Talking Points: Republican Tax Package Rewards the Richest 1% and Wall Street While Cutting Health Care and Raising Taxes for the Rest of Us

 

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress are calling their tax bill a Christmas gift to the middle-class—but instead, it’s a lump of coal that hands trillions in tax breaks to the rich and Wall Street paid for by cuts to health care and tax hikes on middle-class families.

Changes in the final Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by the House and Senate made an already bad bill worse, but did nothing to protect the health care, education and economic security programs from cuts that Republicans want to make to pay for their massive tax giveaway.

The Republican tax plan gives the biggest tax breaks to the richest 1% of households and corporations like Apple, Pfizer, and Wells Fargo, while at the same time raising taxes on middle-class families.

  • Even though giving Wall Street tax breaks has never created more jobs, the bill cuts corporate taxes by $1.4 trillion by permanently reducing corporate tax rates from 35% to 21% and eliminating the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax).
  • The bill encourages more companies to move jobs and profits offshore by eliminating taxes on foreign profits. It gives huge multi-national companies like Apple and Microsoft a discount on taxes they already owed on existing profits they have hidden offshore—instead of making them pay their fair share like the rest of us, the bill allows them to pay $400 billion less.
  • Over the next 10 years (by 2027), the richest 1% of Americans will get 83% of the tax breaks in the Republican tax plan. In 2018, millionaires will get an average tax cut of $51,000 while the bottom 60% of tax payers will get about a dollar a day.
  • At the same time, 92 million middle-class families (households earning less than $200,000) would get a tax increase under the Republican tax plan. Over half (53 percent) of all Americans – 100 million households – would get a tax increase in 2027.

To pay for tax breaks that mainly benefit the rich and corporations, the Republican tax plan guts health careleaving 13 million more Americans uninsured, raising premiums for millions more, and forcing cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

  • To pay for permanent corporate tax cuts in the bill, the Republicans will repeal the individual responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act, which will destabilize markets, strip 13 million Americans of health insurance, and raise premiums 10%.
  • Because the tax bill adds over a trillion dollars to the deficit, it will trigger automatic cuts to important government services—including $25 billion in cuts to Medicare (the national insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities) in 2018, increasing to $400 billion in cuts over 10 years. Over 55 million people depend on Medicare for their health care.
  • Republican Speaker Paul Ryan has also announced that he plans to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and a slew of other critical programs next year to address the increased deficit resulting from the tax bill. Medicaid is the largest source of federal funding to states and provides health care for over 70 million Americans; the largest number of enrollees are children.

The Republican tax plan unfairly punishes families and children while giving big perks to wealthier households and corporations.

  • On average, all families with children will get a tax increase – unless they earn more than $1 million. At the same time, the new tax bill ends the Child Tax Credit (CTC) for about 1 million of the nation’s poorest children—many of them Dreamers—who don’t have Social Security numbers even though their parents pay taxes into the system. The new CTC also provides only a token amount—$75 or less to 10 million kids in low income families while allowing upper income families (incomes up to $500,000 a year) to claim up to $2,000 on the CTC.
  • The final bill also changes important deductions in the current tax code that help middle class families lower their tax bill including capping the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) at $10,000, which will raise taxes for about 8 million families. One-third of taxpayers making $50-75,000 take this deduction for state and local income and property taxes, as do half of those making $75-100,000. Capping this deduction hurts middle class families and adds pressure on state and local budgets to cut education, health care, and infrastructure.

Republican claims that this tax package helps the middle class, creates jobs and will give everyone in America a tax break are plainly untrue. Instead, the true beneficiaries will be Wall Street corporations that have already spent years shirking their fair share of taxes, wealthy households who will get huge tax breaks, and rich real estate tycoons like President Trump himself who will enjoy new loopholes for millionaires created in the bill.

The rest of us—working families, seniors, children, and the middle class—will pay for the Republican tax giveaway with higher taxes and cuts to health care, education and public services for decades to come.

In 2018, it’s up to us to tell Americans the truth about his historically unpopular legislation and remind them who pays for tax breaks for the rich and corporations in the Republican bill.

Talking Points: The Senate GOP Tax Bill is an Attack on America’s Families

 

Republicans in the Senate just passed legislation that will leave 13 million more people without health insurance, cut Medicaid and Medicare, and increase taxes for poor and middle-class families – all to pay for a massive tax break for the richest 1% and Wall Street corporations

To pay for a massive tax giveaway for millionaires, billionaires and large corporations, the Senate’s Tax Cuts and Jobs bill will raise taxes on 87 million poor and middle-class families and repeal the individual responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act, causing 13 million people to lose their insurance and increasing premiums for millions more.

The massive tax giveaway to corporations like Apple, Google, Pfizer Drugs, and Wells Fargo Bank will force cuts of $1.5 million from Medicaid and Medicare. And it would trigger automatic cuts to important government services—including $25 billion in cuts to Medicare in 2018—resulting in additional burdens on working families.

The GOP tax plan forces poor and middle-class families to pay for massive tax giveaways to large corporations and the very wealthy.

