MEMO: Trump’s Health Care Repeal Case Moves Forward, Would Take Health Care From Millions During A Pandemic
May 5, 2020
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: DNC War Room
DATE: Tuesday, May 5, 2o20
Tomorrow, Democratic attorneys general, led by Xavier Becerra, and the House of Representatives will submit opening briefs in California v. Texas to defend the Affordable Care Act. During the worst health crisis of our time, Trump and Republicans are fighting to strip protections from as many as 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions and take health care away from 20 million Americans.
Americans are relying on our health care system now more than ever before, and the ACA is one of our most critical tools to protect Americans from the consequences of the coronavirus. Now, as more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment, Trump and Republicans are moving full steam ahead with their lawsuit and refusing to reopen the ACA’s open enrollment period to expand access to coverage.
The ACA is more popular than ever for one simple reason: it works. The ACA has significantly reduced the ranks of the uninsured and helped to ensure that Americans can get the health care they need and aren’t bankrupted just because they get sick. But even as Trump quietly relies on key provisions in the ACA to fight the spread of the virus, he and Republicans will stop at nothing to take the entire law away.
In the midst of a global pandemic, the ACA is one of our most critical tools.
- Comprehensive Coverage: The ACA established what are known as “essential health benefits,” such as prescription drugs and hospitalization. Coronavirus testing and treatment are essential health benefits and must be covered by all ACA-compliant plans.
- Access To Critical Vaccinations Without Cost Sharing: Once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, the Affordable Care Act will almost certainly cover the coronavirus vaccine without cost-sharing, because it requires plans to cover all vaccinations recommended by the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
- Protections For As Many As 133 Million Americans With Preexisting Conditions: Under the ACA, insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate against those with preexisting conditions by denying them coverage or charging higher rates.
- Coverage for 20+ Million People: Because of the ACA, more than 20 million Americans gained health coverage. People with insurance are much more likely to see a doctor when they are sick and to get the treatment they need.
- Increased CDC Funding: The Affordable Care Act established the CDC Prevention and Public Health Fund, which helps states prepare for disease outbreaks.
- Medicaid Expansion: Because of the ACA, states can get additional federal money to expand Medicaid to vulnerable populations. More than 17 million Americans now have coverage through Medicaid expansion. Importantly, Medicaid’s funding structure allows funds to increase in response to a public health emergency like coronavirus.
- Key Support For Rural Hospitals. The ACA significantly reduced uncompensated care costs. Between 2013 and 2015, hospitals’ uncompensated care costs decreased by $12 billion, or roughly 30 percent. As hospitals face an influx in coronavirus patients, it is critical that they are paid for the treatment they provide.
Even as he tries to destroy the law, Trump has been forced to rely on key provisions of the ACA to fight the spread of coronavirus.
- Essential Health Benefits: The Trump administration urged health insurers to make testing free by considering it an “essential health benefit,” despite simultaneously arguing in court to overturn this protection of the ACA.
- Medicaid Expansion: After championing cuts that kicked millions of people from its rolls, the Trump administration is now playing catch-up and trying it easier for poor Americans to get care through Medicaid. But the administration’s coronavirus response is weakening Medicaid by skimping on aid for Medicaid providers to the benefit of large medical systems.
- Nursing Home Inspections: The Trump administration announced new initiatives to protect nursing homes but has continued pushing forward with rolling back regulations aimed at preventing infections from spreading in nursing homes.
Trump will keep lying to Americans about protecting their health care — but he has already broken his biggest health care promises.
- Fewer Americans Covered: Trump promised that whoever “wanted health care” would have it under his administration, but the Trump-backed lawsuit would cause more than 20 million Americans to lose their insurance.
- Rising Health Care Costs: Trump promised he would put a stop to rising health care costs and even reduce them — but his lawsuit would raise out-of-pocket costs for premiums and prescription drugs.
- No Preexisting Condition Protections: Trump promised to support preexisting condition protections and said that costs for people with preexisting conditions would be “much lower” under his leadership — but his lawsuit would end these vital protections.
- Gutting Medicaid Access: Trump promised to protect Medicaid — but his lawsuit would end access to Medicaid for millions of Americans enrolled through the ACA’s expansion program.