July 31, 2018

Senator Hassan Marks 53rd Anniversary of Medicaid and Medicare, Calls for Commitment to Protect The Programs for Years to Come

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To watch the Senator’s speech, click here.

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor today marking this week’s 53rd anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson signing Medicare and Medicaid into law. Senator Hassan highlighted the need to fight back against attempts from the Trump Administration and congressional Republicans to slash funding for these critical programs.  

“53 years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, delivering health care to seniors and some of our most vulnerable citizens, and bolstering efforts to expand opportunity and help more of our people thrive,” Senator Hassan opened her remarks.

“On this anniversary we must reaffirm our commitment to protecting Medicare and Medicaid and strengthening them so that they are available for future generations,” Senator Hassan said. “Unfortunately – the Trump Administration and my Republican colleagues have repeatedly pushed efforts that would undermine and drastically cut Medicare and Medicaid.  During last year’s Trumpcare debate – a top priority for Republicans was instituting massive cuts to Medicaid that would have forced states to choose between slashing benefits, reducing the amount of people who can get care, or both- threatening the very services that children, people with disabilities, and seniors depend on.”

The Senator also emphasized the importance of protecting Medicaid expansion, which experts have called the single most important tool in the fight against the opioid crisis. Senator Hassan recounted the story of Elizabeth Atwood from Rochester who struggled with substance use disorder, but through the services she was able to receive through Medicaid expansion, is in recovery and now working at SOS Recovery Community Organization, helping other Granite Staters who are facing similar challenges she did. The Senator recognized Elizabeth as her first “Granite Stater of the Month” in September 2017.  

As Governor, Senator Hassan worked across party lines to establish and reauthorize Medicaid expansion, which has now provided more than 50,000 Granite Staters with quality, affordable health insurance.

See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks or watch her speech here:

M. President, 53 years ago this week, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare and Medicaid into law, delivering health care to seniors and some of our most vulnerable citizens, and bolstering efforts to expand opportunity and help more of our people thrive. 

Today, tens of millions of Americans are covered through Medicare and Medicaid.

In communities in New Hampshire and throughout our country, seniors are able to live active, engaging, and high-quality lives – participating civically and economically – because of the care that Medicare provides.

And we know that Medicaid has delivered countless benefits and opportunities to people from all walks of life.

Medicaid helps seniors and those who experience disabilities receive supports that allow them to live independently in their homes and in their communities.

It also helps countless children who experience disabilities go to school – and it assists school districts in covering costs for special education services and equipment.

And New Hampshire’s bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan has provided more than 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters with the peace of mind that comes with quality, affordable health insurance.

Experts on the front lines have said that our Medicaid expansion plan is the number one tool at our disposal to combat the opioid crisis in New Hampshire.

What we've learned is that when people who have substance misuse disorder have Medicaid coverage, they have the opportunity to change their lives. People like a Granite Stater named Elizabeth, who at one point in her life was homeless and lost custody of her son as a result of a substance misuse disorder.

Elizabeth is in recovery and works at the SOS Recovery Community Organization in Rochester – a facility that recently celebrated an expansion to ensure that they can help even more people in need.

Elizabeth has credited her recovery to the services she’s received through Medicaid expansion, and has stressed its importance in helping people who have struggled with substance misuse disorder find the support and help that they need to improve their lives to get better, to work, to raise a family.

M. President, on this anniversary we must reaffirm our commitment to protecting Medicare and Medicaid and strengthening them so that they are available for future generations.

Unfortunately – the Trump Administration and my Republican colleagues have repeatedly pushed efforts that would undermine and drastically cut Medicare and Medicaid. 

During last year’s Trumpcare debate, a top priority for Republicans was instituting massive cuts to Medicaid that would have forced states to choose between slashing benefits, reducing the number of people who can get care, or both – threatening the very services that children, people with disabilities, and seniors depend on.

Thankfully, the Trumpcare bill failed. But efforts from this Administration to sabotage the health of millions haven’t stopped.  And Medicare and Medicaid continue to be under threat for drastic cuts – all so that Republicans can pay for their massive tax breaks for corporate special interests.

These attacks on our health care must stop. Our constituents understand the benefits of these programs and they want us to work together to safeguard them so that they are available and effective for our seniors, our children, our most vulnerable, now, and in the future.

M. President, with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid – our country acknowledged an obligation to protect the health and wellness of our people. And it acknowledged and it has seen the value of doing so for individuals, for communities, and for our economy.

M. President, 53 years ago, Americans made a promise to each other, as a self-governing people, that has the unique privilege and power to do. 

I am going to continue fighting to make good on that promise for years to come.

I thank you, M. President. I yield the floor. 

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