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Tammy Baldwin Archives — Protect Our Care

Polls Show: This Was The Health Care Election

For over a year, health care has been the dominant issue for voters of all backgrounds, and the midterm elections were no different. Health care was the top issue overall. Health care was the top issue for independents by a 2-1 margin. And in states Donald Trump won in 2016, health care powered Democrats to victory in senate seats and governors’ offices.

Washington Post: Health Care Was The Top Issue. [Washington Post, 11/7/18]

It was the most important issue when voting for the House:

It was the most important issue among Democratic voters, who flipped 28 House seats:

Protect Our Care Exit Polling Found That Health Care Swept Democrats Into Victory:

  • In Competitive Republican-Held Seats Democrats Win, Health Care Was The Dominant Issue. “Across the competitive Republican-held seats – the ones Democrats needed to win to take the majority – health care was a defining issue for an overwhelming majority (63%) and Democrats had an 8 point advantage (52% to 44%) on the issue.”
  • Republicans Lost On Pre-Existing Conditions. “Voters trust Democratic candidates over Republican candidates by 17 points (51% to 34%) to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions, including by 33 points among independent voters, 56-23.”
  • Democrats Were Significantly Trusted On Health Care. “By an 8 point margin (52% to 44%) voters trusted Democrats over Republicans and President Trump on the issue of health care. This lead expanded to 22 points with independents at 57/35.”

NBC News: Health Care Was The Most Important Issue For Independent Voters By 2-1 Margin.

[Sahil Kapur Twitter, 11/6/18]

NBC News: Health Care Was The Top Issue For The First Time In A Decade. “Voters were highly concerned about health care, according to preliminary exit polls on Tuesday, with more citing it as their top concern than the economy or any other issue — the first time in at least a decade that has happened. A plurality of 41 percent identified health care as the issue most important to their vote, which Democrats made the centerpiece of their campaign in races throughout the country.” [NBC News, 11/7/18]

  • Health Care Nearly Doubled Any Other Issue.

[NBC News, 11/6/18]

  • Voters Overwhelmingly Trusted Democrats On Pre-Existing Conditions. “Asked which party would better address Americans with pre-existing conditions, 58 percent said Democrats versus 34 percent who said Republicans.”  [NBC News, 11/7/18]

ABC News: Voters Overwhelmingly Backed Democrats On Health Care. “Health care: Voters by 58-34 percent pick the Democratic Party over the Republicans as more likely to protect health care for people with pre-existing conditions, another central focus of the 2018 campaign.” [ABC News, 11/6/18]

Associated Press: “Health Care Was At The Forefront Of Many Voters’ Minds.” “Health care was at the forefront of many voters’ minds: 26 percent named it as the most important issue facing the country. Immigration was not far behind, with 23 percent naming it as the most important issue.Nearly 4 in 10 of those who voted for a Democratic House candidate named health care as the most important issue facing the nation, while about as many Republican voters considered immigration to be the top issue.” [AP, 11/6/18]

CBS News: Health Care Was Overwhelmingly The Number One Issue. [CBS News, 11/6/18]

In Ohio, Where Trump Won By 8 Points In 2016, Health Care Was Top Issue For 40 Percent Of Voters, Who Overwhelmingly Backed Sherrod Brown. “Forty percent of Ohio voters say health care is their top issue. They went for Sherrod Brown 79-19.” [Geoff Garin Twitter, 11/6/18]

In West Virginia, Where Trump Won By 42 Points In 2016, Health Care Was Top Issue For 41 Percent Of Voters, Who Overwhelmingly Backed Joe Manchin. “Forty-one percent of West Virginia voters said health care was their most important issue, and they voted 72-21 for Joe Manchin.” [Geoff Garin Twitter, 11/6/18]

In Nevada, 65 Percent Of Voters Named Health Care A Top Issue, And They Backed Jacky Rosen By 40 Points. “65% of voters said that health care was either a very important issue, or the most important issue to them. Those voters supported Rosen over Dean Heller 68-28.” [Public Policy Polling, 11/7/18]

