Non-profit

Families USA Action

Location:

WASHINGTON, DC

Tax ID:

52-1632583

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(4)

Budget (2017):

Revenue: $35,233
Expenses: $75,559
Assets: $594,443

President:

Philippe Villers

Formation:

1989

Families USA Action is a lobbying group that pushes for left-of-center healthcare policy, especially on Medicaid expansion and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). [1] Families USA Action is the sister organization of Families USA, a charitable advocacy group which has been credited with helping to pass the Affordable Care Act during President Barack Obama’s administration. [2]

Families USA Action has spent significant funding on lobbying in recent years, spending over $550,000 to lobby Congress between October of 2019 and March of 2020 alone. [3] At the federal level, Families USA Action has focused most of its attention on legislation to end “surprise billing,” expand federal funding for health programs, and limit prescription drug prices. [4] [5] Families USA Action has also been active in state races, intervening in ballot initiatives to support mass Medicaid expansion in Montana and Nebraska in 2018. [6]

Families USA Action has been affiliated with Democratic candidates in the past, frequently praising then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s healthcare proposals during the 2016 election while claiming that then-Republican nominee Donald Trump’s proposals would “take health insurance away from millions.” [7] Families USA Action founder and president Philippe Villers is also well-connected in the left-of-center organizing community, sitting as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) President’s Committee and the Concord Democratic Town Committee. [8]

History

Families USA Action frequently engages directly in the federal and state legislative processes around the country to support left-of-center policy proposals, including state ballot initiatives to expand Medicaid. [9]

Families USA Action is affiliated with Families USA, an advocacy group known for its defense of left-of-center healthcare policies, including the Affordable Care Act. [10] [11] Families USA, and Families USA Action, have been credited with using a “hefty advertising and lobbying budget, as well as its nationwide grassroots network, to help pass” the Affordable Care Act. [12]

Families USA Action and Families USA currently share an executive staff, with Frederick Isasi serving as executive director of both organizations while Families USA alone pays the entirety of his salary. [13] The organizations also share an office space in Washington, D.C. [14] [15]

Lobbying Activity

Between October of 2019 and March of 2021, Families USA Action spent $558,000 on lobbying activities to support a range of left-of-center policy proposals in the United States Congress. [16] Families USA Action made over $500,000 in expenditures while lobbying for just five different bills, including the bipartisan CARES Act for coronavirus relief passed in March of 2020. [17] [18]

Surprise Medical Bill Lobbying

In late 2019 and early 2020, Families USA Action lobbied for Senate Bill 1531 (the STOP Surprise Medical Bills Act), House Resolution 3630 (the No Surprises Act) and House Resolution 3502 (the Protecting People From Surprise Medical Bills Act). [19] The three bills sought to set artificial price controls on “surprise” medical bills incurred by patients who visited an out-of-network facility in case of an emergency. [20] Though none of the bills passed, lawmakers in December of 2019 had neared a bipartisan agreement to lower the costs of surprise bills while preventing excess arbitration. [21]

Families USA Action, however, lobbied for a more extreme version of the bill which would fully ban surprise billing in a range of emergency situations and establish federal statutes to determine the payment level which would be owed to a healthcare provider in cases of out-of-network emergency care. [22] The policy endorsed by Families USA Action would also set rate caps on overall health care costs, establishing a federal payment level between insurers and out-of-network providers. [23] Families USA Action lobbied heavily in support of the more left-leaning policy, launching the No Surprises: People Against Unfair Medical Bills coalition. [24] Despite claiming to be a nonpartisan organization, the coalition organized by Families USA Action included some of the most powerful left-of-center organizations in the country, including Health Care for America Now (HCAN), Public Citizen, and the AFL-CIO labor union federation. [25] [26]

During the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020, Families USA Action latched onto the national emergency to push left-of-center surprise billing policy once again. [27] Families USA Action sent a letter to House and Senate leadership urging representatives to include clauses that would eliminating surprise billing for consumers in any coronavirus relief legislation passed. [28] Seventeen other left-of-center organizations signed onto the bill, including MomsRising, the National Partnership for Women & Families, and the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). [29]

