Another week, another non-stop assault on Americans’ health care by Republicans. Here’s what happened this week in the war on health care:

BRETT KAVANAUGH IS THE LATEST THREAT TO AMERICANS’ HEALTH CARE

President Trump had at least two litmus tests for Judge Kavanaugh to become his nominee for the Supreme Court: 1) overturn Roe v. Wade and overturn America’s health care, and 2) by gutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions. Such a radical shift on these issues would be disastrous for women’s health and would put the health care of 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions at risk.

Kavanaugh also represents a drastic threat to Medicaid, which covers one in five Americans. How?

  • Kavanaugh could allow states to restrict enrollment through onerous work requirements;
  • Kavanaugh could prevent Medicaid from covering health care at Planned Parenthood;
  • Kavanaugh he could deny individuals and providers the right to sue when a state’s Medicaid program isn’t complying with the law, which experts suggest will enable states to decimate their medicaid programs, and
  • Kavanaugh could end Medicaid expansion.

And if anyone thinks this isn’t the case, they need only look to Sen. Orrin Hatch.

ADVOCATES MOUNT DEFENSE FOR HEALTH CARE AND WORK TO STOP KAVANAUGH

Across the country, however, health care advocates have geared up in opposition to the nomination, urging their senators to reject Judge Kavanaugh. Among the highlights:

  • 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 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, and
  • In Washington, D.C., Protect Our Care and Little Lobbyists joined Leader Chuck Schumer and Sens. 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.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SUSPENDS RISK ADJUSTMENT PAYMENTS

On Saturday, the White House announced it was suspending risk adjustment payments. Suspending risk adjustment payments, which don’t cost the taxpayer a single penny, will make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to access coverage, and drive up premiums for millions. How was this decision covered this week?

  • Chicago Sun-Times Editorial: Trump Administration Yanks Health Care Away From Even More Americans
  • Wall Street Journal: Trump’s Latest Affordable Care Act Move Adds To Insurers’ Uncertainty
  • Politico: Latest Obamacare Shake-up Could Fuel Rate Hikes
  • New York Times: Health Insurers Warn Of Market Turmoil As Trump Suspends Billions In Payments
  • Washington Post: Trump Administration Takes Another Major Swipe At The Affordable Care Act
  • NPR: Why Health Insurance Premiums May Rise Next Year

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PUSHES JUNK PLANS, CUTS ENROLLMENT ASSISTANCE FOR NAVIGATORS

On Tuesday, CMS announced that the Trump Administration would be slashing navigator funding and pushing enrollment for junk plans that charge people more money for less care.

After keeping one million Americans from gaining coverage by cutting last year’s open enrollment period in half and slashing advertising for affordable plans by ninety percent, the Trump Administration is once again taking quality, affordable health care away from people who need it through its latest act of sabotage. Defunding the navigator program and forcing the navigators who are left to push junk plans on the American people is a shocking and cynical move, even by this Administration’s standards.

AND DON’T FORGET – THE WHITE HOUSE IS STILL RESPONSIBLE FOR RISING DRUG COSTS

On Tuesday, Pfizer said that it would postpone  its planned drug prices. As Axios noted, however, “Pfizer is only deferring those price hikes, not canceling them. And it’s taking its products back to what they cost in June — a time when Trump was very much of the belief that the prices were too high.” In fact, as industry analyst Richard Evans said, “This is not going to change mainstream list price behavior at all.”

In other words, Donald Trump offered yet another totally shallow promise more focused on obtaining public relations victories than lowering Americans’ medical costs. If this Administration was serious about bringing costs down, they would be following through on campaign promises like allowing Medicare to negotiate a fair price for prescription drugs. Instead, we will continue to get nothing but false assurances from an Administration heavy on rhetoric and short on solutions.