#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would End $49 Million Local Investment in Minnesota Community Health Centers

Congressman  Erik Paulsen’s plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would end new significant local investments in community health centers, including $49 million  in Minnesota instead sending us back to an old, broken system that gave insurance companies free rein and left millions of Americans to get their only care in emergency rooms, driving up costs for everyone.

In addition to the jobs-creating investments in Minnesota’s local health care providers, Community Health Centers have served 181,000  Minnesotans in 2012. By investing in local health facilities, the Affordable Care Act has helped to created more than 35,000 jobs in the past four years but Congressman Paulsen would end this $49 million investment in local health centers in Minnesota, and instead take us back to a system where millions of Americans relied on emergency rooms for primary care and drove up costs across the board.

“The mounting price tag for Congressman  Paulsen’s reckless obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act is devastating, especially since he would end $49 million  in job-creating investments in Minnesota’s economy,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Not only that, these Community Health Centers helped keep 181,000 patients in Minnesota out of emergency rooms for their primary care, and reduced costs across the board. But Congressman  Paulsen’s repeal plan would take us back to that old, broken system that drove hardworking Americans into bankruptcy and gave insurance companies free rein over our care.”

BACKGROUND:

HHS: Community Health Centers Expanded to Create 35,000 New Jobs and Add 4 Million New Patients Since 2009. “Today, approximately 1,200 health centers operate more than 9,000 service delivery sites that provide care to over 21 million patients in every State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Pacific Basin.  Since the beginning of 2009, health centers have added 4 million patients and more than 35,000 new full-time positions.” [HHS.gov, 11/07/13]

Read More

#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would Deny Mental Health Coverage For 990,000 Minnesotans

Congressman Erik Paulsen’s obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act could mean that 60 million Americans would lose coverage and face discrimination for mental health illness, including 990,000 people in Minnesota. In fact, Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan would throw Americans back into the old broken system, where insurance companies were free to refuse coverage for mental health services and discriminate against patients suffering from mental illness.

Congressman Paulsen and House Republicans’ plan to repeal the ACA would end this expanded coverage for the one in five adults who experience mental illness every year, and give insurance companies free rein to deny them any health coverage at all.

The Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to cover mental health and substance abuse disorder services as an essential medical service, meaning 60 million Americans would be denied the largest expansion of mental health coverage in a generation. The law also prohibits insurers from denying coverage to patients or charging them more because of a preexisting mental health condition.

“This is a pocketbook issue for American families – with one in five adults facing some form of mental illness, Congressman Paulsen would let insurance companies discriminate against them and deny essential care to 990,000 Minnesotans with his reckless repeal plan,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Paulsen’s obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act would take us back to a broken system, putting insurance companies back in charge and giving them free rein to discriminate against Americans with mental health issues. Americans suffering from mental illness face enough hurdles to getting the services they need, and they cannot afford Congressman Paulsen’s obsessive repeal that would put their families at risk instead of fixing our broken system.”

BACKGROUND

The Affordable Care Act Prevents Insurance Companies from Denying Coverage to those with Mental Health Issues. “Under the law, insurers must now pay for many things that used to be optional, like prescription drugs, having a baby, and mental health care, among other services. […] Obama’s signature health care legislation addresses this problem in explicit terms. Under the law, which takes effect Jan. 1, mental health and substance abuse services are classified among the 10 ‘Essential Health Benefits.’ Health insurance marketplaces cannot apply yearly or lifetime dollar limits on coverage of these benefits. The marketplaces also cannot deny anyone coverage or charge more for pre-existing conditions. […] Under the ACA, health plans are required to cover preventative services, including behavioral assessments for children, at no additional cost. Coverage will also include behavioral health treatment, such as psychotherapy, and substance abuse treatment – both for inpatient and outpatient care.” [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/22/13

Read More

#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would Take Away Coverage and Increase Costs

Congressman Erik Paulsen’s Republican health care repeal plan would pull the rug out from under too many Americans – including nearly 60 percent of people who don’t have insurance now but who will get it for $100 a month or less – thanks in part to the expansion of Medicaid. Paulsen would end another way the Affordable Care Act is lowering families’ costs.