Lower Health Care Costs Act

Aside from lobbying directly to end surprise medical bills, Families USA Action pushed for the Lower Health Care Costs Act in both 2019 and 2020. [30] The bill aimed to institute a range of left-of-center healthcare reforms, including ending “surprise” medical bills, reducing prescription drug prices by setting price caps on pharmacy benefit managers, and investing in federal public health measures. [31] The bill also introduced a sweeping measure which would increase the minimum age for purchasing tobacco from 18 to 21 across the United States. [32]

The bill supported by Families USA Action also included provisions to expand regulations over insurance companies and hospitals. If passed, the act would require healthcare practitioners to provide patients with a list of all provided services to be billed immediately upon patient discharge, while also requiring insurers to make estimated out-of-pocket costs for all services available to enrollees online. [33]

State-Level Initiatives

Aside from federal lobbying, Families USA Action has also intervened in state-level campaigns to push left-of-center healthcare policies. In 2018, Montana voters considered Initiative 185, a ballot measure which would raise tobacco taxes and permanently expand Medicaid in the state at a cost of hundreds of millions of federal dollars. [34] Families USA Action lobbied in favor of the measure, joining left-of-center organizations included Planned Parenthood of Montana to try to pass the bill. [35] The ballot initiative failed when put to a vote in the 2018 Montana general election. [36]

Families USA Action’s state level activism has landed the advocacy group in trouble in the past. [37] In 2018, Families USA Action made over $5,000 in expenditures to support Initiative Nebraska Measure 427, a ballot initiative which passed to expand Medicaid to 90,000 additional Nebraska citizens. [38] Families USA Action nonetheless failed to file its out of state contribution report for nearly two months, resulting in a late filing fee of $11,000. [39] Rather than simply paying the free, Families USA Action asked the state of Nebraska to waive the charge, a request which was unanimously denied by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission in March 2019. [40]

Support for Left-of-Center Candidates

Despite claiming to be a nonpartisan organization, Families USA Action has consistently supported Democratic candidates. In 2008, Families USA invited former Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD), who had been selected as then-President-elect Barack Obama’s head of the Department of Health and Human Services, to its Action Conference. [41] Delivering an address at the conference, Daschle called on attendees to push for “comprehensive reform, claiming that “incremental change is no longer a viable option.” [42]

Families USA Action unofficially endorsed Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign, claiming that Clinton’s “health care proposals would build on recent progress and make it easier for young adults to afford health coverage and care.” [43] In an infographic published during the 2016 campaign, Families USA Action alleged that “candidate Trump would take health insurance away from millions of young adults” and “rip this coverage away” by taking removing the “right” of young people to remain on their parents’ health plans. [44] The graphic also alleged that then-candidate Donald Trump’s policies would “harm young women’s access to essential care” by decreasing the size of Medicaid and allowing insurance companies to charge copays for contraceptive services. [45]

Meanwhile, Families USA Action heaped praise upon Clinton, claiming that her proposals would “make health coverage and care more affordable and accessible.” [46] The organization also claimed that Clinton’s plans to establish price ceilings on prescription drugs and create increased federal subsidies for healthcare were “essential.” [47]

During the 2016 election, Families USA Action worked to promote Clinton’s healthcare policies in a number of key swing states, most notably in Florida. [48] In September of 2016, after Trump said he would eliminate the Affordable Care Act health insurance marketplace if elected, Families USA Action published a report claiming that without the marketplace, more than 1 million Florida residents would “lose their health care coverage” while Clinton’s policies would benefit the uninsured. [49]

Much of Families USA Action’s other electoral content during the 2016 has since been deleted from the organization’s website. [50] Even reports conducted by Families USA Action during the 2016 election have since been removed from the organization’s page. [51]

