While cabinet officials were coming and going this week, Republicans continued their unprecedented assault on the American health care system. Here’s what happened this week in the war on health care – and two reminders of what its consequences will be:

TRUMP TARGETS NATIVE AMERICANS’ HEALTH CARE

This week, Politico reported the Trump Administration may impose work requirements on Native Americans who have Medicaid coverage. These requirements are burdensome, unnecessary, and expensive to administer, representing nothing more than another form of health care sabotage.

Medicaid is vital to the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, and imposing additional barriers upon Native Americans to access health care is mean-spirited and wrong. It’s time for Congress and the American people to speak out against President Trump’s ongoing war on health care and ensure that policies like these are reversed or don’t see the light of day in the first place.

THOSE WHO KNOW BEST BLAST SHORT-TERM PLANS

Monday represented the final day of the comment period for the Trump Administration’s proposed short-term junk insurance plans. Those who know health care the best – a variety of health care experts, including doctors, insurance exchange operators, insurance companies, analysts, and more than 100 patient groups – blasted the plans. Among those who urged their rejection:

  • American Medical Association: The proposed rule “would result in substandard, inadequate health insurance coverage.” [Forbes, 4/22]
  • American Academy Of Family Physicians: “Short-term, limited-duration plans will not provide meaningful insurance coverage.” [AFP, 4/18]
  • Alliance Of Community Health Plans: “the proposed rule will undermine consumer protections.” [ACHP, 4/19]
  • 21 Patient Groups: “Given the history of discrimination and inadequate coverage within short-term limited-duration plans, we are deeply concerned that the proposed rule could seriously undermine the key principles of access, adequacy, and affordability that are the underpinnings of current law – and put those we represent at enormous risk. [ACS-CAN, 4/23]

The full list of health care experts who expressed their oppositions can be found here.

SEN. SCHUMER PUTS GOP ON NOTICE FOR UPCOMING HIKES

Today on the Senate floor, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put Republicans on notice: as preliminary rate hikes for next year begin to roll out, Democrats will speak out loudly and often about how President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ repeal-and-sabotage campaign against Americans’ health care will leave working families holding the bill.

President Trump and his Republican allies in Congress have undertaken a deliberate, aggressive campaign to sow chaos in the health insurance marketplace, and the consequences of their actions will soon become clear. Every American who sees rate hike announcements can thank one group of people: President Trump and Republicans in Congress. And results at the polls are showing just how thankful folks are…

HEALTH CARE PLAYS DECISIVE ROLE IN ARIZONA SPECIAL ELECTION

On Tuesday night, a telephone exit poll surveyed survey of voters who cast ballots in Arizona’s 8th Congressional District special election. Here’s what polling in this overwhelmingly Republican district found:

  • Health care was a top issue to voters. Health care was ranked as a top issue for 58% of voters, and Democrat Hiral Tipirneni won big especially among these voters, 65-33.
  • Voters said Tipirneni better reflected their health care views. Among all voters, Tiperini won by 2 points, 45-43. Among independents, that gap widened to 30 points, with 57% saying Tipirneni health care views were more in line with theirs to only 27% for Debbie Lesko.
  • Voters were less likely to support Lesko because of the GOP health care agenda. Lesko’s support of the Republican health care agenda made 40% of voters less likely to vote for her and only 33% more likely to support her.
  • Voters favored ACA improvements over repeal. Voters disapproved of the Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by 5 points, 49-44, and just 41% of voters said the best path forward on health care is to repeal the ACA, while 54% said it should be improved.

As Vox’s Dylan Scott noted, “Republicans should be terrified of health care in the 2018 midterm elections.”