Fighting Back: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen – “Republicans do not have a mandate to take away people’s health coverage”

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Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat from New Hampshire, delivered this weeks Democratic Weekly Address:

Sen. Shaheen:

President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have rejected bipartisanship. They are tying themselves in knots trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act – often called Obamacare. But for millions of everyday Americans, health coverage isn’t about politics, it’s a matter of life and death.

“On Monday in Concord, NH, I met with a former construction supervisor named Philip Spagnuolo. Like millions of others in my state and across America, Philip had been struggling with addiction. But thanks to the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire – made possible by Obamacare – he has been able to get treatment, enter recovery, and build a new life.

“I talked with a police officer in Laconia, NH, who has been reaching out to families struggling with substance use disorders. He estimates that of the nearly 170 families he has worked with, almost three-quarters rely on health coverage through Medicaid.

“The oldest rule in medicine is “do no harm.” But millions of Americans like Philip and those families in Laconia will be hurt by efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, also known as Trumpcare.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Shaheen Delivers National Democratic Weekly Address

“Hello, I’m Jeanne Shaheen, Senator from New Hampshire. I previously served as New Hampshire’s governor. During my years as governor and now as Senator, I’ve worked across the aisle to get things done.

“That’s not what we’re seeing in Washington right now. President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress have rejected bipartisanship. They are tying themselves in knots trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act – often called Obamacare. But for millions of everyday Americans, health coverage isn’t about politics, it’s a matter of life and death.

“On Monday in Concord, NH, I met with a former construction supervisor named Philip Spagnuolo. Like millions of others in my state and across America, Philip had been struggling with addiction. But thanks to the expansion of Medicaid in New Hampshire – made possible by Obamacare – he has been able to get treatment, enter recovery, and build a new life.

“I talked with a police officer in Laconia, NH, who has been reaching out to families struggling with substance use disorders. He estimates that of the nearly 170 families he has worked with, almost three-quarters rely on health coverage through Medicaid.

“The oldest rule in medicine is “do no harm.” But millions of Americans like Philip and those families in Laconia will be hurt by efforts to repeal Obamacare and replace it with the Republican healthcare plan, also known as Trumpcare. This week, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office told us that 24 million Americans would lose their health coverage over the next 10 years – including 14 million next year. While premiums would go up an average of 15 percent next year if you buy your own health insurance, under Trumpcare, it would give tax cuts to the big drug and insurance companies. And top-income-earners would see tax cuts of nearly $200,000 a year.

“Let’s be clear, President Trump does not have a mandate to take away people’s health coverage. In dozens of visits to New Hampshire during the campaign, he promised aggressive action to fight the opioid and heroine epidemic. He promised never to cut Medicare and Medicaid, and that no one would lose health coverage. But with this new Republican plan, millions of Americans will lose their health coverage, and those who keep it will pay much more.

“This new legislation takes us in the wrong direction. It will have especially tragic consequences for New Hampshire and other states fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic. Our most powerful weapon in this fight has been getting people access to life-saving treatment, thanks to Obamacare. Under Trumpcare, 1.3 million Americans now in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders would lose their health coverage.

“Not surprisingly, a whole range of groups are opposing this legislation, including doctors, nurses, hospitals, and AARP. AARP strongly opposes the Republican plan because it hurts Medicare – and it includes an “age tax” that allows insurance companies to charge Americans age 50 to 64 up to five times more than younger Americans.

“Congress should stop, take a deep breath, and work together to find a better way forward. Let’s begin by listening to the American people. In poll after poll, they’re telling us not to end Obamacare but to mend it . . . keep the most successful parts, and fix what is not working.

“And let’s listen to Republican governor John Kasich of Ohio, whose state is also struggling with the opioid crisis. He rejects the way Trumpcare would end treatment for people in recovery. I agree with the Governor’s call to put politics aside, use common sense, and find common ground. Many of my Republican colleagues in the Senate are also saying: Let’s slow down and work across the aisle.

“Let’s keep our promises to the American people, so that millions do not lose their health coverage. And let’s come together to strengthen what’s working, and fix what’s not.

“The stakes could not be higher for the health and financial security of our families. We need to get this right. And that means Republicans and Democrats working together, keeping our promises, putting people first.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Democratic leaders on the CBO scoring of the Republican’s “health care” plan, March 13, 2017

Transcript: Transcript of Press Availability on CBO Report on Republicans’ ‘Pay More for Less’ Repeal Bill

~
Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning. Are you all ready for St. Patrick’s Day? We have a little earlier start because we have our traditional St. Patrick’s Day lunch today, and it is always a happy occasion. And while I do not have Irish grandparents, I do have Irish grandchildren named Sean and Ryan, who all of us are celebrating today.

