Skip to main content

tv   Senate Democrats on Health Care  CSPAN  July 26, 2017 2:14am-2:57am EDT

2:14 am
assistant democratic leader. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. history was made on the floor of the senate chamber today. i don't think it's ever happened before. think about this. 50 out of 100 senators came to the floor with the vice president of the united states and voted to begin debate on a bill they've never seen. a bill they've never seen, because we don't know what the republicans are going to offer as the alternative to the affordable care act. there's been a lot of different versions. tech anythingly, the one --
2:15 am
technically, the one that's before us is the version that passed the house of representatives, but i think the republican leader, senator mcconnell, knows from the beginning that has no chance whatsoever. so many republicans have taken a look at what the house passed and said, we can't vote for that. you've got to give us something different. the problem that the senate republicans ran into is they couldn't come up with anything better. they tried. they wrote several different versions, and every time they would write a version of the new affordable care act, it got worse, worse for the american people. here's what i mean. under the one proposal from the republicans -- not the one before us, but the senate republicans -- one million people in my home state of illinois would have lost their health insurance. 12.5 million people in illinois, one million would have lost their health insurance because of dramatic cutbacks in medicaid and cutbacks in the premium support that's given to a lot of
2:16 am
working families to buy regular health insurance on the health insurance marketplace. it was so terrible that every time the republicans came up with a senate proposal, two or three of them would anewspapers, i can't -- would announce, i can't buy it. won't vote for it and ran away from it. so senator mcconnell came to the floor today and said, i'ming abouting you, -- i'm begging you, just vote to open debate on a bill i haven't written yet. 50 republican senators did and the vice president broke the tie, the 50-50 tie, to move forward. and here we are. let me start by tossing flowers -- and this will probably get them in trouble -- to two republican senators, susan collins of maine and lisa murkowski of alaska. those were the only two republican senators who had the courage to stand up and say, this is wrong. we shouldn't do this to the american people. they're the only two who were willing to say, we should have done this differently. bur there was an interesting thing that happened at the end
2:17 am
of this. at the very last moment, the very last vote that was khasbulatov cast was cast by senator john mccain. everybody knows that john was diagnosed with a serious form of cancer. he made it back from arizona here to cost cast this vote. he asked for 15 minutes after the roll call to make a speech. many if any senators left the chamber, democrats and republicans stuck around to hear his speech after the vote. can i tell you, that's unusual in the senate. most of us race for the doors and go up to our offices and watch on television and may catch piece of that speech and a piece of the other speech but we sat and we listened because of our respect for john mccain. he is my friend. we came to the house of representatives together many years ago. i've served with him in the senate when we put together a bipartisan group to rewrite the immigration laws of america, four democrats, four republicans. i set across the table from john for months.
2:18 am
we went back and forth on all the provisions of immigration. john even conceded it today. he's got an interesting temper. there were days when john mccain was mt. vesuvius, just exploding in every direction. and he kind of stepped back. then there were days he just smothered me with kindness. that's the way he is. we love him for it. but he came today to give a speech which every american should read, if you want to understand how a democrat senator can stand on the floored and give compliments and praise to a republican senator, which i'm about to do. senator mccain said, we've got to do something about this country of ours. the political divisions -- i won't get the words perfectly, but he said to us, will you please start ignoring these radio and tv and internet talking heads who want us to fail and make a living by laughing at us. will you ignore those people. instead look to what this institution, the united states
2:19 am
senate, is all about and what we should be doing to solve the problems of the people we represent. john mccain went on to say, why don't we have debates on the floor of the senate anymore? you know what? he's right. we're seven months into this year's senate session. we've not had one bill on the floor of the senate that we've debated and amended, not one. this is a first. and it's in this kind of convoluted reconciliation process where you speed up the amendments. think about this. we are amending your health care policy that affecting you and your family. we're amending how you will buy health insurance as an individual, how your company will buy health insurance for you. we are amending basically whether your insurance policy is going to protect your family or not. listen to how it works. people propose an amendment and then we debate it. you know how long we debate it? one minute on each side.
