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Summer Of Sabotage Archives — Protect Our Care

Back At It Again: Trump Administration Hostile to Medicaid Ignored Rules That Protect Patients


Washington DC — Today, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Trump administration is scrambling to overhaul Medicaid by requiring burdensome work requirements, but are failing to enforce federal rules directing states to analyze the devastating impact such requirements will have on millions of Americans who rely on this life-saving program. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:   

“The actions by this administration are egregious, but unfortunately par for the course considering President Trump has put people in charge of Medicaid who are simply out to destroy it. Failing to enforce rules requiring states to access the impact of Medicaid work requirements shows that the Trump administration doesn’t care who their policies hurt. This is part and parcel to Trump-led Republican sabotage agenda: they oppose Medicaid expansion — which would provide health care coverage to millions more Americans, support so-call ‘block grants” — a euphemism for slashing coverage, and are pushing ‘work requirements’ – which are little more than gotcha paperwork meant to kick eligible people off the rolls. Medicaid is the nation’s largest health insurance program and is more popular today than ever before. These senseless work requirements are already jeopardizing health care for thousands of low-income families — nearly all of whom are already working — and the Trump administration is breaking every rule in the book in their rush to implement it as just another deliberate attack on American health care.”

Background:

IN STATES WHERE SIMILAR RULES HAVE TAKEN EFFECT, THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE HAVE LOST CARE

  • Results from Arkansas confirm that Medicaid work requirements are fundamentally bureaucratic hurdles, threatening access to health coverage for thousands across the state. “A review of monthly data related to the new requirements released by the Arkansas Department of Human Services shows that from September through December 2018, over 18,000 people were disenrolled for failure to comply with the new requirements for three months.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/17/19]
  • This summer, a federal district court blocked Kentucky from imposing similar rules for the negative effects it would have on Kentuckians. Said the court in its ruling, “[Secretary Azar] never adequately considered whether Kentucky HEALTH would in fact help the state furnish medical assistance to its citizens, a central objective of Medicaid. This signal omission renders his determination arbitrary and capricious. The Court, consequently, will vacate the approval of Kentucky’s project and remand the matter to HHS for further review.”
  • In Indiana, 25,000 people with health insurance through Medicaid were dropped from coverage because they were unable to pay their premiums. The Washington Post reported, “About 25,000 adults were disenrolled from the program between its start in 2015 and October 2017 for failure to pay their premiums, according to state reports. Yet, state officials estimate that based on surveys of recipients, about half of those who were disenrolled found another source of coverage, most often through a job…In addition to those who were disenrolled, another 46,000 adults who signed up for Medicaid during 2016 and 2017 were not accepted because they did not pay their initial premium, the state reported.”

WORK REQUIREMENTS ADD ADMINISTRATIVE HURDLES, MAKING IT HARDER FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE ELIGIBLE FOR CARE TO GET IT

  • Requiring People On Medicaid To Prove They Are Working Adds An Administrative Burden That Is Hardest On Low-Income Americans. “[Administrative hurdles] may be especially daunting for the poor, who tend to have less stable work schedules and less access to resources that can simplify compliance: reliable transportation, a bank account, internet access.  There is also a lot of research about the Medicaid program, specifically, that shows that sign-ups fall when states make their program more complicated.” [New York Times, 1/18/18]
  • Documentation Requirements Increase The Chances That People Will Lose Care, Simply Because They Have Trouble Navigating The Process. “There is a real risk of eligible people losing coverage due to their inability to navigate these processes, miscommunication, or other breakdowns in the administrative process. People with disabilities may have challenges navigating the system to obtain an exemption for which they qualify and end up losing coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 1/16/18]

THE VAST MAJORITY OF  PEOPLE WITH MEDICAID COVERAGE WHO WHO CAN WORK ARE WORKING

  • 60 percent of nondisabled people with health coverage through Medicaid have a job and are working, including 42 percent working full-time.
  • 51 percent of working adult Medicaid enrollees have full-time jobs year-round, but their salaries are still low enough to qualify for Medicaid coverage, or have Medicaid because their employers do not offer insurance.  
  • Nearly 80 percent of nondisabled people with Medicaid coverage live in a family where at least one person is working, including 64 percent working full-time. The other adult family member may not be working because they have caregiving or other responsibilities at home.
  • A state by state breakdown can be found HERE

Trump Administration Ignores 98 Percent of Health Experts, Greenlights Junk Insurance Plans