This morning, the President, the White House posted the President’s budget blueprint. The budget, as we have said over and over again in this room, the budget, the Federal budget should be a statement of our national values. What is important to us as a country should be reflected in how we allocate our resources in the budget. This budget is not a statement of values of anyone. President Trump has shown that he does not value the future of our children and working families. It fails to recognize that the health of America, the strength of America does not just depend on our military might, which is very important and we all support, but also our strength springs from the health, the education, and the well-being of the American people. Our strength depends on the power of our diplomacy, the health of our economy, and the vitality of our communities, all of which are undermined by the President’s budget.

So it throws billions of dollars at defense while ransacking America’s investment in jobs, education, innovation, clean energy, and lifesaving medical research. It will leave our nation weakened. Again, we all understand and respect our responsibility to protect and defend the American people and to have a smart and strong defense budget, not a budget and actions that are reckless and rash.

And so here we are. You know, here are some examples of what is in the budget. NIH, the National Institutes of Health, the Biblical power to cure, investments that could stand – could compete with any investment you could name, this budget cuts $6 billion from the National Institutes of Health, one fifth of the budget of the National Institutes of Health, when in fact we should be increasing that budget. Pell grants, $4 billion cut from Pell grants. More than $9 billion cut from education. Now, remember this: nothing brings more money to the Treasury than investment in education. So when the Republicans say we need to reduce the deficit because – and so, therefore, we must cut education, that is a stupid economy, because it would – again, nothing brings more money to the Treasury to reduce the deficit than the education of the American people, early childhood, K through 12, higher education, post grad, lifetime learning of our workers.

It cuts 31 percent – that would be 3,200 jobs – from EPA. Protection for the air our children breathe, the water they drink, the atmosphere in which we want them to thrive.

The State Department is cut by 29 percent. Our diplomacy, the power of diplomacy, is so important to keep us from having to initiate hostilities, and yet it is cut.

Anybody in farm country? Agriculture is cut by 21 percent; Commerce by 16 percent; the Army Corps of Engineers, 16 percent. The Army Corps of Engineers is the place where we make judgments about how we go forward with infrastructure, a priority the President has. The list goes on and on. If you want, I can give you some more examples. Just read his budget, and you will not be reading a statement of values.

So now we have – this week, the American people – in terms of the Affordable Care Act, this week, the American people did see the truth about the Republicans’ ‘Pay More For Less’ health bill. The CBO, the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office [Director], appointed by the Republican majority in the Congress, personally selected, is my understanding, by Secretary Price – so he can’t disassociate himself from that choice – well, the Congressional Budget Office [Director], appointed by the Republicans, exposed the Republican bill as a merciless assault on families across America. This bill, which was called by Speaker Ryan an ‘act of mercy’ – he called that bill an ‘act of mercy’. Is it an ‘act of mercy’ to throw 24 million people out of health insurance so Republicans can hand billionaires a massive new tax giveaway? The bill steals $600 billion from working families and gives it to the rich. It is Robin Hood in reverse. In fact, at a hearing I was just at earlier this morning, my colleague, Ranking Member Pallone from New Jersey, said Robin Hood in reverse in this bill, it is Ryan Hood. One of the largest transfers of wealth from working families to the rich, the richest in our country.

And now Republicans are reportedly planning changes which would significantly worsen the already disastrous impact of their bill, including a proposal to destroy millions of Americans’ Medicaid coverage as soon as the end of the year. Now, understand about Medicaid, many people think Medicaid is an initiative for poor children, and it is, and that is important; many poor children benefit from it. But that is the smallest amount of allocation of resources. A great deal of the money is used for middle class entitlement for seniors for long term health care, whether in a facility or at home. Long term health care, well over 50 percent of Medicaid – of the money spent on that are Medicaid dollars. And, of course, we have opioids. You know the statement by the Governor of Ohio, but it is echoed by others as well: Thank God for Medicaid; that is how we are going to fight the opioid epidemic. That is where the dollars will come from, he said.

So they may end that in the Medicaid – the bill has it stretched out a bit. They may just make it end it by the end of this year. The bill is so bad, but it is not still bad enough to get the votes in the House.

I wrote to the Speaker yesterday that the public deserves to see an updated CBO score should they make changes in the bill. I haven’t heard back.

What is interesting about this is you see the resistance in the Senate to the House bill. Some in the Senate, the Republican Senators, are saying: “I hope it dies in the House so we don’t even have to consider it.”

But if it doesn’t die in the House, this Speaker has asked his Members to walk the plank on a very bad bill that has damaging consequences across the country that might not even become law. So they walk the plank for nothing except to damage the well-being of their constituents. The American people deserve the facts, and so do the Members deserve the facts before the House acts to destroy affordable health care in our country.

So now where do we go?