In Wisconsin, Where Trump Won In 2016, Health Care Was The Top Issue For 68 Percent Of Voters, Who Overwhelmingly Backed Tony Evers. “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.” [Public Policy Polling, 11/7/18]

Also In Wisconsin, Tammy Baldwin Led 4-to-1 Among Voters Who Said Health Care Was The Most Important Issue. “Baldwin led Vukmir by especially large margins among women, independents, and moderates. She led 4-to-1 among voters who said health care was the most important issue facing the country — and those voters represented about half the electorate.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 11/6/18]

In Kansas, Where Trump Won By 20 Points In 2016, Health Care Was A Top Issue For Voters, Who Backed Laura Kelly To Flip The Governor’s Mansion. “About a quarter of Kansas voters considered health care to be the most important issue.” [AP, 11/6/18]

NEW POLL: Health Care Is A Top Issue For Wisconsinites in Senate Race Helping Push Baldwin to 10 Point Lead over Vukmir, 52-42

Washington, DC – A new poll from Public Policy Polling (PPP) for Protect Our Care shows health care is a top issue for voters and that Wisconsinites trust health care champion Senator Tammy Baldwin and Democrats more with their health care than Leah Vukmir and Republicans. This poll comes on the heels of Senator Baldwin and Leah Vukmir’s second debate in Wausau, Wisconsin.  Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response to the poll findings:

 

“For Leah Vukmir, the jig is up. Leah Vukmir’s extreme anti-health care positions have done absolutely nothing to help people with pre-existing conditions in Wisconsin — and worse, in fact, it’s hurt women, children and working families. That’s why Wisconsinites know she can’t be trusted on health care and why they prefer Senator Baldwin both on the issue of health care and in their voting preference this fall.”

 

Key Findings from the Protect Our Care-Public Policy Polling  survey of Wisconsin Voters:

  • Forty-seven percent of voters say health care is very important when deciding who to vote for in the US Senate election
  • Sixty-three percent of voters say want to keep what works and fix what doesn’t in the health care law
  • Forty-nine percent of voters have a major concern with Leah Vukmir’s opposition to Medicaid expansion
  • Fifty-three percent of voters oppose Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act
  • Fifty-three percent of voters trust Senator Tammy Baldwin more on the issue of health care
  • Sixty-three percent of voters oppose the Trump’s Administration’s lawsuit strike down the health care law’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions
  • In a head to head matchup, Senator Baldwin enjoys a commanding 10 point lead over Vukmir, 52-42.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 816 Wisconsin voters on October 10-11, 2018.  The margin of error for the poll is +/- 3.4%. This poll was conducted using automated telephone interviews on behalf of Protect Our Care.

 

What would full repeal of the Affordable Care Act mean for Wisconsin?

  • Protections for 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own
  • Improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
  • Allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
  • Ban on annual and lifetime limits
  • Ban on insurance discrimination against women
  • Limit on out-of-pocket costs

 

Vukmir Supports “Obamacare’s Full Repeal.” “Vukmir reaffirmed her stance against Obamacare. Mattias Gugel, a Vukmir spokesman, said: ‘As a nurse, Leah wants to ensure all people have access to quality health care. Here in Wisconsin — that’s exactly what we had for people with pre-existing conditions before Obamacare was forced on us. Leah has long supported Obamacare’s full repeal and free-market solutions that cover people with pre-existing conditions.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 6/9/18]

 

  • Just what are the “free-market solutions” that existed before the Affordable Care Act that Vukmir says she supports? Well, before the Affordable Care Act became law, health coverage on the nongroup market was described as the “wild wild West” of health insurance marketplaces. That was because consumers were at the mercy of insurance companies that could deny coverage, drop coverage, or charge people more based on their health status, gender and age. That was a time when a 60-year-old could be charged $3,854 more annually in premiums.

