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Susan Collins Archives — Protect Our Care

On SCOTUS Hearings Eve, New Ads Preview Reality If Collins Refuses To Stand Up for Mainers

New TV Ad in Maine Previews a Scary Future When the ACA is Struck Down by a Court Hostile to Health Care

Radio Ads in Maine and Alaska Highlight ‘Side Effects’ of Justice Kavanaugh for People with Pre-existing Conditions Like Cancer

Washington, D.C. – In the latest phase of its campaign to educate the public about what’s at stake for health care in the Supreme Court, Protect Our Care is launching new television and radio ads in Maine and Alaska urging constituents to ask Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski to oppose Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination.

  • The new TV ad in Maine shows the scary future we could face if Justice Brett Kavanaugh sides with the Trump Administration and casts the deciding vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and its protections for 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.
  • Radio ads up in Maine and Alaska highlight the impact Kavanaugh’s vote could have on hundreds of thousands of state residents living with pre-existing conditions.

Watch the new TV ad airing in Maine:  

Listen to the radio ads airing all week in Alaska and Maine.

The new ad campaign comes after two months of activity in the Senators’ states and in DC — including this past weekend’s massive 50-state Unite for Justice Day of Action — where constituents have implored the Senators to stand up for their health care and oppose Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Court. The groundswell of opposition to Kavanaugh’s nomination is borne out by poll after poll showing weak support for Kavanaugh, making him the most unpopular Supreme Court nominee in three decades, less popular than Harriet Miers, whose nomination was withdrawn. In fact, a new Protect Our Care-PPP poll released last week found that just 42 percent of Mainers want Sen. Collins to confirm Judge Kavanaugh and that a vote to confirm him would harm Sen. Collins’ re-election prospects.

“Americans do not want protections for the more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions taken away from them by the Supreme Court, but President Trump does. And as we head into the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings next week, Senators Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski need to decide if they agree,” said Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care. “Senators Collins and Murkowski have claimed a commitment to health care — this nomination may be the truest test of where they actually stand yet.”

Protect Our Care Highlights Maine and Alaska Pre-Existing Condition Stories in Press Conference to Stop Brett Kavanaugh

Washington, D.C. – This morning, Protect Our Care and Little Lobbyists joined Leader Chuck Schumer and Senators Patty Murray, Ron Wyden, Chris Murphy and Chris Van Hollen at press conference to lay out the threat against Americans with pre-existing conditions if Judge Brett Kavanaugh is appointed to the Supreme Court.

“A year ago this month, with every Democrat and Senators Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and John McCain, we defeated the number one legislative priority of Republicans and President Trump dating back seven years: repealing protections from people with pre-existing conditions and the whole Affordable Care Act,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “For the health of the American people, we need the pro-health care majority in the Senate to come together again and keep Brett Kavanagh off the Supreme Court.”

Woodhouse highlighted at the press conference stories from Maine and Alaska, home to key Republican Senators in the nomination battle Lisa Murkowski (AK) and Susan Collins (ME):

  • Diane Decker of Anchorage, Alaska was diagnosed with leukemia in her late twenties, going through a bone marrow transplant and beating cancer. Despite this, years later when she wanted to start her own business, she was unable to find insurance. After the ACA, she was able to find coverage.
  • Alyce Ornella of Bangor, Maine gave birth to a son born with life-threatening birth defects and and in need of surgery to stay alive, as well as a team of specialists to help him as he grew older. The ACA ensured that Sam could get coverage without his family going into bankruptcy, and today he is a happy and healthy child.

Read more about why a vote to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh is a vote against these families — and all of the 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions.

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Advocates Mount Defense of Health Care for Millions

Last night, President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be the next Supreme Court justice. To be clear, Trump had two litmus tests in selecting Brett Kavanaugh for the Court:

1) overturning Roe v. Wade, and

2) overturning Americans’ health care by gutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Across the country, health care advocates geared up in opposition, urging their senators to reject Judge Kavanaugh, an activist judge who was hand-picked to rubber-stamp President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ war on health care.

Here are some highlights, with more activity on the ground happening today.

In Alaska, Protect Our Care was joined by health care advocates, Alaska Native leaders, and former Alaska Superior Court Judge John Reese to urge Sen. Lisa Murkowski to do what is best for Alaska and reject a justice who won’t protect Alaskans’ care.

