While Washington focused on the State of the Union, the Trump Administration continued its unprecedented assault on the American health care system. Here’s what happened this week in Republicans’ war on health care – and why they’re losing battles to the American people:
LIES FROM THE LECTERN
During his State of the Union address, President Trump doubled down on the war on health care his administration and his Republican allies in Congress waged last year, saying he “repealed the core of disastrous Obamacare” — a widely debunked lie. He also failed to mention that:
- 3.2 million people lost their health coverage last year;
- Premiums increased due to market uncertainty;
- Costs for people with pre-existing conditions rose after key consumer protections were rolled back; and
- Costs for women increased after his Administration took direct aim at birth control.
The President then pivoted to the opioid crisis, attempting to take credit for addressing the epidemic. But in reality, Trump has done nothing to facilitate treatment for Americans struggling with addiction. In fact, his attacks on critical federal health care and opioid response programs stand to make the situation worse:
- His public health emergency declaration speech freed up just $57,000, pathetically short of the billions experts say are desperately needed.
- His Administration sabotaged Medicaid, which pays for one-fifth of all substance abuse treatment nationwide.
- He proposed a 95% cut to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, which coordinates the federal opioid response – and he did so for the second year in a row.
Sadly, the Trump Administration is not only offering a pathetic response to the nation’s most urgent public health crisis, it’s actively sabotaging communities that are fighting to turn the tide on this deadly epidemic.
A NEW GENERAL TAKES HIS OATH
On Monday, former Big Pharma lobbyist Alex Azar was sworn in as the new secretary of Health and Human Services. Azar lied about the Trump Administration’s sabotage throughout his confirmation process, choosing to embrace the Republican agenda that takes coverage from millions of Americans, raises costs for millions more, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
Whether Azar upholds the oath he swore will soon be tested because of…
IDAHO’S ATTEMPT TO FLOUT FEDERAL LAW
Negative reactions continued as experts digested Idaho Governor Butch Otter’s illegal proposed assault on the Affordable Care Act. University of Michigan law professor and former Department of Justice attorney Nicholas Bagley called such an action “crazypants illegal,” noting that Idaho, “appears to be claiming they do not have to adhere to federal law.”
What Secretary Azar does with this will be an excellent indicator of whether he plans to truly support the health of the American people, like he claimed, of if he will merely be another foot soldier in the Administration’s war on health care.
COSTS FOR SENIORS CONTINUE TO RISE
A new report from the Kaiser Family Foundation highlights massive increases in out-of-pocket medical costs for Medicare beneficiaries – costs that are projected to keep skyrocketing.
While President Trump has claimed he wants to lower costs, the reality is the opposite: he has consistently supported proposals making health care more expensive, from repeal legislation allowing insurance companies to charge people over 50 an ‘age tax’ with rates five times higher to the GOP tax scam set to raise premiums double digits. Seniors should rightly be furious, as are…
HEALTH CARE PROTESTS IN WEST VIRGINIA
As GOP Members of Congress retreated to West Virginia, they were greeted by protesters furious about the ongoing war on health care:
OPEN ENROLLMENT NUMBERS BLOW EXPECTATIONS OUT OF THE WATER
And finally, yesterday was the scheduled final day of open enrollment. Despite the widespread attempts at sabotage by the Trump Administration, from cutting the sign-up period in half to dropping advertising by ninety percent, we have already reached 96% of last year’s enrollment total:
- Nearly 8.8 million people signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov.
- Demand from new consumers outpaced new enrollments every single week of last year, with 2.5 million new people signing up for coverage.
- Almost 6.3 million returning consumers actively renewed their coverage or were automatically re-enrolled compared to 6.2 million people last year.