  • Most (62 percent) individual tax cuts will go to the richest 1 percent by 2027, while raising taxes on 87 million middle-class families.
  • Nearly 75 percent of all the tax cuts go to large corporations by permanently slashing the corporate tax rate from 35 to 20 percent – costing the rest of us $1.3 trillion.
  • Wealthy business owners and investors—including real estate developers like Donald Trump—get a $362 billion tax cut from the effective drop in the top tax rate for “pass-through” business income.
  • Worse still, the Senate bill repeals the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT), which will hurt the middle class and add pressure on state and local budgets to cut education, health care, and infrastructure. One-third of taxpayers making $50-75,000 take this deduction for state and local income and property taxes, as do half of those making $75-100,000.

The GOP tax plan is a direct attack on our families’ health care—leaving 13 million more Americans uninsured, raising premiums for millions more, and forcing cuts Medicaid and Medicare.

  • Senate Republicans used the tax plan as a backdoor way to repeal the individual responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act, which will destabilize markets, strip 13 million Americans of health insurance, and raise premiums 10% for about 7 million more.
  • Based on the budget blueprint passed earlier this year, the GOP plans to cuts Medicare by nearly $500 billion and Medicaid by $1 trillion to pay for these tax cuts, forcing working families, seniors, children and people with disabilities to foot the bill for tax cuts for the wealthy.
  • And the GOP tax bill also will automatically trigger Medicare cuts of at least $25 billion next year and $400 billion over 10 years.

The Republican tax plan also discriminates against immigrant families by changing the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and refundable Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) provisions in the tax code that low-income and middle class families depend on to support their families.

  • The Republicans’ CTC proposal would actually leave out 26 million children while giving huge new tax cuts to the very wealthy.
  • Under the revised proposal, a single mother with two kids working full-time at the minimum wage would receive a paltry $75 increase in her credit. Meanwhile, a two-child family earning $500,000 would now qualify for a brand new $4,000 credit.
  • Both the House and Senate tax bills deny low-income families, immigrant families and mixed-status households with average incomes of only $21,000 a year the Child Tax Credit (CTC) and the refundable Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC) to pay for tax breaks for corporations in the bill by requiring a Social Security Number for each child to claim the tax credit, impacting up to up to 4 million children of taxpaying parents in immigrant families, the majority of whom are actually U.S. citizens. Up to 1 million children impacted by the loss of CTC and ACTC are young DREAMers.
  • Worse still, the CTC increase would end entirely after 2025, even as corporate cuts are made permanent.

The GOP tax bill does tremendous harm to just about everyone in our country—poor families, seniors, children, and the middle class. Republicans have rammed their tax plan through with deliberate speed even though there is historically-low public support for the legislation. Once again, Republicans have betrayed the interests of their own constituents by choosing partisan political gain and their Wall Street donors over struggling work-class class families, seniors, children and veterans.

Now it’s up to Representatives in the House to do the right thing and reject the final version of this bill and the harm it does to health care, public services, the middle class, immigrants and the economy.

 

Fact Sheet: President Trump is Working to Dismantle the ACA Despite Growing Public Approval for the Law

 

In addition to avidly encouraging repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Congress, President Trump has stepped up his own aggressive and systematic campaign to sabotage and dismantle the ACA. Despite growing popularity of the ACA, Trump has repeatedly said that the best thing to do is to let the ACA “explode,” and he has done everything in his power to undermine and dismantle the law piece by piece. In fact, he referred to his October 12 executive order that pushes junk insurance policies and will cripple the market as “starting the process” of ACA repeal.

Trump began his sabotage effort immediately upon taking office. Shortly after his inauguration, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to use their administrative powers to begin dismantling the ACA “to the maximum extent permitted by law.” Then the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency charged with promoting and enforcing the law, announced that it would stop planned ads for the final week of open enrollment for marketplace health coverage, which experts say reduced final enrollment by more than 400,000 people.

The president is using executive power to dismantle the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, allowing the sale of insurance that doesn’t meet minimum standards, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the guarantee of no-cost birth control for 55 million women.

Trump has attacked the health care law in five ways:

  1. Refusing to implement the individual responsibility provision of the ACA. From Day One the administration has said it does not intend to enforce the individual mandate, which is the cornerstone of the ACA because it ensures that everyone participates in the insurance market, which keeps rates lower and encourages competition. Experts and insurers say that failure to enforce the mandate is a major cause of market uncertainty, which, in turn, raises costs for everyone and encourages insurers to leave markets.

  2. Threatening to withhold Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSRs) payments to the insurance companies – and then announcing on October 12, 2017 that he will end these payments. Cost sharing reduction payments are reimbursements to insurance companies that lower costs for about 6 million people who buy insurance on ACA exchanges, making health care more affordable for more people. Insurers and experts agree that this has been a very significant act of sabotage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, CSR uncertainty “may lead insurers to withdraw from the market” (several have in several states) and will increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020, putting health coverage out of reach for million of people. Now that Trump has ended the payments, the departure of insurers from key markets is likely. New York’s attorney general has already announced a likely lawsuit by a coalition of states challenging the decision. Along with lax enforcement of the individual mandate, uncertainty about the CSR payments has already caused significant disruption in otherwise healthy markets. Here’s more background:

