MURPHY HIGHLIGHTS CONNECTICUT RESIDENTS WHOSE HEALTH CARE IS UNDER ATTACK BY TRUMP, REPUBLICANS

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, on Wednesday shared stories on the U.S. Senate floor of constituents in Connecticut whose health care is under attack by the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress. This is part of a new effort by Senate Democrats to highlight a “Patient of the Day” and show what’s at stake with Republicans’ sabotage of the current health care system.

During his remarks, Murphy talked about thee Connecticut residents who contacted his office as part of his “Share Your Story” campaign to tell him what would happen if the Trump administration-backed Texas v. United States lawsuit, striking down the Affordable Care Act and stripping protections for people with pre-existing conditions, is successful in court.

“I am here to talk about a few patients from Connecticut. We, on the Democratic side, are trying to come down and put a face to this campaign that the president is engaged in to try to weaken and ultimately eliminate the Affordable Care Act,” Murphy said. “Right now there's a court case proceeding through the appellate courts that, if successful, would immediately end the Affordable Care Act, which provides insurance to 20 million Americans, makes sure that everybody in this country with a pre-existing condition doesn't get charged more.”

Murphy continued: “The president has weighed in on behalf of that lawsuit, he is hopeful that it succeeds. And if it does succeed, we're going to have a humanitarian catastrophe in this country if 20 million people lose their insurance, and once again, insurance companies are allowed to charge you more if you have a sickness or you have a sick child.”

After sharing these stories, Murphy concluded: “…[S]o I just want you to remember that reality. Remember the reality of millions of families who went bankrupt, who lost all their savings, who went on public assistance, because they had massive medical debt due to the fact that they lost coverage because of a pre-existing condition or lifetime or annual caps. All of that can come back if the Affordable Care Act is struck down.”

The full text of Murphy’s remarks is below:

“Thank you, Mr. President.

“Mr. President, I'm here to speak for a few minutes on the topic of health care.

But while my friend from Alaska is on the floor…listen, I hope that we can bridge the policy disagreements that we have right now over the defense appropriations bill, the appropriations process and the authorization bill, but I've been in Congress long enough to have heard this argument be trotted out over and over again, that if you vote against a defense bill, that you aren't supporting the troops, even if you have a legitimate policy disagreement that you're trying to work out.

“I just heard that enough to know that it just doesn't match up with reality. I was told that because I oppose the Iraq war that I didn't support the troop[s]. People in the 1970s were told that if they didn't support the Vietnam War, they were opposing the troops.

“The fact of the matter is we have a legitimate policy disagreement that we're trying to figure out. Democrats don't think that we should be taking money from defense construction projects that are housing and protecting our troops to be used to build a border wall with Mexico, that doesn't do anything, in our opinion, to protect the United States compared to the benefit of the spending on military construction projects. We think that ultimately we're serving our troops by making sure that those military construction projects get funded instead of this wall that doesn't make sense, if not for the president's campaign speeches.

“So, listen: we have some policy disagreements over the budget. I would hope that my colleagues wouldn't try to use this tired, tired argument that if anyone here ever votes against a defense budget, that you somehow are opposing the troops. That's just irresponsible and disingenuous rhetoric.

“Mr. President, I am here to talk about a few patients from Connecticut. We, on the Democratic side, are trying to come down and put a face to this campaign that the president is engaged in to try to weaken and ultimately eliminate the Affordable Care Act. Right now there's a court case proceeding through the appellate courts that, if successful, would immediately end the Affordable Care Act, which provides insurance to 20 million Americans, makes sure that everybody in this country with a pre-existing condition doesn't get charged more.

“The president has weighed in on behalf of that lawsuit, he is hopeful that it succeeds. And if it does succeed, we're going to have a humanitarian catastrophe in this country if 20 million people lose their insurance, and once again, insurance companies are allowed to charge you more if you have a sickness or you have a sick child. And so we just want to make sure we put a face on who is going to be affected if President Trump's sabotage campaign against the Affordable Care Act succeeds. And I know my colleagues have remarks and are lined up to speak so let me be as brief as I can.

“I just want to tell you the story of just a couple patients from Connecticut. I'm going to cheat and make this patients of the day. These are folks who reached out to my office to tell me their story.

“Jason is from South Windsor, Connecticut. He says, ‘I'm 54 years old, and I've been purchasing insurance since I entered the workforce at 22 years old. I have arthritis that is manageable with medication, but without that medication, I would not be able to function. I have difficulty, or would have difficulty, with simple tasks like walking and shaking hands. There's no question that I rely on my insurance, if I were denied coverage because of my pre-existing condition, I would be devastated.’

“Jason is one of the tens of millions of Americans who without the protections from the Affordable Care Act would likely not be able to get insurance and he is perhaps months away from that reality.

“Lisa from New Britain writes on behalf of her grandkids. Because some young kids can't speak for themselves their parents and grandparents speak for them. Lisa is the proud grandmother of two little girls who were born with cystic fibrosis and she worries that if her son ever had to switch jobs or change insurance plans, if the pre-existing condition clause was struck down by the courts, that he would be denied coverage because of their pre-existing condition. She says, ‘The girls are doing so well and thriving with the current treatment and medicine they're on. People with cystic fibrosis are now living longer than ever because of the medicine available to them. We work so hard to keep them healthy. This policy of allowing insurance companies to deny people with pre-existing conditions or capping lifetime maximums are allowed, you'd be taking the lives of our family members.’

“And finally, Giuseppina, who is a concerned sister in Bridgeport. She writes, ‘My youngest brother was born two and a half months premature. He spent two months in the hospital and reached his lifetime limit from my father’s insurance before he left the hospital. In January 1978, he was diagnosed with a disease due to his under-development and birth trauma. Due to the massive medical debt that my family accrued due to his multiple surgeries and hospital stays, we had to go on public assistance. My father used to cry when he went food shopping.’

“And so I just want you to remember that reality. Remember the reality of millions of families who went bankrupt, who lost all their savings, who went on public assistance, because they had massive medical debt due to the fact that they lost coverage because of a pre-existing condition or lifetime or annual caps. All of that can come back if the Affordable Care Act is struck down.

“And it's important for us to come down to the floor and remind folks about the human face of health care repeal and the consequences if we don't stand together and at least try to make a plan for what happens if the lawsuit is successful and the Affordable Care Act is struck down by the court system.

“Thank you, Mr. President, I yield the floor.”

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