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tv   Lawmakers Discuss Highway Infrastructure  CSPAN  March 21, 2017 7:17pm-7:52pm EDT

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but, we will work with our republican colleagues to improve the existing law. if the president of majority leader say, all right, we are not quit repeal, let's work on some changes. we will do it with them, of course we will listen. but, they have got to drop repeal first. so mr. president, again i urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to drop the repeal efforts, drop trump care, not a drop a bipartisan chip in it and b in negotiate with dick democrats. turn back before it is too late. too late for the american people who will be hurt and too late for all of you who will also be hurt as you try to resent trump care in the next figures. thank you, mr. president and i yield the floor.
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>> we have seen these tv clips about various members of senators around the country with having town hall meetings there for example this past weekend indiana was one of him. had tremendous town hall meetings. a lot of good exchange of information. so, with this looming house of representatives health care bill which i refer to as trump care since the president has endorsed particula it, i wanted to see a particular group in our society that is extremely vulnerable, and that is that the older americans, but not old enough to be 65 to be eligible for medicare.e now, by the way be careful because there are people lurking
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these halls in the administration that would like to raise medicare eligibility from 65 - 67. that is not what is confronting the house of representatives. it is what is going to happen to those people for their healthcare below the age of 65. once they get 65 under current law they are eligible for medicare. go to i reached out to a group of floridians, group i did not know that our offices in florida have become aware of because they had written about the healthcare debate that is going on. in many cases they had described their circumstances. that we so, the group of eight or ten
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that we had in yesterday, in my orlando office all were in the age range of 50 - 64. i want to tell the senate about this group of people. cu because, if approved in its current form the house healthcare bill, trump care would dramatically increase okay healthcare crossed for folks in that age group. who 50 - 64. those are folks who either get their healthcare through expanded medicaid, or they get their health insurance through exch
7:21 pm which is the exchange, which would be on this date exchange or federal exchange because the state is not participating. according to the congressional budget office, here is one example. a 64-year-old making $26500 could see their healthcare cost go from $1700 per year that they pay now under the affordable care act, all the way up to $14600 per year under the house plan, trump care. now, that is a dramatic jump obviously. do we think that is really too much of an extreme example? well, i want to tell you what these people said.
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if you look at what the house is proposing, the dramatic rise in cost is to in large part to two provisions in the house bill. one that would allowed insurers to charge older americans up to five times as much as younger people. this is health insurance. another, the second one thatea caps the federal tax credits meant to help seniors pay for the rising cost of health insurance. now, federal tax credits is a fancy way of saying the subsidy. so that if you are senior and above 130% of poverty which is approximately for a single individual, $16000 per year.
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by the way, who making $16000at's per year can afford health remai insurance? that is why we read need the remaining 19 states, my state of florida included to expand healthcare up to hundred 30% of poverty. so from that level all the way up to 400% of poverty, which by a the way for a single individual it is about 46 or $47000 per year. in that zone of 138% of poverty up to 400%, there are these tax credits, or another word substitutes. so the one with lower income gets more subsidy in order to do what? to buy private health insurance
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on the private marketplace. through the exchange. as you get on up to 400%, nowan you say a person making 46 or $47000 per year, can they really afford health insurance? not in the real cost unless it is some huge deductible plan that doesn't give them much. that is why these folks need l assistance. that is in place. that is the law. that is the affordable care act that has been so maligned over the last several years. aside from the health insurance there is the expansion of medicaid. s that has helped a lot of people and there are still 4 million people in this country that would benefit if those 19 remaining states would expand're medicaid up to 138%.
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so, they are left in the cold. they're not getting health insurance, they are not getting federal healthcare.o there eligible to have it in theav federal money is there to draw i down to enable them to have that medicaid. but, 19 states, including my state of florida, have decided not to expand it. so, with all of that is in. background, i asked these folks to come in. according to the aarp, there are millions of floridians in that age group, 50 - 64 who currently receive medicaid or tax credits to help them pay for the .g insurance through millions. that are eligible.
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so, the group came in and here's what i learned, i'm going to give you some personal vignettes marshall stern, he is a 61 -year-old heart transplant survivor. he lives in case florida.three he has had a serious heart condition since he was a young man. three years ago, his condition worsened and it resulted in several hospitalizations after which he was told he would need a heart transplant. though he is on full disability he was told that he had to enroll on medicaid or he would not be eligible for theication transplant.
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just the medication for the after the transplant operation it cost around $100,000 per year he which obviously marshall would not be able to afford without this medicaid coverage, he would also like to take this medication and is going to have to if he is going to live, for the rest of his life. the he worried that turning medicaid in the house bill, turning it into a block grant program which is a fancy way of saying we are going to cut it off and were not going to get anymore and if you do you're going to have to finance it from your own state resources, governors as the
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presiding officer would appreciate your going to have to share more of the health cost and burden mr. governor and mr. state legislatures. so he's worried that if that house bill passes a medicaid is b threatened as we know it, he is not going to be able to have the medications that he needs to stay alive. this is what marshall told me. and it was very dramatic. he said quote it's as good as saying that i die.facing the rest of us who are not facing us, you have a fellow tell you that. this is serious business. i'll tell you about another one, susanna perkins. she is a 62-year-old living --
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her husband lost his job in 2009 and she lost her employer-provided health plan during the recession. the couple blew through their ira and ended up selling nearly everything they had. they eventually moved out of the country to save money, but in 2014 they decided to move back because the affordable care act it passed. the aca made it possible for them to afford health insurance again. this is what susanna said. quote if they shred the aca like they are threatening to do we are going to have to high tail it out of here because
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dealing with the healthcare cost and the insurance complications just makes you sick. we are getting by, but we are getting by on the aca and if it goes away and they make these changes the way they are talkingin. about, we will be uninsured a again i was going to show you a picture of these are the folks that i met with yesterday. i will not point out the about individual, and i'm going to talk about some of the other ones.ost but you can see there's one person over here outside of the photograph, but we sat down for an hour conversation and i heard their stories. i wish every senator and every
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member of congress would go out and talk to people who are real people with real problems and understand how petrified they are. these folks, they look like our neighbors and our friends. they look like the people we go to church with. they look like the people who have children or grandchildren that we play with. there petrified, they're scared to death that they are not going to have healthcare.ry let me tell you about another one of those ladies. terry is a 59-year-old living in the orlando area. she moved to florida in 2012
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because she had to take care of her elderly mother and her disabled sister. good for 25 years she had already had good health insurance through her employer where she lived upely north. she rarely use the health insurance. after losing her job in 2006 as we went into the beginnings of the recession, she purchased an individual insurance policy that cost her 500 - $600 a month. prior to the aca, she had tont make withdrawals from thex retirement account, she had to max out her credit cards to a for the premiums. as a result, she did pleaded her retirement fund.nted
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so, since the affordable care h act was implemented, she has had an affordable policy can she qualifies for the monthly subsidy of $600 bringing her a people premium payments to $70 per month. that was without a deductible.du with zero deductible she could have gotten a policy at a $5000 deductible for $3 per month, she a needed that assurance at her age that she would be able to have the healthcare she needed and so for $70 per month for the subsidy. but that is not what is protecting her in the house trump care bill, under that proposed healthcare plan her
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maximum subsidy would be less than $300 per month which means that she would end up paying $4000 more per year, an amount she simply cannot afford. that is what she told me.e i cannot afford it.alth she said she would have to go without health insurance instead and she was desperately, before the aca trying to have health insurance. she did pleaded all of her retirement funds. there's another lady sitting around the table that i showed you the picture, nancy walker. she is a 51-year-old self-employed actor living in kissimmee. she is active, she is healthy, she chose to pursue a career in
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the arts. the unstable nature of her profession has often left her unable to afford health her insurance. so she has gone without it most of her adult life. as an artist, as a performer since the aca took effect she has been able to afford health insurance, thanks to the subsidies. she told me it was a relief to her to go to the dr. not only for checkups but actually, and she has a problem, to fix it. but, if congress passes the house trump care bill, her premiums are going to go up andlth
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she has no doubt that she will be unable to afford health insurance and health care. she told me she fears simple health issues will fester, becoming serious, chronic, and expensive to treat. remember i said they were petrified, that they are scared to death. there is an example. hav she finally has health insurance after all of these years of going without it because she did not have an employer that paid it for her. take another one marilyn, a 63 -year-old retiree living in orlando, maryland lives mainly off of social security payments but is not old enough to qualify for medicare.
