Fighting Back: Sen. Mazie Hirono – “If you’re poor, old, or sick? Well, you’re screwed.”

The weekly Fighting Back post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

Found on the Internets

Weekly Democratic Party Address by Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii:

Senator Hirono

For the past few months, 13 Republican male senators have been sequestered away somewhere, literally plotting in secret, to come up with a bill which deprives millions of people across this country from accessing essential health care.

All so that the richest people in our country will get a huge tax cut!

On Thursday, we finally got a chance to see what’s in their version of Trumpcare. And it isn’t surprising that they chose to keep it hidden from the American people until the last possible moment.

It’s even worse than we thought.

Fundamentally, this bill lacks heart. And it sends a simple and clear message: if you’re young and healthy you’ll be fine. If you’re poorer, older, or sicker? Well, you’re screwed. […]

We are all one diagnosis away from a serious illness. For me, during a routine physical two months ago, my doctor told me I have kidney cancer.

It’s a moment that everyone dreads.

Thankfully, I had health insurance, I was able to sit down with my doctors and decide how I would fight my cancer, not how I would pay for treatment.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

(Link to Nancy Pelosi Newsroom here)

Transcript: Senator Mazie Hirono Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Aloha, this is Senator Mazie Hirono. I have the honor of representing the people of Hawaii in the United States Senate.

For the past few months, 13 Republican male senators have been sequestered away somewhere, literally plotting in secret, to come up with a bill which deprives millions of people across this country from accessing essential health care.

All so that the richest people in our country will get a huge tax cut!

On Thursday, we finally got a chance to see what’s in their version of Trumpcare. And it isn’t surprising that they chose to keep it hidden from the American people until the last possible moment.

It’s even worse than we thought.

Fundamentally, this bill lacks heart. And it sends a simple and clear message: if you’re young and healthy you’ll be fine. If you’re poorer, older, or sicker? Well, you’re screwed.

Its draconian cuts to Medicaid would have a devastating impact on our seniors, our kupuna as we say in Hawaii, who depend on the program for long term nursing care.

It imposes an age tax on people 50-64 that allows insurance companies to charge them up to five times more for insurance.

It fulfills the Republican Party’s cherished goal to defund Planned Parenthood.

And it undermines protections for Americans living with serious and chronic diseases, who could face the re-imposition of yearly and lifetime caps on their care.

We are all one diagnosis away from a serious illness. For me, during a routine physical two months ago, my doctor told me I have kidney cancer.

It’s a moment that everyone dreads.

Thankfully, I had health insurance, I was able to sit down with my doctors and decide how I would fight my cancer, not how I would pay for treatment.

I’m fighting to make sure everyone in Hawaii and across the country can afford the quality health care that might one day save their life.

Unfortunately, President Trump and his allies in Congress do not share this goal. Instead, they’ve crafted Trumpcare – a bill that would devastate hundreds of thousands of families in Hawaii and millions more across the country.

We are going to fight Trumpcare tooth and nail, and there are a lot of great reasons to do so. But I also want to be clear about what we’re fighting for.

We are fighting for universal healthcare that is a right, and not a privilege, for every American.

Senate Democrats are going to do whatever we can, however we can, whenever we can to fight back against this bill. And we need you in this fight because we’re all in it together.

Millions of people are mobilizing across the country against this mean, ugly bill because health care is personal.

I’m encouraged that so many people have been calling and making their voices heard.

Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump can try to jam this bill down our throats, but we aren’t going to let them succeed and they will be held accountable.

Mahalo nui loa.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Good morning, everyone.

I just came from a speak-out on the East Lawn here of the Capitol on behalf of voting rights. Two bills, one introduced by John Lewis, the Voter Empowerment Act, and another, introduced by Terri Sewell, to advance the voting rights in our country, to correct the mistakes made by the Supreme Court on that score.

I always, always, always quote Martin Luther King in so many ways. But in this score, he said, ‘The ballot, the ballot, the ballot. Legislation, legislation, legislation. Your life, your life, your life.’ He went on to say, ‘No one should underestimate the power of this method. We must continue to gain the ballot.’ So my statement there was we would hope that we could get a voting rights bill passed in the Congress.

Members like to show up for the unveiling, Republican leadership likes to show up for the unveiling of the Rosa Parks statue or to go to Selma, Alabama, for the 50th anniversary and come home and do nothing. Actually, the day we unveiled, as I said just now, the day we unveiled the statue, we were on the steps of the Supreme Court earlier that day because that was the day a few years ago where they did the oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act and the court decided against the Voting Rights Act. Now we have to correct that.

