July 18, 2017

Senator Hassan Speaks on Senate Floor Highlighting Need to Work Across Party Lines to Stabilize Individual Health Care Market and Lower Premiums

HC Floor Speech

Click here for video of Senator Hassan’s remarks.

 

WASHINGTON  - Today, Senator Maggie Hassan spoke on the Senate floor in support of Senator Jeanne Shaheen’s Marketplace Certainty Act, legislation that Senator Hassan helped introduced to lower health care premiums for middle class Americans and stabilize the individual market – which the Trump Administration has been working to sabotage.

Senators Shaheen and Hassan also helped introduced the Individual Health Insurance Marketplace Improvement Act to provide certainty in the marketplace by creating a permanent reinsurance program for the individual health insurance market. Senator Hassan also joined her colleagues in introducing common-sense legislation that helps improve the Affordable Care Act by addressing the income cliff that currently blocks many middle-class individuals and families from receiving financial help to purchase insurance through the marketplace.

Key Points:

  • The Trump Administration has been working to sabotage the individual market by playing games with cost-sharing reductions. Those cost-sharing reductions help lower out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and copays for individuals with health insurance plans in the marketplace. This legislation from Senator Shaheen is a common-sense measure, which would work to prevent the instability and chaos being pushed by the Administration.
  • I also join my colleagues in making clear that we are ready and willing to work across the aisle on priorities that will improve and build on the Affordable Care Act and bring down costs for people in New Hampshire and across the country.
  • In addition to the legislation you heard discussed by Senator Kaine and Senator Carper, there are other things we can do. I believe it is critical that we take on Big Pharma and bring down the costs of prescription drug prices, including allowing importing safe and affordable drugs and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

See below for Senator Hassan’s full remarks:

Thank you Mr. President. And Mr. President, I am honored to join my colleagues here today. I thank Senator Carper for his excellent suggestions and leadership in terms of reaching out to both current and former governors as we proceed on this issue. I’m very grateful to my colleague, Senator Kaine, for his leadership on the HELP Committee and what he brings as a former governor and mayor.

And I rise today to join my colleague from New Hampshire in supporting her efforts to help lower health care premiums for middle class Americans and to stabilize the insurance marketplace.

The Trump Administration has been working to sabotage the individual market by playing games with cost-sharing reductions. Those cost-sharing reductions help lower out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and copays for individuals with health insurance plans in the marketplace. This legislation from Senator Shaheen is a common-sense measure, which would work to prevent the instability and chaos being pushed by the Administration.

I also join my colleagues in making clear that we are ready and willing to work across the aisle on priorities that will improve and build on the Affordable Care Act and bring down costs for people in New Hampshire and across the country.

Mr. President, over the course of the last several months – we’ve seen that the partisan process Republican leadership has pushed with Trumpcare simply won’t work. It is going to take a bipartisan approach in order to make progress – not a senseless repeal bill that would pull the rug out from millions of Americans.

I’ve seen firsthand that it is possible for Democrats and Republicans to come together in order to improve our health care system. As Governor of New Hampshire, I worked across party lines to pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that delivered quality, affordable insurance to over 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters.

And expansion has truly made a difference for communities across my state – particularly for people impacted by the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis.

Just last week, I visited Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth, and heard from a woman named Elizabeth. At one point in her life, as result of a substance misuse disorder, Elizabeth was homeless and she lost the 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 the insurance she’s received through Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act.

Elizabeth’s story is a great example of the power of what is possible when we come together on bipartisan solutions to help improve the health of our people.

This is the same approach we need to take in the Senate. And I believe there are areas for bipartisan cooperation that we should working on in order to improve the Affordable Care Act.

In addition to Senator Shaheen’s legislation to stabilize the individual market, in addition to the legislation you heard discussed by Senator Kaine and Senator Carper, there are other things we can do. I believe it is critical that we take on Big Pharma and bring down the costs of prescription drug price, including allowing importing safe and affordable drugs and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

And I believe we should eliminate the existing income cliff in the Affordable Care Act that blocks many middle class individuals from receiving premium assistance.

Mr. President, these are common-sense measures that we should be taking now. People across our nation have made clear that they do not want Congress to do a wholesale repeal of the Affordable Care Act, because it would have devastating impacts for them and their families.

I urge my colleagues to put the partisan gamesmanship aside. I join Senator Kaine as a member of the HELP Committee in asking for a hearing at the very committee that is supposed to set health care policy in this body, so that we can listen to the voices of constituents, to providers, to other stakeholders. We need to come to the table ready to work on bipartisan solutions in order to improve our health care system.

All of our people deserve to have access to quality, affordable care so they can be healthy. That makes our country healthy, productive, and strong too.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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