Questions asked of U.S. Senators:
With what in the above paragraph do you disagree as you contemplate voting “yes” or “no” for this secret health care bill?
Thank you letters were sent to Elected Official Responders below:
Third Sendings were sent to Elected Official Non-Responders below:
The MceZ Core Principle for August is INTEGRITY!
August 15, 2017
Subject: Thirteen White Male Republican Senators and the Secret Health Care Bill they are afraid to share with the American people.
Thank you for your informative response of August 14, 2017, to my letter of June 17, 2017. As you have indicated in your letter, this is too important to be a partisan bill. A well written healthcare bill requires a minimum of one year of public hearings and debate including discussion of a single-payer national healthcare system, Committee review and multi-partisan input. Thank you, again, for your response and I look forward to contacting you in the future.
Policy and Disclaimer Statement
Original and Third sending Letter
The MceZ Core Principle for June is FREEDOM!
June 17, 2017
Subject: Thirteen White Male Republican Senators and the Secret Health Care Bill they are afraid to share with the American people.
Dear Senator Baldwin:
Thank you for your service.
The headlines are screaming about the secret GOP Health Care Bill that 13 White Male Republican Senators have written in private because Republican Senators are afraid of backlash from a diverse population who will have to live with or barely survive the consequences. The attitude appears to be “We the People” being viewed as “You the Enemy” rather than as taxpaying citizens concerned for their and their family's well-being, for whom these senators work and from whom they receive their salaries. The Senators working on the Senate health care bill are: McConnell (Kentucky), Hatch (Utah), Alexander (Tennessee), Enzi (Wyoming), Thune (South Dakota), Cruz (Texas), Lee (Utah), Cotton (Arizona), Gardner (Colorado), Barrasso (Wyoming), Cornyn (Texas) and Portman (Ohio). .
This behavior could be considered as arrogant, cowardly, undemocratic and unethical.
My question to you as a Democratic Senator is:
With what in the above paragraph do you disagree as you contemplate voting “yes” or “no” for this secret health care bill?
I look forward to hearing from you soon. I will contact you again if I have not received a response. Thank you.
Policy and Disclaimer Statement
Tammy Baldwin (D)
August 14, 2017 Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me about congressional efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA) (P.L.111-148). It is good to hear from you.
It has been over seven years since the ACA was passed into law, and while there is more we need to do to improve health care, we have seen progress in strengthening the health security of families and businesses. Insurance companies can no longer issue caps on coverage, kick people off their coverage just for getting sick, or discriminate against any American based on pre-existing medical conditions, health status, or gender, and young adults can now stay on their parents' insurance plans up to age 26. Under the law, millions of Americans have signed up for health coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace. And, the ACA has helped to significantly reduce the uninsured rate – from 16 percent in 2010 to a historic low of 8.6 percent in 2016.
In May, the House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (H.R.1628), which would have repealed critical components of the ACA and puts millions of people at risk of losing health care coverage or paying more for less care. H.R.1628 was then sent to the Senate for consideration. The Senate drafted its version of the bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, behind closed doors, despite repeated calls for Senate leadership to work in a bipartisan, open and public process. I strongly opposed this legislation.
In July, the Senate defeated the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which would have put insurance companies back in charge by allowing them to raise premiums and deductibles, cut coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, and targeted older Americans by allowing insurers to charge them more. It also would have cut and capped Medicaid, putting support for special education, people with disabilities, and those struggling with opioid and other substance use disorders at risk. I did not support this partisan effort to undermine our health care system and repeal current insurance protections.
Moving forward, we must work together to lower health care costs and I believe we should start by addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs. I have authored the bipartisan FAIR Drug Pricing Act (S.1131) with my colleague Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to address the rising cost of prescription drugs by holding pharmaceutical companies accountable for price increases. I will continue to work to move this legislation through the Senate. In addition, it was recently announced that the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee will hold hearings beginning the week of September 4th on the actions Congress should take to stabilize and strengthen the individual health insurance market. As a member of this committee, I look forward to working across party lines and playing an active role in this effort to improve our health care system.