People and Funding

In 2018, Families USA Action reported $362,447 in revenue, nearly all of which came from contributions and grants. [52] [53] Philippe Villers is the current president of Families USA Action. [54] Villers is the founder of the company Computervision, and he currently works as president of GrainPro Inc, a company making hermetic grain storage containers. [55] Villers founded and funded the Families USA Foundation in 1981, endowing the Foundation with $40 million. [56] [57]

Villers is well-connected in the left-of-center organizing community, sitting as a member of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) President’s Committee and the Concord Democratic Town Committee. [58] Billers is also one of the members of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, an organization of high-net worth individuals calling for large tax increases. [59] Villers has also donated to several Democratic causes. In 2016 alone, Villers donated nearly $60,000 to Democratic organizations, including the Democratic Congressional Campaigns Committee (DCCC), the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, and ActBlue. [60]

References

  1. “Affordable Care Act (ACA).” Families USA, October 9, 2019. https://www.familiesusa.org/our-work/affordable-care-act/. ^
  2. Young, Jeffrey. “Prognosis Unclear.” HuffPost Politics. Verizon Media, December 7, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/prognosis-unclear_n_1765439. ^
  3. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q4 2019 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A670C560-F1A2-4A14-AF74-66B8EFBB11BA&filingTypeID=82 ^
  4. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q4 2019 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A670C560-F1A2-4A14-AF74-66B8EFBB11BA&filingTypeID=82 ^
  5. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q1 2020 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=DCA73C18-0F4C-4E45-99A8-72938C54C85A&filingTypeID=51 ^
  6. MTN News. “Tobacco Firms Throw Additional $7.7M against MT Tobacco Tax/Medicaid Initiative.” KBZK, September 6, 2018. https://www.kbzk.com/news/campaign-2018/2018/09/06/tobacco-firms-throw-additional-7-7m-against-mt-tobacco-tax-medicaid-initiative/. ^
  7. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  8. “Philippe Villers.” Loop. Frontier Media SA. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/113563/bio. ^
  9. “Home.” Families USA Action. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://www.familiesusaaction.org/. ^
  10. “Affordable Care Act (ACA).” Families USA, October 9, 2019. https://www.familiesusa.org/our-work/affordable-care-act/. ^
  11. Young, Jeffrey. “Prognosis Unclear.” HuffPost Politics. Verizon Media, December 7, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/prognosis-unclear_n_1765439. ^
  12. Young, Jeffrey. “Prognosis Unclear.” HuffPost Politics. Verizon Media, December 7, 2017. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/prognosis-unclear_n_1765439. ^
  13. “Families USA Action.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018. Part VII, Line 12. ^
  14. “Families USA Action.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018. Section F. ^
  15. “Home.” Families Usa, July 14, 2020. https://familiesusa.org/. ^
  16. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q4 2019 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A670C560-F1A2-4A14-AF74-66B8EFBB11BA&filingTypeID=82 ^
  17. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q1 2020 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=DCA73C18-0F4C-4E45-99A8-72938C54C85A&filingTypeID=51 ^
  18. “The CARES Act Works for All Americans .” U.S. Department of the Treasury, July 2, 2020. https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/cares. ^
  19. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q4

    2019 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A670C560-F1A2-4A14-AF74-66B8EFBB11BA&filingTypeID=82 ^

  20. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q4

    2019 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=A670C560-F1A2-4A14-AF74-66B8EFBB11BA&filingTypeID=82 ^

