MURPHY: IF TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SUCCESSFULLY KILLS THE ACA, 20 MILLION PEOPLE WILL LOSE HEALTH INSURANCE

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, on Thursday delivered remarks on the floor of the U.S. Senate on the importance of the Affordable Care Act as open enrollment season comes to a close on December 15th.

Murphy said: “We've seen more and more people go without insurance since this administration started to wage what is a pretty consistent, remarkable war on the Affordable Care Act. As we speak today, the Trump administration is in court trying to get the court system, the federal court system, to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.”

Murphy continued: “If they are successful in that endeavor, then next year's deadline won't matter because the Affordable Care Act will be gone, 20 million people will lose their health insurance, insurers will once again be able to charge you more because you have a pre-existing condition, or your kid has cancer, or you're a woman.”

“But as we fight that court case, we need to remember that the Affordable Care Act is still out there and it's still very affordable for millions and millions of Americans. 70% of enrollees who go on to healthcare.gov find that they qualify for financial help, meaning that the sticker price is not actually what you pay. The tax credits in Obamacare will help you get that premium lower. And in fact, on average, folks are getting pretty sizable [credits], in the neighborhood of $500. That can make healthcare incredibly affordable,” Murphy concluded.

A full transcript of Murphy’s remarks can be found below:

“Thank you very much, Mr. President.

“Mr. President, I'm on the floor briefly today to remind my colleagues to remind their constituents that December 15th is the open enrollment deadline for health care at healthcare.gov.

“This is incredibly important because if you are uninsured or you are currently on a Affordable Care Act plan, if you don't renew or sign up by the 15th, then you'll be frozen out of the marketplace unless you have what's called a qualifying event.

“And I just want to make sure that we, as we head back for the weekend, make sure that we do everything we can to make sure that there aren’t more people that go into the new year without insurance than is absolutely necessary.

“This is especially important because we've seen a big decline in the number of people who have insurance in this country since President Trump took office.

“Obviously, we made enormous progress after the passage of the Affordable Care Act. We were able to get the percentage of Americans without insurance down to around 5%. That's really, really extraordinary. And yet we have seen that progress reverse.

“We've seen more and more people go without insurance since this administration started to wage what is a pretty consistent, remarkable war on the Affordable Care Act.

“As we speak today, the Trump administration is in court trying to get the court system, the federal court system, to strike down the entirety of the Affordable Care Act.

“If they are successful in that endeavor, then next year's deadline won't matter because the Affordable Care Act will be gone, 20 million people will lose their health insurance, insurers will once again be able to charge you more because you have a pre-existing condition, or your kid has cancer, or you're a woman.

“But as we fight that court case, we need to remember that the Affordable Care Act is still out there and it's still very affordable for millions and millions of Americans.

“70% of enrollees who go on to healthcare.gov find that they qualify for financial help, meaning that the sticker price is not actually what you pay. The tax credits in Obamacare will help you get that premium lower. And in fact, on average, folks are getting pretty sizable [credits], in the neighborhood of $500. That can make health care incredibly affordable. Even if the sticker price looks out of your range.

“A woman in Hartford named Deborah visited a local enrollment fair after receiving a letter saying that her premiums actually might be going up and she said this. She said, ‘that scared me a little bit. So I wanted to come in and have someone explain to me whether it was going to go up, decrease, you know, what were my options? What ended up happening is that actually my premium went down, for the same plan. But I also learned that just because they renew you, I had the opportunity to go in and say, no, I don't want that plan. I want to choose this plan. I'm ecstatic with my new plan. I got educated on the insurance process and I like that.’

“And so you can still get that help. You can still get somebody on the phone to walk you through your choices. And I'd really encourage people to do that by this Sunday.

“But for folks that do find that affordable plan, I hope that you'll also step up and try to help us maintain the protections and the coverages that we have. We've been fighting a battle with the Trump administration that doesn't like the Affordable Care Act simply because the president's name is on it, despite the fact that Americans don't want the Affordable Care Act repealed.

“But the administration has been doing everything within its power to try to make it harder for people to sign-up. The administration has rolled back the advertising for the Affordable Care Act, so this is what qualifies for advertising today—charts on the floor of the United States Senate.

“The administration has rolled back the money for the navigators—the people that help you pick which plan is right for you. The administration for a period of time threatened to stop paying insurance companies, which chilled the interest of insurers to actually offer plans on these exchanges. And now, as I mentioned, the administration is going to court to try to unroll and unwind the entirety of the act through a court case.

“Lastly though, what you will find if you go and enroll in some states, are plans that look like Affordable Care Act plans on these websites that actually aren't. That are what we call junk plans—short-term plans—plans that don't really cover anything. They might not cover, maternity care, addiction care, mental health or prescription drugs. Some of these junk plans don't cover you if you get admitted to the hospital on a Friday or Saturday.

“Be careful of those plans because the sticker price is going to look really low, but that's for a reason. It's because they don’t cover anything. And the president has allowed for those junk plans to be sold right next to the Affordable Care Act plans.

“So make sure that you're signing up for an Affordable Care Act regulated plan. That's a plan that's bronze or silver or gold, not one of these junk short-term plans, that is not going to be right for the vast, vast majority of Americans.

“Not too late. Sunday is the deadline. If you're in Connecticut, make sure to go to Access Health CT, or your state exchange if your state runs an exchange. If not, you can get health care through www.healthcare.gov.

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

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