2:20 am
disgraceful. and john mccain called us on it today and said why have we reached this point where an issue this important is going through a process that was totally partisan? you see the republicans decided early on they weren't going to invite us to the party. they were going to write this health care bill by themselves in secret. senator mcconnell picked 13 republican senators, and they sat for i don't know how long. months, weeks, and wrote a bill -- one of them that i mentioned earlier that ultimately was rejected by the republicans themselves. and john mccain challenged us and said for goodness sakes. he had been in the senate -- i have too -- at a time when it was much different. and he begged us, pleaded, urged us to get back to that time when we worked together on a bipartisan basis to solve problems. well, john mccain was right. i didn't agree with his vote to put us in this position we're in at this moment, but i did -- i
2:21 am
was encouraged by the way he closed. he turned to senator mcconnell who was sitting right there and said to him, don't count on my vote on final passage. i want to see what we do in this bill. i want to see how we debate this bill. one republican senator like john mccain can make a difference as to whether or not this process stops and a real bipartisan process starts. isn't that what the american people expect of us? seated in the chair as the presiding officer is a brand-new senator from the state of alabama. welcome, senator strange. he comes here because senator sessions went on to become attorney general. he has seen the senate for three months, four months maybe? five months now. i'm sure he has his impressions of this body and they may be different from what he thought about it before he was elected. but i can tell him for sure that this is a much different senate than the one patty murray was
2:22 am
elected to, much different than the one i was elected to. even my friend, mike enzi from wyoming. even the one that he saw. i see my colleague senator schatz from hawaii here. how long have you been here now? four and a half years. he's a newbie. he has not seen the senate i was describing. can you believe there was a time in the senate when there was an important measure and members would come to the floor -- i'm not making this up -- and actually hand it to the clerk and say i'd like to make an amendment on this bill. we would handle it and sometimes we voted it and sometimes you won and sometimes you vote. that actually happened on the senate floor. for people new to the senate, i'm sure they don't believe me. but it did over and over and over. and we had a healthy respect for one another. the amendments went back and forth, and we ended up seeing bills passed that made a difference in america. what we're doing now is a disgrace to this institution, and it doesn't honor the
2:23 am
senate, its members, or our constitution. and what's at stake is so important. looking at some of the provisions that have been brought before us in the senate, republican repeal bills to repeal the affordable care act, i don't know how they can do it. i don't know how a senator could go home and say in their home state, a million of you are going to lose your health insurance because of something i just voted for. health insurance means a lot to me personally. i've said it on the floor. there was a time in my life, brand-new law student, married, god sent me and my this beautiful little baby and she had some health issues, and we had no health insurance. i was a law student. and we ended up sitting in the charity ward of a local hospital here in washington, hoping that our baby girl would have a good, talented, capable doctor walk through the door and see her. i wasn't sure of it because i didn't have health insurance. i'll never forget that as long
2:24 am
as i live. and i thought to myself, it will never happen to me again. i'm going to have health insurance, no matter what it takes. admit that much to me. and it means -- it meant that much to me and it means that much to everybody. there isn't a single one of us who doesn't want the peace of mind of knowing if we get sick or someone we love gets sick they have access to good hospitals, good doctors. that's what health insurance is all about. as the republican proposals eliminate health insurance for 16 million, 20 million, 30 million americans, you say to yourself how can you do that to this country? and the cuts they make in medicaid have really educated america about medicaid. people know social security. they know what that's all about. we all pay into it and wait to receive our social security checks when we reach that age. and they know about medicare. you have to be 65 years of age. pretty good coverage, isn't it. the ones who receive it think it's a pretty good deal to have
2:25 am
medicare coverage when they reach the age of 65. but medicaid was one of those mystery programs. people weren't sure, what does it do? the medicaid program in america does the following: in illinois, that program takes care of half of the new mothers and their babies. half of them, paid for by medicaid. prenatal care to make the baby is healthy, the delivery of the baby, mom and baby afterwards taken care of, paid for by medicaid. one out of every two births in illinois. medicaid also sends provisions, money, to your local school district. bet you didn't know that. if your local school district has a special education program -- and virtually all of them do -- they receive medicaid to pay for some basics. counselors for special ed students, sometimes transportation in a local school district in down state illinois, feeding tubes for severely disabled students paid for by medicaid.