  21. Scott, Dylan. “Congress’s New Plan to End Surprise Medical Bills, Explained.” Vox, December 9, 2019. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/12/9/21003480/stop-surprise-medical-bills-legislation. ^
  22. “Statement of Principles.” No Surprises: People Against Unfair Medical Bills. Accessed July 16, 2020. http://nosurprisescampaign.org/statement-of-principles/. ^
  23. “Statement of Principles.” No Surprises: People Against Unfair Medical Bills. Accessed July 16, 2020. http://nosurprisescampaign.org/statement-of-principles/. ^
  24. “Home.” No Surprises: People Against Unfair Medical Bills. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://nosurprisescampaign.org/. ^
  25. “Home.” No Surprises: People Against Unfair Medical Bills. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://nosurprisescampaign.org/. ^
  26. “Congress Needs to Act Immediately to Stop Surprise Medical Bills, Says National Campaign.” Families Usa, September 26, 2019. https://familiesusa.org/press-releases/congress-needs-to-act-immediately-to-stop-surprise-medical-bills-says-national-campaign/. ^
  27. “No Surprises: Letter to Leadership.” Families USA Action. March 19, 2020. https://familiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/No-Surprises-letter-to-leadership-3.19.20-final.pdf ^
  28. “No Surprises: Letter to Leadership.” Families USA Action. March 19, 2020. https://familiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/No-Surprises-letter-to-leadership-3.19.20-final.pdf ^
  29. “No Surprises: Letter to Leadership.” Families USA Action. March 19, 2020. https://familiesusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/No-Surprises-letter-to-leadership-3.19.20-final.pdf ^
  30. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q1 2020 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=DCA73C18-0F4C-4E45-99A8-72938C54C85A&filingTypeID=51 ^
  31. “Lobbying Report: Families USA Action.” Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 (Section 5). Q1 2020 Report. Accessed at https://soprweb.senate.gov/index.cfm?event=getFilingDetails&filingID=DCA73C18-0F4C-4E45-99A8-72938C54C85A&filingTypeID=51 ^
  32. “S.1895 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Lower Health Care Costs Act.” Congress.gov. United States Congress, July 8, 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1895. ^
  33. “S.1895 – 116th Congress (2019-2020): Lower Health Care Costs Act.” Congress.gov. United States Congress, July 8, 2019. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1895. ^
  34. MTN News. “Tobacco Firms Throw Additional $7.7M against MT Tobacco Tax/Medicaid Initiative.” KBZK, September 6, 2018. https://www.kbzk.com/news/campaign-2018/2018/09/06/tobacco-firms-throw-additional-7-7m-against-mt-tobacco-tax-medicaid-initiative/. ^
  35. MTN News. “Tobacco Firms Throw Additional $7.7M against MT Tobacco Tax/Medicaid Initiative.” KBZK, September 6, 2018. https://www.kbzk.com/news/campaign-2018/2018/09/06/tobacco-firms-throw-additional-7-7m-against-mt-tobacco-tax-medicaid-initiative/. ^
  36. “Montana I-185, Extend Medicaid Expansion and Increase Tobacco Taxes Initiative (2018).” Ballotpedia. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://ballotpedia.org/Montana_I-185,_Extend_Medicaid_Expansion_and_Increase_Tobacco_Taxes_Initiative_(2018). ^
  37. “Minutes of the Meeting of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.” State of Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. March 1, 2019. https://nadc.nebraska.gov/pdf/minutes/20190301.pdf ^
  38. McCleery, Molly. “Medicaid Expansion in Nebraska: Addressing Socioeconomic Inequities.” Creighton Law Review, pp. 411-418. Accessed at http://dspace.creighton.edu:8080/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10504/124720/CLR_52-4_McCleery.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y ^
  39. “Minutes of the Meeting of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.” State of Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. March 1, 2019. https://nadc.nebraska.gov/pdf/minutes/20190301.pdf ^
  40. “Minutes of the Meeting of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission.” State of Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission. March 1, 2019. https://nadc.nebraska.gov/pdf/minutes/20190301.pdf ^
  41. Volsky, Igor. “Daschle’s Views On Health Reform: ‘Incremental Change In Our System Is No Longer A Viable Option’.” ThinkProgress, November 19, 2008. https://archive.thinkprogress.org/daschles-views-on-health-reform-incremental-change-in-our-system-is-no-longer-a-viable-option-e29b0a6512c1/. ^
  42. Volsky, Igor. “Daschle’s Views On Health Reform: ‘Incremental Change In Our System Is No Longer A Viable Option’.” ThinkProgress, November 19, 2008. https://archive.thinkprogress.org/daschles-views-on-health-reform-incremental-change-in-our-system-is-no-longer-a-viable-option-e29b0a6512c1/. ^
  43. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  44. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  45. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  46. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  47. “The Health of Millions of Young Adults is at Stake This Fall.” Families USA Action. 2016. Accessed at https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5e7b9e0f7f438244321b1d72/t/5e84c84edf9ce627502fd51c/1585760335315/C4-YA_factsheet.fin.pdf ^
  48. Stand, Mona. “Study: Health Care For Millions of Floridians Hangs on Election.” Public News Service Florida, September 12, 2016. https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-09-12/health-issues/study-health-care-for-millions-of-floridians-hangs-on-election/a53979-1. ^
  49. Stand, Mona. “Study: Health Care For Millions of Floridians Hangs on Election.” Public News Service Florida, September 12, 2016. https://www.publicnewsservice.org/2016-09-12/health-issues/study-health-care-for-millions-of-floridians-hangs-on-election/a53979-1. ^
  50. [1] “Page Not Found.” Families USA Action. Accessed July 16, 2020.

