaging our health care. The president is so intent on repealing health care protections, including those for people with pre-existing conditions, that he’s doubled down on his revenge vendetta against a true American war hero.”

New TV Ad Blasts Trump for Breaking His Promise on Cuts to Medicare and Medicaid

Ad also Targets Ten Congressional Republicans Calling on Them to Oppose Trump’s War on Health Care

Washington, DC — Protect Our Care will air a new television and digital ad this week calling out President Trump for his many lies about wanting to save Medicare and Medicaid while proposing to gut their funding and sabotaging our health care system at every turn.

The ad, called “Broken Promises,” slams Trump’s blatant hypocrisy on Medicare and Medicaid cuts by highlighting his false promise to “save Medicare and Medicaid… without cuts” if elected, only to turn around once in office and repeatedly try to gut them. The ad, which was featured in the Washington Post this morning, urges people to call their representatives and demand they reject Trump’s budget and its trillions of dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Watch the ad here.

“Time and again, Trump claimed he wouldn’t cut Medicare and Medicaid if elected – but of course that was a blatant lie,” said Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse. “As president, he has repeatedly broken his promise to Americans not to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and his latest budget slashes them by trillions of dollars. It’s clear that Trump will stop at nothing to sabotage our health care system, and will do so while showering insurance and drug companies with billions of dollars in tax breaks as they raise premiums and jack up the costs of prescription drugs.”

The ad will run on cable in DC as well as digitally targeting President Trump’s Senate allies Martha McSally (R-AZ), Cory Gardner (R-CO), Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Susan Collins (R-ME) who are all considered vulnerable in 2020. The ad will also run digitally in selected House districts to target vulnerable Republicans in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, and New York – specifically, representatives Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Davis (IL-13), Upton (MI-06), Hagedorn (MN-01), Bacon (NE-02), and Katko (NY-24).

View the national ad:

SCRIPT

Donald Trump. When he ran for President he promised to:

“Save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security without cuts.”

But now, Trump is turning his back on seniors and families — proposing over two trillion dollars in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

Breaking his promise.

Slashing our health care to the bone.

And for what? Tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations.

Call Congress — tell them to oppose Trump’s cuts to Medicare and Medicaid.

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CMS Administrator Verma Makes Clear the Administration’s War on Medicaid Expansion is Far From Over

Washington, DC – After CMS Administrator Seema Verma stated in an interview with Politico today that a once-rejected policy of drastically limiting Medicaid expansion is once again “under review,” Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“There’s no limit to the lengths this administration will go to sabotage Medicaid. Administrator Verma’s comments about revisiting the disastrous policy of allowing states to sabotage Medicaid expansion is just the latest step in their war to undermine our health care. From supporting so-called work requirements like those in Arkansas, which have already stripped coverage from 18,000 people, to advocating supporting the outright repeal of Medicaid expansion and calling for over a trillion dollars in cuts in their latest budget block granting – the Trump administration’s opposition to Medicaid is as hostile as it is downright cruel.

“It’s clear as daylight that giving states ‘flexibility’ when it comes to Medicaid expansion is just doublespeak for denying people coverage. No administration has done more to undermine Medicaid, and Administrator Verma’s latest comments underscore their continued desire to gut it.”

All-Lies on Azar

Day One of Secretary Azar’s Testimony On the Budget Featured Blame-Shifting and Deceit on Everything from Junk Plans to Trump’s Proposed Cuts to Medicare

Is Congress In for More of the Same Tomorrow?

Washington, DC – In response to today’s dishonest testimony from Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on President Trump’s FY20 budget before the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, Protect Our Care executive director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“It’s no surprise that Trump’s HHS Secretary, a former pharmaceutical executive, would refuse to level with the American people at today’s hearing about the administration’s plans to terminate the ACA through the Texas lawsuit, sell junk insurance plans, and slash Medicare and Medicaid by over $2 trillion. Time and again, Secretary Azar refused to answer questions about the Trump budget’s deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare or provide any evidence for his baseless claim about this administration’s interest in providing protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“Make no mistake, Alex Azar is President Trump’s Field General in this administration’s war on American health care. Under his watch, the uninsured rate has increased, open enrollment has been sabotaged, junk insurance plans are poised to undermine Americans’ health care and thousands of people in states like Arkansas have lost coverage due to ridiculous (paper) work requirements. While Alex Azar has learned from his boss how to lie his way through direct question, the results of his policies speak for themselves: insurance and drug companies make out like bandits while the American people get the shaft.”