    • More than half of all marketplace consumers benefit from CSRs, which go to people with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty line (about $60,000 for a family of four) and reduce their out-of-pocket costs by an average of about $1,100 per person.  To see what percent of enrollees depend on CSRs in your state, see the map here: https://www.cbpp.org/blog/interactive-map-cost-sharing-subsidies-at-risk-under-house-gop-health-bill
    • Under the ACA, insurers must provide health plans with lower deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to people who qualify for CSRs, and the federal government then reimburses the insurers for the cost of doing so, which is about $7 billion a year. Insurers have to provide these savings regardless of whether they are reimbursed by the federal government, as the law intends.
    • Following the failure of the Senate to pass ACA repeal in July, the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions began a bipartisan effort to address this problem – specifically, they were considering requiring CSR payments for two years. But the committee’s work was scuttled by GOP leadership to make room for the last-ditch effort to push the failed Graham-Cassidy repeal bill in September. This came at a crippling time – September 27 was the final deadlinefor insurers to sign contracts to participate in the federal ACA markets next year. Bipartisan talks in the Senate have started again.
  3. Cutting enrollment and outreach. The administration has sabotaged efforts to inform consumers about the ACA and enroll them in coverage in six ways that are intended to lower enrollment in ACA plans in 2018.

    • First, the administration cut the open enrollment period in half, reducing it to six weeks (November 1-December 15) from twelve last year (November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017).
    • Second, it slashed advertising for open enrollment by 90% from $100 to $10 million. This advertising is the only way many consumers will learn about enrollment.
    • Third, it slashed funding for local ACA “navigators”, workers who are essential to helping people sign up for coverage, by 41%. Navigators play a critical role in what can be a complicated process.
    • Fourth, the administration announced that it will shut down the enrollment website for 12 hours nearly every Sunday during the open enrollment period. Many people who work during the week wait until the weekend, when they have more time, to sign up for their health care. HHS says this is for “maintenance outages.”
    • Fifth, HHS issued a directive forbidding its ten regional directors from helping with state-based enrollment activities, a standard part of their job in years past since the agency is supposed to promote and enforce the law. This is a key part of the Trump sabotage campaign – ceaselessly attack and refuse to enforce the ACA, creating problems that can then be blamed on the law and Obama’s administration.
    • Lastly, according to the New York Times, HHS has even removed important links from its website, including information about how people could get care through their ACA plans. HHS has also been using official videos and its press office to smear the ACA, promote repeal, and cause consumer confusion.
  4. Ending critical preventive benefits for women. The Trump administration issued a sweeping new rulethat guts the federal requirement that employers include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. The decision will impact more than 55 million women who have access to birth control without co-payments because of the contraceptive coverage provision under the ACA. In 2013 alone, the mandate saved women $1.4 billion on birth control. Specifically, the order allows any employer, not just religious ones, to raise religious or “moral” objections to birth control and refuse to pay for it for employees. This is a significant departure from the original rule which allowed exemptions for religious employers only (such as churches or catholic hospitals).

  5. Loosening rules for insurance companies, rolling back consumer protections, and allowing the sale of bare-bones policies outside the ACA marketplaces. The administration issued an executive order on October 12, 2017 that allows the sale of junk health insurance and is designed to lure healthy consumers from the individual market in an effort to trigger its collapse. The executive order includes three changes.

    • First, it would expand the use of “short-term” policies from 90 days or less to up to one year. These plans are completely exempt from the ACA’s rules and standards. That means that insurance companies can go back to refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging them more for their coverage, and selling bogus plans that don’t include essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs that are required for plans sold in the ACA marketplaces. These plans could even have life-time and annual benefit caps. Unsuspecting consumers may buy these plans thinking they have good coverage, only to find out they have insurance that’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.
    • Second, it expands the role of so-called “association health plans” in a way that allows plans formed by associations to bypass existing rules for insurance companies (like consumer protections and essential health benefits) that cover other health insurance plans under the ACA. Currently such plans are treated as small business plans and are covered by the ACA. This will allow association plans to systematically cherry pick young, healthy consumers and pull them out of the existing individual health insurance market, which will transform the market into an insurance pool dominated by older and sicker people. That means that rates will skyrocket, insurers will flee, and ultimately the entire private health insurance market could collapse. This would likely make coverage fundamentally unaffordable for middle-class consumers not eligible for the ACA’s tax credits.
    • Third, it expands the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements, which are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for health care expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments. While this sounds good, this change would allow employers to use HSAs to pay premiums – currently not allowed by law – which would create an incentive for employers to stop providing insurance for their employees. Instead they could offer pre-tax dollars – but probably not enough for coverage. This would push sicker patients into the individual market while pulling out healthier consumers, some of whom may purchase the newly available short-term plans. This provision is another way to trigger the collapse of the market.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress have tried all year to repeal the ACA, to dilute the rules it creates for insurance companies, to strip away mechanisms that make coverage affordable in the marketplaces and to roll back the expansion of Medicaid in the 32 states and District of Columbia where it has been implemented and brought the number of people without health coverage to a historic low in our country.

Despite the fact that Congress has failed to repeal the law, largely because of public outcry, President Trump is continuing the repeal efforts through new channels. His sabotage of the law will result in some of the same outcomes we would’ve have seen as consequences of repeal: higher costs, less coverage, and fewer rules that protect consumers from insurance company abuses.

For a timeline of Trump and GOP sabotage, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a dedicated web page, “Sabotage Watch: Tracking Efforts to Undermine the ACA.”

 

Talking Points: Trump Continues Attack on ACA with New Executive Order That Dismantles Protections and Drives Up Costs for Sicker Americans

 

Republicans in Congress have failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeatedly, but President Trump won’t give up on taking away our health care by using his executive authority to undermine the ACA as part of a bigger plan to collapse the law.