Finally, one of the primary factors causing uncertainty in the health insurance markets is the Trump Administration’s threats to withhold critical cost-sharing payments that help lower costs for more than 110,000 Wisconsinites. Health care providers need certainty, yet President Trump has issued threats to create chaos and disrupt our health care system. In fact, he tweeted “let ObamaCare implode, then deal” on July 27, 2017. Playing partisan political games with health care is simply wrong. Instead, we should be providing certainty to the health insurance markets. That’s why I have cosponsored legislation to stabilize the health insurance Marketplace and provide certainty with cost-sharing payments that lower health insurance costs for people.
As I have said throughout this debate, we must work together to make things better by stabilizing the insurance market and making health care more affordable. I strongly believe that if both parties look past the partisan debate in Washington, we can find common ground on solutions that work. The people of Wisconsin did not send me to Washington to take people’s health care away, and I will not support repealing the guaranteed health insurance protections and care that people have today.
Please know that I will continue to fight against short-sighted attempts to undermine the ACA and that I am committed to working to improve the law to ensure that Wisconsin families and businesses receive the quality, affordable coverage they deserve.
Once again, thank you for contacting my office. It is important for me to hear from the people of Wisconsin on the issues, thoughts and concerns that matter most to you. If I can be of further assistance, please visit my website at www.baldwin.senate.gov for information on how to contact my office.
United States Senator
Cory Booker (D)
Office of Senator Cory Booker <firstname.lastname@example.org>
July 21, 2017
Thank you for taking the time to write to me about the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I appreciate you sharing your thoughts as we continue to implement the ACA and debate further improvements to our health care system.
After nearly seven years of attempting to repeal, undermine, and obstruct the ACA, House Speaker Paul Ryan and his caucus released a health care plan to repeal and replace the ACA, called the American Health Care Act (AHCA). On May 4, 2017, without any committee hearings, input from patient advocates or health care experts, or a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) score, the House passed the AHCA by a 217-213 vote. On May 24, 2017, nearly three weeks after the bill passed the House, the non-partisan CBO confirmed that instead of insuring everyone, as President Trump repeatedly promised, the AHCA would lead to 23 million additional people being uninsured by 2026. The AHCA would also give wealthy individuals and corporations large tax breaks, while cutting more than $800 billion from Medicaid and causing health care costs for older adults to skyrocket. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the Senate to actually improve health care and lower costs, but denying millions of Americans quality health coverage cannot be the foundation on which the United States builds its health care system. Congress should not roll back the significant progress made by the ACA, but we should instead work together to improve and strengthen the law.
Before the ACA, an estimated 900,000 New Jerseyans were uninsured, and many could not afford even basic preventive care, let alone the costs associated with a major illness or accident. Many New Jerseyans were denied insurance coverage simply because they had a pre-existing condition. These and other issues in our health care system had to be addressed, and following nearly two years of debate, hearings, and legislative activity, President Obama signed the ACA into law on March 23, 2010.
Through the coverage provisions of the ACA, nearly 400,000 New Jerseyans have gained health insurance coverage. The ACA created health insurance marketplaces, where people can shop, compare, and enroll in quality health insurance plans, and many people can also receive financial assistance to make coverage even more affordable. The ACA also allowed states to expand their Medicaid programs, and I am pleased that New Jersey decided to expand its program, which has led to nearly 100,000 New Jerseyans gaining health coverage. The law also allows young adults under the age of 26 to stay on their parents' health plan, which has benefitted nearly 60,000 young adults in New Jersey.
In addition to expanding coverage, the ACA includes important patient protections and other provisions that improve the quality of health insurance. For example, because of the law, insurance companies can no longer refuse to sell coverage to individuals with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies can also no longer impose annual or lifetime limits on care. Prior to the ACA, over three million New Jerseyans had lifetime limits on their health care plans.
Health insurance plans must also cover essential health benefits, such as prenatal care, pediatric care, mental health services, preventive services, and prescription drugs. In New Jersey, more than four million people have benefitted from at least one free preventive health care service, such as flu vaccines and cancer screenings. Additionally, insurers can no longer discriminate against enrollees, particularly women and people with pre-existing conditions, by charging higher prices and limiting the health care services provided.