Vukmir Supported Scott Walker’s Plan To Convert All Health Care Programs To Block Grants: “A Successful Repeal Of Obamacare Begins With The Federal Government Handing Over The Reins To The States.” “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, Tuesday endorsed Gov. Scott Walker’s request of the White House and Congress to send states block grants, giving them full responsibility for health care programs. ‘Healthcare is very personal,’ said Vukmir, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. ‘That’s why those closest to our constituents, not Washington bureaucrats, should be responsible for tailoring our programs to fit Wisconsin’s needs. A successful repeal of Obamacare begins with the federal government handing over the reins to the states.’” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 8/22/17]

 

  • Converting health care programs to block grants was the core of what the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have done. Multiple independent analyses agreed that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have cut federal funding to states including a $29 billion cut over two decades to Wisconsin.

 

Though Leah Vukmir claims she supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions, saying “patients with pre-existing conditions should be covered,” she has turned her back on Wisconsinites at every opportunity to do so.

 

  • Vukmir refuses to stand against a lawsuit designed to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration refused to defend against a lawsuit brought by twenty conservative states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Leah Vukmir refuses to speak against this lawsuit, instead calling it a “necessary step.”

 

 

 

  • Vukmir refuses to take action at the state level against the Trump administration’s junk plan and association plan rules that let insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration finalized a junk plan rule and an association plan rule that allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Experts warn that these moves will only increase the cost of comprehensive care, ultimately making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get the care they need. Twenty-one states have taken or are taking action to limit the harmful effects of these junk plans, but Vukmir refuses to do the same for Wisconsin.

 

 

 

  • Vukmir supports Trump’s nominee to the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. As cases to overturn the Affordable Care Act make their way through the courts, Leah Vukmir still has not come out against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s nominee to the court. Instead, she has voiced support for Trump’s nominee who could decide cases that would strip protections from people with pre-existing conditions. Kavanaugh has previously criticized Chief Justice Roberts’ decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act.

 

 

Take Two: ACA Defender Senator Tammy Baldwin Debates Health Care Extremist Leah Vukmir

Washington DC — Tonight in Wausau, health care champion, Senator Tammy Baldwin will debate Leah Vukmir, a repeal crusader who supports ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions for the second time. Tonight’s debate will confirm what Wisconsinites already know, Leah Vukmir’s career as a nurse cannot conceal her extreme positions on health care and multiple attempts to block Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin. Ahead of the debate, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

 

“Let’s be clear, Leah Vukmir will not defend Wisconsinites’ health care. Although Vukmir claims she supports keeping protections for people with pre-existing conditions, she has turned her back on Wisconsinites at every opportunity to do so. Whether it’s supporting the Trump-GOP lead lawsuit to gut protections for pre-existing conditions, refusing to take action at the state level against the Trump administration’s junk plan rule or opposing Medicaid expansion, Leah Vukmir’s extreme views would be a disaster for the health care of Wisconsinites.”

 

Vukmir Supports Repealing The ACA And Its Protections For 2.4 Million Wisconsinites with Pre-Existing Conditions

 

Vukmir “Supports Full Repeal Of Obamacare. Period.” “Leah understands why people are upset with Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare and didn’t deliver. She supports full repeal of Obamacare. Period. And she won’t stop pushing for full repeal in Congress.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]

 

Though Leah Vukmir claims she supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions, saying “patients with pre-existing conditions should be covered,” she has turned her back on Wisconsinites at every opportunity to do so.

 

  • Vukmir refuses to stand against a lawsuit designed to end protections for people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration refused to defend against a lawsuit brought by twenty conservative states aimed at overturning the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Leah Vukmir refuses to speak against this lawsuit, instead calling it a “necessary step.”

 

  • Vukmir refuses to take action at the state level against the Trump administration’s junk plan and association plan rules that let insurance companies discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. This summer, the Trump Administration finalized a junk plan rule and an association plan rule that allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. Experts warn that these moves will only increase the cost of comprehensive care, ultimately making it even harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get the care they need. Twenty-one states have taken or are taking action to limit the harmful effects of these junk plans, but Vukmir refuses to do the same for Wisconsin.

