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texas lawsuit Archives — Protect Our Care

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

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

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

BACKGROUND

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

The ruling could have a devastating impact on Wisconsinites:

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

If not overturned, this ruling means:

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

 ###

All-Lies on Azar

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

Is Congress In for More of the Same Tomorrow?

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

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

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

Court Affirms Speaker Pelosi and Democratic Health Care Champions in Congress’s Fight to Protect Health Care From the Trump Texas Lawsuit

Washington, DC–Yesterday evening, the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling that allows the United States House of Representatives to intervene in the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. case which would overturn the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued a statement in response:

“The Fifth Circuit correctly ruled that House Democrats can defend the American people against the Trump administration’s all out attack on America’s health care. Despite the GOP lies about protecting people with pre-existing conditions, President Trump himself bragged that the Trump Texas lawsuit would ‘terminate’ the ACA. This ruling is just another reminder that Speaker Pelosi and Democratic health care champions in Congress are not going to rest until every attack on our health care is stopped dead in its tracks. The Republican assault on health care needs to end.”

BACKGROUND:

Due to Judge O’Connor’s ruling on December 14th, Republicans are one step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act and eliminating key protections, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in his court — “chaos” in our entire health care system. If this ruling is allowed to stand:

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

Ahead of Trump’s State Of The Union Address, Protect Our Care Releases Ad Outlining Health Care Agenda For Congress

View The Ad: An Agenda for American Health Care

Washington, D.C. — Ahead of President Trump’s State Of The Union address tonight, Protect Our Care released a new digital ad outlining a health care agenda that responds to Americans’ call for lower prescription drug costs, more affordable health care, and enhanced protections for patients like those with pre-existing conditions. During the 2018 midterm elections, Americans went to the polls to voice their outrage over Republican attacks on health care and the result was clear: voters elected a “Health Care Congress” to lower costs, improve care and expand coverage. The ad will run heavily on social media today and during the State of the Union address tonight targeting voters, members of congress and their staff, and reporters covering the address.

“No matter what the president says tonight, his record is clear. This administration had two years to find ways to lower costs and improve health care coverage for Americans but instead worked overtime to repeal and sabotage American health care,” said Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care. “This ad lays out the agenda for health care the American people voted for in November and serves as a blueprint for action in 2019. The time has come for Congress to lower costs, safeguard protections, and rein in the greed and abuses of insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry. The American people rejected the anti-health care agenda that has defined the Republican Party for almost a decade now. If Donald Trump and his Republican allies truly care about the state of our union, they would heed the message voters sent in November and end their war on health care.”  

Watch Protect Our Care’s new ad here:

Background:

Read Protect Our Care’s full 2019 Agenda here. A summary of the agenda from the report can be found below.

Do Everything Possible to Overturn the Federal Court Decision that Struck Down the Affordable Care Act

  • Oppose the Texas ruling by a conservative federal judge in the Northern District of Texas that overturned the entire Affordable Care Act by passing a Senate Resolution to similar to the House measure that authorizes the House legal counsel to intervene in the lawsuit and oppose the Republican attorneys general, governors, and Trump Administration who are continuing the war on health care through the courts.

End the War on People with Pre-Existing Conditions

  • Stop insurance companies from selling junk health insurance that allows them to deny quality, affordable coverage to people with pre-existing conditions.  These kinds of short term plans should be limited to three-months with no option for renewal.
  • Guarantee protections for pre-existing conditions and essential health benefits. Require all health plans to cover the “essential health benefits” included in the law, ensure guaranteed issue and community rating, and prohibit insurance companies from imposing lifetime and annual limits on the amount of care a patient can receive.

Lower Costs

  • Lower the costs of prescription drugs. Pass legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for all beneficiaries; end price gouging by requiring drug manufacturers to give notice and justify significant price increases; and require transparency of rebate amounts.
  • End surprise medical bills. 57 percent of Americans have received a surprise bill. Too many  people go to a hospital or Emergency Room that is in their network, but get billed for services provided out-of-network, subjecting them to huge bills, as much as six figures. Congress should pass legislation to end surprise medical bills and limit the amount a provider can charge to a negotiated rate.  
  • Expand financial assistance by expanding the eligibility for premium tax credits above 400 percent of the federal poverty limit and increase the size of the tax credit for all income brackets.
  • Expand services before deductibles, examples would include three primary care visits and one specialist visit that are not subject to a plan’s deductible.

End Republican Sabotage

  • Fully support Open Enrollment by restoring funding to the pre-Trump levels and making all information about ways to sign up for coverage easily accessible for everyone.
  • Oppose waivers that undermine the ACA and allow states to skirt key provisions of the law.

Strengthen Medicaid and Medicare

  • Improve Medicare’s affordability by adding an out-of-pocket maximum after which beneficiaries would be protected from additional costs; including prescription drugs in the limit on out-of-pocket spending; adding coverage for vision, hearing, and dental; and making cost-sharing more affordable.
  • Extend and increase federal funding for Medicaid expansion.