2:26 am
you may not know that for disabled people, medicaid is their health insurance. many of them have no place else to turn. i mentioned on the floor before, a mother in champaign, il, with an autistic child said senator if it weren't for medicaid, my son would have to into an institution. i couldn't afford it. but medicaid is his health insurance. but i haven't touched the most expensive part of medicaid which you may not know. two out of three people in nursing homes depend on medicaid to get basic medical care. medicare is not enough. they need the help of medicaid. so if it's mom or dad, grandma or grandpa and they're in a nursing home, two out of three of them depend on medicaid. the republican bill to replace the affordable care act said we're going to cut the spending on medicaid. 25% to 35% will be cut. that's why governors of both political parties screamed bloody murder, you can't do
2:27 am
that. you're cutting the federal contribution to medicaid in our state. who's going to pay for that baby? who's going to pay for mom? who's going to pay the school district? who's going to pay the disabled. who will take care of the folks in nursing homes? why did they make that deep a cut in medicaid, a program that's so important to so many people? here's the tough part. that deeper cut was made to contemplated so the republicans in their health care proposal could include a tax break for the wealthiest people in america, for health insurance companies, and get this, for pharmaceutical companies. so to give them tax breaks, they had to cut medicaid coverage for all the people i just described. is it any wonder that many republicans backed away from this? senator heller of nevada talked to his governor, sandoval, both republicans, and said he couldn't support an early version of the bill because of the deep cuts in medicaid. so if this is supposed to be an improvement over the affordable
2:28 am
care act, which part of it is an improvement? cutting medicaid coverage for all those people? saying that your health insurance policy doesn't have to cover people with preexisting conditions? raising the cost of health care premiums, particularly for people between the ages of 50 and 64? eliminating health insurance for millions? that's an improvement over the current system? it's not. it's a disaster. the question is by the end of this debate, after we've gone through this crazy process of voting up and down quickly, very little debate, at the end of this debate, will one more republican senator stand up and say unacceptable? two of them have. if one more will join them, then we can get down to the real business we should face, and the real business is being the senate again. regular order, which means taking the measure to the help committee. senator murray of washington
2:29 am
here is the ranking democrat. senator lamar alexander is the chairman, from tennessee. i respect him and like him a lot. the two of them ought to have hearings on a bill to change the affordable care system and make it work better. bring down health premiums, expand insurance coverage. i think that is what we should be all about. there is a basic difference of philosophy here and i'll close with this, but this is what drives us. answer the following question, and i can tell you how you're going to vote on this bill. do you believe health care is a right for every american, or do you believe it's a privilege? that if you have enough money and you're lucky enough, you can get it. if you don't, you go without. if you answer the question it's a right, it should be a right in america, then you have to reject this approach. you cannot take helpless people, some who are working hard in jobs, two and three jobs at a time that have no health care benefits, and say
2:30 am
to them, sorry, our system won't take care of you. one last point, the irony of that is if you don't give a person health insurance, if you don't give them protection, they still get sick. they still go to the hospital. and they still get care. what happens to their bills that they can't pay? everybody else pays them. before the affordable care act, each of us paid $1,000 a year in premiums just to cover for people who couldn't afford health insurance. we think there's a better way. we think americans should have access to affordable health insurance across the board. and we think we can achieve that if we work together on a bipartisan basis. so i hope one more republican senator will join senators collins and murkowski, bring us back to what john mccain described on the floor today. to the senate where you have a real debate about real issues and really care about the american people.
