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Tag: pre existing conditions

The Republican ‘Protect Act’ Will Protect Nobody’s Health Care

As Election Day draws near, another important date is looming for tens of millions of Americans with preexisting health conditions: Nov. 10, the day the Supreme Court will hear arguments on striking down the Affordable Care Act.

Despite the claims of Republican lawmakers, who swear abolishing Obamacare will not result in millions losing insurance, an examination of their alternative, the so-called Protect Act, shows that they're lying through their teeth.

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Top Official Admits Trump’s Order On Pre-Existing Conditions Is Worthless

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Thursday announced that Donald Trump will sign an executive order declaring that it is the "the policy of the United States" that people with preexisting conditions will be protected.

However, Azar admitted on a call before Trump's announcement that the order holds no legal weight. As the Daily Beast's Sam Stein reported, Azar said the executive order would have no affect if the Supreme Court strikes down Obamacare and said it is merely a "defined statement of U.S. policy that people with preexisting conditions are protected."

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In Convention Speech, McEnany Claims Trump Protected 'Pre-Existing Conditions' Coverage

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany lied about Donald Trump's stance on preexisting conditions in her speech at the Republican National Convention Wednesday.

Trump "stands with people with preexisting conditions," McEnany claimed.

That is false.

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Trump Claims To ‘Protect’ Healthcare Protections He Tried To Gut

Donald Trump falsely claimed on Monday that he “was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare,” despite his well-documented push to eliminate the existing health care law barring insurance companies from denying coverage on that basis.

Trump made the claim while attacking Democratic presidential candidate and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“I was the person who saved Pre-Existing Conditions in your Healthcare, you have it now, while at the same time winning the fight to rid you of the expensive, unfair and very unpopular Individual Mandate,” he tweeted, adding that if “Republicans win in court and take back the House of Represenatives [sic], your healthcare, that I have now brought to the best place in many years, will become the best ever, by far.”

Trump concluded by stating that he “will always protect your Pre-Existing Conditions, the Dems will not!”

This claim flies in the face of Trump’s own record since taking office.

Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, it was legal for insurance companies to discriminate against patients who had preexisting medical conditions, such as a history of high blood pressure or even being a woman.

Despite unanimous Republican opposition, a Democratic Congress later passed the ACA and Barack Obama signed it into law in March 2010. The law both banned discrimination based on preexisting conditions and included mandates to make that workable for insurance companies.

Trump fiercely opposed the bill and vowed vaguely to “repeal and replace [it] with something terrific” during the 2016 election. He said this would happen “Immediately. Fast. Quick” if he were elected.

In 2017, after taking office, Trump pushed the Republican-controlled Congress to pass his Trumpcare legislation to repeal Obamacare and replace it with something that would leave tens of millions uninsured. While the legislation required insurers to offer some form of insurance to those with preexisting conditions, it did not prevent discrimination against them and did not include any system to make such coverage affordable for patients or insurers.

The bill failed after a handful of Senate Republicans joined every Senate Democrat in voting no.

That same year, Trump told his supporters to “not worry” about his failed bid to replace the ACA. “ObamaCare will explode and we will all get together and piece together a great healthcare plan for THE PEOPLE,” he tweeted in March 2017.

Since then, Trump has tried other tactics to implode the ACA. Last March, he endorsed a lawsuit by Republican state officials aimed at eliminating every word of Obamacare and replacing it with nothing. He has embraced allowing states to sell junk health insurance plans that exclude people with pre-existing conditions.

In the meantime, by repeatedly working to undermine Obamacare’s mandates, Trump has hurt the system that makes the law work. Last May, Politifact ruled Trump’s claim that he would “always protect patients with preexisting conditions, very importantly” to be false, stating that his administration’s trajectory would do “exactly the opposite.”

Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) slammed Trump’s dishonesty on Monday, calling his latest statements an “Orwellian lie even for him.”

“Trump is in court right now trying to destroy protections for preexisting conditions,” the longtime lawmaker tweeted, adding that the Trump administration asked the Supreme Court just last week to delay action until after the 2020 election “so he doesn’t get blamed for stealing your care.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

Politifact: ‘False’ Rating For Trump On Pre-Existing Conditions Claim

There is no question in the minds of health care experts where Trump comes down on the issue of pre-existing conditions: He does “exactly the opposite” of protecting them.

