While foreign policy again dominated the headlines, Republicans continued their unprecedented assault on the American health care system. Here’s what happened this week in the war on health care, plus six new polls underscoring opposition to the GOP health care agenda and a speech not to miss:

CBO CONFIRMS: GOP SABOTAGE IS RAISING COSTS, REDUCING COVERAGE

Yesterday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released a report detailing the higher costs Americans are facing due to the GOP’s repeal and sabotage campaign. It found that premiums will be going up double-digits and 5 million more Americans than originally anticipated will lose health insurance, and these negative consequences are happening because of Republicans’ actions:

Washington Post: “The reality is Republicans leading both chambers and the White House have acted in ways that could trigger the rise of premiums.”

CNN: “Congress eliminated the penalty associated with Obamacare’s individual mandate as part of its tax reform package last year. This change alone will cause premiums to be 10% higher.”

CNBC: “The CBO also projects about 5 million more people under the age of 65 will be uninsured in 2027 than it estimated in September, up to a total of 35 million people.”

Axios: “Insurance premiums tend to go up every year, but the magnitude of these increases stems largely from the repeal of the ACA’s individual mandate, the expansion of skimpy short-term plans, and the decision last year to cut off the law’s cost-sharing payments.”

Bloomberg: “One reason for the rising premiums is the actions of President Donald Trump.”

RIGHT-WING GROUPS’ BIG NEW IDEA ON HEALTH REPEAL: LET’S KEEP DIGGING

This week, four right-wing groups urged Congressional Republicans to revive Graham-Cassidy, the GOP’s worst repeal bill. These right-wing groups are counting on Republicans to ignore the will of the American people and amp up attacks on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. This time, they want an even more destructive bill – one that would slash Medicaid, repeal expansion, and decimate the insurance markets, all while giving insurance and pharmaceutical companies even bigger tax breaks.

It’s time for Jim DeMint and his cronies to get another hobby and give up their obsession with taking away our care.

TRUMP PUTS ADMINISTRATION BETWEEN WOMEN AND THEIR DOCTORS

This week, the Trump Administration dramatically accelerated its attacks on women’s care with new regulations released ahead of the President’s speech at an anti-women’s-health gala. This rule puts Donald Trump between women and their doctors and signals a new phase in the Republican war on women’s health. By banning providers from giving women all the facts about their options and restricting them from getting any services at all from Planned Parenthood and other essential community health providers, this rule is designed to threaten women’s health and restrict access to care.

The Trump Administration continues to pursue a radical anti-women’s health agenda, but this week’s proposal will only strengthen the resolve of the millions of women who have been marching against these attacks since Day One.

FAR FROM FACTUAL: SEN. ALEXANDER LIES, AGAIN

On Tuesday, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) published a comicaly-inaccurate letter to the editor in a last-ditch attempt to duck responsibility for the pain he’s causing American families, the latest example of the Senator’s misleading the public about health care. What did he lie about?

LIE 1: That efforts to stabilize health care markets failed because of Democrats. Republican poison pills on reproductive rights are what killed those efforts – full stop. Democrats continue to make overtures to Alexander on stabilization, but in a letter to lobbyists, he unilaterally declared he was walking away from the negotiating table.

LIE 2: That repealing the Affordable Care Act would have made matters better for anyone. In fact, millions of Americans would have lost their coverage, millions more with pre-existing conditions would have faced discrimination from insurance companies, and premiums would have soared.

LIE 3: That he is a moderate, reasonable, or thoughtful voice on health care. Sen. Alexander’s first priority is always repeal, making him no different from far-right Republicans like the Freedom Caucus or the Koch Brothers.

After this spring’s stabilization farce, Sen. Alexander has spent his last shreds of bipartisan credibility, and his letter indicates people in Tennessee are finally noticing.

TRUMP DRUG ‘PLAN’ COULD PUNISH SENIORS WITH CANCER

Also this week, new research from Avalere and a CBS News investigation exposed the dangers seniors with cancer could face under the Trump Administration’s drug pricing blueprint.

In the simplest terms, this Administration has no answers on how its proposed changes to Medicare would protect seniors from prohibitively high out-of-pocket costs for specialized cancer treatment, and these findings are more proof the Trump Administration’s drug pricing ‘plan’ is a day late and a dollar short. Americans are already worried enough about rising health care costs – the Trump Administration adding to that list by finding new ways to make care more expensive is absurd. In fact…

BATTLEGROUND POLLS FIND VOTERS BLAME REPUBLICANS FOR PREMIUM HIKES

Six new Public Policy Polling surveys in battleground states found that voters are not only blaming Republicans for the expected health care premium increases this summer by 30 points, but they also believe Republicans and President Trump are actively undermining and sabotaging the ACA.

  • In Arizona, 55% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and 49% believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the Affordable Care Act, including 57% of independent voters.
  • In Indiana, 49% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and 48% believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the ACA, including 48% of independent voters.
  • In Missouri, 59% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and a plurality (47%) say they believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the ACA, including 50% of independent voters.
  • In Montana, 55% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and a plurality (47%) say they believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the ACA, including 52% of independent voters.
  • In Nevada, 56% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and 55% say they believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the ACA, including 59% of voters.
  • In Wisconsin, 59% of voters will hold Republicans in Washington responsible if rates increase, and 53% say they believe Washington Republicans and President Trump have been trying to undermine and sabotage the ACA, including 50% of  independent voters.

Perhaps someone should show these polls to Jim DeMint.

SEN. MURPHY FLOOR ADDRESS CALLS OUT REPUBLICAN RATE HIKES

Yesterday, Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) took to the Senate floor to once again call out the GOP’s repeal and sabotage campaign and its effects on Americans’ premiums. As Sen. Murphy said:

“CBO has told you that the repeal of the individual mandate is going to jump premiums by 10%… But because of the actions that were taken here and because of many of the actions undertaken by this Congress, we’re looking at a double-digit increase… So Senate Democrats are going to be down on the floor pretty relentlessly over the course of the next few months to make people understand that as you are getting your health insurance bills, as you are seeing these big increases, a big reason why are the actions that your elected leaders have taken, this Republican Congress and this Administration…

“As I walked across the state of Connecticut last summer, something that I’ve come to do the last few years – I take about five or six days and I walk from one side of the state to the other – health care was the dominant theme. People were waiting for me miles ahead on the road having seen news that I was in a certain town earlier in the day. They waited ahead of me for hours and hours to talk to me about their illness and about their fear that this congress and this President were going to take away their coverage.

“We were successful in defeating the full repeal of the Affordable Care Act. And that’s great news because the Affordable Care Act is more popular than ever before. But this Congress and this President are trying to ruin some of the most important protections in our health care system because they’re mad that they lost the repeal vote by one vote. And so it’s important for us to tell Americans what the consequences of that sabotage campaign are. It certainly means that sick people are going to get less protection, but it also means that over the course of the next few months, as rates are filed across the country, you are going to see some devastatingly high premium increases due to the Republican campaign of health care sabotage. This week, 14% in Oregon. Last week or the week before, 91% in Maryland. 64% in Virginia. This is what happens when you strike blows at the American health care system, and it’s important for Americans to understand what’s happening. With that, Mr. President, I’d yield.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!