Congressman Paulsen would go back to the day where these families rely on expensive emergency room care as their primary care – raising insurance costs for every American – by repealing Medicaid coverage to millions of families. Repealing the Medicaid expansion would cost state governments $10 billion over the next decade, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The expansion will reduce the number of uninsured in Minnesota by 42,000 – unless Congressman  Paulsen’s repeal plan goes into effect, ending those savings and forcing premiums higher for everyone

“Congressman Paulsen’s obsession with repealing health care reform would take away affordable coverage for 42,000 people in Minnesota – force other families to pick up the tab when these folks go back to the days of using the emergency room as their primary care doctor,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Congressman Paulsen wants to end the reforms that are bringing costs down for families all over the country and go back to the days where insurance companies could do whatever they wanted. Now almost 60 percent of uninsured Americans will get coverage for less than $100 a month, reducing the burden on emergency rooms, but Congressman Paulsen would end those savings, take away coverage, and allow insurance companies to hike rates, drive hardworking families into bankruptcy, and spend patients’ premiums on executive bonuses instead of care.”

BACKGROUND

HHS: 56 Percent of Uninsured Qualify for Health Insurance Costing $100 a Month or Less. “Under the Affordable Care Act, advanced premium tax credits will be available to help individuals and families afford insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace, and states will be able to expand Medicaid eligibility for low-income adults […] Nationwide, 23.2 million or 56% of the 41.3 million eligible uninsured may qualify for Medicaid, CHIP, or tax credits to purchase coverage for $100 or less.” [HHS.gov, September 2013]

Kaiser Family Foundation: Medicaid Expansion will Save States $10 Billion.“Combining Medicaid costs with a conservative estimate of $18 billion in state and local non-Medicaid savings on uncompensated care, the Medicaid expansion would save states a total of $10 billion over 2013-2022, compared to the ACA without the expansion.” [ Kaiser Family Foundation, November 2012]

Read More

#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would Raise Costs for American Families

The costs of Congressman Erik Paulsen’s plan to repeal health care reform includes millions of Americans seeing their health care costs spike year after year after year. According to a report from the White House Council of Economic Advisors, health care cost inflation is at its lowest point in half a century because of the Affordable Care Act but Congressman Paulsen would repeal it and take us back to the day where insurance companies could do whatever they want to raise costs.

Congressman Paulsen would undo protections that stop insurance companies from gouging families with unjustified rate increases and that prevent insurance companies from spending patients’ premiums on big bonuses for their executives instead of care for families. In fact, Americans have already saved more than $5 billion over the past two years because the Affordable Care Act requires insurance companies to rebate consumers if they spend less than 80 percent of premiums on their care. This year alone, 8.5 million Americans will receive an average of $100 because of the rebates – Congressman Paulsen wants to eliminate them.

Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan is even more tone deaf than ever, ending those savings and protections, and skyrocketing costs for families instead.

“Family budgets are squeezed tighter and tighter every day, but Congressman Paulsen would repeal the Affordable Care Act and send health care expenses through the roof once again,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Instead of working to improve the law and bring even more savings to the people of Minnesota, Congressman Paulsen has voted over and over to send us back to a broken to system of out-of-control health care inflation that gave insurance companies free rein to jack up rates at the expense of middle class families.”

Read More

#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would Deny Coverage for 2,318,738 Minnesotans With Preexisting Conditions

Because of Congressman Erik Paulsen’s obsession with repealing the Affordable Care Act, 129 million Americans – including 2,318,738 people in Minnesota – could be denied coverage simply because they have a preexisting condition, sending us back to the days when insurance companies were free to deny care to people with everything from cancer to diabetes to asthma.

Data from the Department of Health and Human Services reveals that since 2010, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions, including 298,134 in Minnesota, can no longer be denied care because of their health, and beginning this January, that protection will extend to all adults – unless Congressman Paulsen gets his way, sending us back to the old system where insurance companies were free to deny and drop coverage simply for having asthma as a child, or even getting strep throat.

“Living in a constant state of dread whether your insurance company might drop you because of a preexisting condition is simply wrong, but that’s exactly what Congressman Paulsen would do to 2,318,738 Minnesotans. For all those families, that means Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan would rob them of their peace of mind and security and instead could drive them into bankruptcy because of their health conditions,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “While Democrats work to improve the law to make it work better for the American people, Congressman Paulsen is forging recklessly ahead with his repeal obsession that leaves the 129 million Americans out in the cold simply because they have preexisting conditions like asthma or cancer.”