In an analysis published Thursday, Politifact gave Trump a “False” rating for this claim from early May: “We will always protect patients with pre-existing conditions, very importantly.”

The analysis relied on interviews with four experts who cited Trump’s desire to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as contradicting the his claim.

In March, Trump’s Justice Department asked federal courts to completely eliminate the ACA, part of which protects people with pre-existing conditions from paying higher health care costs or being denied health insurance all-together. The administration reiterated their goal in May, writing that the entire ACA “must be struck down.”

Given Trump’s stance, “there is real cause for skepticism” about Trump’s claim, Wendy Netter Epstein, a DePaul University law professor, told Politifact.

Further, the Trump administration is allowing states to sell junk health insurance plans that are not required to protect people with pre-existing conditions, something Democrats are trying to stop.

In the end, the “White House’s policy trajectory does exactly the opposite” of protecting people with pre-existing conditions, concludes Politifact.

“The DOJ’s stance, which reflects a policy in place at the same moment the president made this claim, would eliminate the only law guaranteeing that people with pre-existing conditions both receive health coverage and do not have to pay more for it.” Further, “the administration has not put forth any plan that might keep those guarantees in place.”

The analysis goes on to say that Trump’s team has “taken further steps that could make it harder for people with pre-existing conditions to get affordable coverage.”

Rather than being honest about what he is fighting for, Trump’s statement “is not accurate and makes a claim in direct opposition of what’s actually happening.”

Published with permission of The American Independent.

Republicans Again Oppose ‘Pre-Existing Conditions’ Safeguard

A majority of Republicans once again voted to let health insurance companies discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.

On Thursday afternoon, the House of Representatives passed the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019 by a vote of 230 to 183. Democrats unanimously supported the bill, joined by only four Republicans. Every single vote against the bill came from Republicans.

On the issue of preexisting conditions, most Republicans sided with Trump, who announced on Tuesday that he would veto the bill if it ever made it to his desk. The Trump administration “strongly opposes” the bill because it “runs counter to the President’s healthcare vision.”

“Democrats are working to protect patients with preexisting conditions like cancer, diabetes and asthma but the Trump administration is now threatening to veto those efforts,” Leslie Dach, chair of Protect Our Care, said in a Wednesday statement.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Annie Kuster (D-NH), is an effort to undo health care sabotage efforts by the Trump administration. The Trump administration encourages states to sell junk health insurance plans that weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Kuster’s bill would stop these junk plans from flooding the market.

“We cannot go back to a time when Americans with preexisting conditions can be charged more or denied care,” Kuster said on Wednesday.

Trump’s opposition to affordable health care, including protections for pre-existing conditions, is one of his most consistent policy positions. Trump championed 2017 efforts by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which ensures insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with preexisting conditions.

More recently, the Trump administration told a federal court that the ACA “must be struck down” in its entirety.

In Congress, Republicans are introducing sham bills that don’t adequately cover pre-existing conditions while refusing to support bills like Kuster’s.

Trump’s actions show a clear and consistent effort to undermine the health care of millions of Americans — but his rhetoric is full of lies claiming that he’s doing the opposite.

In the letter opposing Kuster’s bill, the Trump administration claims to be in favor of “improving care for people with pr-eexisting conditions.” In speeches, Trump loudly proclaims, “Republicans will always support pre-existing conditions!”

Yet when Congress has a bill to do exactly that, Trump issues a veto threat.

And Republicans once again made the decision to stand by Trump and turn their back on millions of Americans.

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

IMAGE: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).

 

Trump Attorneys Demand Court Strike ‘Pre-Existing Condition’ Protections

In a Wednesday court filing, the Trump administration erased any doubt as to their position on destroying access to health care for millions of Americans: They’re all in.

The Department of Justice is asking a federal appeals court to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), a decision which would cause at least 20 million Americans to lose their health insurance.

The ACA also contains popular and important protections, such as making sure insurance companies can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, requiring plans to cover basic health needs like maternity care, and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26. Those protections would go away if Trump gets his wish.