 

Vukmir Supported Scott Walker’s Plan To Convert All Health Care Programs To Block Grants: “A Successful Repeal Of Obamacare Begins With The Federal Government Handing Over The Reins To The States.” “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, Tuesday endorsed Gov. Scott Walker’s request of the White House and Congress to send states block grants, giving them full responsibility for health care programs. ‘Healthcare is very personal,’ said Vukmir, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. ‘That’s why those closest to our constituents, not Washington bureaucrats, should be responsible for tailoring our programs to fit Wisconsin’s needs. A successful repeal of Obamacare begins with the federal government handing over the reins to the states.’” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 8/22/17]

  • Converting health care programs to block grants was the core of what the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have done. Multiple independent analyses agreed that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have cut federal funding to states including a $29 billion cut over two decades to Wisconsin.

Vukmir Is Hostile Towards Medicaid

Vukmir “Would Support Efforts To Send Medicaid Dollars To States In The Form Of A Block Grant.” “Finally, Leah knows from her experience dealing with Wisconsin’s Medicaid program that states truly are laboratories of innovation, which is what our founders intended. Leah supports more flexibility for states when it comes to Medicaid spending, and would support efforts to send Medicaid dollars to states in the form of a block grant – allowing states more flexibility to design their own plans and save taxpayers billions of dollars.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]

  • The Graham-Cassidy bill would have enacted Vukmir’s plan to convert Medicaid into a block grant, meaning the 1,037,795 Wisconsinites who are enrolled on Medicaid would have their care jeopardized. Medicaid disproportionately helps children, seniors in nursing home care and people with disabilities. A study by Avalere found that a Graham-Cassidy-style plan would cut funding for people with disabilities by 15-percent and 31-percent for children by 2036.

Vukmir Opposed Medicaid Expansion In Wisconsin. “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, issued the following statement Friday after seeing recent news reports from states that accepted Medicaid expansion dollars and are now facing major problems with their budgets: ‘Recent reports from states across the U.S. are confirming our prior expectations, proving what we’ve known all along: Increased expansion is not financially feasible.” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 4/22/16]

  • Medicaid is not only a lifeline for over one million Wisconsinites, it strengthens our communities and is supported by 74 percent of Americans. By not fully expanding Medicaid, Wisconsin has restricted its Medicaid program such that only Residents earning up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to enroll in Medicaid. If Wisconsin expanded its program, 119,000 more adults could gain coverage through Medicaid.

Vukmir Supports Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients.  “Gov. Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening, a move that could serve as a national model.  […] Republican backer, Sen. Leah Vukmir, defended the approach, saying: ‘We know what to do. We know how to take care of our own.’” [Associated Press, 5/25/17]

FACT-CHECK:  Leah Vukmir Can’t Rewrite History

 

Prior to ACA Insurance Companies Routinely Denied Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

During last night’s debate between Senator Tammy Baldwin and Leah Vukmir,, Vukmir, a long time, rabid proponent of repealing the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions, claimed that people with pre-existing conditions would continue to have coverage even if the Affordable Care Act were repealed. This is false.  

 

The facts:  Prior to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), insurance companies had the ability to deny or drop coverage based on a pre-existing condition for anyone purchasing coverage in the individual market. That included women and people with any health issue like cancer, diabetes, or asthma.

Senator Baldwin is standing up for people with pre-existing conditions. She stood up against Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year. She is a leader trying to stop the expansion of “short-term” plans, or junk plans that allow insurance companies to deny coverage because of a pre-existing condition and has introduced a resolution to do just that.

 

Here’s what really took place before the ACA:

 

  • Before The ACA, Insurance Companies Could Retroactively Deny Someone Coverage Once They Got SIck. This foul-play impacted Robin Beaton, whose insurance company denied her coverage for a double mastectomy because she had previously received acne treatment. “Robin Beaton found out last June she had an aggressive form of breast cancer and needed surgery — immediately. Her insurance carrier precertified her for a double mastectomy and hospital stay. But three days before the operation, the insurance company called and told her they had red-flagged her chart and she would not be able to have her surgery. The reason? In May 2008, Beaton had visited a dermatologist for acne.