This is the GOP’s Fifth Act of Sabotage In the Past Week Alone

Washington, D.C. – In response to the Trump Administration’s final rule bringing short-term, junk plans back to consumers, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“Today’s announcement is nothing more than the Trump Administration’s and Republicans latest attack on our health care, taking its summer of sabotage to a new level and once again leaving Americans holding the bill. Coming on the heels of the GOP pushing forward a lawsuit to end the protections Americans depend upon under the Affordable Care Act, including those for the 130 million people with pre-existing conditions, this rule will let insurance companies with billions in profits once again take Americans’ hard-earned money while drastically limiting coverage. Short term junk plans don’t cover people with pre-existing conditions, don’t include coverage for basic medical needs like prescription drugs, and refuse to pay benefits when a legitimate medical emergency arises. The Trump Administration and its Republican allies in Congress want to give insurance companies the power to deny coverage based on the flimsiest excuse, and this rule does just that. The public knows better than to fall for this charade.”

Today’s announcement is the fifth act of sabotage the Trump Administration and its GOP allies have undertaken in the past week alone. In the past seven days:

  1. The Trump Administration and twenty GOP attorneys general and governors pushed forward their lawsuit in an attempt to strike down protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  2. Not a single Republican Senator or House Member joined the Democratic resolutions authorizing the legislative chambers’ legal counsel to go to court and defend these protections.
  3. House Republicans went home after doing nothing to lower premiums or protect the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  4. New Jersey became the 25th state to see its projected premiums rise due to GOP actions. In fact, new data shows Americans will spend $3,000 more per year for marketplace coverage this year.
  5. Now, short term “junk plans could be back on the market.

Read more about this Summer of Sabotage here, and read about all the ways the Trump Administration has sabotaged health care over the past 18 months here.

ABOUT SHORT TERM JUNK PLANS:

  • 335 of 340 health groups, 98 percent of those that submitted comments to HHS, criticized the proposed rule.
  • Short-term junk plans can exclude coverage for pre-existing conditions, affecting 130 million Americans and one in four children.
  • Short-term junk plans can refuse to cover essential health benefits, including maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, and preventive care.
  • Short-term junk plans can impose annual and lifetime limits.
  • Short-term junk plans can leave members facing “major, unpredictable financial risk,” with out-of-pocket maximums as high as $20,000 for just three months of coverage.
  • Short-term junk plans can retroactively cancel coverage after patients file claims.

For more information on short term junk plans, view our fact sheet.

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Protect Our Care Releases New Report Highlighting Trump Administration’s “Summer of Sabotage”

After Failing to Get the Votes, Trump Administration is Sabotaging Health Care at Every Turn

Washington, D.C. – As the one-year anniversary of bipartisan defeat of Affordable Care Act repeal in the United States Senate approaches, Protect Our Care today released a detailed report, Summer of Sabotage, which comprehensively lays out the extensive campaign the Trump Administration has undertaken to sabotage health care just in the last few months. The report covers every act of administrative sabotage since May, from the proliferation of junk plans and slashing funding for enrollment assistance to the nomination of an anti-health care judge to the Supreme Court.

“Whether by pushing junk plans that don’t cover people with pre-existing conditions or destabilizing the  market, President Trump and his allies are directly responsible for the higher health care bills Americans are seeing,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “This report makes clear the depth and breath of Republicans health care sabotage and how costs are rising because of it.”

Read the report here.

“The Summer of Sabotage report lays out exactly what the president has done and how it will hurt patients,” said U.S. Senator Chris Murphy. “This is a critical time in this fight because if the president and his backers get their way, insurance companies will once again be able to jack up prices or even deny care – to people with a pre-existing health condition. The American people need to know, so they can stand up and fight back.”

In addition to providing a status report on the premium increases insurance companies have filed this summer, the report analyzes a number of actions the Trump administration has undertaken to sabotage our care, including:

  • Arguing against protections for people with pre-existing conditions in federal court;
  • Encouraging Americans to sign up for junk plans, which would bring back discrimination against women, people with pre-existing conditions and people over age 50;
  • Nominating Brett Kavanaugh, an extreme anti-health care judge, to the Supreme Court;
  • Slashing funding for navigators that help Americans obtain insurance;
  • Restricting access to Medicaid;
  • Making it harder to find information about the ACA online, and
  • Freezing the risk adjustment program, which could unnecessarily drive up premiums.

“President Trump and his allies continue their campaign to sabotage health care at their own peril,” said Leslie Dach, campaign chair of Protect Our Care. “Health care is a top-ranked issue for voters because they care about it — deeply — and because the actions Republicans have taken to rip health care away from us are happening in plain view, for all to see.”

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