The ACA has benefitted Medicare beneficiaries as well. The law is working to close the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap, known as the "donut hole," by 2020. Because of this provision, Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey saved $1,241, on average, in 2015 alone. Nearly 950,000 Medicare beneficiaries in New Jersey received at least one preventive service with no out of pocket cost. The law has also extended the solvency of the Medicare program.
The ACA is an important first step in expanding health coverage, and I oppose efforts to repeal this law, which has benefitted millions of Americans. However, there is still work to do to ensure that every American receives the health care they need and deserve. I am carefully listening to the concerns of New Jerseyans as we monitor the law's implementation, and I am hopeful that members of Congress on both sides of the aisle can work together to further strengthen the ACA.
To learn more about what the ACA means for New Jersey and you, please call my Newark office at
(973)-639-8700, and a member of my staff will help you.
Again, thank you for writing to me. I am honored to represent you in the United States Senate, and I value what I hear from New Jerseyans about the issues our state and nation face. Please continue to keep in touch with your thoughts and concerns. For more information on my work in New Jersey and in Washington, please visit my website at booker.senate.gov.
Cory A. Booker
United States Senator
Maria Cantwell (D)
Jul 26, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck,
Thank you for contacting me about the Affordable Care Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this urgent issue.
I strongly oppose repealing the Affordable Care Act. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would steal away health care from more than 20 million Americans and put it into the hands of special interests. Repealing the Affordable Care Act would also balloon the deficit and drive up health care costs for working families and taxpayers.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, more than 750,000 Washingtonians are newly insured; 50,000 young adults can stay on their parents’ plans; Washington’s uninsured rate has been slashed by 60 percent; and uncompensated care costs in hospitals have been cut in half. Nationally, the uninsured rate for adults and children is at its lowest level in history. Before the Affordable Care Act, people who bought health insurance directly from insurance companies could be denied a policy or charged more if they had a pre-existing condition such as cancer, diabetes, or depression. Now, those individuals are guaranteed a set of essential benefits, face no lifetime coverage caps, and can get preventive care like flu shots and contraception without cost-sharing.
We need to make the health care delivery system work better for the American people, deliver better outcomes, and lower costs. The Affordable Care Act’s reforms, some of which I authored, have begun to do just that. Through innovations like medical homes, “rebalancing” programs, and accountable care organizations, the Affordable Care Act is encouraging doctors and hospitals to help patients stay healthy and manage chronic illness, designing the health care system around the patient – not the other way around. Since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, national health care cost growth has slowed, and Medicare and the American taxpayer have saved billions of dollars as a result. In fact, repealing the Affordable Care Act would increase the deficit by $350 billion over the next decade, according to multiple independent studies.
Despite our progress, health care remains out of reach and unaffordable for too many, particularly for the seven percent of Americans who buy health insurance on the individual market. I am willing to work with anyone on adjustments and changes to make the individual health insurance market work better for consumers. That is why I authored the Basic Health Plan in the Affordable Care Act, which is providing affordable and efficient health insurance to more than 700,000 working people in New York and Minnesota, the two states that have so far implemented this innovative program.
It is very important to me that we do not repeal the Affordable Care Act, especially without any idea with how to replace it. As your Senator, I will continue working towards the dual goals of getting more Americans access to affordable care and driving down costs.
Thank you again for contacting me to share your thoughts on this matter. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future if I can be of further assistance.
Sincerely, Maria Cantwell
United States Senator
Joe Manchin III (D)
August 15, 2017 Dear Mrs. Beck,Thank you for contacting me and expressing your support for a single payer health care system. Hearing from West Virginians is very important to me, and I appreciate you taking the time to share your perspective with me.
Throughout my time in the United States Senate, I have worked in a bipartisan manner to develop common sense solutions to the problems facing our country, including the current problems with our health care system. I agree that our health system needs significant changes to lower costs, increase quality, and ensure everyone has access to the coverage that they need.
I am also, however, concerned about the federal debt that we will be leaving to our children and grandchildren, and I am concerned about the potential high costs associated with a single payer or Medicare for all system.
Many other countries that have single payer systems or other universal healthcare models also have significantly higher tax rates. Before making significant changes to 1/6 of our economy, it is critical that we carefully consider the impact those changes would have on families already struggling to make ends meet.