 

    • Before The ACA, 18 Percent Of Individual Market Applications Were Denied Because Of A Pre-Existing Condition.

 

  • Prior To The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Charged Women An Estimated $1 Billion More Than Men For The Same Health Care Plans.

 

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

  • Because Of The Affordable Care Act, Insurance Companies Can No Longer Impose Annual And Lifetime Limits On Coverage. Before the ACA, insurance companies could restrict the amount of dollar amount of benefits someone could use per year or over a lifetime. At the time the ACA was passed, 91 million Americans had health care through their employers that imposed lifetime limits. Many such plans capped benefits at $1 million annually, functionally locking people with complex medical needs out of coverage.

Pro-Repeal, Anti-Health Care Extremist Leah Vukmir To Debate Health Care Champion Senator Tammy Baldwin Tonight

Washington DC — Tonight in Milwaukee, Leah Vukmir, a pro-repeal Republican who supports ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions will debate Senator Tammy Baldwin. Vukmir has earned the nickname ‘Nurse Ratched’ by fellow Republicans due to her extreme positions on health care and multiple attempts to block Medicaid expansion in Wisconsin. Ahead of the debate, Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“After years of attempting roll back protections for millions of Wisconsinites, Leah Vukmir is touting her experience as a nurse to try to convince us that her record on health care isn’t as bad as it is. But the truth is, in addition to supporting a full repeal the ACA, Vukmir wants to dismantle Medicaid and even voted against protections for Wisconsin kids who need cochlear implants. Vukmir’s record on health care is as extreme – far too extreme for Wisconsin – as it is cruel.”

 

Vukmir Supports Repealing The ACA And Its Protections For 2.4 Million Wisconsinites with Pre-Existing Conditions

Vukmir “Supports Full Repeal Of Obamacare. Period.” “Leah understands why people are upset with Republicans who promised to repeal Obamacare and didn’t deliver. She supports full repeal of Obamacare. Period. And she won’t stop pushing for full repeal in Congress.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]

What would full repeal of the Affordable Care Act mean for Wisconsin? ?

    • Elimination of protections for 2.4 million Wisconsinites with pre-existing conditions, if they buy coverage on their own
    • Elimination of improvements to Medicare, including reduced costs for prescription drugs
    • Ending allowing kids to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26
    • Elimination of ban on annual and lifetime limits
    • Elimination of ban on insurance discrimination against women
    • Elimination of a limit on out-of-pocket costs
    • Elimination of the Medicaid expansion, currently covering 15 million people
    • Elimination of rules to hold insurance companies accountable
    • Elimination of small business tax credits
    • Elimination of marketplace tax credits and coverage for up to 215,000 Wisconsinites

Vukmir Supported Scott Walker’s Plan To Convert All Health Care Programs To Block Grants: “A Successful Repeal Of Obamacare Begins With The Federal Government Handing Over The Reins To The States.” “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, Tuesday endorsed Gov. Scott Walker’s request of the White House and Congress to send states block grants, giving them full responsibility for health care programs. ‘Healthcare is very personal,’ said Vukmir, chairman of the Senate Health & Human Services Committee. ‘That’s why those closest to our constituents, not Washington bureaucrats, should be responsible for tailoring our programs to fit Wisconsin’s needs. A successful repeal of Obamacare begins with the federal government handing over the reins to the states.’” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 8/22/17]

  • Converting health care programs to block grants was the core of what the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have done. Multiple independent analyses agreed that the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill would have cut federal funding to states including a $29 billion cut over two decades to Wisconsin.