BACKGROUND

Repeal Could Deny Coverage to 129 Million Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions, Including 17 Million Children. “As many as 129 million non-elderly Americans have a pre-existing health condition that puts them at risk of being denied affordable coverage without health care overhaul, according to a government report. The estimate represents nearly half of Americans younger than 65, and 86 percent of people 55 to 64 […] The act already prohibits insurers from limiting lifetime coverage to a fixed dollar amount or denying coverage to a child younger than 19 because of a pre-existing condition. As many as 17 million children younger than 18 have a pre-existing condition, according to the report.” [ABC News, 1/18/11]

House Republicans Have Voted 46 Times to Repeal or Dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republican elected officials have seen the Affordable Care Act as essentially unfixable—that’s why House Republicans voted 46 times to repeal or delay the implementation of the law, instead of working with the White House over the past three years to identify and solve problems within it of the sort that tend to accumulate in any such massive piece of legislation.” [The Atlantic, 11/27/13]

Read More

#CostsOfRepeal: Congressman Paulsen Would End Cost-Saving and Life-Saving Preventive Care for 1,412,000 in Minnesota

Congressman Erik Paulsen’s obsessive attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act would end preventive health coverage that saves lives and reduces costs for 105 million Americans, including 1,412,000 people in Minnesota. Congressman Paulsen has voted time and again to repeal the Affordable Care Act and send us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to deny coverage for prevention and then hike rates when patients got sick. The preventive care that Paulsen would take away includes immunizations for children and cancer screenings and mammograms for adults.

Data released by the Department of Health and Human Services shows that 105 million Americans, including 1,412,000 in Minnesota, have already received expanded health coverage for one or more preventive services because of the Affordable Care Act, but Congressman Paulsen’s House Republicans have voted 46 times to take it away.

“In Minnesota, the 1,412,000  people who have received preventive care like immunizations and cancer screenings would be on their own if Congressman Paulsen had his way and repealed the health care law. Congressman Paulsen is obsessed with taking those screenings away that his Republican Congress voted 46 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act and send us back to a broken system that let insurance companies do whatever they wanted and left too many Americans without a way to see doctors for needed preventive care,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Instead of helping middle class families take advantage of these new benefits and working to improve the law, Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan would mean 1,412,000 people in Minnesota would lose access to life-saving preventive health services that keep costs down for all of us.”

Services that the people of Minnesota could lose access to if Congressman Paulsen’s repeal plan passes include:

o   For children – vision and hearing screening; developmental assessments; recommended immunizations; and screening and counseling to address obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight.

o   For adults under age 65 – recommended immunizations and cancer screening such as colonoscopies for those over 50; healthy diet counseling for those at high risk for chronic disease and obesity screening; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use counseling.

o   For women under age 65 – additional preventive services such as recommended mammograms and Pap smears; well-woman visits; screening for gestational diabetes; and domestic violence screening and counseling.

BACKGROUND:

105 Million Americans Have Received Free Preventive Care Because of Affordable Care Act.  “About 71 million Americans with private health insurance plans received at least one free preventive health service — such as a mammogram or flu shot — in 2011 and 2012 because of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration said Monday. In addition, about 34 million people in traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans also received at least one free preventive health service — such as an annual wellness visit — due to the health care law, according to a report released Monday by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In total, about 105 million Americans have been helped by the preventive services coverage improvements in the Affordable Care Act, said the HHS, which is marking the third anniversary of passage of the law.” [US News & World Report, 3/18/13]

HHS: Preventive Care Covers Services Like Immunizations, Cancer Screenings, and Mammograms. HHS reported that preventive care for children included services like “regular pediatrician visits, vision and hearing screening, developmental assessments, immunizations, and screening and counseling to address obesity and help children maintain a healthy weight” and for adults, services like “recommended immunizations such as flu shots for all adults and meningococcal and pneumococcal vaccinations for high-risk adults; cancer screening including colonoscopy for adults 50 to 64; healthy diet counseling and obesity screening; cholesterol and blood pressure screening; screening for HIV; depression screening; and tobacco-use counseling.” The HHS reported that for women, preventive coverage would also include “cancer screening such as pap smears for those ages 21 to 64, mammograms for those ages 50 to 64, and colonoscopy for those ages 50 to 64… well-woman visits, screening for gestational diabetes, domestic violence screening and counseling.” [HHS.gov, March 2013]

House Republicans Have Voted 46 Times to Repeal or Dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republican elected officials have seen the Affordable Care Act as essentially unfixable—that’s why House Republicans voted 46 times to repeal or delay the implementation of the law, instead of working with the White House over the past three years to identify and solve problems within it of the sort that tend to accumulate in any such massive piece of legislation.” [The Atlantic, 11/27/13]

Read More

Congressman Paulsen’s Obsessive Repeals Costing Taxpayers Millions

With every vote for repeal of the Affordable Care Act costing taxpayers nearly $1.5 million, Congressman Erik Paulsen is refusing to back down from repeal – setting up a battle where he will continue to waste taxpayer dollars just to let insurance companies have their way to raise rates, deny care and refuse coverage. Since the Republicans in Congress have voted 46 times to repeal the law, taxpayers have footed a bill topping $66 million – even as the web site has improved and millions of Americans are seeing their benefits, Congressman Paulsen and Republicans refuse to give up their effort to waste taxpayer dollars to repeal the law going into 2014.