In Maine, Protect Our Care was joined by the Maine Women’s Lobby and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in calling on Sen. Susan Collins to protect pre-existing condition protections and women’s access to health care.

In Arizona, Jeff Jeans, a cancer survivor joined  state Rep. Athena Salman, and representatives from Planned Parenthood and ACLU Arizona urged Senator Flake to stand up for Arizonans’ care.

In Nevada, Protect Our Care and Laura Packard, a health care advocate living with cancer, Cyndy Hernandez of NARAL Pro-Choice Nevada, and Sam Shaw of SEIU Nevada Local 1107 urged Sen. Dean Heller to stand up and protect Nevadans’ health care.

In Ohio, Protect Our Care Ohio joined with Innovation Ohio, the Physicians Action Network, and Planned Parenthood Advocates of Ohio highlighted the current and long-term threats to health care under a conservative Supreme Court.

In Tennessee, Protect Our Care was joined by a coalition of concerned citizens including Jen Yamin, the mother of a son with pre-existing conditions, Kristen Grimm, the mother of child with special needs, and Anna Carella, Co-Chair of Healthy and Free Tennessee, outside Sen. Bob Corker’s Nashville office.

In West Virginia, Protect Our Care advocates went on the record to make it clear that they want their senators to stand up health care.

Susan Collins & Seema Verma Had Their Chance to Lower Rates & They Blew It

Washington, D.C. – After Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) bragged about discussing rising premiums with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Campaign Chair Leslie Dach released the following statement:

“Senator Collins talking to Administrator Verma about Republican rate hikes is about as much help to working families as two foxes chatting in front of a chicken coop. Senator Collins’ ‘plan’ for lowering premiums was to vote for a TrumpTax bill that raised them by double digits, while Administrator Verma’s ‘plan’ is to sell junk insurance that doesn’t cover essential medical care and allows companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Last fall, Senator Collins had a clear opportunity to tackle rising premiums, and she missed the boat. She could have voted against the GOP tax bill and kept her promise to pass a bipartisan market stabilization package to undo some of the Trump Administration’s own sabotage. Instead, she did neither. Senator Collins and Seema Verma can discuss rising premiums until the cows come home, but in fact, it’s their policies that got us into this mess in the first place.”

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]

FACT CHECK: Sen. Collins’ Sunday Show Stabilization Deception

Yesterday, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) appeared on CNN’s State of the Union and proceeded to give a version of the events surrounding the GOP stabilization bill failure that do not hold up to scrutiny. Here’s what Sen. Collins said – and what actually happened:

SEN. COLLINS BANKED ON DISINGENUOUS STABILIZATION PROMISE IN EXCHANGE FOR HER VOTE ON ON THE REPUBLICAN TAX BILL

What Collins says now:

When asked on CNN’s State of the Union whether she thought she was lied to to get her vote for the Republican tax bill, Sen. Susan Collins responded, “No, I really don’t.”

What really happened:

Last December, Collins said that a failure to pass stabilization would be a “serious breach of a promise.” When discussing the possibility that stabilization might not become law, Collins said, “I’m counting on the administration to make sure that does not happen…I would consider it a very serious breach of a promise to me.”

MITCH MCCONNELL BROKE HIS PROMISE TO SEN. COLLINS ON STABILIZATION

What Collins says now:

Sen. Collins reiterated that she believes Majority Leader McConnell kept his promise to her: “I had the opportunity just two weeks ago to bring a package to the Senate floor with Lamar Alexander, so the Majority Leader kept his promise to me.”

What really happened:

In Sen. Collins’ own words, she cast a vote to pass the tax bill because she had secured “commitments to pass legislation to help lower health insurance premiums.” She secured a commitment to pass stabilization, not just hold a vote on legislation. Not only did stabilization never pass, but no vote was ever held on Collins’ or Alexander’s health care stabilization package.

REPUBLICANS SABOTAGED EFFORTS TO STABILIZE THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT

What Collins says now:

Sen. Collins continued to push a false narrative about what happened during stabilization efforts, saying, “Much to my surprise, [stabilization] was blocked actually by Senators on the other side of the aisle.”