As I stated at town halls across West Virginia earlier this year, I believe that all options, including single payer, should be a part of the discussion until we have a health care system that guarantees every American access to affordable care. You have my commitment that I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to improve our health care system, and that I will keep your support for a single payer system in mind as I continue to carefully review different health care models.
If you have any additional questions or you would like to discuss your concerns over the phone, please feel free to contact TJ Lucas on my staff at 202-224-3954.
Again, thank you for taking the time to add your voice to this important discussion. If I may be of further assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact my office.
With warmest regards,
Joe Manchin III
United States Senator
Jeff Merkley (D)
August 10, 2017 Dear Eunice,
As I traveled around the state this week hosting town halls in Lane, Benton, Linn, Lincoln, Polk, and Yamhill counties, I spoke with Oregon community leaders, students and residents to discuss the next steps in working to improve our health care system. There was huge support for a simpler, more seamless health care system in which everyone has access to affordable, quality health care simply by virtue of being an American.
Unfortunately, despite the major victory in defeating the Trump plan to rip care away from millions, the administration is actively trying to throw health insurance markets into chaos. They're threatening not to pay federal insurance payments that make insurance policies affordable for low-income Americans, and have worked to undermine enrollment. As a result of the uncertainty that the Trump administration is causing, insurer after insurer is pulling out of the Affordable Care Act marketplace -- limiting options and driving up costs for more and more Americans. Just this week, Blue Cross pulled out of the Georgia marketplace as a direct result of the Trump administration's actions.
For the sake of millions of American lives that are on the line in this fight, we absolutely cannot let Trump’s cynical strategy move forward. Instead, we must work to move our health care system forward and focus on pursuing solutions Americans actually want us to tackle -- like lowering the sky-high costs of prescription drugs. Folks in the counties I visited recently want to see a bipartisan approach to improve health care, and I’ll work to get it done with anyone who’s going to put problem solving ahead of politics.
Hearing your stories and perspectives on health care is excellent help in preparing for the fight ahead. That is why I discussed health care at length at my town halls this week and that is why I encourage you to share your story about how affordable, accessible coverage has affected you and your loved ones. It was your voices and your stories that helped us defeat attacks on health care the first time around. Let’s do it again to fend off any future attacks on our health care. We cannot let our guard down now.
All my best, Jeff
Heidi Heitkamp (D)
August 7, 2017 Dear Eunice:
Thank you for contacting me regarding health care. It was good to hear from you.
On July 28, I voted against the health care repeal bill put forth by Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) that would have ripped health care away for 16 million Americans including 34,000 North Dakotans and destabilized the individual insurance market. I have heard from many North Dakotans throughout the past few months expressing concern and fear for themselves and their families if the health care reform law was to be repealed. Ultimately, I could not support a bill that was crafted behind closed doors and would have hurt too many North Dakota families and communities. The bill did not pass in the U.S. Senate. Going forward, I plan on working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to create and pass real, transparent, bipartisan reforms to improve health care for families.
Over the past three and a half years, I have proposed and supported many reasonable reforms to improve the health care law. More specifically, on July 11, I introduced the Addressing Affordability for More Americans Act (S. 1529) to make health insurance premiums more affordable for middle-class families. Currently, North Dakotans earning even a small amount over 400 percent of federal poverty level (FPL) – $47,550 for an individual and $97,200 for a family of four – are not eligible for any support to help make health coverage more affordable. Instead, my bill would provide individuals and families earning up to 800 percent of the FPL with assistance, which would be gradually phased out between 400 and 800 percent of the FPL, to help with the cost of health insurance premiums. My bill would help more young, healthy families obtain health insurance and diversify the health insurance pools while making sure seniors with higher medical costs do not have to go without care.
I also support several proposals to immediately help stabilize the health insurance marketplace and lower health care insurance costs. I am a proud cosponsor of Senator Carper's (D-DE) Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act (S. 1354) to make reinsurance programs permanent and Senator Shaheen's (D-NH) Marketplace Certainty Act (S. 1462) to make cost-sharing reduction payments permanent and help more families afford coverage. Please know I will keep your thoughts in mind as I continue to work in a bipartisan fashion to improve health care for North Dakotans.