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she is under the magic 65 age year that she's eligible. after retiring, marilyn a rolled in an insurance plan through the marilyn aca exchange and is eligible for annual tax credits to help her pay for her insurance. she told me she was extremely worried about the increased premiums that she would likely have to pay under the house trump care plan. to give you another lady that is sitting around the table sharon brown is a 50-year-old widow she lives in the orlando area. several after her husband's death she has been dealing with several medical issues and pulling money out of her retirement account to pay for her current plan.
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she has a nest egg from a husband's life insurance money but due to her health condition she will likely need long-term medical care. this is what she told me. "my premiums are high because i have multiple medical conditions that make it so i cannot work. i have done reading on this and the cost of my healthcare under the trump care plan will amount to double what i make right now in income. she looked at me with a pained expression on her face and said, it is very scary. the anxiety that goes along with it happening right now is making it worse. sharon told me she is a lifelong registered republican.
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she volunteered this and said that the bill being considered now is forcing her to reconsider her party. she says, i am changing my political affiliation to independence. i want to vote my conscience sheou said.a face t so mr. president when you put a face to the stories of these people that i have just talked about, that we just talked yesterday, the house trump care state plan and medicaid as we know it because it cuts it off, the amount going to the states and i understand that in trying to fix up some things just last night
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in the house they filed an that amendment in an attempt to address some of the problems. one of the things they were trying to fix as it would allow states to choose between black granting the medicaid program. what but under either proposal what that means is the federal government is going to be contributing less to the states, and that means more money will have to be picked up by the states. just go and asked the governor's , how much more they can pick up. mr. president, i urge our house and senate colleagues to join
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all of these people i have as talked about and vote, as sharon said with your conscience of what you're going to do to folks like this. cutting medicaid and forcing struggling, older americans to pay more for health insurance is simply not the right thing to do for a change mr. president, we ought to be trying to do the right thing. i yield the floor. >> mr. president i came to speak on the nomination of neil gorsuch is associate justice for the united states supreme court, but listening to my colleague from florida, i feel like i'm so missing something. he describes the affordable care
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act in a way but i do not recognize and he has talked about a bill that has not passed the house of representatives as complete. obama care was sold under false pretenses. doct he said if you like it you can keep it, and a family of four will see a reduction of the premiums by $2500. none of those have proven to be true. replac so, we are going to repeal and replace obama care. and but i have to tell my friend from florida, please join us. if you don't like the product that's working its way to congress please join us and help us make it better. right now all i see from my democratic friends is a pilot moment washing her hands and
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letting republicans alone to the heavy lifting. we would invite them to work with us in a bipartisan way. something that didn't happen in obama care which was passed on a partyline vote. i think it's proven to be at terrible mistake. >> with the senator yield since he invokes my name? >> i would yield for question but i would not yield the floor. >> alright mr. president, i don't intend for you to yield the floor and you are my friend. you started out by saying that you are missing something and yes, you missed the first part of my speech, in which i talked about these folks in the age category of 50 - 64 not eligible for medicare, medicare. >> a question but not a speech. >> okay, i'm about to ask a question.