On Thursday, October 12, 2017 President Trump took another step toward dismantling the ACA by issuing a new executive order that allows health associations plans to sell watered down health coverage that doesn’t meet current standards under the ACA.

This executive order includes provisions like those in the ACA repeal bills that were roundly rejected earlier in the year by both lawmakers and the public. Trump’s order loosens up rules for insurance companies so that they can go back to refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging them more for their coverage, and selling bogus plans that don’t even include essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs that are required for plans sold in the ACA marketplaces. These plans could even have life-time and annual benefit caps.

Waiving protections means these plans can cherry pick young, healthy consumers and pull them out of the existing individual health insurance market, leading to a market dominated by older and sicker people. That means that rates will skyrocket, insurers will flee, and ultimately the entire private health insurance market could collapse.

This latest executive order is part of Trump’s partisan political campaign to sabotage the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the no-cost birth control mandate for 55 million women. That’s why Trump said that this order is about “starting the process” of ACA repeal.

Background

Executive orders don’t set policy – they instruct federal agencies to propose new rules. This EO instructs the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Treasury to initiate three changes.

  • First, it expands the role of so-called “association health plans” in a way that allows plans formed by associations to bypass existing rules for insurance companies (like consumer protections and essential health benefits) that cover other health insurance plans under the ACA. Currently such plans are treated as small business plans and are covered by the ACA. This will allow association plans to systematically cherry pick young, healthy people from the existing market which will transform the existing market into an insurance pool dominated by older, sicker consumers. That will raise rates and eliminate access to affordable health care for millions of Americans, especially middle-class consumers not eligible for the ACA’s tax credits. It could create what’s commonly referred to as a “death spiral,” where consumers are priced out of the market, insurers flee, and ultimately the market collapses, leaving millions of Americans without coverage.
  • Second, it changes the definition of “short-term” plans from 90 days or less to up to one year. Because short-term plans are exempt from the consumer protections and other rules that govern insurance products under the ACA, this will allow insurers who sell these plans to raise premiums or refuse coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, and sell inadequate coverage that doesn’t include the ACA’s 10 essential health benefits. This also will siphon younger, healthier people from the existing market, while giving them bare-bones coverage instead of real insurance. Short-term plans are less expensive than Obamacare plans because they offer limited benefits. They can charge more or deny coverage to people with pre-existing illnesses, have annual and life-time caps, and they do not cover a broad range of medical care, from addiction treatment to maternity care. They also cannot be purchased with the tax credits available to millions of middle-income people under the ACA. This means they’ll actually cost more than ACA plans for many consumers.
  • Third, it expands the use of Health Reimbursement Arrangements, which are employer-funded accounts that reimburse employees for health care expenses, such as deductibles and co-payments. While this sounds good, this change would allow employers to use HSAs to pay premiums – currently not allowed by law – which would create an incentive for employers to stop providing insurance for their employees. Instead they could offer pre-tax dollars – but probably not enough for coverage. This would push sicker patients into the individual market while pulling out healthier consumers, some of whom may purchase the newly available short-term plans. This provision is another way to trigger the collapse of the market.

It’s time for Trump and the Republican Party to end their war on health care. Instead of working to take health care away from millions, our elected representatives should work to find bipartisan solutions to expand access to affordable health care.

Go here for a comprehensive summary of the executive order by Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, Emeritus Professor at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. Go here for an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Comments from Experts

Kaiser Family Foundation Senior Fellow Karen Pollitz: “Within a year, this would kill the market.” [Politico, 10/12/2017]

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler: “It would have a very negative impact on the markets…Our state is a poster child of what can go wrong. Association health plans often shun the bad risks and stay with the good risks.” [New York Times, 10/12/2017]

Center for American Progress Vice President for Health Policy Topher Spiro: “By siphoning off healthy individuals, these junk plans could cannibalize the insurance exchanges…For older, sicker people left behind in plans regulated under the Affordable Care Act, premiums could increase.” [New York Times, 10/12/2017]

Veda Partners Policy Analyst Spencer Perlman: “It would essentially create a parallel regulatory structure within the individual and small group markets that is freed from the various consumer protections established…The end result could be a death spiral for ACA-compliant plans.” [Bloomberg, 10/12/2017]

Rebecca Owen, Society of Actuaries: “The influx of a set of plans exempt from the Affordable Care Act rules will essentially divide the market and make it increasingly unstable, said Rebecca Owen, a health research actuary with the Society of Actuaries. People who want or need broad coverage could find it increasingly difficult to obtain an affordable policy, experts say.” [New York Times, 10/12/2017]

Fact Sheet: Trump Sabotage – How Trump is Working to Undermine the ACA

 

In addition to avidly encouraging repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Congress, President Trump has run an aggressive campaign to sabotage and undermine the ACA everyday he’s been in office. Failing to repeal the law at least five times, Trump has repeatedly said that the best thing to do is to let the ACA “explode,” and he has done everything in his power to make that happen.

Trump began his sabotage effort immediately upon taking office. Shortly after his inauguration, he issued an executive order directing federal agencies to use their administrative powers to begin dismantling the ACA “to the maximum extent permitted by law.” Then the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the agency charged with promoting and enforcing the law, announced that it would stop planned ads for the final week of open enrollment for marketplace health coverage, which experts say reduced final enrollment by more than 400,000 people.

Trump’s campaign to undermine the ACA has involved three major areas of sabotage.

  1. Sabotaging the individual mandate. From Day One the administration has said it does not intend to enforce the individual mandate, which is the cornerstone of the ACA because it ensures that everyone participates in the insurance market, which keeps rates down and encourages competition. Experts and insurers say that failure to enforce the mandate is a major cause of market uncertainty, which, in turn, will cause rates to go up and insurers to leave markets.
     
  2. Sabotaging the insurance markets by threatening to withhold the Cost-Sharing Reduction (CSRs) payments to the insurance companies. Insurers and experts agree that this has been the most significant act of sabotage. According to the Congressional Budget Office, CSR uncertainty “may lead insurers to withdraw from the market” (several have in several states) and will increase rates by 20% in 2018 and 25% in 2020. Along with lax enforcement of the individual mandate, uncertainty about the CSR payments has caused significant disruption in otherwise healthy markets. Here’s the background:
     
    • About 6 million people — more than half of all marketplace consumers — benefit from CSRs, which go to people with incomes below 250 percent of the poverty line (about $60,000 for a family of four) and reduce their out-of-pocket costs by an average of about $1,100 per person.
    • Under the ACA, insurers must provide health plans with lower deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs to people who qualify for CSRs, and the federal government then reimburses the insurers for the cost of doing so, which is about $7 billion a year. Insurers have to provide these savings regardless of whether they are reimbursed by the federal government, as the law intends.
    • In 2016, House Republicans filed a lawsuit saying that the Obama administration could not make CSR payments because a glitch in the ACA did not technically appropriate the funding, although the law clearly spells out the program and payments. While the judge ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, the court said the administration could continue making the payments while the case is appealed, which the Obama administration did. Instead of continuing to appeal the decision and making clear that they would continue to make the payments to insurers, the Trump administration has repeatedly threatened to withhold the payments. It’s been playing a game of chicken, making the payments on a month-to-month basis at the last minute, while threatening each month to not make them at all. This has fueled premium increases for 2018, since insurers have to set rates based on the assumption that the CSR payments will not continue to be made.
    • Following the failure of the Senate to pass ACA repeal in July, the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions began a bipartisan effort to fix this problem – specifically, they were considering requiring CSR payments for two years. But the committee’s work was scuttled by GOP leadership to make room for the last-ditch effort to push the failed Graham-Cassidy repeal bill in September. This came at a crippling time – September 27 was the final deadlinefor insurers to sign contracts to participate in the federal ACA markets next year.
  3. Sabotaging enrollment and outreach. The administration has sabotaged efforts to inform consumers about the ACA and enroll them in coverage in five ways. Combined, these actions could have a significant impact on the number of people who enroll in 2018.
    • First, the administration cut the open enrollment period in half, reducing it to six weeks (November 1-December 15) from twelve last year (November 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017).
    • Second, it slashed advertising for open enrollment by 90% from $100 to $10 million. This advertising is the only way many consumers will learn about enrollment.
    • Third, it slashed funding for local ACA “navigators” by 41%, workers who are essential to helping consumers select their insurance coverage. Navigators play a critical role in what can be a complicated process.
    • Fourth, the administration announced that it will shut down the enrollment website for 12 hours nearly every Sunday during the open enrollment period. HHS says this is for “maintenance outages.” However, there is no justification for this level of maintenance.
    • Lastly, HHS issued a directive that its ten regional directors were not to participate in or help with state-based enrollment activities, as has been the case in years past, further distancing the agency from the law it’s supposed to promote and enforce. An HHS statement on this says it all: “Obamacare has never lived up to enrollment expectations despite the previous administration’s best efforts. The American people know a bad deal when they see one and many won’t be convinced to sign up for ‘Washington-knows-best’ health coverage that they can’t afford.” This sums up the principle behind the Trump sabotage campaign – ceaselessly attack and refuse to enforce the law and then blame the law if and when it has problems they have helped to create.

Throughout the life of the ACA, the GOP has fought its implementation and sought to undermine it in multiple ways, including opposing state efforts to expand Medicaid. Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia have expanded Medicaid, while 19 states have not. Five million Americans would gain coverage in 2017 if these 19 states expanded Medicaid under the ACA, which provides 90% federal reimbursement to states for the costs of expansion.

Talking Points: President Trump and Republicans in Congress: Still Trying to Take Our Health Care

 

Hundreds of thousands of organizers, activists, and constituents successfully defeated the latest Republican effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act in September. The Graham Cassidy repeal bill would have taken coverage from over 30 million people, raised premiums, allowed insurance companies to charge people with pre-existing coverage more for services, and gutted federal funding for Medicaid, creating massive new burdens for state budgets.

Despite widespread unpopularity and failure to secure enough support even from their own members for yet another repeal vote, it’s clear that President Trump and Republican leaders in the House and Senate have not given up on demolishing the ACA and making massive cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

President Trump and HHS Secretary Tom Price continue to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

  • President Trump is withholding cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that lower costs for 6 million people buying coverage in the ACA exchanges, creating the instability and uncertainty in the insurance market that is causing insurers to drive up premiums by 20% next year and forcing some insurers out of the market.
  • President Trump’s administration will not enforce the ACA’s individual mandate, a key feature of the law, and has slashed funding for enrollment and outreach, ensuring that many consumers miss key deadlines and increasing barriers to enrollment.

President Trump, Senate and House Republicans will cut Medicaid and Medicare to pay for over $5 trillion in tax breaks for wealthy and corporations in the federal budget.

Right now, President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress are trying to pass another massive tax cut package for the wealthy and corporations paid for by cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, education, and other services for working families in the FY2018 federal budget through the same fast-track reconciliation process we just saw used in ACA repeal.

The House Republican budget proposal includes trillions in cuts to critical programs, including $2 trillion in cuts to Medicaid and Medicare for seniors, children, veterans, people with disabilities and working families:

  • The House Republican Budget Resolution assumes adoption of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) that repeals the ACA and creates per capita caps in Medicaid. The AHCA takes health care coverage away from over 20 million people and makes deep and permanent cuts to Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, and children. Overall, the budget proposal cuts Medicaid and related health care programs by over $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
  • The budget also includes a $487 billion cut to Medicare and privatizes the program through vouchers.The House will vote on their budget in early October while the Senate works on a their own version of a budget blueprint that will prioritize trillions in tax breaks for the rich and corporations. In addition,

President Trump just announced a $5 trillion tax “reform” package that would cuts taxes for the richest 1% and big corporations while increasing taxes on middle and lower income people.

  • Tax breaks for millionaires and big business paid for by slashing Medicaid, Medicare, education, and public services will cut jobs, hurt the economy and leave families worse off. We can’t afford to give one penny in tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations while families are struggling to afford health care and make ends meet.
  • Cutting Medicaid and Medicare for seniors, people with disabilities, children and veterans to pay for trickle down tax cuts to the rich and corporations making record profits won’t help our economy. Instead, the rich will get richer while the rest of us will lose our health care.
  • Big corporations like Pfizer, Apple and Google are already making record profits while paying almost nothing in taxes thanks to giant loopholes that let them shift jobs and profits offshore. Rather than give Wall Street millionaires and big business more big breaks, politicians should make them pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us.

Americans want quality, affordable health care, Medicaid and Medicare for their families—not tax breaks for millionaires and big corporations.

It’s time to stop the Republican’s relentless attacks on our health care and to focus instead on bipartisan solutions to make health care more affordable, to lower prescription drug costs and to ensure that people with pre-existing conditions do not face discrimination from insurers.

  • In poll after poll, Americans have rejected repeal of the Affordable Care Act, radical changes to Medicaid and cuts to Medicare.
  • Voters do not support tax giveaways for the rich and corporations that are paid for with cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.

Talking Points: GOP Efforts to Sabotage ACA, End Medicaid and Privatize Medicare Will Continue, Despite Repeal and Replace Failures So Far

 

Every Trump-Republican Senate bill to repeal and replace the ACA with watered-down, more expensive coverage and severe cuts to Medicaid has failed, including the so-called “skinny repeal” that would have taken healthcare away from 16 million Americans, raised premiums by more than 20%, allowed more insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and given big tax breaks to corporations.

But despite failure in the Senate, GOP leaders still won’t stop trying to take away our health care to give tax breaks to the rich and corporations. Republicans continue their assault on our healthcare with flagrant efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and with cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in the federal budget resolution that are even deeper than those we saw in their repeal bills.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress are Already Sabotaging Obamacare So They Can Renew Their Push for Repeal

Despite clear indications that the majority of the public supports the ACA, rejects repeal and wants politicians to work together to improve the law, President Trump continues his campaign to destabilize the ACA by refusing to implement basic provisions like the individual mandate and the cost sharing reductions that stabilize insurance markets and make coverage affordable for millions. 

  • Trump has said repeatedly that we should let Obamacare collapse and affirmed again after the most recent repeal vote that he plans to “let Obamacare implode” so that there’s a rationale to replace it in the future.
  • President Trump’s administration, including HHS Secretary Price, who is responsible for implementing the ACA have already started to sabotage the ACA by creating chaos and uncertainty, refusing to enforce key provisions and refusing to make critical cost sharing reduction payments that make coverage more affordable for 6 million people who buy insurance on the exchange.
  • The LA Times and other outlets are already reporting on the impact of Trump’s sabotage: “Insurers and State Officials Say Trump is Undermining Obamacare, Pushing UP Rates” (May 18, 2017). Read more to find out what they are saying!!
  • Trump’s Administration is purposely trying to lower enrollment in the ACA by cancelling public education outreach and advertising that help people looking for insurance understand where they can go to get affordable coverage under the law.

TRUMP-RYAN Budget Resolution Cuts Trillions from Medicaid and Medicare to Give Trillions in Tax Cuts to the Rich and Corporations

Republicans are going to give up on dismantling Medicaid and Medicare either. While Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell and the Republicans were busy trying to move their deeply unpopular legislation to repeal the ACA and make dramatic changes to Medicaid, House Speaker Paul Ryan has been working on a FY2018 budget resolution that would end Medicaid and Medicare as we know them.

The House budget would cut funding for Medicare by $487 billion over 10 years and cut Medicaid and other health care programs by $1.5 trillion over the same period—in order to give massive tax breaks to the richest households and corporations.