Vukmir Is Hostile Towards Medicaid

Vukmir “Would Support Efforts To Send Medicaid Dollars To States In The Form Of A Block Grant.” “Finally, Leah knows from her experience dealing with Wisconsin’s Medicaid program that states truly are laboratories of innovation, which is what our founders intended. Leah supports more flexibility for states when it comes to Medicaid spending, and would support efforts to send Medicaid dollars to states in the form of a block grant – allowing states more flexibility to design their own plans and save taxpayers billions of dollars.” [LeahVukmir.com, accessed 6/12/18]

  • The Graham-Cassidy bill would have enacted Vukmir’s plan to convert Medicaid into a block grant, meaning the 1,037,795 Wisconsinites who are enrolled on Medicaid would have their care jeopardized. Medicaid disproportionately helps children, seniors in nursing home care and people with disabilities. A study by Avalere found that a Graham-Cassidy-style plan would cut funding for people with disabilities by 15-percent and 31-percent for children by 2036.

Vukmir Opposed Medicaid Expansion In Wisconsin. “State Sen. Leah Vukmir, R–Brookfield, issued the following statement Friday after seeing recent news reports from states that accepted Medicaid expansion dollars and are now facing major problems with their budgets: ‘Recent reports from states across the U.S. are confirming our prior expectations, proving what we’ve known all along: Increased expansion is not financially feasible.” [State Senator Leah Vukmir Press Release, 4/22/16]

  • Medicaid is not only a lifeline for over one million Wisconsinites, it strengthens our communities and is supported by 74 percent of Americans. By not fully expanding Medicaid, Wisconsin has restricted its Medicaid program such that only Residents earning up to 100 percent of the federal poverty line are eligible to enroll in Medicaid. If Wisconsin expanded its program, 119,000 more adults could gain coverage through Medicaid.

Vukmir Supports Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients.  “Gov. Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening, a move that could serve as a national model.  […] Republican backer, Sen. Leah Vukmir, defended the approach, saying: ‘We know what to do. We know how to take care of our own.’” [Associated Press, 5/25/17]

  • Drug-testing Medicaid recipients hurts the people who need help the most.  People with substance abuse disorders will be reluctant to disclose that they use drugs for fear of legal or medical retribution. Making it easier, rather than harder, for those who need substance abuse treatment to access that coverage through Medicaid will help combat the opioid crisis and halt the spread of conditions like HIV and Hepatitis which are spread via intravenous drug use.  Drug tests are also a waste of state resources. One study from Florida found that of 4,086 applicants tested over four months, only 2.6 percent failed a drug test. Over four months, this testing regime cost the state $45,780.

Mike Pence Confirms GOP Still Gunning for Americans’ Health Care

Vice President Follows Republican Senators In Calling for Total Repeal

Washington, D.C. – Tonight in Wisconsin, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters that, “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue. With Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll go back to that,” joining the list of Republicans this week calling yet again for repeal.

Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“Tonight, Vice President Pence reminded everyone of Republicans’ real goal: attacking the health care of tens of millions of Americans. If Mike Pence and the GOP have their way, protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be stripped overnight; lifetime limits would once again be the norm; and women and seniors would see gender and age taxes applied to their care. The contrast couldn’t be more clear: the same week Tammy Baldwin introduces legislation to stop junk plans and maintain the protections Americans rely on, the Vice President doubles down on the Republican war on health care.”

WHO CALLED FOR REPEAL THIS WEEK?

Vice President Mike Pence: “We Made An Effort To Fully Repeal And Replace Obamacare. And We’ll Continue.” “We made an effort to fully repeal and replace Obamacare. And we’ll continue. With Leah Vukmir in the Senate, we’ll go back to that.” [Twitter, 8/30/18]

Senator John Thune (R-SD): “It Would Be Nice To Have Members Who Enable Us To Pass [Repeal].” “‘It would be nice to have members who enable us to pass it,’” Senate Republican Conference Chairman John Thune (S.D.) said when asked about the possibility of ObamaCare repeal legislation coming up for a future vote.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator David Perdue (R-GA): “I’d Love To Have Somebody Take Care Of [Repeal].” “‘I’d love to have somebody to take care of that,’ Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) said of repealing ObamaCare.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI): Hopes Arizona’s Next Senator Will Favor Repeal. “Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) said he hopes the next senator from Arizona will be a ‘strong ally’ who ‘recognizes that ObamaCare is not a proper solution.’” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “I Want Somebody Who Is For Affordable Health Care, And Right Now Obamacare Is Not Affordable, Nor Is Health Care.” “Cassidy said he doesn’t know whether the Senate will move another comprehensive health-care reform package, but he expects Republican leaders will push ‘piecemeal efforts to make affordable once more that which has not been affordable since ObamaCare passed.’ … ‘I want somebody who is for affordable health care, and right now ObamaCare is not affordable, nor is health care, which is a direct result of ObamaCare,’ Cassidy said.” [The Hill, 8/29/18]