Trump’s Budget Reveals His True Agenda: Sabotage Americans’ Health Care

This morning, the Trump administration released its proposed FY20 budget, which revives the failed Graham-Cassidy repeal bill and calls for massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and HHS. The administration’s budget reveals just how steadfast it remains in trying to take away Americans’ health care. Here’s a look at how it attempts to do so

  1. President Trump’s Budget Revives The Failed Graham-Cassidy Repeal Bill That Would Repeal Medicaid Expansion And ACA Subsidies Only To Replace Them With Inadequate Block Grants, Ultimately Cutting Medicaid By More Than $1 Trillion. By shifting to a block grant program and eliminating funding for Medicaid expansion, the administration would cut Medicaid by more than $1 trillion over 10 years.
  2. The Budget Would Impose Onerous Work Requirements On Medicaid Enrollees Nationwide, Which Is Estimated To Cause Up To 4 Million People To Lose Coverage. This unprecedented move would completely alter Medicaid as we know it, requiring people nationwide to meet onerous work and reporting requirements in order to maintain their Medicaid coverage. The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that a national Medicaid work requirement would cause up to 4 million people to lose coverage, most of them losing coverage due to paperwork and red tape.
  3. The President’s Budget Could Impose Premiums On Up To 4.2 Million Low-Income Uninsured People Who Are Currently Eligible For A Plan That Requires $0 In Premiums. As CQ’s Mary Ellen McIntire reports: “The budget proposes all exchange enrollees who are eligible for subsidies “contribute something” to their coverage, meaning people who currently pay $0 in premiums would have to make some sort of payment. Kaiser found that could apply to 4.2M uninsured.”
  4. The President’s Slashes HHS’s Operating Costs By 12 Percent. Trump’s budget would slash funding for the Department of Health and Human Services, the department responsible for administering the Affordable Care Act by 12 percent. As Politico reports, the budget request  “assumes that Congress will succeed in repealing and replacing Obamacare.”
  5. The Budget Proposes Cutting More Than $800 Billion From Medicare Over A Decade. Despite repeatedly promising not to cut Medicare, President Trump’s budget would cut roughly 10 percent of Medicare’s funding over the next ten years to help pay for tax cuts to insurance and big drug companies

Trump Regime Launches Cover Up Of Its Health Care Sabotage


Washington DC — As reported by the Associated Press, the Trump White House is claiming it has done nothing to “sabotage” the Affordable Care Act. In a report expected to be released today, the Council of Economic Advisers is trying to claim that the administration’s relentless war on Americans’ health care does not constitute “sabotage.” This is blatantly false. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“We’re just over a month into 2019 but this whopper is already in the running for the lie of the year. The Trump administration’s relentless sabotage of our health care system is well-documented. In November, voters took to the polls and rejected the Republican war on health care, and the fact that this administration is launching a massive cover-up of their sabotage means that they’re already bracing themselves against the wrath of voters in 2020.”

Don’t believe us? Take a look at our sabotage tracker:

February 2019

  • Trump predicts the Affordable Care Act will be “terminated” through the Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn the law.
  • In an effort to restrict access to information about women’s reproductive health, the Trump administration removes web pages associated with the ACA and its contraceptive coverage from HHS’s Office of Population Affairs website.

January 2019

  • Thanks to GOP sabotage, the uninsured rate surges to the its highest level since 2014. Roughly seven million fewer people are estimated to have health care now than did two years ago.
  • The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposes changes to the ACA’s benefit and payment parameters, reducing subsidies available to those who purchase health care through the exchange, increasing premiums, and raising the out-of-pocket maximum for people with employer-sponsored health care.
  • In a win for big Pharma, the Trump administration proposes changes to the rebate system that would raise premiums, benefit pharmaceutical companies, and contain no mandate to lower list prices of drugs.

December 2018

  • Hand-picked Federal Judge Reed O’Connor rules in favor of twenty conservative states to overturn the Affordable Care Act, jeopardizing coverage for 17 million people and ripping away the ACA’s vital consumer protections such as protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Under the Trump administration’s relentless sabotage, the uninsured rate increases for the first time since 2010. As the Kaiser Family Foundation finds, “In 2017, the uninsured rate reversed course and, for the first time since the passage of the ACA, rose significantly to 10.2% [from 10%].”