Conduct Oversight on Trump Administration Actions that Undermine The Affordable Care Act

  • Topics to conduct oversight on include the Trump Justice Department’s decision not to defend all of the Affordable Care Act in federal court, cuts to outreach and navigator funding, rules opening the door to junk insurance, 1332 guidance that allows federal funds to be used to purchase skimpy health plans, relationships between Administration political appointees and regulated industries, the administration’s push to encourage states to impose work requirements on Medicaid coverage, drug prices and pharmaceutical profits.

Protect Our Care Statement On World Cancer Day

Washington DC — Today, the world comes together once again to recognize World Cancer Day. As we unite our voices to raise awareness, we also call on the Administration to end their attacks on pre-existing conditions and affordable comprehensive health care for cancer patients and survivors. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“Sadly, cancer has devastated the lives of millions of Americans and has left many wondering how they’ll access and pay for their life-saving care. Over the past two years, President Trump has worked nonstop to sabotage protections for coverage for pre-existing conditions, making life even more difficult for cancer patients and survivors.  The GOP lawsuit to “terminate” the ACA is President Trump’s latest attempt to roll back the clock and strip Americans of their health care. If this misguided ruling isn’t overturned, Republicans will succeed in striking down the ACA and gutting key protections for millions of Americans. On this World Cancer Day, Trump and his Republican allies ought to end their war on pre-existing conditions and instead put their efforts into fighting the war on cancer.”

Background:

  • As Outlined In An Amicus Brief Written By The American Cancer Society, The Affordable Care Act Has Increased Cancer Patients’ Access To Potentially Life-Saving Health Care. However, the ACA greatly improved this situation.  After the ACA was enacted, the uninsured rate among nonelderly patients with newly diagnosed cancer declined substantially, especially among low-income people who resided in Medicaid expansion states—where it decreased 6 percent. This increase in coverage affects health outcomes—a small but statistically significant shift was found toward early-stage diagnosis for colorectal, lung, female breast, and pancreatic cancer and melanoma in patients in expansion states. Similarly, the ACA coverage expansion for dependent children up to age 26 has increased the insurance coverage rate among that population, had positive effect on initiation and completion of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, early diagnosis and receipt of fertility-sparing treatments for cervical cancer, and increased early-stage diagnosis for total cancer and osseous and chondromatous neoplasms among young adults 19 to 25 years old. The proportion of cancer survivors reporting delayed or forgone care and inability to afford health care services also significantly decreased during implementation of the ACA from 2010 to 2016. Overall, the uninsured rate for cancer survivors decreased from 12.4 percent (pre-full ACA implementation, 2012) to 7.7 percent (post-full ACA implementation, 2015).” [American Cancer Society, 6/14/18]
  • Similarly, The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion Has Helped Cancer Patients See Increased Coverage For Care. “The number of uninsured cancer patients dropped in both expanded and non-expanded states from 2011 to 2014, but expansion states experienced a steeper decline. In expanded states, the uninsured rate declined a relative 52 percent, from 4.4 to 2.1 percent while Medicaid enrollment rose from 15.2 to 18.0 percent (p < 0.0001). In non-expansion states, the uninsured rate dropped a relative five percent (8.4 to 8.0 percent).”  [American Society For Radiation Oncology, 9/25/17]
  • In Kentucky, Medicaid Expansion Was Associated With Earlier Diagnosis And Somewhat Improved Breast Cancer Care. “The expansion of Kentucky Medicaid in 2014 has been associated with earlier diagnosis and somewhat improved quality of breast cancer care, despite a stable disease incidence. Additional improvements in treatment expediency will require improvements in patient outreach and healthcare infrastructure.” [Journal of the American College of Surgeons, April 2018]

NEW NYT Interview, Trump Reveals Goal of Texas Lawsuit: “Terminate” Health Care

Washington DC — According to the newly released transcript of President Trump’s interview with The New York Times, Trump boasted that his Texas lawsuit will “terminate” the Affordable Care Act and that was a political “victory” for him and Republicans in Congress. Brad Woodhouse, executive director of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response:

“President Trump confirmed what we all know to be true: he and Republicans are using the Texas lawsuit to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act – eliminating all the protections for people with pre-existing conditions – with no plans for a replacement. Voters overwhelmingly rejected Trump’s health care repeal and sabotage agenda back in November, yet President Trump and his allies in Congress are dead set on accomplishing through the courts what they couldn’t do legislatively: fully repeal the law, devastate American health care and leave millions of Americans at risk.”

New KFF Health Tracking Poll: More Trouble for Sabotage & Repeal Republicans

The 2018 midterms were a referendum on health care and voters rejected the sabotage and repeal approach of Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress.

According to the new Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking poll, opposition continues to grow against Republicans for putting the needs of their health insurance contributors ahead of the needs of people who work for a living.