    https://www.familiesusaaction.org/whats-at-stake-for-women ^

  51. “Page Not Found.” Families USA Action. Accessed July 16, 2020.

    https://www.familiesusaaction.org/election-health-care-facts-florida ^

  52. “Families USA Action.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018.

    Part I, Line 12. ^

  53. “Families USA Action.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018.

    Part VIII, Line 1h. ^

  54. “Families USA Action.” Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax, Form 990. 2018.

    Part VII, Section A, Line 1. ^

  55. “Philippe Villers.” Loop. Frontier Media SA. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/113563/bio. ^
  56. “Philippe Villers.” Loop. Frontier Media SA. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/113563/bio. ^
  57. Lewin, Tamar. “Hybrid Organization Serves as a Conductor for the Health Care Orchestra.” The New York Times, July 28, 1994. https://www.nytimes.com/1994/07/28/us/health-care-debate-behind-scenes-hybrid-organization-serves-conductor-for-health.html. ^
  58. “Philippe Villers.” Loop. Frontier Media SA. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://loop.frontiersin.org/people/113563/bio. ^
  59. Borchers, Callum. “Millionaires from Mass. Join Call to Raise Their Tax Rates.” Boston.com. The Boston Globe, April 16, 2012. http://archive.boston.com/news/politics/articles/2012/04/16/millionaires_from_mass_join_call_to_raise_their_tax_rates/. ^
  60. “Philippe Villers Political Campaign Contributions 2016 Election Cycle.” CampaignMoney.com. Accessed July 16, 2020. https://www.campaignmoney.com/political/contributions/philippe-villers.asp?cycle=16. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Philippe Villers
    Board President

Coalition Memberships

  1. Health Care Voter
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1989

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $35,233 $75,559 $594,443 $71,402 N $0 $0 $35,233 $0 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $29,399 $540,050 $545,403 $32,812 N $0 $0 $29,399 $0 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $62,020 $5,436 $930,286 $0 N $0 $0 $62,020 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990 $2,664 $4,543 $987,164 $0 N $0 $0 $2,664 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $1,817 $141,155 $989,639 $0 N $0 $0 $1,817 $14,571 PDF
    2012 Dec Form 990 $33,544 $168,956 $1,128,325 $0 N $30,928 $0 $2,616 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form 990 $253,987 $445 $1,263,333 $0 N $251,843 $0 $2,144 $0 PDF
    2010 Dec Form 990 $497,523 $87,282 $1,010,523 $0 N $495,985 $0 $1,538 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Families USA Action

    1225 NEW YORK AVE NW STE 800
    WASHINGTON, DC 20005-6156