Protect Our Care Calls on Senate to Protect People with Pre-Existing Conditions and Pass Sen. Baldwin’s Resolution

Legislation Would Stop Administration’s Expansion of Junk Plans in its Tracks, Retain Protections for Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions and More

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and a coalition of 29 other Senators  introduced a resolution to block insurers from selling the Trump Administration’s short-term, junk insurance plans that remove protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions and fail to cover essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health treatment and prescription drugs. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, released the following statement in response:

“As Senate Republicans continue to push new legislation that takes health care away from people with pre existing conditions in a cynical, election season legislative scam, Senator Baldwin and her colleagues are showing true leadership by working to stop President Trump’s expansion of junk insurance plans in its tracks. If the GOP truly cared about protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions, they would join their colleagues on this resolution in taking concrete action to preserve the protections and essential health benefits that tens of millions of Americans depend on — and they would do so immediately.”

BACKGROUND:

Short-Term Plans May Exclude Coverage For Pre-Existing Conditions. “Policyholders who get sick may be investigated by the insurer to determine whether the newly-diagnosed condition could be considered pre-existing and so excluded from coverage.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

  • As Many As 130 Million Nonelderly Americans Have A Pre-Existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]
  • One in 4 Children Would Be Impacted If Insurance Companies Could Deny Coverage Or Charge More Because Of A Pre-existing Condition. [Center for American Progress, 4/5/17]

Junk Plans Mean Higher Premiums For People With Pre-Existing Conditions. By promoting short-term policies, the administration is making a trade-off: lower premiums and less coverage for healthy people, and higher premiums for people with preexisting conditions who need more comprehensive coverage.” [Washington Post, 5/1/18]

Short-Term Junk Plans Can Refuse To Cover Essential Health Benefits. “Typical short-term policies do not cover maternity care, prescription drugs, mental health care, preventive care, and other essential benefits, and may limit coverage in other ways.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

Under Many Short-Term Junk Plans, Benefits Are Capped At $1 Million Or Less. Short-term plans can impose lifetime and annual limits –  “for example, many policies cap covered benefits at $1 million or less.” [Kaiser Family Foundation, 2/9/18]

For more information, see Protect Our Care’s fact sheet on short-term junk plans.

Health Care Champions Take to Senate Floor to Call Out Ongoing Sabotage

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Senators Murphy, Murray, Coons, Menendez, Baldwin and Durbin took to the Senate floor to lay out the comprehensive repeal and sabotage campaign the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans have undertaken in the year since the GOP’s repeal legislation failed. Among the highlights:

Sen. Chris Murphy:

“First, the President set an executive order saying that all of his agencies should take their own actions to unwind the protections of the Affordable Care Act. Then he stopped the marketing for the affordable care act so that less people would know about the options that were available to them. Then the President came to Congress and worked with Republicans to take away one of the most important pillars of the Affordable Care Act, a requirement that healthy people buy insurance — that action alone will result in 13 million people losing insurance and rates going up for 10 million Americans. Most recently the President authorized the junk insurance plans across the country, plans that don’t have to cover mental health, prescription drugs, or maternity care. He then cut funding even deeper for the personnel who help you find what insurance is right for you and instructed the people that remained to push Americans onto the junk plans. Then the President sent his lawyers to court to argue that congress can’t actually protect people with pre-existing conditions because it’s unconstitutional, which would wipe out all of the protections that people enjoy today. And so it’s really no mystery as to why, as the 2019 premium increases are coming out, they are catastrophic… The reason they are passing along enormous premium increases is because of the sabotage run by the President and this Congress.”

