WASHINGTON – After Senate Republicans voted to block legislation that would have overturned the Trump administration’s rule on ‘junk’ insurance plans, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Wednesday delivered remarks on his efforts to protect people with pre-existing conditions and how he is fighting back against the administration’s latest efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
The full text of Murphy’s remarks is below:
Today’s vote to put insurance companies in charge of Americans’ health care is just the latest in a long, dizzying line of actions by this administration and Republicans to sabotage and destroy our health care system.
It started the day that President Trump was inaugurated. He signed an executive order telling all of his agencies to try to destroy the protections in the law for people with pre-existing conditions. He then eliminated the money that helps educate people about the health care insurance options that are available to them. In the tax bill, Republicans passed a partial repeal of the Affordable Care Act that would knowingly result in 13 million people losing health insurance and driving premiums up by double digits. And if it wasn’t enough, the administration then went to court to try to get pre-existing conditions protections ruled unconstitutional, and now are trying to push these junk plans into American households.
This is a systematic, persistent effort to undermine Americans’ health care. And there’s almost not a week that goes by that Republicans don’t make it clear that their number one priority in Congress is to try to weaken protections for people with pre-existing conditions and eliminate health care for American families. This vote was as clear a description to Americans as to what the stakes ahead of us are. Democrats are going to continue to stand with American families, are going to put patients, not insurance companies, in charge of the American health care system, and insurers are going to continue to undermine, Republicans are going to continue to undermine the American health care system and work with President Trump to put insurance companies back in charge of Americans’ health care.
I think it’s really sad that we couldn’t draw more than one Republican vote for a measure that simply says when you sell insurance it should actually be insurance. And by the way, we just passed an opioid bill a couple weeks ago, let’s be clear about one of the key insurance benefits that’s missing from these ‘junk plans’ – addiction benefits. And so there are going to now be millions of Americans who are going to be suckered on to these junk plans, who are going to have a loved one, a son or a daughter, become addicted to heroin, and then not be able to get insurance coverage for that treatment. That’s double talk from the Republican leadership that Americans shouldn’t put up with.