July 25, 2017

On Senate Floor, Senator Hassan Highlights Dangerous Impact GOP Health Care Plan Would Have on Granite Staters

Senator Calls for Bipartisan Cooperation to Build on Affordable Care Act

HC Floor Speech 2

Click here for video of Senator Hassan’s remarks.

 

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor highlighting the dangerous impact that Republicans’ plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act would have on people across New Hampshire and America. Senator Hassan told the stories of Granite Staters who have benefited from the ACA and could be hurt by Republicans’ efforts to repeal it  – which the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said would raise costs and take insurance away from millions.

 

Key Points:

  • As version after version of this bill has emerged from behind closed doors, somehow, each time it is even worse than the last. And every version would be devastating for people across New Hampshire.
  • I have made clear to my colleagues across the aisle that I am willing to work with anyone who is serious about working together to build and improve on the Affordable Care Act to lower costs. But unfortunately, these Senate Republican bills would do just the opposite.
  • At the heart of all of these stories – Maura, Terry, and Elizabeth, and the stories I hear all over my state – is the basic fact that our communities, our families, and our entire country are better off when we give more people a chance to participate, to get the support they need, to live their lives with dignity, to contribute to our economy, and to thrive.

 

See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks:

Mr. President, I rise today to join my colleagues to once again speak out against the Senate Republican health care bill and the dangerous impacts it would have for the people in my home state of New Hampshire and Americans from all walks of life.

Mr. President, this week, Senate Republicans are pressing ahead with plans that would increase health insurance costs, give Americans worse health insurance, and strip away health coverage from millions of Americans.

Yet despite statements that a vote will come tomorrow, or in a matter of days, Senate Republican leadership will not tell even its own members what proposal we will vote on – let alone hold a hearing on the impact of the bill.

As version after version of this bill has emerged from behind closed doors, somehow, each time it is even worse than the last. And every version would be devastating for people across New Hampshire.

These bills would lead to higher costs for worse coverage; in fact the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has said we would see even higher deductibles than the ones we already see.

This proposal would decimate the Medicaid program and end Medicaid expansion.

It would take coverage away from millions -- The Congressional Budget Office has projected that between 22 and 32 million people would lose coverage depending on which bill we vote on.

We know that rising health care costs are squeezing hard-working people across America.

I have made clear to my colleagues across the aisle that I am willing to work with anyone who is serious about working together to build and improve on the Affordable Care Act to lower costs. But unfortunately, these Senate Republican bills would do just the opposite.

Over the past months, I have heard from people all across New Hampshire. They have shared their most personal stories, their frustrations, and their fears about what will happen if this bill becomes law.

Last month, Senator Shaheen and I held an emergency hearing in Concord to hear from our constituents about how proposals put forward by Senate Republicans would impact them.

We held this emergency hearing at 2 p.m., on a Friday afternoon in the summer, with just a day’s notice – yet hundreds of people showed up. And more than 50 people got up and shared their most personal of stories about the importance of health care, of how they have benefitted from the important protections that are provided under current law, including maternity care, prescription drug coverage, and coverage for substance use disorder services. One of those Granite Staters was a woman named Maura from Exeter, New Hampshire.

Maura told us that the Affordable Care Act has been a “financial lifesaver” for her family. She explained to us how when she signed up for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, her premiums dropped by 750 dollars a month because of subsidies.  As Maura described it, she and her family were able to put that extra 750 dollars each month toward childcare, food, and their mortgage.

On another recent visit to Granite State Independent Living in Concord – a non-profit that provides a range of assisted-living services for Granite Staters – I also heard about the importance of Medicaid from a Granite Stater named Terry.

Terry experiences physical disabilities and requires the assistance of personal care aides – who are paid for through Medicaid – they help her with daily tasks like getting up in the morning and getting dressed and preparing meals.

Terry said that without this support from Medicaid, she wouldn’t be able to go to work, to her job, or do basic tasks like shopping on her own. Without Medicaid, she would need to burden her family in order to complete every day, basic activities, and she wouldn’t be able to go to work.

Terry fears that this support could be taken away under this legislation. And she’s right, it could be. She said that given the cuts to Medicaid and the provisions in Trumpcare, she “wouldn’t get anywhere near what I need to survive.”

And finally, Mr. President, I have heard from advocates and those in recovery from substance use disorders about how vital Medicaid expansion has been in helping them get the support they need in order to get well and back on their feet.

In fact – those on the front lines have said that Medicaid expansion is the number one tool we have in order to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis, the most pressing public health and safety challenge facing my state.

A few weeks ago, I visited Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and heard from a woman named Elizabeth. At one point in her life, as a result of a substance misuse disorder, Elizabeth was homeless and she had lost custody of her son.

But Elizabeth is now in recovery, and she works at the SOS Recovery Community Organization in Rochester helping others get the support that they need. She said that she owes her recovery to Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act – and that holding on to Medicaid is essential, because without it, many people who are in the throes of addiction would not be able to find help.

Elizabeth said: “I just really want to emphasize the ripple effect that recovery has on the community. It’s not just because I’m in recovery that I can help somebody else. Everyone around me is impacted. When we talk about the recovery revolution, it’s about how everyone in the community is affected when someone gets into recovery.”

Well Elizabeth is right. People who get health care can get healthy, and that has a tremendous ripple effect. It lifts us all. It makes us productive and strong.

Mr. President, at the heart of all of these stories – Maura, Terry, and Elizabeth, and the stories I hear all over my state – is the basic fact that our communities, our families, and our entire country are better off when we give more people a chance to participate, to get the support they need, to live their lives with dignity, to contribute to our economy, and to thrive.

Unfortunately, if Trumpcare becomes law – the progress we have made will be lost, insurance costs will rise, and millions of people will lose the care that they need.

I am going to continue to stand with my Democratic colleagues and fight against this legislation until we defeat it once and for all.

And I urge the people of New Hampshire and across our beloved United States of America to continue speaking out about how this legislation would impact their lives.

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

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