  • The budget resolution calls for immediate adoption of the House passed bill (AHCA) that repeals the ACA, eliminates Medicaid expansion, and weakens coverage while increasing out of pocket costs especially for older people.
  • The budget ends Medicaid as we know it by replacing the traditional Medicaid program that for over 50 years has provided health care for seniors, children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and low income people with a per capita cap or block grant that cuts funding permanently and shifts the burden of coverage to states or to the patients themselves.
  • The budget fundamentally changes Medicare—a program Trump vowed not to touch—o that rather than providing guaranteed benefits for seniors, it offers “premium support” or vouchers to purchase more costly private insurance that may or may not cover all of seniors’ health care needs. Just like they Republican plan to end Medicaid as we know it, they are doing the same to Medicare by privatizing it with a voucher system.
  • Includes trillions in tax breaks for the rich and corporations funded by cuts to healthcare and the social safety net. Nearly all—99%–of these tax breaks will go to the top 1% richest households, which will get an annual tax break of $213,000 a year.

We stopped healthcare cuts to fund tax breaks in the repeal bills that were just defeated, but during the August Recess we must up keep up the pressure on Congress and deliver the same clear message:

Don’t Take Away Our Healthcare to Give Tax Breaks to Millionaires and Corporations!

In September, House Republicans will take up the Budget Resolution and hope to get a floor vote so they can then send the bill to the Senate and Trump’s desk. Once again, we must educate our communities about the devastating impact of these proposals and mobilize grassroots activists and impacted people to stop these attacks on our healthcare.

Talking Points: GOP Continue Efforts to Sabotage and Repeal ACA, End Medicaid and Medicare Even As Senate Bill to Repeal and Replace Dies This Week

The Trump-Republican Senate bill to repeal and replace the ACA with watered-down, more expensive coverage and severe cuts to Medicaid has failed, but GOP leaders still won’t stop trying to take away our healthcare to give tax breaks to the rich and corporations. Right now, the Republican assault on our healthcare continues on three fronts: repeal without replacement in the Senate, ACA sabotage and deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare in the House budget.

Next week, Senate Leader Mitch McConnell plans a new vote to fully repeal the ACA, this time without proposing replacement plans until two years after the law is repealed. The bill is a version of the 2015 “repeal and delay” reconciliation bill that President Obama vetoed.

What repeal without replace will do – according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office

  • Take away health coverage from 32 million Americans. The repeal bill will take health care away from 18 million people, almost all working families, next year alone; 27 million in two years; and 32 million by 2026.
  • Double health insurance premiums. The repeal bill will raise premiums 25% next year, then 50% in two years, doubling them by 2026.
  • Cut healthcare for millions while giving households with incomes over $1 million by over $50,000 per year in tax breaks.

How repeal without replace does this

  • Takes away the tax credits that help working families pay for health insurance.
  • Ends the Medicaid expansion that provides health coverage to 11 million Americans.
  • De-stabilizes the individual insurance market by ending the requirement that everyone have insurance and driving insurance companies out of the market.   By the early 2020s, about half of U.S. population would live in areas with no individual market insurers under this bill.

President Trump and GOP leaders won’t stop with just one more repeal vote. Even though voters and their own caucus have rejected their “repeal and replace” bill–one of the most unpopular bills in history—they continue to attack healthcare in new ways.

President Trump and Republicans in Congress are Already Sabotaging Obamacare

  • Trump has said repeatedly that we should let Obamacare collapse and affirmed again this week that he plans to “let Obamacare fail,” so that there’s a rationale to replace it in the future.
  • President Trump’s administration, including HHS Secretary Price, who is responsible for implementing the ACA have already started to sabotage the ACA by creating chaos and uncertainty, refusing to enforce key provisions and refusing to make critical cost sharing reduction payments that make coverage more affordable for 6 million people who buyinsurance on the exchange.
  • The LA Times and other outlets are already reporting on the impact of Trump’s sabotage: “Insurers and State Officials Say Trump is Undermining Obamacare, Pushing UP Rates” (May 18, 2017). Read more to find out what they are saying!!

As McConnell and the GOP moves forward with their repeal the ACA with no plan for replacement in the Senate , the House Republicans are working a FY2018 budget resolution. Like the House and Senate repeal bills, the GOP’s Budget Resolution Ends Medicaid (& Medicare) as we know it

  • House budget would cut funding for Medicare by $487 billion over 10 years and cut Medicaid and other health care programs by $1.5 trillion over the same period—the cuts to Medicaid are even bigger than those in the House passed repeal bill (AHCA).
  • The budget resolution calls for immediate adoption of the House passed bill (AHCA) that repeals the ACA and ends Medicaid as we know it by replacing the traditional Medicaid program that provides healthcare for 70 million seniors, children, people with disabilities, pregnant women and low income people with a per capita cap or block grant that cuts funding permanently and shift the burden of providing coverage to states or to the patients themselves.
  • The budget fundamentally changes Medicare—a program Trump vowed not to touch–so that rather than providing guaranteed benefits for seniors, it offers “premium support” or vouchers to purchase more costly private insurance that may or may not cover all of seniors’ healthcare needs. Just like the Republican plan to end Medicaid as we know it, privatization through vouchers would transform Medicare and hurt seniors who depend on it.

So far, grassroots energy and activism has stopped the GOP’s efforts to take our healthcare away. By confronting lawmakers at town halls, organizing events, educating our neighbors and taking action to protest health care proposals that would put our lives on the line, we’ve stopped the latest Senate bill from advancing.