What really happened:

In reality, Republicans bear 100% of the responsibility for failing to pass legislation that would stabilize the Affordable Care Act. House Republicans, such as Rep. Tom Cole, went on the record indicating they opposed stabilization: “Nobody in that room voted for Obamacare, so the idea you’re going to vote for billions of dollars to stabilize a system you never supported in the first place — pretty hard to choke down.”

The White House then released a list of extreme, deal-breaking demands, including: expanding Hyde restrictions to effectively prohibit all privately-purchased plans from covering abortion; codifying short-term health plans that undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions; and imposing an age tax that allows insurers to change Americans over age 50 premiums over five times higher than they charge younger people. Republicans were quick to advocate for these changes, adding a partisan poison pill they knew would torpedo bipartisan stabilization efforts.

Even Sen. Collins’ Republican colleagues recognize that they now own the outcome on health care. Sen. Lindsey Graham told Breitbart News, “[Obamacare] is 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.”

In an op-ed she penned for the Portland Press Herald, Sen. Collins herself admitted that price increases were entirely avoidable: “This proposal was the last clear opportunity to prevent these health insurance rate increases, which will be announced Oct. 1. The most frustrating thing about these imminent price increases is that they were entirely avoidable. Much about health care is complicated.”

The Republican War on Health Care: First They Sabotaged It, Then They Refused to Fix It, Now they Own It

Republicans Bear 100% of Responsibility for Avoidable Premium Increases Set to Hit Millions of Middle Class Families This Fall

BEFORE PRESIDENT TRUMP’S SABOTAGE, THE MARKETS WERE STABILIZING

Trump White House Today Admits The Marketplaces Were Stabilizing. “After an initial adjustment period, insurers’ financial health, as measured by their stock prices, surpassed earlier levels … While insurers initially incurred losses in the ACA marketplaces as they adjusted to new regulations and a relatively unhealthy risk pool, insurers are now profiting on the individual market as well.” [CEA, 3/18/18]

In 2017, Congressional Budget Office Reports: ACA Market Is Stable. “The subsidies to purchase coverage combined with the penalties paid by uninsured people stemming from the individual mandate are anticipated to cause sufficient demand for insurance by people with low health care expenditures for the market to be stable.”  [Congressional Budget Office, 3/13/17]

In 2017, S&P Global Reports: ACA Market Will Remain Stable So Long As The Trump Administration Is Not “Disruptive.” S&P Global repeatedly reports that “2016 results and the market enrollment so far in 2017 show that the ACA individual market is not in a ‘death spiral.’ However, every time something new (and potentially disruptive) is thrown into the works, it impedes the individual market’s path to stability.” [S&P Global, 4/7/17]

THEN REPUBLICAN REPEAL ATTEMPTS UNDERMINED THE MARKET

Ongoing Republican repeal attempts throughout 2017 created uncertainty that insurance companies said forced them to hike premiums: “Obamacare markets are undergoing a slow-motion meltdown as Republicans stoke a climate of uncertainty while struggling to agree on their own plan for overhauling American health care.” [Politico, 6/8/17]

AND IF THAT WASN’T ENOUGH, PRESIDENT TRUMP STARTED TO SABOTAGE THE MARKETS, WHILE REPUBLICANS ON THE HILL DID NOTHING TO STOP IT

On October 13, 2017, President Trump Ended Cost Sharing Reductions (CSRs), Payments To Insurers That Help Lower Income Americans Afford Health Coverage In The ACA Marketplace. [Washington Post, 10/13/17]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Lack Of CSR Payments Resulted In Surcharge In Premiums Of 7.1 To 38 Percent. “As shown in Table 1, among those insurers that specify the surcharge on silver plans for the discontinuation of CSR payments, the amount of the surcharge ranges from 7.1% to 38%.” [KFF, 10/27/17]

THEN CONGRESS PASSED A TAX CUT FOR THE WEALTHY AND CORPORATIONS THAT ALSO RAISED PREMIUMS AND WILL TAKE COVERAGE AWAY FROM MILLIONS OF PEOPLE

Last December, Congressional Republicans Passed A Tax Bill That Strips 13 Million Of Insurance And Raises Premiums By Double Digits. “The Senate bill’s repeal of the individual mandate (the requirement that most people get health coverage or pay a penalty) would cause 13 million more people to become uninsured, raising the uninsured rate among the non-elderly from 11 percent to about 16 percent, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates. It also would raise premiums by an average of 10 percent in the individual market by 2027, according to CBO.” [CBPP, 12/8/17]