Again, thank you for contacting me. Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any additional questions or concerns in the future.
Sincerely, Heidi Heitkamp
United States Senate
Bob Menedez (D)
July 19, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA). Your opinion is very important to me, and I appreciate the opportunity to respond to you.
As you know, the text of the Better Care Reconciliation Act was most recently updated by Senate Republicans on July 13, 2017. This bill would eliminate many of the rights and protections that became law as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA; P.L. 111-148). If enacted, this bill would roll back the expansion of Medicaid, which would cost over half a million New Jerseyans their health coverage, as well as end Medicaid as we know it by making nearly $800 billion in cuts to the program over the next decade, which would devastate people with low incomes, seniors in nursing homes, and people with disabilities. The CBO estimates that 15 million Americans could lose their health insurance next year, including 4 million Americans that receive health care through their employer, and health insurance premiums would increase by 20 percent more than under current law in 2018. Furthermore, by 2026, the CBO estimates that 22 million Americans could lose their health insurance. Middle-aged Americans not yet eligible for Medicare could face an age tax that would result in skyrocketing premiums. This bill would “defund” Planned Parenthood, which provides critical healthcare services to nearly 75,000 women and men at 26 sites throughout New Jersey every year. By gutting the ACA’s provisions regarding essential health benefits, this bill would remove the guarantee that health coverage cover such necessities as doctor’s visits, emergency room care, hospitalization, mental health treatment, and maternity care. People with pre-existing conditions would return to the dark days when they got charged more just for receiving the care that they need. In fact, the latest version of this bill includes a provision that would allow junk insurance back into the market, meaning that people with health care needs would have to choose between plans that cover next to nothing and deductibles they can’t pay off, or plans that actually cover their needs but have premiums they likely can’t afford. This bill hurts men, women, and children, young and old, people with disabilities and those without. Americans would wind up paying more for their health care and receiving less. Such an outcome would be unacceptable.
Throughout my time in Congress, as a member of both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate, I have fought to help more New Jerseyans afford the health care they need and deserve. I was proud to vote in support of the ACA because I truly believe that our state’s families, small businesses, and seniors have been better off because of these reforms. Please rest assured, I will oppose the BCRA or similar legislation if it comes before the Senate, and I will continue to oppose Republican efforts to repeal, “defund” or otherwise sabotage the ACA, just as I always have.
I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me if I can be of further assistance. I invite you to visit my website (http://menendez.senate.gov) to learnmore about ho I am standing up for New Jersey families in the United States Senate.
Cortez Masto (D)
Senator Catherine Cortez Masto <Senator@cortezmasto.senate.gov> Nov 14, 2017
Dear Mrs. Beck:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your opposition to the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill. I appreciate hearing from you.
As you may know, the Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010 to reform our nation's health care system, protect Americans from being denied health coverage due to a pre-existing condition or subjecting them to lifetime caps and to expand access to quality, affordable insurance. While the law is not perfect, millions now have access to healthcare coverage because of its enactment. Prior to the passage of the law, Nevada's uninsured rate was almost the worst in the nation with 23 percent of our residents without health insurance. Since the law's enactment, the uninsured rate in Nevada has fallen by almost half, with hundreds of thousands of Nevadans gaining coverage. Governor Sandoval expanded Medicaid with bipartisan support, which gave desperately needed health coverage to thousands of low-income Nevadans who would otherwise not be able to afford it.
The Graham-Cassidy bill would have had devastating impacts for Nevadans by eliminating Medicaid expansion and ending Medicaid as we know it, putting at risk the health care of the over 600,000 Nevadans currently receiving coverage through Medicaid. Furthermore, this bill would dangerously weaken or end altogether protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions and allow insurance companies to reimpose lifetime caps on your care. If Graham-Cassidy passed, mental health and addiction treatment services that help combat our nation’s opioid epidemic would be gutted and hospitals in our rural communities would lose crucial federal funding. In total, Nevadans would be stripped of as much as $2 billion in federal healthcare funding by 2027.