In the filing, Trump administration lawyers told the court that the ACA “must be struck down.” In fact, Trump’s team contemplated taking a position to defend certain provisions like pre-existing conditions protections — but made it clear that they have decided not lift a finger to help.

“Instead of rewriting the statute by picking and choosing which provisions to invalidate, the proper course is to strike it down in its entirety,” Trump’s lawyers state.

The filing by Trump’s Department of Justice supports the position of GOP-led states who filed the lawsuit against the ACA.

The filing follows a recent change in strategy for the Trump administration. In the past, the administration wanted only some parts of the ACA taken away. But in early 2019, Trump demanded that the administration fight to destroy the entire law. When given the opportunity to stand with Trump or stand up for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions, congressional Republicans predictably stood with Trump.

Republicans spent almost a decade trying and failing to destroy the ACA. Even though the 2018 midterm election showed Americans overwhelmingly rejected those attempts, Republicans refuse to give up. Some Republicans have even introduced new legislation aimed at weakening protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

When asked who they trust on health care, Americans overwhelmingly reject Trump and Republicans. Americans want to strengthen and improve the current health care law, which is something Democrats have a plan to do.

And Democrats are defending the ACA from Republican attacks in the courts, too. The coalition defending the ACA in the lawsuit is led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.

The Trump Administration chose to abandon ship,” Becerra said on Wednesday. “Our legal coalition will vigorously defend the law and the Americans President Trump has abandoned.”

Published with permission of The American Independent. 

House GOP Leader Blames Freedom Caucus For Midterm Defeat

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blamed the far-right House Freedom Caucus for costing Republicans control of the chamber in a private call with his donors  specifically, he said, by forcing the GOP to include an end to pre-existing condition protections in their Affordable Care Act repeal bill:

“When we couldn’t pass the repeal of Obamacare the first way through, an amendment came because the Freedom Caucus wouldn’t vote for” the original House bill, McCarthy said. “That amendment put [the] preexisting condition campaign against us, and so even people who are running for the very first time got attacked on that. And that was the defining issue and the most important issue in the race.”

McCarthy’s account accurately describes the dynamics of passing the American Health Care Act, the Republican ACA alternative, in 2017: After an initial version of the bill was withdrawn due to opposition from both the Freedom Caucus and GOP moderates, Meadows and Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) crafted an amendment that would give states the ability to waive protections for people with preexisting conditions.

These comments effectively reiterate a key point that Republican leaders admitted on the day after the midterm election: their attempts to repeal Obamacare are dead and buried. The party recognizes how reviled this policy is with the public, and now the only thing left is to assign blame for having the thought in the first place.

The Freedom Caucus, which took a drubbing in 2018 with the loss of members including Reps. David Brat (R-VA), Rod Blum (R-IA), and Mark Sanford (R-SC), promptly hit back, with chairman Mark Meadows (R-NC) calling McCarthy’s remarks “very troublesome” and an “us-versus-them mentality.”

In fairness, the Freedom Caucus can’t take all the blame for making health care repeal toxic. While health care was indeed the key issue that swung the election, the GOP’s American Health Care Act (AHCA) was broadly hated even before Republicans inserted the “MacArthur Amendment.”

Moreover, it is not exactly like the GOP leadership was in any way reluctant to help the Freedom Caucus undermine Obamacare’s signature provision. Then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) touted the MacArthur Amendment, saying it “strengthens” the repeal bill. McCarthy himself reportedly inspired GOP House members to vote for the bill by projecting an image of George Patton, and gleefully celebrated on the White House lawn with President Donald Trump and other Republicans after the House passed the measure.

That being said, it is certainly true that the Freedom Caucus has been a thorn in the GOP’s side for years, withholding votes from key bills in order to force more draconian spending cuts to discretionary spending. McCarthy has long had bad blood with them he had been next in line to replace former House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) after his 2015 resignation, but the Freedom Caucus’ refusal to back him was what ultimately led to Ryan getting the job.

If there is one silver lining for the Republican Party leadership in losing the House, it is that the Freedom Caucus no longer has the power to hold anyone hostage. For the first time since their founding in 2015, they are facing a Democratic majority that neither needs nor wants their votes for anything. And if not the entire cause, the Freedom Caucus surely bears some of the credit for this state of affairs.

IMAGE: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Capitol Hill in Washington. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas