September 19, 2017

Senator Hassan on Senate Floor: Graham-Cassidy Bill: “Every Bit as Dangerous as the Trumpcare Plans We Saw This Summer – If Not Worse”

MWH_GrahamCassidy Floor speech
Click here for video of Senator Hassan’s remarks.
 

WASHINGTON – This evening, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the U.S. Senate floor highlighting the harmful impact that the Graham-Cassidy health care bill would have on Granite Staters and all Americans. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Senator Hassan participated this month in bipartisan health care hearings focused on stabilizing the individual health insurance market and lowering costs.

Key Points from the Senator’s Remarks:

  • In July, Granite Staters breathed a sigh of relief, when the Senate defeated a proposal that would have raised health care costs and stripped health insurance away from millions. When that bill failed, I was hopeful that we would move forward on a bipartisan process to make key improvements to the Affordable Care Act. And that is exactly the process we have started on in the HELP Committee – focusing on bipartisan solutions to stabilize the health insurance market.
  • This bill would end Medicaid expansion – a program that Democrats and Republicans in New Hampshire came together on to pass and reauthorize. Medicaid expansion has provided quality, affordable health insurance coverage to over 50,000 Granite Staters. And experts on the front lines of New Hampshire’s heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis have said it is the number one tool we have to combat this epidemic.
  • Over the course of this year, the people of New Hampshire have laid themselves bare, and shared story after story of how they would be impacted by these dangerous attempts to roll back access to health care […] You know, it really shouldn’t be necessary for people to have to come forward and share their most personal stories – all in an attempt to get their elected representatives to work together in a bipartisan manner and not take coverage away. We actually should be able to do that in the United States Senate on our own.
  • But now, just as we are starting to work on a bipartisan basis, as our constituents asked us to do, the American people are faced with another harmful, partisan Trumpcare bill that will destabilize our health care system, drive premiums up, and make care less affordable. Mr. President, we must come together to build on and improve the Affordable Care Act – and ensure that every American has meaningful, truly affordable access to the type of care that each of us would choose for our own family. And we must reject this proposal and continue moving forward on the bipartisan path that we’ve started on in the HELP Committee.

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

Mr. President, I rise today to oppose the latest, disastrous iteration of Trumpcare – the Graham-Cassidy proposal.

Mr. President, it is disappointing that we are here once again.

In July, Granite Staters breathed a sigh of relief, when the Senate defeated a proposal that would have raised health care costs and stripped health insurance away from millions.

When that bill failed, I was hopeful that we would move forward on a bipartisan process to make key improvements to the Affordable Care Act. And that is exactly the process we have started on in the HELP Committee – focusing on bipartisan solutions to stabilize the health insurance market.

Now, in direct contrast to this important, bipartisan work – some of our Republican colleagues are making one last-ditch effort to pass partisan legislation.

Make no mistake: Graham-Cassidy is more of the same. And it is every bit as dangerous as the Trumpcare plans we saw this summer – if not worse. 

Granite Staters – and all Americans – should be concerned if this bill is rushed into law.

Mr. President, my colleagues are moving so quickly to try to get this bill passed, that the CBO says it won’t be able to score it by September 30.

But it’s clear that this bill would make things worse for most Americans.

If you have a pre-existing condition – including cancer, asthma, or diabetes – you could once again be discriminated against with higher costs that make health coverage unaffordable.

This bill would end Medicaid expansion – a program that Democrats and Republicans in New Hampshire came together on to pass and reauthorize.

Medicaid expansion has provided quality, affordable health insurance coverage to over 50,000 Granite Staters. And experts on the front lines of New Hampshire’s heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis have said it is the number one tool we have to combat this epidemic.

Ending Medicaid expansion would pull the rug out from under those receiving coverage. It would put thousands of people at risk. 

In addition, Graham-Cassidy would “cut and cap” the Medicaid program – those words, “cut and cap,” are really just code for massive cuts to the funding that states receive – including New Hampshire losing hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding for Medicaid over the next decade.

This cut would force states to choose between slashing benefits, reducing the number of people who can get care, or in some cases having to do both.

And it would impact some of our most vulnerable citizens: children, seniors who need home care or nursing home care, and people who experience disabilities.

Graham-Cassidy would allow states to get rid of important patient protections in current law, protections called Essential Health Benefits that ensure that all insurance covers things like maternity care, prescription drugs, and substance use disorder services.

Finally, this bill would continue Republican efforts to roll back women’s access to health care by defunding Planned Parenthood - which provides critical primary and preventive health care services to thousands of New Hampshire women.

Mr. President, as we continue to debate the future of our nation’s health care system, we have to understand how things would actually play out on the ground for the people we are trying to serve.

Over the course of this year, the people of New Hampshire have laid themselves bare, and shared story after story of how they would be impacted by these dangerous attempts to roll back access to health care.

People like the Keene resident who has a pre-existing condition, and had health insurance through his job – but when he lost that job, he was able to start a new successful small business – all because he knew he’d be able to get quality health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Or people like the Granite Stater who experiences disabilities, but is able to live independently in his home and in his community as a result of the personal care services that he receives through Medicaid.

And people like the mom from Rochester who is benefitting from substance use disorder services that are included in Medicaid expansion and would be taken away under this bill.

You know, it really shouldn’t be necessary for people to have to come forward and share their most personal stories – all in an attempt to get their elected representatives to work together in a bipartisan manner and not take coverage away. We actually should be able to do that in the United States Senate on our own.

But now, just as we are starting to work on a bipartisan basis, as our constituents asked us to do, the American people are faced with another harmful, partisan Trumpcare bill that will destabilize our health care system, drive premiums up, and make care less affordable.

Mr. President, we must come together to build on and improve the Affordable Care Act – and ensure that every American has meaningful, truly affordable access to the type of care that each of us would choose for our own family.

And we must reject this proposal and continue moving forward on the bipartisan path that we’ve started on in the HELP Committee.

I am going to keep standing with my Democratic colleagues – and I urge the people of New Hampshire and all Americans to continue to speak out and share their stories. 

Together, we will once again defeat this attempt to undermine the health care of millions of Americans.

And we will make clear that in the United States of America, all of our people must be able to get quality, affordable care.

Thank you, Mr. President, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.

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