So anyway, it is pretty exciting, and voting is an important subject. And we can talk about it in a moment in terms of what has happened in the last few Elections. But first, I want to talk about what’s really the most important thing: that we stop the harmful ‘bill‑without‑a‑heart’ Republican legislation.

They have finally released what they call a working draft that they’ve worked so hard to hide all of this time. Even their own Members have criticized their process. But I am more concerned about their substance than their process right now as we see the bill.

The President called the House bill ‘mean’ after celebrating its passage. He then changed to saying ‘it’s mean.’ He said that ‘he hopes the Senate bill will have heart.’ So sad, Mr. President. Heartless. Mean and heartless.

And this is the same thing. It’s the same thing all over again. It will do exactly what the House bill did. Increased cost for fewer benefits. It will have an age tax. People 50 to 64 may be paying as much as five times more for their benefits. Undermines Medicare by reducing the years of its solvency. And tens of millions of people ‑‑ we will see what the CBO comes down with ‑‑ but millions and millions and millions of people will lose their healthcare.

In addition to that, it still takes away the essential benefit package, I call it Pontius Pilate, leave it up to the States. It does serious harm to the States. It throws a few crumbs in the end years in terms of Medicaid and then clobbers the States, making them unable to meet the needs of their people.

So I am very proud of our Members as they understand that Trumpcare inflicts great suffering on veterans, on seniors, on working families, on rural communities, and as I said, working families. It is a job killer, too. It was estimated that the House bill would lose 1.8 million jobs. I got a Pinocchio for saying 1.9 or 2 million, so let’s be precise. And we will see what their bill looks like.

This is a working draft, probably something where they put some terrible things in so they correct them and then Members say, “Oh, it’s better now.” But it still has to pass the CBO, and we haven’t seen what that is.

So the American people are shut out of the debate, as they have been. We want to make sure they’re not shut out of their healthcare.

And speaking of jobs, as I said, 1.8 million jobs, many of them in rural areas. There are changes in Medicaid. Many rural hospitals will have to close. When a hospital closes in your area it’s a bad thing for the health and well‑being of the community. That’s for sure. But it also is about reducing the attraction that community might have to attract business. Why would you choose a place that did not have health care accessibility there?

And when they talk about access, they talk about emergency rooms. They wouldn’t even have that. We don’t call that access. That’s the most expensive kind and the most detrimental to the health and well‑being of the American people.

But again back to the jobs that would be lost by their healthcare bill. We haven’t seen a budget. The budget we have seen from the President would lose 1.4 million jobs. Some of that is overlap with the healthcare bill, not in addition to. We haven’t seen the infrastructure bill. Again, we have a start with the budget. We know what the healthcare bill would do.

So this is a big problem. No budget, no infrastructure bill, no tax bill. We thought we could work together on infrastructure; we could work together on reducing the corporate rate, closing special interest loopholes, reducing the deficit, creating growth by working together. But I fear that what they may do is just get through this debate on healthcare to enable them to get on to debate about taxes and just, again, trickle‑down economics to prevail.

One other point I want to make is, again, this bill that the Republicans put out, a working draft, if that’s the term of art, is yet again a tax bill disguised as a healthcare bill. They need this in order to do their tax breaks for the high end to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. It’s unfortunate.

I know you probably have some interest in what happened in Georgia this week. The fact is we are very proud of the race that was run there. The candidate who carried the banner, Jon Ossoff, ran a great campaign. I was interested in some of the statements of the people from Georgia saying, “Hey, we reduced by 20 points what the advantage had been in that district for the Republicans.” This is good news for us, for our legislative races and our congressional races and also statewide.

I think our Chairman, Mr. Ben Ray Lujan, deserves a great deal of credit for the work that was done in these four races. I don’t have it right here, but it adds up to over 71 points. Twenty‑five points carved off of the Republican majority in Kansas. Another big chunk in Montana. Another big chunk in South Carolina. Another big chunk in Georgia, nearly 20 points. So over 71 points.

By all accounts, if you’re a Republican, this is not good news to you. It’s a Pyrrhic victory, four Pyrrhic victories, because it shows where the vulnerability is on the Republican side as we come forward.

So we take pride in the candidates who ran, their campaigns and the difference that they had made. These would not have been districts that would have been our priorities just given the slate of races to be involved in. These are races chosen by the President to replace when he appointed Cabinet officers. And when you do that, you choose districts that you know your party will win.

But little did they know the serious damage they would do to their party in terms of reducing the majority, the margins there. They have now made these very competitive races. Single digits, five and below for some. These are opportunities for us. One of the prognosticators on this, Mr. Wasserman, said that this opens the way for about 80 seats to be in play for the Democrats in the next election year.

As far as some of the enthusiasm in my Caucus, I always listen to my Members. I respect the ambition that exists in any Caucus. It’s a part of our life. But I am proud of the unity that we have had, and, frankly, my leadership, in terms of keeping everybody together on fighting the healthcare bill in the House of Representatives. Very proud of our success in defeating it the first time, moving them to the right, to a place that I think is unsustainable, but defines who they are very clearly.

I am very proud of our unity, which gave me leverage to succeed enormously in the negotiations on the omnibus bill. When it comes to the issues, we are united in terms of our concern for America’s working families. That’s what unifies us.

When it comes to personal ambition, having fun on TV, have your fun. I love the arena. I thrive on competition. And I welcome the discussion. But I am honored by the support.

Every action has a reaction. I try to say that to them. Every attack provokes a massive reaction that is very encouraging to me, from our Members, from our supporters outside and across the country.

With that, I would be pleased to take any questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

More on the VRAA: Pelosi Remarks at Voting Rights Speak Out

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, House Democratic Caucus Chair Joseph Crowley, Representative Terri Sewell and members of the House Democratic Caucus introduce the Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA), legislation which restores protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination.

Remarks at the link.

~

  5 comments for “Fighting Back: Sen. Mazie Hirono – “If you’re poor, old, or sick? Well, you’re screwed.”

  1. JanF
    June 24, 2017 at 10:11 am

    Groups are weighing in on the terrible effect the Death Party’s healthcare repeal bill will have: Doctors, Hospitals, Patient Groups, Seniors’ Groups, and Many Others Are Opposing the Senate Trumpcare Bill

    Response to the Senate version of Trumpcare has been swift and harsh. Physicians, hospitals, seniors’ groups, patient groups, women’s health groups, consumer groups, faith leaders, and others have come out against the Senate Trumpcare bill.

    (Details at the link)

    Nancy Pelosi and House members held a press conference yesterday to signal their intent to Fight Back:

    Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D., Congressman Ami Bera, M.D. and dozens of doctors and health care providers to highlight the devastating impact of the Republican proposals to roll back access to health care for millions of Americans.

    Leader Pelosi. “Thank you very much Rep. Ruiz. It’s an honor to be here with you and Congressman Dr. Ami Bera. Congress is truly blessed by their service in the Congress because they can bring firsthand knowledge of ramifications and changes to public policy and how they affect the well being of the American people. […]

    “Martin Luther King said that of all the inequalities, ‘the most cruel and stunning is that of health care because people will die.’ So I am so proud of our House Democrats sticking together, working with the Senate Democrats to stop [this bill from advancing.]

  2. bfitzinAR
    June 24, 2017 at 12:20 pm

    The Rs in Congress have one goal and one goal only – to dismantle the government. They do not care the damage it will do. They take as a bonus that it upsets “libruls” – and in fact consider how much it upsets “libruls” to be the measure of their success in dismantling government. They’d set their own mothers on fire if they thought it would really upset us. And in fact that is what those whose mothers are still alive are doing. They don’t care.

    The only way to deal with this as permanently as human beings get is to circumvent their media and voter suppression laws long enough to get the power to fix them – restore Voting Rights, break up the media consortium. Those two are key, foundational even. Until they are dealt with any gains we make will be short lived.

    • JanF
      June 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      !

  3. JanF
    June 24, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Kamala Harris in LATimes: I can help you understand Trumpcare, but I can’t defeat it alone

    Next week, Republicans want the United States Senate to vote on a bill that would restructure our nation’s entire healthcare system — a system that makes up one-sixth of the American economy. This bill would affect the lives of nearly every American, from our parents or grandparents in need of caregiving, to our children struggling with asthma or opioid addiction, to our spouses battling cancer.

    And we only just received the full text on Thursday, a week before the vote on the bill. […]

    This bill is being written along strictly partisan lines, but healthcare is not a partisan issue. Your health isn’t dictated by your party affiliation. Supporting or opposing this healthcare plan is not about being a Democrat or a Republican — it is about right and wrong. Instead of wreaking havoc on our healthcare system, we owe it to the American people to come together and solve real problems.

    I’m home this weekend, and like my Democratic colleagues, I’ll be working hard to ensure that people on the ground understand how this bill will affect them. But we can’t do it alone. We need Californians to make themselves heard.

  4. June 26, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Thanks for these posts! What a travesty of legislation.

    Goddess help us.

Comments are closed.