Click here or the image above to view video of Murphy’s remarks.
WASHINGTON –U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Thursday highlighted broken promises by President Trump and Congressional Republicans to improve America’s health care system. Murphy outlined the repeated commitments President Trump made to lower premiums and deductibles, cover pre-existing conditions, and maintain funding for Medicare and Medicaid. Instead, President Trump and Congressional Republicans’ American Health Care Act would raise costs and worsen care to pay for a huge tax cuts for the wealthy.
“The President of the United States…told us repeatedly, over and over again during the campaign and after the campaign, that the result of this health care reform debate was going to be a health care system that was better. They said nobody would lose insurance, premiums would go down, not up, and that your benefits package wouldn't become worse,” said Murphy. “I wanted to simply remind all of my friends on both sides of the aisle of this piece of legislation which emerged from the House last week with devastating consequences: 24 million people losing coverage, people with preexisting conditions being subjected to $200,000 premium increases, potentially.”
Murphy continued, “It's a violation of the promises that this president and many Republicans made over and over again. We await the ability to work together – Republicans and Democrats – to preserve what works in the health care system, to fix what doesn't work, and to hold our Republican friends and the President of the United States to their promises.”
Murphy has continuously called on Congressional Republicans to stop their dangerous crusade to repeal the ACA and to work in a bipartisan way to improve the law.
Highlights of Murphy’s remarks are below:
Secret meetings have been happening amongst our Republican colleagues to draft a health care bill that could have devastating consequences on the people that we all represent. So, I know we are about to have a vote on the floor, but I wanted to come down and simply remind all of my friends on both sides of the aisle of the promises that have been made about this process and this piece of legislation which emerged from the House last week with devastating consequences: 24 million people losing coverage, people with preexisting conditions being subjected to $200,000 premium increases, potentially.
And I just referenced the words of the President of the United States who told us repeatedly, over and over again during the campaign and after the campaign, that the result of this health care reform debate was going to be a health care system that was better. And President Trump outlined that in a number of different ways.
Here's what he said on April 30, just about a few weeks ago. He said, “the health care plan is on its way. Will have much lower premiums and deductibles while at the same time taking care of preexisting conditions.” That's not true. That's a lie. The health care bill that emerged from the House of Representatives did none of those things.
CBO has not come out with its final estimate – unbelievable that the House voted on a reordering of 1/6 of the American economy without a CBO estimate – but we can pretty much be assured that the first CBO estimate will hold, in that it will say the premiums are going to go up by 15 percent to 20 percent immediately for everybody, and then for the non-young healthy and wealthy, premiums are going to go up even higher.
It didn't take care of preexisting conditions. It did the opposite. It allowed every state to be able to walk away from the protection in the Affordable Care Act that makes sure that people with preexisting conditions – which could be one-third of all Americans – can’t be subject to higher rates, and it substituted that requirement with a high-risk pool that is dramatically underfunded to the point that it is laughable in the opinion of many health care economists.
Here's what Donald Trump said earlier this year. “We're going to have coverage for everybody.” People covered under the law “can expect to have great health care…Much less expensive and much better.” Insurance for everybody. CBO says 24 million people will lose their insurance, and that number might be higher when the new estimate comes out. This wasn't true. This was a lie.
Finally, the president said during the campaign, “I was the first and only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.” No cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. This is a giant cut to Medicaid. This is an $880 billion cut to Medicaid that is being used in order to finance a giant tax cut for people that are making over $200,000 a year. This wasn't true. This was a lie as well.
A lot of democrats will be willing to talk about making our health care system better, but we want our Republican colleagues – as they're having these behind-closed-door meetings – to remember the promises that they made. They said nobody would lose insurance, premiums would go down, not up, and that your benefits package wouldn't become worse. If Republicans can deliver on those promises, then there is a discussion to be had. But if anything looking like the House product emerges, it's a violation of the promises that this president and many Republicans made over and over again.
And finally, I just want all of my colleagues to also remember what is happening as we speak. Leader McConnell was on the floor talking about premium increases that were announced about Blue Cross Blue Shield in Maryland. What he failed to mention was the head of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland came out and specifically said that a big part of the reason why they were asking for major premium increases was because of the actions President Trump is taking right now to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.
They were not sure if the individual mandate was going to be enforced. Why? Because in an executive order that this president signed, he directed his agencies to undermine the Affordable Care Act and to withdraw many of the fees that were levied on Americans, such as that that comes if you don't get insurance. He stopped advertising for the exchanges for the last week. We were on target to have more people sign up this year than ever before but then in the last week, the president withdrew all of the money for the exchanges. And right now as we speak, this administration is bleeding out the money for insurers that help pay for cost-sharing within the exchanges one month at a time, not telegraphing that there's going to be any certainty for that funding in the future.
The president is undermining, sabotaging the ACA every single day. The reason that insurers are passing along premium increases or considering withdrawing from these exchanges is because of the sabotage that this administration is undertaking of our entire health care system. And these behind-closed-door meetings? I hope they take into account all the promises that this president and our Republican friends made: that they were going to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something better.
Everything we hear is that the product that emerged out of the House, the product that may emerge out of the Senate, violates every single one of those promises. We await the ability to work together – Republicans and Democrats – to preserve what works in the health care system, to fix what doesn't work, and to hold our Republican friends and the President of the United States to their promises. I yield back.