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i want to introduce you to these people. they are in the age group of 50 - 64. in fact, they told me stories that have them scared to death which you believe that they believe that they are going tod say lose coverage? >> i would say to my friend from florida, that i think there has been a lot of false advertising and scaremongering taking place around the country trying to convince people that somehow they're going to lose their coverage which is not the case. we believe we can do better than obama care which created a one-size-fits-all healthcare package and basically deny people the right to choose the kind of coverage that suited them best at a price they could makin
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in texas along the person making about $25000 per year could spend up to 30% of their gross income under obama care. that's a young person and it's no surprise that many opt out of obama care and decided to pay the penalty or become noncompliant because it's unaffordable. i'm sympathetic certainly to the concerns and genuine concerns about getting appropriate health care coverage. but i hope people do not succumb to the scaremongering that is taking place in parts of the country telling people they will be left high and dry. that's . . is a uncapped entitlement. it is the fastest -- well, one of the fastest growing sources of federal government spending, and what the bill in the house is proposed to do is not to cut not to cut it but to restrain
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its rate of growth. right now it's the third-largest budget item against the texas budget. my friends in the text six legislator, a crowd out all other spending including law enforcement and education and other things because it eats up so much money because it uncap. we would propose to leave medicaid at the current levelsex but then makes her a growth according to the consumer price index, a rather generous one medical inflation. i'll start out desmet i'll say what i said earlier, i don't recognize the bill that my bill friend from florida describe.ltdown of and if the house did not pass the bill and the senate didn't pass the bill we still be here talking about the meltdown of the affordable care act because
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many insurance companies simply pulled out of the marketplace, many people don't have choices and they're forced to deal with the one remaining healthcare company and some places have all insurance companies pull out of the individual insurance market. i give for one more question. can senator from florida be back i think the distinguished senator from texas and he knows my affection for him. the senator has stated that he would like a bipartisan way to fix the current law. i would think with the senator believe if there were a genuine bipartisan attemptto fix what needs fixing instead of repealing and replacing it with something that has people petrified, that he could find that bipartisan consensus.
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>> i would welcome that any day and every day. the only way you get things done in any durable fashion is find a bye-bye to basis. so far, i think zero indication from our friends across the aisle that they're interested in working with us. i hope that's misunderstanding on my part and going forward, we will come up with some bipartisan bills. the truth is by giving the constraints of the budget process, were not going to be able to do everything we want to do in a bill that is going to pass the house on thursday which will take up here and a senate next week. there will be a necessity to do some more and i hope we can do that on a bipartisan basis. we also know the secretary of health and human services, tom price, is working from a regulatory standpoint to do everything he can to stabilize the insurance market in to make sure that people continue to have choices.
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i think this is fundamentally a test of our principles. whether we actually believe that more choices and competition and my firm conviction is choices and competition improve the quality and the service and the quality of the product. that's really one of the foundational principles on which our economy is based and i think it also works for healthcare. we haven't had that since obamacare past. >> scott wong is senior staff writer with the hill a long day ahead in the rules committee on wednesday for the republican healthcare plan. if you look down the road thursday what are the prospects of its passage for the house ? >> right now that's the biggest question in washington. the team led by representative louisiana is projecting competence as are many of the leadership aides. they say they are in a good place right now that they are
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slowly making their way to their magic number of 216 republican votes needed to pass this healthcare bill. however, the biggest roadblock is the house freedom caucus and its chairman, mark meadows. they met earlier today around noon and said that they are unmoved by some of the changes and tweaks that speaker ryan and donald trump made to the underlying healthcare bill just last night. republicans are divided and sort of at an impasse, at the moment. still lots of conversation happening at the capital, lots of meetings and movements but right now republicans do not have the 216 votes they need to get this thing to the finish line. >> the entire house met this morning and heard from president trump and your reporting on that
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on your piece of the hill .com that trump warns republicans ahead of healthcare vote. what he were numb about? >> right. that was the big news, making a rare visit to capitol hill to sell his health care plan. it was intended to be a sort of positive rally but trump did send a few warning shots saying if republicans don't get the job done on healthcare they could lose their seats in 2018 during the midterms and possibly even lose the house majority in addition to that trump said if they can't get healthcare done this week in the house and perhaps next week in the senate, that could derail his entire 2017 presidential agenda. president trump really setting the steak for the vote and stressing how monumental


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