Today, as you know, the court – yesterday a court in Hawaii, another court in Maryland again rejected, thankfully, the President’s brazenly prejudiced, barely repackaged Muslim and refugee ban. It met the same fate as the original bill in court, a victory for security and for our Constitution. The Administration has practically boasted that – there are two things: the ban and the deportations. But on the ban of refugees, the Administration and their just overall immigration attitude, the Administration has boasted of a proposal to separate children from their mothers and fathers crossing the border, an inhumane plan that they wouldn’t dare to propose for any other population.

It is consistent with statements made by Congressman Steve King, his most recent racist remarks. What did he say? “We cannot restore our civilization with everybody else’s babies.” This is a Member of Congress, of course reflecting the attitude in the White House of a white supremacist as the chief strategist for the President of the United States, Steve Bannon, and really creating an atmosphere where it is okay for people maybe to say some of the things they are doing and acting upon prejudice in our country.

I have called upon the Speaker again and again to strip Congressman King’s chairmanship of the Constitution – imagine, he is the chairman of the Constitution Subcommittee. He should be relieved of that responsibility.

So, while all of this is going on, the President is desperate, once again, the deflector in chief is desperate to distract attention from the dangerous incompetence of his Administration, an Administration that has not put forth a jobs bill, has not put forth an infrastructure bill, all the things he talked about doing, and, again, to distract, to deflect attention from the devastating consequences of the Republicans’ assault on working people.

After 2 weeks of his – I don’t know what adjective to use about his charge, irresponsible for sure, about President Obama wiretapping him. We have seen no evidence to support his outrageous allegations. He really is making a fool of his Cabinet and his people because they have to defend something that is so indefensible, unsubstantiated, and just a stunt to deflect attention from some of the nasty stuff that is going on under his leadership.

The Deflector-in-Chief’s desperation demands answer to our original question, the one I ask almost every day: What is Russia’s political, personal, and financial grip on the Trump Administration? What do the Russians have on President Trump? They have stonewalled over 100 letters from House Democrats requesting disclosure and transparency on his ties to Russia, his conflicts of interest, and other Administration actions.

You have heard me say before: this has an impact on our national security. What do the Russians have on him that he should flirt with the idea of weakening sanctions on Russia, undermining NATO and Europe? Secondly, undermining and questioning the value of the New START Treaty. Also, praising Putin at the expense of the greatness of America. What is it that they have on him? Show us your tax credits – your tax deduction – returns. Every – they did do something the other day, which was curious, to do a transom report. Who knows where that came from. What we want to see are the President’s tax returns in the same manner that every President and candidate for President – nominee of the party for President has done since Nixon, but, of course, that was demanded, but then followed through with wonderful President Gerald Ford. So, if the President wants to strengthen our security, he should come clean with the American people.

With that, I would be happy to take any questions you may have. I have some other things to share with you.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

  12 comments for “Fighting Back: Sen. Jeanne Shaheen – “Republicans do not have a mandate to take away people’s health coverage”

  1. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Leader Pelosi on the Trump Budget:

    “President Trump is not making anyone more secure with a budget that hollows out our economy and endangers working families. Throwing billions at defense while ransacking America’s investments in jobs, education, clean energy and lifesaving medical research will leave our nation weakened.

    “The President’s budget blueprint fails to recognize America’s strength depends on more than military spending; it depends on the power of our diplomacy, the health of our economy and the vitality of our communities. This budget would devastate the innovation that drives our economy, the research that cures our diseases, the education that empowers our children, and the skills training programs that enable our workers to win the good-paying jobs of the modern economy. It is also a plan to endanger the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe.

    “The budget is a statement of values, and President Trump has shown he does not value the future of children and working families.”

    • JanF
      March 18, 2017 at 12:23 pm

      From Thursday’s presser, John Yarmuth will be working on the Democratic Party’s budget:

      We will have our own budget too, and that will come forth shortly. That will be something that creates jobs, reduces the deficit, and creates growth for the American people. We are very proud of John Yarmuth of Kentucky, who is our ranking member on the committee. And you will see a sharp contrast between the two budgets.

      I really – to tell you the truth, as low as my expectations have been, this budget really goes beyond. They have called it their “skinny budget.” I don’t know exactly what that means. I don’t know what analogy they are calling. Maybe they are going to have a fat budget later. I don’t know what that – maybe you can find that out. Maybe you could ask them that question.

  2. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 11:50 am

    The House will vote on RepubliCare on Thursday, March 23rd. Leader Pelosi asked for an updated CBO score based on changes made since Monday. Her statement on their refusal:

    “Republicans are terrified the American people will see the reality of their disastrous TrumpCare bill. If the GOP are afraid of the public having the facts about their bill, they shouldn’t be voting on it.