Sen. Patty Murray:


“During [the health care debate] I heard personal stories from patients and families all over my state of Washington who were concerned. I heard stories like Julie’s. Julie has a genetic condition, and as a result of that, she has had four different types of cancer. She has had four different organs removed during treatment and she has had her diet severely restricted and her life dramatically changed. But she is a fighter and she had excellent care and she ultimately won each of those four battles with cancer. However, without protections for people with pre-existing conditions, her health care costs could skyrocket. If President Trump had his way, Julie could not get the care she needed, and by the way, she’s not the only one.”

Sen. Chris Coons:

“[The Texas v. United States] lawsuit impacts every corner of America’s health care system and that [this] Administration is not defending the law of the land is a shocking development. It impacts not just those who get their health care through the ACA exchanges. It would impact 150,000,000 Americans who get their health insurance through their employer because it would eliminate protections against lifetime and annual limits on care. It would impact seniors on Medicare who would see increased prescription drug costs. It would impact Americans who depend on free preventive services, cancer screenings, and flu shots because those policies, components of the ACA, would be eliminated. And it impacts young people who would lose their right to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. These are just a few of the devastating impacts if the Texas v. US lawsuit is successful in ripping out what is left of the protections of the ACA. It would have a real and tangible impact on families in my state of Delaware and across our country.”

Sen. Bob Menendez:

“Republicans’ reckless abandonment of families with pre-existing conditions is even more concerning given President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. This is a judge with a long history of ruling against consumers, siding with corporate interests, and assailing the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. […] Without the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could deny coverage to [children like] 4-year-old Ethan, who is more concerned about which dinosaur to play with than the pacemaker that’s keeping him alive. Before the Affordable Care Act, children like Ethan were blacklisted from insurance companies for life. How do you tell a 4-year-old that his president no longer believes in protecting children like him?”

Sen. Tammy Baldwin:

“The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care coverage away. They have consistently sent a clear message that they want us to work across the party aisle to make things better and not worse. […] Last year the American people sent a loud message to Washington. I heard it, and they are sending the same simple message today: protect our care.”

Sen. Dick Durbin:

“My wife and I got married. I was in law school. God sent us a beautiful little girl and she had a serious medical problem. We were living here in Washington, D.C., and didn’t have health insurance. And I want to tell you, you never felt more helpless in your life than to be a new father with a brand-new baby who desperately needs medical care and not have health insurance. I’ll never forget it as long as I live. I lived in such fear from that point forward of not having health insurance coverage that I did crazy things like getting health insurance two different places of employment just to make sure I never lost it. It scared me that much. I still remember that fear, and I wonder if the people who are debating this issue about the Affordable Care Act ever lived through it themselves? Because if they did, they wouldn’t be standing here saying we can do away with the Affordable Care Act.”

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Protect Our Care Supports Baldwin Bill to Stop Junk Plans

Washington, D.C. – This afternoon, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) announced the introduction of the Fair Care Act, legislation which would block insurers from selling the short-term, junk insurance plans proposed by the Trump Administration. Protect Our Care Campaign Director Brad Woodhouse released the following statement in support:

“Senator Baldwin’s bill to stop junk plans would protect Americans from the Trump Administration’s latest attack on American health care, and the Senate should take it up and pass it immediately. Short-term plans are nothing but junk insurance, and if Trump’s rule goes through it will allow insurance companies to once again discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, deny coverage when it is needed most, and drive up costs for real insurance by further destabilizing states’ individual insurance markets. The vast majority of leading health care experts oppose bringing back these junk plans. Millions of Americans’ health care depends on stopping this junk plan proposal, and our coalition thanks Senator Baldwin and her bill’s cosponsors for taking action to stop this sabotage.”

RESOURCES

  • Protect Our Care fact sheet on Trump’s proposed junk plan rule, which Senator Baldwin’s bill would block
  • Timeline summarizing Trump Administration health care sabotage