TWO KEY FINDINGS FROM THE KFF HEALTH TRACKING POLL

  • People reject Trump’s lawsuit to overturn ACA. By 10 points (41-51%), voters disapprove of the right-wing TX judge backing the Trump administration’s lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act. When people hear that the Trump administration lawsuit means “people with pre-existing conditions may have to pay more for coverage or could be denied coverage,” they shift to opposing it by 39 points (25-64%)
  • People want action to protect coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, lower the cost of prescription drugs, and protect consumers against surprise medical bills. 82% of voters say it’s either extremely (54%) or very important (28%) that this Congress take action to lower prescription drug costs. 73% say it’s either extremely (46%) or very important (27%) that this Congress take action to protect coverage of those with pre-existing conditions. 70% of voters say it’s either extremely (43%) or very important (27%) that Congress work to protect people with health insurance from surprise high out-of-pocket medical bills.

BREAKING: Trump Renominates Anti-Health Care Chad Readler for the Sixth Circuit

Washington DC —  Yesterday, the Trump administration announced the renomination of 51 nominees, including Chad Readler for the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. In his role as Acting Assistant Attorney General, Readler overturned the career attorneys at the Department of Justice and made the decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act. He filed a brief on behalf of the Trump administration in Texas v. United States arguing in favor of striking down the Affordable Care Act, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Now, Mitch McConnell is breaking with longstanding Senate norms to jam through this nomination by ignoring the objections of Readler’s home state senator, Sherrod Brown. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, released the following statement:

“Let’s be clear: A vote for Chad Readler is a vote for full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. His confirmation vote is the litmus test that will show everyone where each Senate Republican stands on protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Readler wants to go back to the days where insurance companies could deny, drop or charge more for coverage and end protections for millions of people with pre-existing conditions. The stakes couldn’t be clearer, the Senate must stand up for people with pre-existing conditions and block Readler from a lifetime appointment to the court.”

 

Background:

As Acting Assistant Attorney General, Chad Readler filed a brief on behalf of the Trump administration in Texas v. United States arguing that the Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional. This put the full weight of the Department of Justice behind the Republican war on health care to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act (ACA).  If this ruling is allowed to stand:

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

Americans Want To Know: Will Attorney General Nominee William Barr Keep His Promise On The Texas Lawsuit?

Washington DC — Yesterday, during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on William Barr’s nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General, Senator Kamala Harris pressed Barr to reconsider DOJ’s current position on the Texas, et. al. vs. United States, et. al. lawsuit which would strike down the Affordable Care Act and its protections if not overturned. Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement in response to Barr’s claims that he would like to review the department’s position if confirmed:

“Barr claimed he would review the department’s position on the Texas lawsuit, but that’s not enough. Let’s be clear, the Texas lawsuit is a politically motivated attack by Republican attorneys general, governors, and the Trump Administration to raise health care costs and take coverage away from millions of Americans. If confirmed, Barr must defend the law of the land and commit to protecting people with pre-existing conditions. We will hold Barr to his word and sound the alarm if yesterday’s comments prove to be empty promises meant to secure his confirmation.”

 

Background:

During The Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing, William Barr Claimed He Would Review The Department Of Justice Position On The Texas Lawsuit. Watch for yourself.  

(click here)

Due to Judge O’Connor’s ruling on December 14th, Republicans are one step closer to repealing the Affordable Care Act and eliminating key protections, unleashing — as the Trump Administration itself admitted in his court — “chaos” in our entire health care system. If this ruling is allowed to stand:

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

We Have 6 Questions For William Barr And They’re All About Health Care

Washington DC — Ahead of Tuesday’s scheduled Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on William Barr’s nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General under President Trump, Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, issued the following statement:

“The Sessions’ Justice Department refused to defend the Affordable Care Act and its protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions and even argued for them to be struck down. The result was the Texas Court’s decision to overturn the entire law. The American people need to know where Attorney General nominee William Barr stands. He should commit to reversing the Department’s previous inexplicable decision and commit to defending America’s health care. Now more than ever, the American people deserve answers and William Barr as well as the Justice Department he wants to lead have a lot to answer for. The American people deserve an Attorney General who is willing to fight for their health care.”

Six Questions for William Barr:

  1. Do you agree with the Administration’s decision for the Department of Justice to stop defending the Affordable Care Act in court?
  2. Who made the decision for the Department of Justice to stop defending the Affordable Care Act?
  3. What communication did the President, or White House senior staff, have with Department of Justice officials when DOJ decided to stop defending the Affordable Care Act?
  4. Do you agree with Judge Reed O’Connor’s December 2018 decision to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act?
  5. Even conservative legal analysts have said Judge O’Connor’s decision is wholly without merit. Are they wrong?
  6. Will you review and reverse the Department’s decision to refuse to defend protections for pre-existing conditions and the Affordable Care Act?