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This Week in the War on Health Care — February 12-16, 2018

By February 16, 2018March 15th, 2018No Comments

This week, as the President announced his budget and the Senate debated various immigration proposals, 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 the American people stood up to this Administration – and the prominent GOP legislator who joined them:


On Monday, President Trump released his 2019 fiscal year budget blueprint, and its most prominent feature was a series of draconian cuts to the nation’s health care programs.

The Trump budget doubled down on Congressional Republicans’ previous failed repeal attempts, calling for the implementation of Graham-Cassidy, the GOP’s worst repeal bill, which would take away health insurance from 32 million Americans, raise costs, remove protections for pre-existing conditions, and end Medicaid as we know it. The budget also called for drastic cuts to Medicare and ending funding for Planned Parenthood, continuing to target everyday Americans in an attempt to balance costs after cutting taxes for the wealthiest and corporations.

President Trump and his Administration should be ashamed – and Congress should declare the budget dead on arrival.


The Administration also ratcheted up its war on women’s health care this week. In addition to a budget defunding Planned Parenthood and slashing Medicaid, denying millions of women access to basic health care, it came out that President Trump’s Health and Human Services Department last month instructed a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate group to write an official government letter providing a roadmap for state Medicaid programs to restrict women’s access to the health care provider of their choice.

Politico: “A conservative legal organization worked with the Trump administration to make it easier for states to defund Planned Parenthood.”

CNN: “The Trump administration relied on a right-wing anti-abortion rights group to draft the letter it sent to states reversing Obama-era guidance that it’s against the law to terminate Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider … the Alliance Defending Freedom calls itself a conservative Christian nonprofit organization … but the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled it a hate group for its attacks on LGBT rights.”


On Wednesday, Blue Cross of Idaho announced that it would follow Republican Governor Butch Otter’s lead and violate federal law by offering insurance plans that don’t conform to the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act, leading the charge to take people back to a time when insurance companies could decide whether they were taken care of when they got sick. In response, newly-confirmed HHS Secretary Alex Azar refused to say he will stop the measure, despite it being a blatant violation of federal law. Secretary Azar should read the letter fifteen patients’ rights groups sent him:

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, American Liver Foundation, American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Epilepsy Foundation, Hemophilia Federation of America, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Lutheran Services in America, March of Dimes, Mended Little Hearts, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National MS Society, National Organization for Rare Disorders: “The Federal Government Must Uphold The Requirements Of Federal Law.” “Idaho’s insurance bulletin would allow insurers to sell individual market plans that do not comply with federal law. Because the Idaho Bulletin purports to authorize the issuance of insurance coverage that is prohibited by federal law, it is legally invalid… The federal government must uphold the requirements of federal law that protect patients, their families, and the health system against these consequences. On behalf of our patients, and all Americans, we urge you to make clear that Idaho cannot authorize the issuance of health insurance coverage that violates federal law, and that any insurer that issues such plans risks enforcement action and serious penalties.” [American Cancer Society-Cancer Action Network, 2/14/18]


The Hill this week reported that Congressional Republicans, in a backdoor manner, are seeking to repeal yet another component of the Affordable Care Act: its requirement that employers with over 50 workers offer health insurance. The hypocrisy of encouraging states to cut working-age people off Medicaid, saying they should find a job if they want coverage, to telling employers they shouldn’t have to offer health coverage to their workers, is breathtaking. 151 million Americans are covered through employer-sponsored insurance, and such a move would be devastating. Unfortunately for the GOP, voters are on to their secret sabotage strategy…


Two major polls were released this week, and both came to the same conclusion: voters are fed up with the GOP’s war on health care.

Public Policy Polling released its first national poll of the year, and offered some key findings about the state of health care:

  • Approval for the Affordable Care Act is 12 points above water (47% approval to 35% disapproval), a dramatic reversal from trends before Trump took office.
  • Over half of voters know Republicans are sabotaging health care, with 51% believing the Trump Administration is actively taking steps that will raise people’s health care costs.

Additionally, a Priorities USA memo found that independent voters continue to hold major concerns about President Trump’s war on health care, confirming that voters realize Republican sabotage is driving up insurance premiums and exacerbating the high health care costs burdening working families.

All in all, the results are clear: voters are fed up with the GOP’s posturing on health care and want real solutions that can expand coverage and lower premiums, and what they’re telling the GOP is simple: enough is enough, stop your war on our health care.