Senator Warren on the Republican “skinny repeal” health care bill

Senator Warren on the Republican “skinny repeal” health care bill

Mr. President, since the Republicans announced
that their top legislative priority in this Congress would be to rip away health care from millions
of Americans, I have come down to the floor many times to beg them to reconsider. I’ve shared stories about families in Massachusetts
who gained quality health care coverage for the first time after the passage of the Affordable
Care Act. I’ve shared statements and letters from
hospitals and doctors in Massachusetts, talking about the incredible difference that
health care coverage makes for the patients who walk through their doors. I’ve also shared many, many stories from
parents with children who have complex medical needs – all of those children depending
on Medicaid. I know that families and doctors and hospitals
and nursing homes and patients lying in their hospital beds haven’t just been sharing
their stories with me. They have been begging every Republican in
the Senate to listen to them as well. People shared their stories because they want
to make a difference. These are the stories of the families we represent. They are our reason we are here in the Senate. They are supposed to be our guiding light
for the choices we make and the way we vote. Senate Republicans who voted yesterday to
move forward with their effort to rip away Americans’ health care are not listening
to the people they represent. Their vote was irresponsible. It was reckless. It was cruel. It was immoral. But more than that – this was a vote that
was not who we are as a country. Let’s be very clear about what is happening
right now on the floor of the Senate right now. Fifty Republicans have voted to open debate
on a series of bills, each of which would have devastating effects for health care in
this country. Now, the Republicans don’t know which of
these bills will actually be asked to vote on. Only some of the bills have been analyzed
by the number crunchers over at the Congressional Budget Office – the CBO – to estimate
how many people would be kicked off their insurance and how high premiums would go up. But every version the CBO did examine over
the last few weeks was really ugly. Tens of millions of people losing their coverage,
and costs skyrocketing for millions more. The latest plan that Senator McConnell has
been floating behind the scenes would have Republicans ultimately vote on what is called
a “skinny repeal” bill. This bill would make a limited set of changes
to the Affordable Care Act – you know, just the important stuff. And what’s important to Senator McConnell? Well, it seems to be the part of the Affordable
Care Act that makes the health insurance system actually work. Because the “skinny” bill would repeal
the parts of the ACA that say that everyone needs health insurance coverage – this is
the “individual mandate.” Republican leadership is telling their members
that if they vote for this “skinny” bill, they can hammer out the rest of the details
in conference with the House of Representatives. But make no mistake – this isn’t a more
moderate version of the Republicans’ ugly plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act. This isn’t compromise. In fact, this may be the worst idea they’ve
had yet. Because if Senate Republicans vote to repeal
the individual mandate, they’re getting rid of the linchpin of the insurance markets
in this country. That’s because this provision – the one
that the Republicans want to junk – is what keeps the price of insurance affordable for
people with pre-existing conditions. Don’t just take my word for it. Independent experts have looked at what would
happen if the Republicans repeal the individual mandate. Boy, it is not pretty. Just yesterday, the American Academy of Actuaries
– these are the experts who study how insurance works, they do that for a living, these are
numbers folks – They wrote a letter to Senate leadership begging them not to go through
with this reckless plan. They wrote that eliminating this part of the
health law “would likely have significant implications for health care coverage and
costs both to consumers and the federal government.” They said that it would “lead to premium
increases.” It would “weaken insurer solvency.” Let me just do the translation on that. The actuaries – that’s the professionals
who study insurance for a living – are saying that what the Senate Republicans are thinking
of voting on is a provision to jack up insurance costs through the roof and rip away coverage
from those who can’t afford to pay those higher costs. We should be very clear about the consequences
here. If the Republicans go through with that vote,
if they go through with that vote, Senate Republicans will be responsible for
every dollar of premium increases that occur over the weeks and months that follow as this
bill sits in a conference with the House and insurance companies jack up prices because
they don’t know what they might be required to cover. Senate Republicans will be responsible for
every single person who has to drop their coverage because they can’t afford those
price increases. The Senate Republicans will be responsible
for every single person who didn’t go to the doctor when they needed to or didn’t
schedule surgery they needed because they no longer had health insurance. Senate Republicans will be responsible for
every family in this country that misses a mortgage payment or that can’t pay their
electricity bill or is forced into bankruptcy because their medical debt becomes too big
to ever pay off. Every time I come to the floor to talk about
this terrible Republican bill, I have said I am ready to work on bipartisan proposals
to actually improve health care in this country. And I say it again. I am still ready to do that. But we cannot move forward while Senate Republicans
are still trying to take away health care coverage for millions of Americans and drive
up costs for millions more. The Republicans seem to think they can wear
us down. That they can keep us here until we get too
tired or we give up and just give in. But boy, that’s where they’re wrong. They don’t have a clue what they’re up
against. Because we’re fighting for families. We’re fighting for little kids. We’re fighting for our neighbors. For parents and brothers and loved ones. We’re fighting for the American people. And when you fight for the American people,
the wind is always at your back. Your heart is always strong. So Democrats will be here fighting for as
long as it takes to beat back these shameful health care bills. We hear the American people, we hear you,
we are on your side, and we will never give up.

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10 thoughts on “Senator Warren on the Republican “skinny repeal” health care bill”

  • Democrats want you to think every Republican repeal failure is because of their effort. Democrats have followed a loser's policy of ignoring and crushing our progressive will until they are powerless in government. It is the PROGRESSIVE WILL OF PEOPLE who have demonstrated and kept Republican greed at bay. Keep voting Democrat or Republican, keep getting trumped.

  • Maybe she should spend more time promoting a single payer system. There doing the same thing republicans did for six years. Offering no solution to our disaster of a health care system.

    Remember, neo liberal corporate democrats killed single payer in California. Corporate democrats would rather lose to Trump than win with progressives.

  • When i support this healthcare bill back in 2008, I said even then that this republican plan would fail in a decade, and would begin the path to a single payer system. First it will be a buy into medicare/medicaid option, to compete with the private insurance. Then over another decade as more and more people by into medicare/medicaid, private insurance will just be additional bonus insurance on top of the standard benefits everyone gets through medicare/medicaid, and that is how america will stay for a long long time. A long list of basic benefits for everyone, and additional benefits for those of us who can afford them.

  • Senator Warren, you are an inspiration to all Democrats to fight for what we believe in and protect our country's progressive agenda!