Urban Institute Predicts Near 20 Percent Premium Increases Next Year And Millions Of Americans Losing Coverage Due To The Repeal Provision In The Tax Law And Trump Sabotage.  According to a study by the non-partisan Urban Institute, Republican health care sabotage is set to artificially inflate premiums by double digits for millions of families this fall. The study forecasts an 18.2% increase in 2019 premiums for Affordable Care Act plans and millions of Americans losing their coverage because the Trump and Congress repealed the individual mandate and the Trump Administration’s proposal to sell junk plans that do not meet ACA requirements. [Urban Institute, 3/14/18]

CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS BROKE THEIR PROMISE TO PASS A STABILIZATION BILL IN 2017

After Being Promised To Have A Stabilization Bill As Part Of The Tax Bill, Sens. Alexander And Collins Issued A Statement Saying They Asked Sen. McConnell To Postpone Stabilization Until 2018. ‘Rather than considering a broad year-end funding agreement as we expected, it has become clear that Congress will only be able to pass another short-term extension to prevent a government shutdown and to continue a few essential programs,’ said the Senators.  ‘For this reason, we have asked Senator McConnell not to offer this week our legislation which independent analysts Avalere and Oliver-Wyman say would reduce premiums by about 20 percent for the 9 million Americans who have no government subsidies to help them buy insurance in the individual market. Instead, we will offer it after the first of the year when the Senate will consider the omnibus spending bill, the Children’s Health Insurance Program reauthorization, funding for Community Health Centers, and other legislation that was to have been enacted this week.’” [Alexander and Collins Statement, 12/20/17]

HOUSE REPUBLICANS INDICATED THEY WOULDN’T SUPPORT STABILIZATION

Speaker Ryan Opposed Efforts To Stabilize The ACA Dating Back To October 2017. Last October, Ryan spokesman, Doug Andres, said, “The speaker does not see anything that changes his view that the Senate should keep its focus on the repeal and replace of Obamacare.” [Matt Fuller, Huffington Post Reporter, 10/18/17]

House Conservatives Called Alexander-Murray Stabilization Bill A “Nonstarter.” “House conservatives appear united in opposition to the health care stabilization proposal crafted by Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray. ‘Right now it’s a nonstarter,’ House Freedom Caucus member Dave Brat said Tuesday during a Conversations with Conservatives press event.” [Roll Call, 10/24/17]

Rep. Tom Cole: “The Idea You’re Going To Vote For Billions Of Dollars To Stabilize A System You Never Supported In The First Place — Pretty Hard To Choke Down.”  “In addition to the dispute over abortion language, GOP lawmakers were reluctant to sign off on provisions that shored up the Affordable Care Act, a law they all opposed. ‘Nobody in that room voted for Obamacare, so the idea you’re going to vote for billions of dollars to stabilize a system you never supported in the first place — pretty hard to choke down,’ said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).” [Washington Post, 3/19/18]

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND SPEAKER RYAN REPEATEDLY TRIED TO DERAIL STABILIZATION NEGOTIATIONS BY ADDING MORE CONSERVATIVE DEMANDS

September 2017: “House Speaker Paul Ryan And The White House Have Informed Senate Republican Leaders That They Oppose A Bipartisan Plan To Stabilize Obamacare Being Written In The Senate.” “House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law.” [Politico, 9/19/17]

March 2018: The White House Released A List Of Conservative, Deal-breaking Demands To Stabilization. In the middle of bipartisan negotiations on stabilization, the White House released a list of its conservative 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
  • Imposing 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]

The Hill: White House pushes for conservative changes to ObamaCare fix

Politico: White House pitch to bolster Obamacare includes tough trade-offs for Democrats

Wall Street Journal: Trump Administration Pushes Conservative Goals in Health-Care Market Changes

Vox: The White House might have just blown up the last best hope to stabilize Obamacare

Talking Points Memo: White House Demands Threaten Bipartisan Effort To Bring Down Health Premiums

NOW, THE LATEST REPUBLICAN STABILIZATION PLAN THREATENS PRE EXISTING CONDITIONS AND ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS

           [AARP, 3/21/18]