2:31 am
mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. brown: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. i ask unanimous consent that after my remarks that the senior senator from hawaii be recognized. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. brown: thank you, mr. president. what's happening today on the senate floor is outrageous. i still can't quite believe that my colleagues, as their staff stood behind them in the senate chamber to my right, all of them have health insurance paid for by taxpayers. all of them, all of us, all of them, all of the staff, all of the senators, all of the house members have insurance paid by taxpayers. yet, they would come to the senate floor with their vote entrusted in them, given to them by the voting public in
2:32 am
their districts and their states. all of them have health insurance paid for by taxpayers that they would vote to take it away, take insurance away from hundreds of thousands of people in my state and in washington and wyoming and alabama and hawaii, millions of people around the country, most of whom have jobs. these are people working in $8, $10, $12, $15 an hour jobs, not as well paid as we are, not as well paid as the staff that stands behind us as these floor sessions go on, and they would take insurance away from people like that. and i just am still incredulous that that would have happened. the bill, this bill affects all of our constituents. it would upend one-fifth of the american economy. yet, the people we serve have no idea what's in this bill. we really don't know what's in it. over the weekend people said senator mcconnell is going to bring us all to the floor tuesday to vote on a health care
2:33 am
law. this is the law to repeal the affordable care act. the affordable care act, i was part of writing that as a member of the health, education, labor, and pensions committee. that bill took months and months and months, dozens of hearings, hundreds of amendments. we supported, i supported in the committee, the committee adopted 150 republican amendments. it was the way we should do things here. instead senator mcconnell met, mr. president, just down this hall -- i know the camera doesn't quite show this. but down this hall in his office, he met with lobbyists from wall street and lobbyists from the drug companies and lobbyists from the insurance companies. and maybe the presiding officer i don't think was part of this -- he's perhaps too junior. but four or five republican senators were in there, and they wrote a drug that was good for drug companies, was good for insurance companies, was good for wall street. it just left out the public. now one thing we do know, we don't really know what's in the bill this time. one of the things we do know is all of the options are bad for my state of ohio.
2:34 am
all thing options are bad -- all the options are bad for the people who elected us to serve here. let me talk about those options. first, behind door number one we have repeal of the affordable care act with no replacement. that means repealing the entire -- i don't know which of these doors, on door number one, i don't know if that's what this bill is. i do know that it's one of the options. behind door number one, repeal with no replacement. that means repealing the entire affordable care act with no plans to replace it. creates dangerous uncertainty that of course will drive prices up for everyone. when the insurance companies, when the public people who have insurance now have no idea what's going to happen, of course it drives prices up. of course it means insurance companies will pull out of wyoming and alabama and washington state and hawaii and ohio. according to the nonpartisan congressional budget office,
2:35 am
they hold these jobs, they aren't republicans or democrats. just like the parliamentarian is not aligned with any party. the congressional budget office is just like that. 18 million americans will lose their health insurance next year. premiums will go up 20%. again, think about that. think about the members of the senate. think about the members of the senate staff that lines up during floor sessions. all of us have health insurance. yet we are going to take it away from 18 million americans. less coverage, premiums would go up 20%, higher costs. by the end of this decade, 32 million americans --s that like one out of ten americans, who currently have insurance would be without health coverage, premiums would double. 32 million people lose their insurance within a decade, premiums double. talk about barbara, whom i met in toledo, just recently. she is 63.
