Tag Archives: Affordable Care Act

馃幎馃幎 to our ears!

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Go, Jim, go! pic: R.T.

McGovern Slams GOP for Shutdown Threat in Latest Effort to Steamroll Harmful Healthcare Bill

(I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.)

Today Congressman Jim McGovern led debate for Democrats on the House Floor and called for Republicans to end their threats to once again shut down the government and steamroll their healthcare bill.

With just one day before the federal government runs out of money, House Republicans are once again trying to ram through a deeply unpopular healthcare bill.

Full Text of Congressman McGovern鈥檚 Speech:

鈥淗ere we are again, just one day from our government running out of funding, confronting yet another manufactured, totally avoidable crisis. And instead of working on a bill to fully fund American鈥檚 biggest priorities, we鈥檙e back on the floor with more filler legislation. It seems Republicans care more about looking busy than actually doing their jobs.

鈥淭his rule provides for the consideration of H.R. 1694, the Fannie and Freddie Open Records Act of 2017. It鈥檚 a fine bill designed to strengthen transparency at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I support the legislation. My Democratic colleagues support the legislation. The Republican majority supports the legislation. In fact, I haven鈥檛 found one person yet who doesn鈥檛 support this bill.

路 Freedom of information is a good thing, M. Speaker. I support FOIA.

路 But what about freedom from the threat of a government shutdown?

路 What about freedom from the threat of a default on our national debt?

路 What about freedom to know what our President鈥檚 conflicts of interest are, and to see his tax returns?

路 What about freedom from having our healthcare protections ripped away? Protections like essential health benefits, and protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

路 And what about freedom to know what Congressional Republicans and the White House are doing to our healthcare system behind closed doors?

鈥淣one of this seems to matter.

鈥淏ut the most troubling part of this rule is that it declares blanket martial law through Saturday that allows Republicans to bring anything to the floor between now and then.

鈥淣ow, I understand the importance of rushing something to the floor when the government is about to run out of money 鈥 although I鈥檇 point out that we鈥檙e seven months into the fiscal year and my Republican friends set this deadline themselves back in December, so there is absolutely no excuse for Congress to come within hours of yet another shutdown.

鈥淭his is just the latest example of Republican obstruction, obfuscation, and incompetence that has once again brought us to the edge of the cliff. And this is no way to govern.

鈥淭his rule would allow Republican Leadership to rush anything to the floor within hours of it being released, not just appropriations.

鈥淚t gives them blanket authority to jam us with whatever new disaster they cook up with the White House in the backrooms of Capitol Hill. And that includes the latest health care deal I鈥檝e heard so much about this week.

鈥淥f course, with it being a backroom deal, we were relying on news reports all week to clue us into the terrible new provisions.

鈥淚t was only last night 鈥 around midnight 鈥 when the Republicans finally posted their newest health care proposal, that we were able to confirm just how bad it really is. Incredibly, this new amendment will make the bill even worse than before.

鈥淗onest to God, I didn鈥檛 know that was possible!

In addition to killing the requirement to provide basic, crucial, essential benefits like maternity care, prescription drugs, and emergency services, this new amendment will also completely gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

鈥淚n fact, this amendment directly violates the commitment made by President Trump and House Republicans to protect those with pre-existing conditions.

鈥淭his newest proposal will allow insurers to charge an unlimited 鈥渁ge tax鈥 to older Americans. And to make matters even worse, Republicans have set up a system that would allow women to once again be charged more than men for health coverage. It would bring us back to those bad old days when insurance companies could charge women more because they said being a woman was a pre-existing condition. Give me a break.

鈥淎ll of this on top of a disaster of a healthcare bill that will cause 24 million Americans to lose their healthcare coverage. In addition, their bill would cut Medicaid by close to $1 trillion and take that trillion dollars and give it in the form of tax breaks to the wealthiest individuals in the country.

鈥淭his is not the way we should be running this House.

All of this just to appease the most conservative fringes within the Republican conference in an attempt to deliver a 鈥減olitical win鈥 to Donald Trump so he can celebrate his 100th day in office. Doesn鈥檛 matter what the details are, he just wants to tout a victory of some sort. Well, this is not a victory for the American people. This would be a disaster for the American people.

鈥淚t鈥檚 no wonder my Republican colleagues have been overwhelmed by angry calls from their constituents at home demanding that they oppose this reckless and heartless bill. As one Republican remarked, 鈥淚 spent the whole work period hearing from people pissed about pre-existing conditions. This isn鈥檛 helpful.鈥

鈥淯nder this rule, these dangerous backroom deals could be rushed to the floor without any proper deliberation, but they will have a very real, very serious, and very dangerous consequence for millions of Americans. Real lives are at stake here.

I can鈥檛 help but also note that this newest amendment exempts Congress from the terrible impacts of this proposal. Can you believe that? Knowing just how damaging these new provisions are, Republicans wanted to keep healthcare protections for themselves, but set up another system for their constituents.

鈥淚t was only after the press caught Republicans with their hand in the cookie jar that they introduced yet another bill to un-exempt themselves. But the new bill to un-exempt Congress would require a 60 vote super majority in the Senate. What are the odds that鈥檚 gonna happen?

鈥淎re we seriously supposed to trust that they won鈥檛 exempt themselves from this terrible plan? To trust that the Senate can muster 60 votes to pass this provision or anything else?

鈥淟et me be clear, this maneuver is a procedural sleight of hand. This is legislative smoke and mirrors designed to give Republicans 鈥 who tried to pull a fast one and got caught 鈥 a talking point.

鈥淩epublicans wrote the bill. So change the damn bill, don鈥檛 just say 鈥渢rust us, we will pass another bill to fix the fix, and we will get the Senate to NOT make any changes, oh while we are at it, we will get a super-majority in the Senate to support it.鈥

鈥淲ho do you think you鈥檙e fooling?