We cannot go back to the days where millions of Americans could be denied healthcare coverage because of a preexisting condition, when our mothers and daughters could be charged more simply because they’re women, or when lifetime limits cut people off from vital healthcare coverage right when they need it the most. This is why I could not support this latest Congressional effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Like you, however, I recognize that the American healthcare system has flaws, and am committed to working with my Senate colleagues to help bring meaningful changes to the law that will improve our health care system. For example, I signed onto legislation that would repeal the Cadillac tax portion of the Affordable Care Act. I believe this tax creates an unnecessary burden on both employers and workers, resulting in higher taxes for many hard working Americans. I also support the recently introduced bipartisan Murray-Alexander legislation that would stabilize our insurance markets, increase flexibility for states and bring down premiums and deductibles. I believe that by addressing specific aspects of the legislation that need to be fixed, rather than repealing the entire law, we can continue to expand access to quality, affordable health insurance for all Americans.
Thank you again for sharing your concerns about Graham-Cassidy. As your United States Senator, I am committed to listening to your suggestions and challenges, to ensure that policymakers are addressing the specific pitfalls of the legislation. If there is ever anything that I can do to assist you, please do not hesitate to let me know.
Catherine Cortez Masto United States Senator
333 Las Vegas Boulevard South Suite 8016
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Fax: (702) 388-5030
400 South Virginia Street Suite 902
Reno, NV 89501
Fax: (775) 686-5757
June 21, 2017
2950 Summerall Cir Apt B Newport News, VA 23604-1360 Dear Mr. Wilson:
Thank you for contacting me about health care reform. Improving our health care system is an important issue for Virginia and the nation, and I appreciate hearing from you.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) was an important step towards putting patients in charge of their own health care decisions and slowing the growth of health care costs. Because of the ACA, millions of young people can remain on their family's health insurance until they are 26 years old; insurance companies are prohibited from denying care to those with pre-existing conditions or imposing annual or lifetime limits on essential health benefits; and forty-seven million American women now have access to preventive health services. I oppose repealing the ACA and these important benefits, and I am encouraged by the progress we have made since passage of the law. However, I know there is more to do to improve the health care system in our country and agree that there are serious challenges that must be addressed. I have supported commonsense changes and improvements to the ACA to ensure affordability and access for more Americans, and I stand ready and willing to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to improve the existing law.
On March 20th, 2017, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives to repeal and modify many aspects of the ACA. Supported by President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan, TrumpCare would increase the number of individuals without health insurance by over 20 million by 2026, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Among the changes the bill proposed were a dramatic reduction in subsidies for individuals and families to purchase health insurance; the suspension of certain federal funds to states for payments to family planning providers, such as Planned Parenthood; the modification of the funding mechanism for Medicaid, making funding for the program linked to enrollment (i.e. per capita caps); the elimination of the enhanced federal matching rate for newly eligible Medicaid enrollees under the ACA; and the imposition of a new requirement that health insurers increase premiums by 30 percent for one year for enrollees who failed to maintain continuous coverage over the previous year. This legislation was considered by the House on March 24th, 2017 and set aside.
House Republicans resumed efforts to repeal the ACA and introduced a modified version of TrumpCare, which retains many elements of the initial bill. It would repeal mandates for individuals and employers; consider age in determinations of subsidy amounts; impose per-capita caps on Medicaid enrollees; and allow insurers to charge older customers up to five times as much as younger customers while also allowing states to set their own ratio. The bill would also repeal funding for the Prevention and Public Health Fund.
Provisions that would allow insurance companies to raise prices for those with pre-existing conditions and to avoid guaranteeing coverage of certain treatments would undermine the protections guaranteed
in the ACA. The revised version of TrumpCare passed the House of Representatives on May 4th, 2017 by a vote of 217 to 213.
I understand the concerns many Virginians have expressed regarding the future of the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, and the availability of affordable health options under the Trump
Administration. Medicare and Medicaid play a critical role in supporting millions of Americans, many of whom are low income, pregnant, elderly, disabled, or working to overcome mental health and substance abuse challenges. The Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) is an important health safety net for low-income, uninsured children in families that do not qualify for Medicaid. I do not support proposals to weaken these vital safety-net programs through use of block grants or per capita caps. I remain firmly committed to doing everything possible to ensure affordable health care for all Americans.