November 2018

  • Trump administration issues new guidance urging states to “tear down basic pillars of the Affordable Care Act, demolishing a basic rule” that federal subsidies can only be used to purchase ACA-compliant plans. Experts warn against this move, saying it will push affordable, comprehensive care further out of reach for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
  • Under the Trump administration, the number of uninsured children grows for the first time in nearly a decade. After a decade of steady decreases in the number of uninsured children, in 2017 the number of uninsured children increased from 3.6 million to 3.9 million.

October 2018

  • Republicans appoint Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh is known to be hostile to the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump administration issues guidance that allows federal subsidies to be used to purchase junk plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.

September 2018

  • The Trump administration’s Department of Justice joins twenty conservative states in court in opening arguments to argue that the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions should be overturned.
  • Nearly 4,600 Arkansans are unable to meet Arkansas’ reporting requirements for the state’s Medicaid work requirements and lose Medicaid coverage.

August 2018

  • Trump administration finalizes rule for bare-bones short-term plans that are exempt from key consumer protections, such as the requirement that insurance covers prescription drugs, maternity care, and hospitalization.

July 2018

  • CMS halts risk adjustment payments, that enable insurance companies to cover everyone, regardless of whether they are healthy or sick.
  • Trump Administration slashes funding for non-profit health navigator groups, that help people shop for coverage, from $36 million to $10 million. CMS encourages groups to use the remaining funds to push people to sign up for junk plans that skirt important consumer protections.
  • President Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh has previously forced a young woman to continue a pregnancy against her will and has criticized Justice Roberts for upholding the Affordable Care Act’s constitutionality.

June 2018

  • Department of Justice takes to the courts to argue that insurance companies should be able to discriminate against as many as 130 million Americans with a pre-existing condition.
  • Republican coalition, the Health Policy Consensus Group, released their latest proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions, let insurance companies charge older people an age tax, and deny key coverage for basic services like maternity care.
  • Trump Administration finalizes proposal to expand access to association health plans that skirt key consumer protections.

May 2018

  • President Trump boasts about health care sabotage: “We will have gotten rid of a majority of Obamacare.”
  • Trump Administration enlists help of former drug lobbyist in writing its drug plan.
  • Congressional Republicans try to use annual farm bill to authorize $65 million in taxpayer funding to set up association health plans, which can  exclude prescription drug coverage, mental health care, and maternity care.

April 2018

  • House Republicans vote on a balanced budget amendment that would cut Medicaid by $700 billion over ten years, $114 billion in a single year alone.
  • Trump Administration limits access to assistance for consumers who want to enroll in marketplace coverage. This change removes the requirement that every area has at least two “navigator” groups to provide consumer assistance and that one be local. Now, just one group could cover entire states or groups of states.

March 2018

  • Republicans sabotage efforts to pass a bipartisan bill that would have stabilized Affordable Care Act marketplaces by insisting the bill restrict access to abortion.

February 2018

  • The Trump Administration announces that it will expand access to short-term health plans that do not have to comply with key consumer protection provisions required by the Affordable Care Act.
  • Urban Institute calculates that repeal of the individual mandate and expansion of short term plans will increase individual market premiums by an average 18.2 percent in 2019.
  • Trump Administration releases budget that calls for the Affordable Care Act to be replaced by Graham-Cassidy, in a move that experts predict would reduce health coverage for 32 million Americans.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

July 2017

  • The Trump Administration uses funding intended to support health insurance enrollment to launch a multimedia propaganda campaign against the Affordable Care Act.
  • President Trump, again, threatens to end cost-sharing reduction payments.

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.

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.

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.
  • In an effort to convince Democrats to negotiate a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, President Trump threatens to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments (CSRs) that help low-income marketplace customers pay for out-of-pocket costs.

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.

February 2017

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

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.
  • Also on January 20th, the Department of Health and Human Services begins to remove information on how to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.
  • The Trump Administration pulls funding for outreach and advertising for the final days of 2017 enrollment. This move is estimated to have reduced enrollment by nearly 500,000.

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.