“Americans are disgusted with this Republican Congress, and it’s no wonder – Congressman Paulsen and this Congress have voted time and again to repeal the Affordable Care Act, wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and time that should have been spent on other priorities, like creating jobs,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “And there’s no end in sight as Congressman Paulsen refuses to back down from his calls for a repeal that lets insurance companies do whatever they want to raise rates, deny care and refuse coverage. With significant improvements to the web site and the people of Minnesota seeing better options thanks to the Affordable Care Act, it’s time for Congressman Paulsen to give up his calls for a repeal that would hurt families in Minnesota.”

BACKGROUND

Each Vote to Repeal the Affordable Care Act Costs Taxpayers $1.45 Million. “Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote for the 37th time to repeal President Barack Obama’s health care act. The political theater will give conservatives fodder for their constituents, but will end up costing voters even more. Last year, CBS News calculated that the first 33 votes to repeal health care reform took up approximately 80 hours of floor time from the House, or roughly two weeks. The Congressional Research Service said it costs $24 million to run the House for a week, so the first 33 votes cost taxpayers approximately $48 million. The numbers translate to approximately $1.45 million per vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act in the House of Representatives. Adding in the three votes since CBS News’ report last year plus Thursday’s planned vote would add $5.8 million to the total.” [CBS Miami, 5/16/13]

House Republicans Have Voted 46 Times to Repeal or Dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republican elected officials have seen the Affordable Care Act as essentially unfixable—that’s why House Republicans voted 46 times to repeal or delay the implementation of the law, instead of working with the White House over the past three years to identify and solve problems within it of the sort that tend to accumulate in any such massive piece of legislation.” [The Atlantic, 11/27/13]

Read More

Congressman Paulsen Disconnected from Reality, Continues to Demand Health Care Repeal

Despite the news this weekend that the Affordable Care Act’s website is vastly improved and is now working for the majority of Americans, Congressman Erik Paulsen continues to demand full repeal of the law, sending us back to the days when insurance companies could deny coverage and care, and raise rates with abandon.

The Obama administration announced this weekend that it had met a November 30th deadline to make sure that healthcare.gov is working for the vast majority of users. The website is helping Americans buy better health care plans with lower premiums, but despite these improvements, Congressman Paulsen refuses to back away from his calls for repeal, instead of working in a bipartisan way to make continued improvements. The New York Times headline this morning reports: “Obama Administration Says Health Care Website Is Vastly Improved.”

“Even with significant improvements to the web site and his constituents purchasing affordable health care, Congressman Paulsen continues to be a broken record in calling for repeal, vowing to send us back in time to the old system where insurance companies had free rein to discriminate, deny coverage, and hike rates,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “House Democrats are committed to making sure that health care works for the American people by offering any needed fixes, but instead of working in a bipartisan way to improve the law, Congressman Paulsen continues to blindly demand we return to the days when women could be charged more than men, children with preexisting conditions could be denied coverage, and insurance companies were free to raise costs to pad their own profits.”

BACKGROUND:

Repeal Would Allow Insurance Companies to Set Caps on Expenses Paid on Behalf of Patients. “Under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies will no longer be allowed to set limits on the dollar amount of health benefits that they will cover in a single year or over the course of a person’s lifetime. This means that you won’t run out of coverage if you develop a health problem that is costly to treat.” [Families USA, 9/23/10]

Repeal Would Allow Insurance Companies to Spend Unlimited Amounts of Premium Revenue on CEO Pay and Advertisements Instead of Containing Costs for Consumers. “The law requires insurance companies to spend more of your premium dollars on health care instead of administrative costs like CEO salaries and marketing. This is about ensuring health care value for your premium dollar. The provision, called the medical-loss ratio (MLR), requires insurance companies to spend 80% of premiums on your care. If they don’t, the insurance companies must send consumers a rebate. In the last two years, the MLR has saved consumers $3 billion.”  [Kaiser Family Foundation, 6/06/13]

Repeal Would Raise Health Insurance Costs by 6 Percent for Small Businesses. “The Rand report found that, with the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, workers at firms employing fewer than 100 workers are expected pay almost 6 percent less in premiums in 2016 than without the health care reform law. Nationally, the report said, average premiums for equal plans would cost $5,837 with Obamacare in effect and $6,192 without it – a $355 savings under the Affordable Care Act. Premiums at large companies weren’t examined in the report.” [USA Today, 8/29/13]

Read More

New Report: Congressman Paulsen’s Repeal Would Cost 7.3 Million Seniors $1,200 More for Prescription Drugs

A new report released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shows that the Affordable Care Act has helped more than 7.3 million seniors on Medicare save $8.9 billion on their prescription drug costs, saving an average of $1,209 per person. Unfortunately, Congressman Erik Paulsen continues to insist on scrapping and repealing the Affordable Care Act – which would reopen the “donut hole” that left millions of seniors without critical coverage for these prescriptions. Instead of eliminating these savings for seniors, all he has to do is join Democrats to fix and improve the law.