2:36 am
she is not old enough for medicare. repeal would create uncertainty for people in ohio like her. does the senate staff that stands behind here who have insurance from taxpayers -- taxpayers like barbara, do they think about barbara or about somebody who reads in the paper that the senate took the first -- still reversible, but barely step toward taking their insurance away? do they ever think about people like barbara? do they, as president lincoln said, get out an listen to people like barbara, 63 years old? she doesn't know if she'll have insurance six months from now. imagine. do they have insurance -- does the staff back here think, will my insurance exist in a few months from now? i'm guessing that they don't. repeal without replacement
2:37 am
creates massive uncertainty for people like her. insurance companies have been forced to pull out of the market as congress and the white house create more and more uncertainty. when aetna pulled out of day toond others communities -- dayton, and other communities in ohio, they and others left nearly 20 counties in ohio without any insurer. when they did that, they announced it was because of the uncertainty in this congress and nobody knows quite what is happening. that is repeal without replacement. let's look at door number 2. behind door number 2 is the plan that mitch mcconnell negotiated in secret. mr. president, as i said, that is straight down the hall, go to the right,s that mitch -- that's mitch mcconnell's office. that is where the lobbyists and "wall street journal"ists -- and
2:38 am
"wall street journal"ists hung out. mr. president, you know this, the drug companies wrote the bill, the insurance companies wrote the bill, wall street wrote the bill, an, alas, tax cuts for insurance companies, tax cuts for the insurance companies. the four richest families in ohio, many of them contribute huge numbers of dollars are lots of zeros on them to my republican colleagues who voted for this bill. the -- the 400 richest families in america will get under this mcconnell door number two, the 400 families will average a $700 million tax cut each over the next ten years. 400 families, $700 million tax cut for the next ten years. let's take -- let's talk a moment about the drug companies. these massive tax breaks, the mcconnell plan -- the
2:39 am
mcconnell plan would increase costs for working families. they would slap higher costs, slap an age tax on ohioans over 50. when it comes to health care costs, senator heller of nevada said it best, that there was nothing in this bill that would lower premiums. they give tax cuts to rich people. they give tax breaks to the insurance and drug companies. they cut medicaid, but there's nothing in this bill, according to senator heller, republican from nevada, that would lower premiums. there are, however, massive tax breaks for drug companies that have been yacking up price -- that have been jacking prices on lifesaving medicines. more people in my state, as the presiding officer knows also representing a large state -- but more people in my died from opioid overdose than any state in america. what does this do for the opioid epidemic?
2:40 am
i have done at least 15 or 20 roundtables around ohio with -- to talk about the opioid epidemic, with doctors, counselors, psychologists, and therapists, and people who help -- and -- and other -- and nurses and people who are recover rg from addiction and -- recovering from addiction and their families and others. the one thing they all agree on is that the single best tool to -- to help with opioid addiction is -- alas, is medicaid, the single best tool to combat the opioid epidemic is medicaid. this would take away the number one tool we have to fight back. 200,000 ohioans are struggling with opioid addiction, they are getting coverage -- they are getting their addiction treatment because they have the affordable care act and
2:41 am
insurance provided by the affordable care act. we're going to take that away from them. one of my roundtables in cincinnati, a father sitting next to his daughter who was in her 30's, and said that his daughter would be dead without opioid addiction in the affordable care act. i thank him for that and the governor expanding medicaid. door number two, this would kick many of the 220,000 people off of their insurance, it would disrupt treat for hundreds of thousands of ohioans as they fight for their lives. it would pull the rug out from local police and communities in the midst of an epidemic. a number of police officers told me, when they go to a home, a police officer or a firefighter, or another first responder, they go to a home where someone is unconscious because of an opioid
2:42 am
epidemic, they first give them narcan and then they sign them up for medicaid so they can get treatment otherwise there is a good chance that person will die. the most important tool for tighting opioid addiction -- fighting opioid addiction, medicaid. 50 republicans voted against this, and the vice president who honored us with his presence today, voted sensely to kick these people off their -- essentially to kick these people off the treatment. the same plan written by lobbyists. let's talk number three. behind door number 3 is less -- is higher costs, lower coverage. they can't just throw money at this bill and make it better. take opioids. they want to take away medicaid, the number one tool we have to
2:43 am
get people treated and then they through in a $45 million federal grant program in stead. they said that taking away treatment and insurance from the 700,000 ohioans in -- in medicaid expansion and hundreds of thousands of ohioans later, governor case he -- governor kaisch said taking that money away is like spitting in the ocean. they said that the republican senate plan would be devastating for ohio. for instance, if someone had cancer, you wouldn't -- i don't think the best treatment for cancer is you cut off their insurance and then you give them a federal grant to pay their oncologist -- not even a federal grant to pay the oncologist -- you don't treat people by a federal grant, you treat people by insurance and all the
