November 01, 2017

Senator Hassan Delivers Floor Speech Highlighting Start of Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period

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Click here for video of the floor speech. 

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan today delivered a speech on the Senate floor where she highlighted the beginning of the Affordable Care Act’s open enrollment period, which begins today and runs through December 15, and encouraged Americans to get covered or shop for new plans at HealthCare.gov. Senator Hassan told the stories of two Granite Staters who received health care coverage through the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid Expansion, which allowed them to recover from serious illnesses and reenter the workforce.

Senator Hassan started her speech by sending her condolences to the victims of the attack in New York City, thanking the first responders, and recognizing “the resiliency of the people of New York. Once again, they are going forward with their lives today, showing the world and showing anyone who would do us harm that Americans stand together and we move forward regardless of what our foes may try to do.”

Key Points:

  • “The importance of affordable, quality care, is also critically important to those who are working but otherwise may not be able to afford health insurance even if employed. It’s something I have about heard often this year from citizens of my state, as my Republican colleagues attempted to pass Trumpcare legislation that would have led to higher health care costs for less care.”
  • “From today, through December 15, Granite Staters and all Americans have an opportunity to sign up for a healthcare plan at www.CoveringNewHampshire.org or www.HealthCare.gov. It is also important for people to take this opportunity to see what other plans are available, to shop around, and see if other plans offer more savings than your current one does. And, Mr. President, it is critical to educate our friends and neighbors about these options, given the Trump Administration’s attempts to sabotage our nation’s health care system.”
  • “I was proud to join HELP Committee Leaders – Senators Alexander and Murray – to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that would stabilize health insurance markets and lower costs for hard-working Americans. And this bill includes a provision that the New Hampshire Insurance Department could use to support its proposal to create a reinsurance pool to help reduce premiums in our state’s individual health insurance market. This legislation proves that it is possible to work across party lines to make progress in our health care system. It is clear that it has the votes to pass. We need Republican leadership to bring it up for a vote.”

Click here for video or see below for Senator Hassan’s full speech:

I want to start my remarks this morning by offering my thoughts to the victims in New York City from yesterday’s horrendous act of terror. My thanks to the first responders, and just note the resiliency of the people of New York.

Once again, they are going forward with their lives today, showing the world and showing anyone who would do us harm that Americans stand together and we move forward regardless of what our foes may try to do.

Mr. President, I also rise today to encourage Granite Staters, as my colleague from Washington did, and people across the country to take advantage of the health insurance open enrollment period, which begins today and runs through December 15.

Mr. President, every citizen deserves quality, affordable health insurance coverage to help them live healthy and productive lives.

Access to health care is critical to the freedom, dignity, and well-being of our citizens; and it also contributes to a productive workforce and a thriving economy. I still remember meeting with a constituent named Jo, about a year or two ago, who has a chronic health condition. And when she lost her job in 2009 and lost her health insurance with it, her condition deteriorated to the point where she couldn’t work and a downward spiral ensued. She lost her home, she couldn’t get healthcare because she had no resources. Because of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, she was eventually able to get health care to get the therapy she needed, the surgery she needed. And now she is working again.

So, health care is not only for the benefit of the individual who receives it. It helps that individual become a productive member of our workforce.

And the importance of affordable, quality care, is also critically important to those who are working but may not otherwise be able to afford health insurance even if employed. It’s something I have about heard often this year from citizens of my state, as my Republican colleagues attempted to pass Trumpcare legislation that would have led to higher health care costs for less care.

At an emergency field hearing in June that I held with Senator Shaheen, we heard from a woman named Enna, from Exeter, New Hampshire.

Enna, who is self-employed, said that prior to the Affordable Care Act her family was unable to maintain insurance consistently. And even when she did have it, her previous policy did not cover critical preventative care that she needed.

As a result of the ACA, Enna has been able to purchase affordable health insurance through the marketplace in New Hampshire for herself and her family of four – giving them the peace of mind that comes with having health insurance, while continuing to grow her own business.

Enna’s story is the story of so many people in New Hampshire. And it represents why it is essential for people across the country to take advantage of this open enrollment period.

From today, through December 15, Granite Staters and all Americans have an opportunity to sign up for a health care plan at www.CoveringNewHampshire.org or www.HealthCare.gov.

It is also important for people to take this opportunity to see what other plans are available, to shop around, and see if other plans offer more savings than your current one does.

And, Mr. President, it is critical to educate our friends and neighbors about these options, given the Trump Administration’s attempts to sabotage our nation’s health care system.

These sabotage attempts include the Department of Health and Human Services slashing the Affordable Care Act’s outreach and advertising budgets ahead of open enrollment – which provide key information and resources for those who need to sign up for care. 

It’s clear that the Trump Administration doesn’t want people to know that they can enroll, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land, people can still get covered, and financial assistance is available for many on the health care exchange.

Mr. President, we must end this sabotage, and continue to work together on efforts to lower costs and build on and improve the Affordable Care Act.

And that is exactly what I am focused on.

I was proud to join HELP Committee Leaders – Senators Alexander and Murray – to co-sponsor bipartisan legislation that would stabilize health insurance markets and lower costs for hard-working Americans.

And this bill includes a provision that the New Hampshire Insurance Department could use to support its proposal to create a reinsurance pool to help reduce premiums in our state’s individual health insurance market.

This legislation proves that it is possible to work across party lines to make progress in our health care system. It is clear that it has the votes to pass. We need Republican leadership to bring it up for a vote.

Mr. President, it is up to all of us to come together and make sure that health care is truly available and affordable to all of our people – and to encourage our fellow citizens to sign up for the care that they need to help their families thrive.

The enrollment period is a critical time for the health and well-being of our citizens, for our productivity as well, as a country.  I encourage Granite Staters to take advantage of this opportunity and receive the benefits that come with affordable health care.

Now, Mr. President, I also want to take a moment to address the continued efforts this week from President Trump and my Republican colleagues to push through nominees who will truly reshape our federal judiciary.

Mr. President, an independent and impartial judiciary is critical to democracy and to our march toward progress.

Our founders established our court system to serve as an independent arbiter that would protect the rights of all Americans and ensure equal justice under the laws.

Unfortunately, the nominees who have been selected by the President, and who have been voted on throughout this year, have been hand-picked by far-right groups to serve a conservative agenda.

We’ve seen judicial nominees who have not committed to upholding the precedent of Roe v. Wade and protecting a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions and control her own destiny in doing so. Nominees who have stood against basic rights and freedoms for LGBTQ Americans, and who have opposed protections for workers’ rights. This is unacceptable. 

Mr. President, we are voting on lifetime appointments that require a commitment to equal justice, to objectivity, and sound judgment.

I will continue to oppose judicial nominees who do not live up to those standards. And I urge my colleagues to do the same.

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

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