“This new analysis is another painful reminder that Congressman Paulsen would raise prescription drug costs for Minnesota seniors because he is obsessed with repeal,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “Our seniors are saving an average of $1,200 on their prescriptions thanks to the Affordable Care Act, but Congressman Paulsen has spent the past year fighting to take those benefits away, leaving many Minnesota seniors in the ‘donut hole’ to fend for themselves to buy their medicine. Seniors shouldn’t have to go back to choosing between buying food or medicine, but that’s exactly what Congressman Paulsen’s obsessive repeal effort would force them to do.”

In the weekly Republican radio address, Congressman Paulsen’s Congressional Republicans doubled down on their repeal-only approach, with CBS News describing their agenda with this headline: “GOP on Obamacare: Don’t fix it, ‘scrap it.’”  On Tuesday, the DCCC launched a social media campaign directing constituents to the Facebook page “Republicans Sabotaged Your Health Care,” which lays out a graphically detailed timeline of Congressman Paulsen and House Republicans’ obsession with repealing and undermining the Affordable Care Act—from the 46 separate votes for repeal to shutting down the government for 16 days over the Affordable Care Act.  Earlier in the year, Congressman Paulsen voted for the Republican Budget that would end the Medicare guarantee for seniors forcing them to pay thousands more and negotiate with health insurance companies for care.

BACKGROUND:

CMMS: The Affordable Care Act has Saved 7.3 Million Seniors Nearly $9 Billion in Prescription Drug Coverage. “According to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, 7.3 million people who reached the ‘doughnut hole’ in their Medicare prescription drug coverage have saved $8.9 billion on their prescription drugs since the law was enacted in 2010. That’s an average savings of $1,209 per person. The ‘doughnut hole’ refers to the gap in prescription drug coverage in which seniors must shoulder the full costs. Coverage under Medicare Part D provides an initial coverage limit on insurance and catastrophic coverage once costs hit a certain threshold. In between, seniors must pay the full costs.” [The Hill, 11/26/13]

Congressman Paulsen Voted for the House Republican Budget That Would Cut Medicare Spending by $356 Billion and Would Make Medicare “Look Unrecognizable.” In 2013, Congressman Paulsen voted for the House Republican budget, that the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities said would cut Medicare by $356 billion over ten years. The National Journal explained that “…for those younger than age 55, Medicare could look unrecognizable: People receive a fixed sum of money from the federal government to buy health insurance in their old age, regardless of the way inflation has caused health care costs to increase.” The bill passed, 221-207. [HCR 25, Vote #88, 3/21/13; Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 3/13/12; National Journal, 3/10/13]

Read More

DCCC Launches Social Media Campaign Revealing Congressman Paulsen’s Obsessive Efforts to Sabotage Americans’ Health Care

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new social media campaign Tuesday to reveal just how obsessively Congressman Erik Paulsen has tried to sabotage and undermine the Affordable Care Act to put insurance companies back in charge of health care – even while he has refused to work to improve the law or help his constituents.

The social media campaign will direct constituents to the Facebook page “Republicans Sabotaged Your Health Care,” which lays out a graphically detailed timeline of Congressman Paulsen and House Republicans’ obsession with repealing and undermining the Affordable Care Act—from the 46 separate votes for repeal to shutting down the government for 16 days over the Affordable Care Act.

“It’s jaw-dropping when you see the full timeline of House Republicans’ obsessive repeal efforts. While most Americans want to see the law get improved, Republicans in Congress like Congressman Paulsen want to take the country back to a terribly broken system that led hardworking people in bankruptcy and gave insurance companies unchecked power to deny care, drop coverage and hike rates,” said Emily Bittner of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “From their reckless government shutdown over health care repeal to their calculated 17-page political sabotage playbook, Congressman Paulsen and House Republicans have proved they will stop at nothing to put insurance companies back in charge, and this new website chronicles in depressing detail the extent of their refusal to work on improving the law.”

Read More