2:44 am
wrap-around part of insurance that matters. it's not -- it's not just those fighting addiction. i talked a lot about opioids, mr. president, who would be hurt. it's kids with special health care needs, it's ohio schools. there's a program called medicaid in schools that help young people struggling with various kinds of illnesses, physical and mental health illnesses. it's rural hospitals, we know -- i have been on the phone with lily 400 -- literally four dozen c.e.o.'s of hospitals, and small hospitals in rural communities know these hospitals may close if -- if this bill, the one behind door number three is adopted. it's seniors in nursing homes and families who care for them. few people realize that three out of five residents in nursing homes in my state rely on medicaid. s that 60%. -- that's 60%. these are middle-class families,
2:45 am
working-class families who end up in nursing homes and run out of money at the end of their lives. two-thirds of medicaid are dollars -- medicaid dollars don't go to children or opioid addiction, they go to nursing homes. i met with families in toledo who rely on medicaid for nursing homes. bob's mother lives in percysville. my mother and father worked all of their lives. my mother receives a pension of $1,500, medicaid keeps her alive so she can spend time with her kids and grandkids. margaret meade said that wisdom is passed from the grandparent to a grandchild. a child able to spend time with their grandparents, this not only brings great joy to grandparents, it imparts wisdom and understanding and education
2:46 am
it those grandchildren. so medicaid does that too. when people have insurance, when people are taking care of in nursing homes and assisted leveling. we talk about people like blanch. they pay their taxes, they pay their insurance premium, they pay into social security. we're going to cut their medicaid in the last years of lives? we shouldn't take that away from them. neither should their families who are already squeezed, people in their who's, 50's, early 60's, who worry about their children's education on oned end and worry about paying for their parents' nursing home. medicaid helps ohioan whose are workers and pay taxes who have a child with a disability. 500,000 kids in ohio, 20% of ohio kids, two in ten have special health care needs. beau was born with heart defects. he wouldn't be alive without
2:47 am
medicaid. another child with down syndrome visited my office this week. it is not -- 22% of rural hospitals will be at risk of closing. it goes on and on and on. these are all problems created by this bill behind door number three written by lobby ises, written down the -- lobbyists, written down the hall by drug companies, insurance companies, and wall street lobbyists. that is the bill unknown until he regurnlg tated it on -- regurnlg tated it on the senate floor. cleveland com, for the proposed $200,000 to ease the path for a.c.a. funding losses, this would pale compared to the losses. the governor of ohio said this is spitting in the ocean. that is behind door number
2:48 am
three, higher costs, lower coverage. that brings us to door number four. we have no idea. it's the ultimate mystery plan. remember what washington uncertainty has done to ohio families? 20 counties with no insurer next year. an editor at "columbus dispatch" said to me a month and a half ago, uncertainty is like carbon mow nieks i'd -- monoxide for business. it seems like the republicans specialized in injecting uncertainty in the economy. are you going to work on the import-export bank so our companies can export manufactured products. are you -- are we not going to meet our obligations and shut the government down? are we going to leave hanging out there the affordable care
2:49 am
act repeal? all of these things create uncertain, and business investment as a result freezes. who knows what this damage will do in the insurance market. what we know for certain is that this mystery plan behind door number four will mean higher costs, less coverage. because nothing so far -- nothing put on the table could result in anything else. the math doesn't work. how can anyone stand here, again, the staff standing along the wall here, the members of the senate, how can they stand here -- how can you stand here and all getting taxpayer insurance provided by taxpayers, how can you stand here and threaten to take away the insurance of others at the same time driving up costs? the affordable care act is not perfect. of course it's thought. we have work to do. senator schumer talked about sitting down with us. we'd love to work through many of the things to get young, healthy people into the insurance pool, to stabilize the insurance market, to go after the high-cost prescription drugs, maybe to consider
2:50 am
medicare at 55. we were one vote away from opening up medicare in a receive niew neutral -- revenue neutral way for people between 55 and 64 that might have lost their insurance as they get sicker as they get older. all of those options but you don't start with repeal throwing millions of americans off their insurance. i agree with governor kasich one more time. yesterday he said until congress can step back if political gamesmanship which we saw in spades today as senator johnson and majority leader mcconnell were negotiating the last parts of the bill as more or less 98 of us sat here and watched and wondered what was going on, we saw that political gamesmanship. governor kasich said yesterday until congress can step back from political gamesmanship, can come together with a workable bipartisan plan, it's a mistake for the senate to proceed with the vote we just took on tuesday. he said that yesterday. instead of down the hall senator mcconnell working with