But President Trump and the Republicans won’t stop because of one failure. In fact, they are already exploring other avenues to advance their agenda piecemeal and to cut healthcare for America’s families in order to fund huge tax breaks for the rich and corporations. We must continue to tell Republicans on all fronts: Don’t Take Away Our Healthcare!

Talking Points: Don’t Cut Health Care for Families to Give Tax Breaks to Millionaires and Corporations

 

Don’t Cut Health Care for Families to Give Tax Breaks to Millionaires and Corporations

The Senate plans to vote soon on a health care bill that they’ve been crafting behind closed doors. While they’ve been trying to keep it a secret, the word is out – the Senate bill is the same as the awful House bill the public has already rejected. The Senate is just putting lipstick on a pig.

Core Message

The Republican health care bill takes health care away from 23 million Americans, slashes Medicaid, sends premiums through the roof, and puts people with pre-existing conditions back at the mercy of the private insurance companies. It promotes barebones coverage, even weakening protections for people who get health insurance, and defunds Planned Parenthood. All to give more than $600 billion in tax breaks, mostly to the very wealthy and drug and insurance companies.

Key Points

  • The Republican bill takes coverage away from 23 million Americans by drastically cutting tax credits to buy coverage and by making huge cuts in state funding for Medicaid.
  • The Republican bill will slash Medicaid by $834 billion in two ways– taking away Medicaid expansion coverage from millions of people and radically restructuring the federal funding for the basic Medicaid program to starve it over the years, forcing eligibility and benefit cuts. Their gutting of Medicaid threatens the health care of 74 million Americans – from children to seniors – who rely on Medicaid every day and blows huge holes in state budgets.
  • The Republican bill jacks up premiums the most for people over 50 and families with moderate incomes.
  • The Republican bill is an attack on women’s health care, from family planning and preventive services to the half of pregnant women who rely on Medicaid to pay for their children’s births to the millions of older women who rely on Medicaid to pay for their long-term care.
  • Trump and Republicans in Congress are actively sabotaging Obamacare now, to justify their repeal wrecking ball. They are decreasing the number of people who have coverage and refusing to make promised payments to lower out-of-pocket costs, all of which is leading to insurance companies raising premiums even higher and fewer insurance companies offering coverage.
  • The problem the ACA faces is Republican sabotage and repeal – not the markets. A record number of people gained coverage under the ACA, and the biggest insurance companies made robust profits – some tripling their profits from 2011 to 2015.
  • If Trump and Republicans in Congress really wanted to protect our health care, they would stop sabotaging Obamacare and immediately support provisions in the ACA that make private insurance more affordable and offer Medicaid or Medicare alongside private insurance, so everybody has a choice of insurance plans.

Talking Points: On the CBO Scorecard for the Republican Plan to Gut the ACA and Slash Medicaid

 

Trump and the GOP will take health coverage from 23 million Americans

Talking Points on the CBO Scorecard for the Republican Plan to Gut the ACA and Slash Medicaid

One Sentence

According to the official, non-partisan scorekeeper, the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) will take health coverage away from 23 million Americans, slash Medicaid by $834 billion and ruin protections for people with pre-existing conditions to give $600 billion in tax breaks, mostly to the wealthy and drug and insurance corporations.

Key Points

According to the CBO, the official, non-partisan scorekeeper:

  • The Republican bill takes coverage away from 23 million Americans by drastically cutting tax credits to buy coverage and by making enormous cuts in state funding for Medicaid.
  • The Republican health care bill slashes Medicaid by $834 billion in two ways – taking away Medicaid expansion coverage from millions of people, and radically restructuring the federal funding for the basic Medicaid program to starve it over the years, forcing eligibility and benefit cuts. Their gutting of Medicaid threatens the health care of 74 million Americans – from children to seniors – who rely on Medicaid every day and blows huge holes in state budgets.
  • The Republican bill is a disaster for people with pre-existing conditions. In states that eliminate protections for people with pre-existing conditions,  “less healthy people would face extremely high premiums” and “it would become more difficult for less healthy people (including people with preexisting medical conditions) in those states to purchase insurance because their premiums would continue to increase rapidly.” Even worse, the CBO says people may not be able to buy any health plans that cover essential health benefits.
  • The Republican bill cuts benefits and hikes out-of-pocket costs. In states that choose to eliminate essential health benefits (as allowed under the AHCA),  people  “would experience substantial increases in out-of- pocket spending on health care or would choose to forgo the services … In particular, out-of-pocket spending on maternity care and mental health and substance abuse services could increase by thousands of dollars in a given year.
  • The Republican bill hikes premiums as you get older. In states that keep the Affordable Care Act’s current consumer protections, the bill’s huge cuts in tax credits to pay for coverage will result in big hikes in premiums for people over 50 and for working families with moderate incomes. A 64 year old will pay $16,100 a year, nine times the $1,750 it costs now!! In every state, premiums will be higher the older you get.
  • The Republican bill gives $664 billion in tax breaks, mostly to the wealthy and drug and insurance corporations. It even has a special tax break for insurance company CEOs.
  • The Republican bill pushes people into high-deductible insurance plans and ends the ACA program that limits out-of-pocket costs to many working families.
  • The Republican plan defunds Planned Parenthood in 2018.