AND, REPUBLICANS ADDED A  PARTISAN POISON PILL THEY KNEW WOULD TORPEDO BIPARTISAN STABILIZATION NEGOTIATIONS

Statements

Sen. Patty Murray: “They’re Moving Further And Further Away From Their Original Goal.” “We’re not going to give them an expansion of Hyde and say that’s a goal we all agree to…They’re moving further and further away from their original goal, which was to make sure people have lower costs and access.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Sen. Patty Murray: “They Keep Throwing Obstacles In.” “If we would just go back to the basic premise here and do what we all agreed to do, we’d be able to get this done.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Speaker Paul Ryan Refuses To Introduce Stabilization Without Restricting Women’s Access To Health Care. “House Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.) told his GOP conference at a Tuesday meeting that he wouldn’t bring the measures to the floor without accompanying language known as the Hyde Amendment, ensuring taxpayer dollars can’t go toward plans that cover abortions.” [Washington Post, 3/8/18]

Headlines

  • Washington Examiner: House Republicans seek anti-abortion protections in Obamacare stabilization bills
  • Huffington Post: Another Obamacare Stabilization Bill Is In Trouble, This Time Because Of Abortion

BY REFUSING TO ADDRESS THEIR OWN SABOTAGE WITH BIPARTISAN STABILIZATION, REPUBLICANS NOW BEAR RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE CONSEQUENCES

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]

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

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

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

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

Americans Can’t Trust a Republican-Negotiated ACA Stabilization Bill

Washington, DC – In response to reports that Republicans in Congress have cut Democrats out of the discussion on how to fix the damage President Trump’s sabotage has inflicted on the health care markets, Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement:

“Once again, Congressional Republicans are drafting partisan health care bills in secret behind closed doors. New reports indicate that Republicans are now writing a back-room Affordable Care Act ‘stabilization bill’ instead of working with Democrats like they promised. After a year of relentless Republican attacks on our care, Americans have no reason to trust another partisan, Republican-only, secret deal. Both parties must be at the table on stabilization discussions in order to protect Americans from skyrocketing premiums caused by Republican sabotage.

“We call on Senator Susan Collins, who has publicly expressed opposition to a partisan stabilization bill, to demand a bipartisan solution and recognize that the GOP leadership has repeatedly broken its health care promises to her.

“Congressional Republicans should listen to the American people, who are saying loud and clear that ‘enough is enough’ with partisan repeal and sabotage of our health care.”

BACKGROUND

Protect Our Care Outlines Market Stabilization Must-Haves [2/9/18]

Protect Our Care to Susan Collins: Do You Stand With Lisa Murkowski or Ted Cruz?

This afternoon, the Washington Examiner reported that Ted Cruz is calling on Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act through reconciliation, a partisan process which will result in millions losing their coverage, increased premiums and weaker protections for pre-existing conditions.

Senator Ted Cruz: “The biggest unfinished task is Obamacare. We need to finish the job.”

Senator Lisa Murkowski publicly objected to this.

Senator Lisa Murkowski: “I don’t think we should be spending time trying to do repeal and replace of ObamaCare.”

Senator Collins, do you stand with Ted Cruz or Lisa Murkowski?

Ted Cruz Vows to Continue the GOP War on Health Care. Will Other Republicans Go Along?

Washington, DC – Today, the Washington Examiner reported that Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told the paper in an interview that Republicans need to “finish the job” and repeal the Affordable Care Act through reconciliation, and that he has been meeting with GOP senators previously opposed to repeal. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse issued the following statement in response: “Ted Cruz’s views on health care today are yet again wildly out-of-touch with the American public. Poll after poll has shown that the overwhelming majority of Americans prefer the Affordable Care Act over the GOP’s repeal agenda. Instead of listening to the American people and moving forward on bipartisan improvements to strengthen markets and lower premiums, however, Senator Cruz continues to push partisan repeal. It’s time to find out if other Republican senators agree with Ted Cruz that the GOP should continue its war on health care, the number one issue on voters’ minds an effort that will result in millions more losing their coverage, and leave everyone else with higher costs and weaker protections or if there is a better path forward. Will Senators like Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain succumb to pressure from the likes of Senator Cruz and lobbying from Senator Graham, further worsening the GOP’s standing with another secretive, partisan repeal process, or will they say enough is enough and call for an end to the GOP’s war on our health care?”