2:51 am
insurance company and drug company lobbyists, instead of listening to the drug companies so that he puts the tax break for drug companies in the bill, let's listen to the people of kentucky and wyoming and texas and louisiana and alabama and north carolina and ohio and hawaii and washington. let's listen to the states, the people of the states of my colleagues in this body. let's work in a bipartisan -- on a bipartisan plan to fix what's not working in the affordable care act, keep what is working, make health care work better for the people whom we serve. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from hawaii. mr. schatz: how much time remains? the presiding officer: five and a half minutes. mr. schatz: thank you, mr. president. we just took one of the most reckless legislative actions in this body's history. we are blowing up the american health care system, wndz we -- and we don't even know what comes next. i want to be clear. the senate has never before voted on major legislation that
2:52 am
would reorder about one-sixth, one-fifth of the american economy and impact millions of lives without actually knowing what the bill would even do. there has been no bipartisanship. there has been talk of it but there have been no real discussions. there have been no public hearings. and let me say something about hearings. this is not a technical point. this is the way a legislative body does its work. this is the way we figure out whether our bill is any good or not. and this is the way the senate has always worked. we don't do major legislation without hearings, but that's what we're doing today, and that's because people don't want to disclose what's in this bill. it's true that we don't know scwactly what's in -- exactly what's in the bill, but we can be sure of a few things. first, whatever problems there are with the a.c.a., this bill doesn't even bother to take a swing at them. to the extent that people are worried about high deductibles, it will increase the deductibles. to the degree that people are worried about the choices on the exchanges, it doesn't even try
2:53 am
to solve that problem. and we don't know exactly how much medicaid will be cut, whether it's just rolling back the medicaid expansion or making these radical structural reforms, but we know there will be deep cuts to medicaid. and this will hurt people. it will hurt people in nursing homes. it will hurt people with drug addiction. medicaid is a program that works for tens of millions of americans and it will be slashed massively. and we don't know whether they're going to get rid of the capital gains tax or just other revenue, but we know that they are going to reduce many of the taxes in the original affordable care act, and they're going to pay for it by cutting medicaid. so under the guise of fixing the a.c.a., they are actually doing nothing about a.c.a. what they're doing is cutting taxes and cutting medicaid. we don't know exactly what's in the bill, but we do know that. people are going to be hurt. people with preexisting
2:54 am
conditions, families with loved ones struggling with opioid abuse, people in nursing homes, people who rely on planned parenthood. the tens of millions of people who will lose their insurance almost instantly. and that's why every group from the american medical association to the nurses to the american cancer society to the march of dimes to the national physicians alliance to the aarp opposes this bill. and, yes, there are 14 different versions of this bill but actually these organizations oppose them all. there are some core elements of the vote that we took that are going to be true no matter what. it will cut medicaid and will cut taxes. it will reduce patient protections. and it will reduce the number of people who have insurance. and it was all done with no hearings, with no democrats, with no experts on health care. this thing is going to be dropped on us without enough time to review it, without enough time to interact with our
2:55 am
home state and figure out the impact. but make no mistake, the reason they won't tell you what's going to be in the final bill is because the moment they do, this thing will come crashing down. and what the american people have to do is make sure that this thing comes crashing down anyway. and we have to do it for the tens of millions of americans who depend on medicaid and the a.c.a. we have to do it for our rural hospitals. we have to do it for people with preexisting conditions. we have to do it for the people without power, without money, without the ability to walk 200 yards from this gilded chamber and get the best health care in the world. i will be fine. all the members of this chamber will be fine. but our job is not to take care of ourselves. our job is to represent our constituents. and this bill has earned the title most unpopular major bill
2:56 am
in american history. most unpopular major legislation in american history. there is still time to walk back from the 9:30 eastern time. for more on what's happening the senate would talk to capitol hill reporter. kelsey still as congressional reporter with the "washington post". when it comes to health care debate in the senate tell us about senator mcconnell. how did he have to lobby for the final votes? >> guest: as i understand it he was out talking to senators well into the day-to-day leading directly to the vote. he was perfectly worried about a group of moderate

10 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on