Senate Democrats Say Theyre Ready to Work with GOP on Health Care CSPAN July 19, 2017 12:19am-12:33am EDT
supreme court justice. we have 14 repeals of regulations, we are only six months into it. last time i looked, congress goes on for two years. we will be moving on to comprehensive tax reform and the infrastructure. there is much work left to be done for the american people. we are ready to tackle it. >> [indiscernible] sen. schumer: ok, good afternoon, everyone. i'm proud to be joined -- and i am proud to be joined by senators klobuchar and heinrich. it is getting clearer and
clearer senate republicans will not be able to pass their bill or a backup plan to repeal without replacement. we democrats believe that the time has finally come for our republican colleagues to take us up on our offer of working together to improve the health care system rather than sabotage it. evidently president trump is proposing a different path. he wants to throw up his hands, rather than roll up his sleeves, to work with us and solve the problem. let's be very clear about what the president is proposing and where his path would lead. the president would not be "living obamacare -- letting obamacare collapsed." he is actively, actively trying to undermine the health care system in this country using millions of americans as
political pawns in a cynical game. by continuing to deny the insurance market their certainty they need to function, the president is playing a dangerous game with the health care of this country. so our republican colleagues here in the senate have a choice to make. they can follow the president down a path that will lead to higher premiums, less care, and millions of americans losing coverage. they can join president trump in trying to sabotage the system and hurt millions of innocent americans to try and make a political point that has failed already. or they can start today working with democrats. we can work together to lower premiums. we can work together to save the -- to stabilize the market. we can work together to improve the quality of health care. this is not a radical idea.
a group of 11 republican and democratic governors called for exactly the kind of bipartisan cooperation we are calling for, a bipartisan group of governors. we democrats have held the door to bipartisanship open for our republican colleagues for months. it is time for republicans to walk through it. senator klobuchar. sen. klobuchar: thank you very much, senator schumer. and thank you so much for the work you have done. this is our moment. we have been waiting for this moment for months and months, in fact for years, because all we have ever heard since we started talking about changes we would like to see to the affordable care act has been repeal, repeal, repeal. the last few months we are on two versions of the house bill, two versions of the senate bill, and every single time it seems to get worse. we are now at a position where
people% of the american approved the last republican version of the bill. last thing we hear about is repeal again. if they want to have a vote on that, fine, but we know where this is going to end up, and it will end up where we should have begun, and that is working, democrats and republicans, on positive changes to the american people to the affordable care act. we have never said it was a perfect bill. in fact the day it passed, i said it was the beginning and not an end. that is why i am a strong supporter of senator kaine's work and senator carver's work. we were just on the floor asking our republican colleagues to join us. the republican legislature in minnesota worked with the democratic governor and made changes in their state. we would like to see that nationally. we have talked about cost sharing and the work we can do with senator shaheen's bill.
finally i have a number of proposals that have republican support on prescription drug cost and prices. we owe the american people to work with the republicans, and they owe it to them to work with us. this is our moment. this is our moment. sen. schumer: senator heinrich. sen. heinrich: we have two choices in front of us. we can take one more crack at trying to sabotage the entire health care system and every iteration of these attempts has just been that. every one of them has included undoing medicaid expansions, the most powerful tool we have to fightural hospitals open, the opioid epidemic, or do the right thing which has not been embraced not only by a bipartisan group of governors but more and more senators on both sides of the aisle, to actually go back to regular order.
draft a bill in committee. have hearings. find ways to stabilize the market rather than sabotage the market. those are our choices. and as leader schumer said, you can open the door. i hope at this point republicans are willing to walk through. senator schumer: ready for your questions. >> have republican leaders given you any indication once this vote fails, they will sit down with you and start working together? senator schumer: a good number have suggested that to me and many of my colleagues. senator mcconnell a few weeks ago said if their bill fails, they would want to work with us. we hope they will do that. the president's path, which is to sabotage the system and hurts millions of people, make them -- make things far worse than they are today, is not a choice. i hope our republican colleagues will realize that.
don't you think both sides, even if there were these behind the scenes conversations, that both sides have to swallow their pride, and it is nice to talk about working together -- noator schumer: there is pride here. we talk about the american people. that is plain and simple. that has motivated our entire caucus was the realization that what is being proposed in trumpcare would have 20 million people lose coverage, making it so hard to deal with pre-existing conditions, would have made it hard for families to keep their loved in nursing ones homes. this is not a game. we go out and talk to our constituents who this affects, and we want to help them. this is not something i think a lot of people on the other side have this ideological view that is so detached from reality they are removed from it.
that is not us. we are not entrenched. we have been calling to work with our republican colleagues, we will see. let's find out. >> regular order can be slow, it can be a grinding process, it can take a long time. senator schumer: first of all the market has been stabilizing until president trump and some of the republicans joining him decided to sabotage it. had they called for cost sharing to be permanent, premiums would have been stabilized, health care would have gotten better. it is not too late. they can do that tomorrow on their own. and i believe in the health committee, senator alexander and senator murray would consider such a bill. i think senator alexander is open to it. we could move that quickly. as for changing the health care
system, it should not be done quickly, it should not be done behind closed doors. it should not be done in the dark of night. the history of america shows, when you do things in the sunlight, when you do things bipartisan and deliberately, the result is better than what they tried to do, which is have a small number of people in a dark room and not tell anybody else what they are doing. >> thank you so much. what guarantee do you have the trump administration won't stop making the cost sharing payments you mentioned? senator schumer: they are sabotaging the system, and it will rest on their shoulders. the overwhelming majority of american people know that president trump republicans are in charge. if they sabotage the system, they will pay a huge political price. i think president trump at his peak doesn't understand that, but he is hurting his own presidency and his own party by threatening to hurt so many people just because he wants to
play a political gotha. >> [indiscernible] senator schumer: we are not going to find common ground on everything, but we can find some common ground right away. we have asked for three modest things that would do a lot of good which amy and martin mentioned. which is cost sharing, which reduces premiums and make health care better permanently. the industry itself shows nothing to do more to lower up than for going cost-sharing. the reinsurance exchange proposed by senators kaine and carper could do a lot to make the system better. and senator mccaskill's proposal that in their counties that people get the same opportunity for health insurance that we do makes a lot of sense. that kind of avoids the ideological fights you are talking about.
senator klobuchar: in addition to mentioning my own legislature and some of the legislatures across the country, senator collins has long been involved in this reinsurance issue. i mentioned the prescription drug issue and that is right for discussion. i have a bill with senator grassley to stop the pay for delay. it is a very important bill to him where pharmaceutical companies are paying off generics to keep their products off the market. we have medicare negotiations that republicans of been up to do in the past. i have accain and bill for less expensive drugs from canada. i am just giving you the bills i have. there are a number of things that are bipartisan members have been talking about for years. we have not had that door open, as senator schumer has said, to be able to start this negotiation.
i am hopeful this is our moment in time. it appears they do not have the votes to pass, and then we start . outhe best way to figure which one of those ideas can reach consensus between the two caucuses is to go through the regular order, to have hearings, thatve the kind of process has been missing in this entire debate. on january 4, the first day congress convened, the republicans passed what is called reconciliation. that meant, we don't want any democrats involved. we wanted to be involved. they went through this process from day one. it wasn't that they came to us and we sat down and couldn't agree. they closed us off. they thought they could do it on their own. talent is clear they can't, and the door is open again. we would welcome them walking