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Over the last several years, the Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center) has written at length about the Trump Administration’s detrimental changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Medicare, Medicaid, and other vital health care programs. On October 23, 2019, the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, held a hearing to address the Administration’s health care sabotage. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma was the sole witness before the Subcommittee.

In her written testimony, Administrator Verma defended the Administration’s health care efforts and touted those efforts as “putting patients first.” Administrator Verma argued that the Administration has lowered costs and improved access for patients, despite – among many other things – approving Medicaid work requirement waivers that have resulted in thousands losing coverage. Subcommittee Members questioned Administrator Verma about the Administration’s commitment to patients, given the Administration’s efforts to invalidate the ACA in Texas v. U.S. and promote junk plans. Administrator Verma indicated that the Administration is prepared to protect patient access to health care if the ACA is struck down, but failed to provide any details on how it would do so.

As noted in our jointly filed Amicus Curiae Brief in Texas v. U.S., invalidating the ACA will also negatively affect the financial health and efficiency of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, and most families. The ACA contains about 165 provisions that affect Medicare, touching on issues including preventive benefits, prescription drug costs and reimbursement for nursing home care. The Center asked the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals to reverse the lower court’s decision and uphold the ACA.

October 24, 2019 – D. Valanejad

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