鈥淚 urge all of my colleagues to defeat this martial law rule, and I reserve the balance of my time.”

Congressman Jim McGovern Pledges to Fight GOP Repeal of Affordable Care Act

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From Jim’s office:

Today Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, led debate for Democrats against S.Con.Res. 3, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution, the House Republican bill to begin the process of repealing of the Affordable Care Act.

鈥淔or nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

鈥淲e have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor. I鈥檇 be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. We want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don鈥檛 want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country.鈥

鈥淭he Donald Trumps of the world certainly don鈥檛 have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick 鈥 they鈥檒l just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers 鈥 as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

鈥淎s someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

In Congressman McGovern鈥檚 closing remarks, he spoke directly to Republicans, 鈥淚t is a cruel thing to do to take away people鈥檚 health care. We believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don鈥檛. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. We鈥檙e gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people鈥檚 health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we鈥檙e going to fight you on this.鈥

*****

Full Text of Congressman McGovern鈥檚 Floor Speech:

鈥淔or nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

鈥淲e have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor! I鈥檇 be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. But rather than work together to tweak it, to make it better, all we get from them are repeal bills, repeal bills, repeal bills. And let me again point out 鈥 not once, not once was a replacement bill offered.

鈥淣ot only do Republicans not have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and protect access to health care for more than 20 million Americans who gained coverage, they can鈥檛 even agree on a timeline for when they鈥檒l pass their replacement.

路 President-elect Trump says repeal and replace will be done on the same day and he wants it to happen now.

路 Rep. Steve Scalise said Republicans will replace the ACA over the course of the next few months.

路 Sen. John Thune said it could take two or three years for the replacement to be implemented.

路 Rep. Chris Collins said Republicans have six months to work out the replacement plan.

路 Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to even give a timeline, just saying it would happen.

鈥淲hile Republicans fight for each other over timelines, I think it鈥檚 appropriate to ask: If they did have a replacement, what would that replacement be?

鈥淎nd what, specifically, would they replace the ACA with?

鈥淲ell, President-elect Donald Trump has the answer! When asked what we should replace Obamacare with he said, and I quote, 鈥淪omething terrific.鈥 When pressed for details and more specificity, he said 鈥淪omething that people will really, really, really like.鈥

鈥淵ou can鈥檛 make this stuff up! It would be laughable if it weren鈥檛 so tragic.

鈥淚t鈥檚 tragic because what Republicans are trying to do is take health care protections away from millions and millions of families.

鈥淣o one in Congress has to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. And the Donald Trumps of the world certainly don鈥檛 have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick 鈥 they鈥檒l just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers 鈥 as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

鈥淏ut for millions of Americans it will be a different story. Repealing the ACA would mean over 30 million Americans would lose coverage, including nearly 4 million children; more than 52 million individuals with pre-existing conditions could have coverage rescinded or see their premiums dramatically increased; millions of young adults would be unable to stay on their parents鈥 plans until they are 26; over 14 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion would lose coverage; and nearly 140 million individuals with private insurance would lose access to preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.

鈥淎nd millions of seniors would see their prescription drug prices increase because it would re-open the so-called doughnut hole that the ACA has begun to close.

鈥淩epublicans want to slash Medicaid, a health care program that does a lot of good and enables mothers to work their way out of poverty by providing affordable coverage for their children.

鈥淎nd as someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

鈥淭hat鈥檚 what鈥檚 at stake 鈥 and that鈥檚 what my Republican colleagues are so happy, so giddy, and so excited to do. It is sad. It is pathetic.

鈥淏ut 鈥 they鈥檙e moving forward anyway 鈥 with no replacement in sight. I suppose they can roll out their oldies but goodies 鈥 like health savings accounts or their other healthcare prescription 鈥 take two tax breaks and call me in the morning.

鈥淏ut that doesn鈥檛 do it.

鈥淲e have a complicated health care system, no doubt. I wish it were simpler. That鈥檚 why I鈥檝e always favored a single-payer system and that is why I favor a public option.

鈥淏ut the problem with our system before Obamacare was that it left all the decisions up to the insurance companies. Do you remember the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health insurance because they said 鈥渂eing a woman was a pre-existing condition?鈥

鈥淭hey can鈥檛 do that anymore. Why? Not because of my Republican friends. They can鈥檛 do it anymore because we passed the ACA.

鈥淚t is a cruel thing to do to take away people鈥檚 health care. I will say to my Republican colleagues that they need to know that we will fight you every step of the way on this. There are some battles on behalf of the American people that are worth having and worth fighting and this is one of them, making sure that their health care protections remain intact. I came to Congress to help people, not make their lives more miserable.鈥

鈥淭his is a sad day because what we are doing here by voting for this budget is setting in motion a process to deny millions of people health care protections. I can鈥檛 imagine why anyone would want to do that.

Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No. We鈥檙e the first to admit that and we want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don鈥檛 want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country. People who have benefitted from no pre-existing conditions. People who have benefitted by being able to keep their kids on their insurance until they are 26. Senior citizens who have benefitted from closing the doughnut hole. I could go on and on and on. All of that is about to be eliminated.

We鈥檙e told that there will be a replacement. Someday. Somehow. For six years, over six years, you have been talking about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replacement and you haven鈥檛 brought one bill to the floor. Not one.

鈥淣ow, we believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don鈥檛. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. And as I said in my opening statement, we鈥檙e gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people鈥檚 health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we鈥檙e going to fight you on this.鈥

******

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pic: R.T.

Peter Stefan of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home in Main South often helps seniors pay for their prescription meds. Our system is broken! Americans deserve single-payer health care! An expanded version of Medicare is the ticket to a healthier U.S.A! – R. Tirella