    “As I wrote to Speaker Ryan, ‘the American people and Members have a right to see an updated CBO score on the consequences of the final legislation before any vote by the House.’ When Democrats amended the Senate-passed Affordable Care Act at Rules, we ensured that the American people had an updated CBO score for the final legislation before the House voted.

    “House Republicans’ contempt for transparency matches their contempt for the working families who will be devastated by Trumpcare. But Republicans are deluding themselves if they think they can hide from the millions of Americans whose lives would be destroyed by their bill.”

    • JanF
      March 18, 2017 at 12:27 pm

      The American Hospital Association (AHA) will be running anti-TrumpCare ads:

      The American Hospital Association, which has been vocal about its opposition to Republicans’ bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, launched a television ad on Friday urging Congress to save health insurance coverage for Americans.

      The 30-second spot includes clips of President Donald Trump assuring that Americans would get better coverage under the Republican plan, while the narrator notes that “some plans” for repeal in Congress actually would cause millions of Americans to lose their health insurance.

      The spot urges Congress to “protect affordable coverage for as many Americans as possible.”

    • JanF
      March 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm

      Bastids!!! They chose March 23rd because that’s when President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act. They can’t be allowed to win.

      https://twitter.com/AdamParkhomenko/status/843216903938236416

      • bfitzinAR
        March 18, 2017 at 6:01 pm

        Fascists are like that. Remember Hitler made the French sign their surrender in 1940 in the same railway car as Germany had signed theirs in 1918. Petty bastids just about covers it.

  3. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 11:55 am

    In The News: Hillary Clinton says “I’m ready to come out of the woods” …

    Hillary Clinton said Friday she’s “ready to come out of the woods” and help Americans find common ground.

    Clinton’s gradual return to the public spotlight following her presidential election loss continued with a St. Patrick’s Day speech in her late father’s Pennsylvania hometown of Scranton.

    “I’m like a lot of my friends right now, I have a hard time watching the news,” Clinton told an Irish women’s group.

    But she urged a divided country to work together to solve problems, recalling how, as first lady, she met with female leaders working to bring peace to Northern Ireland.

    “I do not believe that we can let political divides harden into personal divides. And we can’t just ignore, or turn a cold shoulder to someone because they disagree with us politically,” she said.

    Friday night’s speech was one of several she is to deliver in the coming months, including a May 26 commencement address at her alma mater, Wellesley College in Massachusetts. The Democrat also is working on a book of personal essays that will include some reflections on her loss to Donald Trump.

    I look forward on seeing what she has in mind. I predict that she will not be giving any more Goldman Sachs speeches since there is no one left at Goldman Sachs – they all work in the tRump administration now!! ;)

  4. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    In the News: Angela Merkel shows what leadership is as she visits our once proud nation …

    [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel took the biggest political gamble of her life by welcoming roughly 1 million refugees to Germany. Trump is busy litigating a travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations.

    Merkel is pragmatic, a committed internationalist and the unquestioned champion of the EU. Trump fires off brash tweets, has expressed disdain for multilateral cooperation and promotes an “America first” policy at the risk of jeopardizing long-standing alliances.

    On Friday, a Politico Magazine headline declared: “The Leader of the Free World Meets Donald Trump.” It is fair to ask who at today’s press conference better represents traditional American democratic ideals.

    Oddly, Merkel’s belief in American exceptionalism may be stronger than the U.S. president’s. Her commitment to liberal democratic principles is surely more exceptional today than when she came into office. Judging by Trump and Merkel’s awkward, relatively chilly press conference, the German chancellor may be feeling even more alone on the world stage.

    • bfitzinAR
      March 18, 2017 at 1:12 pm

      I imagine Merkel really is feeling alone right now. She should be strongly supporting a strong woman leader of the Free World in two strong nations’ efforts to prevent major wars and ease hostilities where they are occurring while taking care of the displaced, especially kids. Instead she is the strong woman leader of the Free World – and at least at the moment has few allies to work with.

  5. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    From the Tweet machine:

  6. JanF
    March 18, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    The reptilian Republican budget:

    “[The orange shitgibbon’s] proposed budget is a shocking affront to a basic American — and human — value: caring for others. It cuts funding from basic services from those most in need: programs like Meals on Wheels, emergency heating for the poor, legal aid for the indigent, work-study and financial aid for low-income college students, and foreign aid to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world.”

    “[A budget is] a set of collective values and, ideally, a pledge to care for each other, and especially to make sure that the most vulnerable people among us are able to thrive — the poor, the very old, the very young, the sick, the members of groups that face pervasive hate and discrimination. Trump’s budget and Ryan’s proposed ACA repeal now collectively push ourselves to ask what values we want our nation to embrace.”

    [Donald Trump’s Budgets Cuts Hurt Those Who Need Help Most – Republican Health Care and Budget Plan Cruel]
    http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/a8287275/republican-health-care-budget-cuts-hurt-americans/

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