As a member of the Senate HELP Committee, I am ready to fight to ensure that we do not move our health care system backwards. I will oppose any bill that reduces the number of Americans with health care coverage, increases their costs, or hurts people with pre-existing conditions. There are many good ideas for improving our health care system, and through common ground and compromise, we can find credible solutions.
Thank you again for contacting me. Sincerely,
Dear Mr. *****,
Thank you for contacting me about reforms to our nation's health care system and the future of the Affordable Care Act. I appreciate hearing from you on such an important issue and I hope you will continue to share your opinions with me. The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but the idea that we would go back to our previous system is unacceptable. Five years after its passage in 2010, it is clear that we have made significant progress in improving our nation’s healthcare system. First, the ACA has expanded access to coverage, and 20 million Americans have gained insurance since the law’s passage. As of March 2015, more than 10 million Americans, including 335,000 Virginians, are covered by plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace, and 85% of those individuals received tax credits to lower the cost of their premiums. The law also provided states with funding to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs, but many states, including Virginia, have unfortunately chosen not to take advantage of these additional funds. The ACA also introduced important consumer protections. Insurers can no longer deny coverage to those with preexisting conditions or drop your coverage because you get sick. Insurance companies can no longer impose annual or lifetime limits on essential medical expenses, or charge women more than men for the same services. Young adults under 26 now have the option to stay on their parents’ plans. And all plans are now required to cover ten Essential Health Benefits, including preventive care at no out-of-pocket cost to you. The ACA strengthened the Medicare program in many ways. Beneficiaries now have coverage for preventive services, and Part D beneficiaries have saved an average of $914 each in drug costs, as the ACA continues to close the so-called ‘donut hole’. Significantly, by cutting down on waste, fraud and abuse, the law also extended the life of the Medicare Part A Trust Fund to 2028. The ACA has also played a role in slowing the growth of our nation’s healthcare spending by encouraging new systems to reduce health care costs by testing models that reward providers based on quality and not the amount of care provided, and it is deeply integrated into all parts of our healthcare system. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that repealing the ACA would increase costs and add to federal budget deficits by $353 billion over 10 years. The ACA was only a first step in tackling some of the ills with our nation’s healthcare system. I have always said that Congress would need to make fixes to the law, and I was one of the first to engage in a bipartisan way on some of these proposals. For example, I still believe that Congress can strengthen the law by making changes to ensure that it works better for Virginia families and employers, which is why I have proposed measures to expand consumer choice and lower costs. I am hopeful that in the years to come, Congress can work in a thoughtful way to protect patient access to care and continue to make strides in improving our healthcare system. However, I will continue to oppose proposals that would take our country’s health system backward. For example, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House of Representatives on May 4, 2017 by a vote of 217 to 213, would deeply harm Virginia patients. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that nationwide the House-passed AHCA would increase the number of uninsured
Americans by 23 million, raise premiums and out-of-pocket costs for many consumers, and cut $834 billion from the Medicaid program, shifting costs onto states. I am open to a wide debate on a variety different ideas on how to fix the underlying law, but any legislation like this bill that would do significant damage to our healthcare system is not an appropriate starting point. At this point in time, we do still need to address fundamental issues as our population continues to age. This means moving towards a system that pays for quality of care, not volume, and examining tough issues like how we care for patients with chronic conditions and how we pay for long-term care. I also continue to be concerned about the rising costs of prescription drugs and increasing deductibles. In the coming years, I am hopeful that we can move beyond the rancorous debates surrounding the Affordable Care Act and work in a bipartisan way to address some of these emerging issues. However, it is clear that the Affordable Care Act has ultimately taken us forwards, not backwards. Millions of Americans depend upon the reforms enacted by the law, and in the coming months and years I will remain committed to making sure that we have a health care system that is affordable, fair, and protects all Americans. I recognize that health care coverage is an issue that is very personal. Please continue to be in touch with your opinions and concerns. For further information or to sign up for my newsletter please visit my website at
MARK R. WARNER
United States Senator