Fighting Back: “Democrats believe that access to affordable health care is a basic human right”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

(Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. In this week’s address, Pallone highlighted the dangers of Republicans’ latest attack on the protections that ensure more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage.)

“Today, too many Americans are concerned about the costs of their families’ health care.

“The anxiety is justified considering the ongoing efforts by Republicans in Washington to undermine and sabotage the health care system.

“And last week, Republicans directly threatened the health care of millions of Americans when the Trump Administration asked a federal court to strike down key patient protections included in the Affordable Care Act.

“If successful, the Trump Administration’s action will eliminate protections that ensure more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. It could also eliminate protections that prevent insurance companies from charging women or anyone between the age of 50 and 64 outrageously high premiums because of their age or sex.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: Congressman Frank Pallone Delivers Weekly Democratic Address

“Hello, I’m Congressman Frank Pallone from New Jersey.

“All around our nation this weekend, kids are celebrating the end of school. Families are getting together for barbeques, or preparing for a much needed and much deserved vacation.

“And that’s the way summers are supposed to be.

“But in order to take a vacation – families need to be confident they can afford one.

“And today, too many Americans are concerned about the costs of their families’ health care.

“The anxiety is justified considering the ongoing efforts by Republicans in Washington to undermine and sabotage the health care system.

“And last week, Republicans directly threatened the health care of millions of Americans when the Trump Administration asked a federal court to strike down key patient protections included in the Affordable Care Act.

“If successful, the Trump Administration’s action will eliminate protections that ensure more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. It could also eliminate protections that prevent insurance companies from charging women or anyone between the age of 50 and 64 outrageously high premiums because of their age or sex.

“One of the key points of the Affordable Care Act was that insurance companies could no longer discriminate against anyone who had a pre-existing condition. You’ll remember before the law, insurers could outright deny or limit insurance coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, bipolar disorder or sleep apnea. They could also charge outrageously high premiums that made insurance virtually unaffordable.

“These critical protections provided peace of mind to millions of Americans. People with pre-existing conditions could now leave a job for a better one without any concern of being denied health coverage. They also did not have to worry about going bankrupt fighting a pre-existing condition.

“It’s also about doing what is right. Why should someone who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or an opioid abuse disorder be denied coverage? Why should a 50-year old woman have to pay 10 times as much for her health care as someone younger than her?

“This is not who we are as a country – access to health care should be a basic human right regardless of one’s age or health status.

“The American people rightfully understand this, and they’ve repeatedly voiced strong opposition to any attempt to strip away these protections.

“Older Americans should not have to pay an age tax, and a baby born with a pre-existing condition should not face the prospect of being denied coverage for the rest of her life.

“Thanks to that opposition from the American people, Republicans failed to strip these protections away in the Congress last year. But now, the Trump Administration is trying it again. This time through the courts and other executive actions.

“And this sabotage is already driving up costs and the number of uninsured. Now, the uncertainty from this legal action will only make things worse.

“That’s a raw deal for families across America. The ongoing Republican attempts to sabotage people’s health care must stop.

“Democrats want to give the American people A Better Deal – strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act, and take bold action to drive down the soaring cost of prescription drugs for every American.

“In March, I introduced a bill with several of my Democratic colleagues that would reduce health care costs, improve access to care and reverse some of the most egregious efforts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans to sabotage our nation’s health care system.

“And Democrats know we can’t stop there. That’s why one of the first pillars of Democrats’ Better Deal economic agenda focuses on prescription drug costs:

– Tough new enforcement of drug price gouging,
– Demanding full transparency of excessive drug price increases, and
– Allowing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices.

“It’s long past time for Congress to listen to the American people – we should work together to bring down the cost of your prescriptions and make health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans.

“And that way you don’t have to set aside money for your next doctor’s visit, and can instead plan a trip to the beach with your family.

“Thank you for listening.”

Any bolding has been added.

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Leader Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference on Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Leader Pelosi. Leader Pelosi. Good morning everyone.

Just in case some of you were not here yesterday when I was joined by our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer, our Ranking Members on the committees of jurisdiction, the Judiciary Committee, which wrote a letter to the Justice Department asking for the justification for not defending the law of the land in terms of pre-existing conditions. The Chairmen of Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, and Education and the Workforce, the committees of jurisdiction.

The GOP attacking Americans with pre-existing conditions. This is that day that they’re all full of joy, because that was the day they passed that bill which took away the guarantee of protections for pre-existing conditions. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

But first, I just want to say it was a big day in the San Francisco Bay Area. We elected a new mayor, our first African American woman to be mayor of San Francisco, London Breed. She and Mark Leno, two great candidates. We were in good shape either way. Mayor-elect Breed has emerged. We’re very proud of her.

And at the same time we had our parade to celebrate, again, the Golden State Warriors. Sweep of four, four games, four wins, defeating a mighty champion, the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James, what an athlete, what a great person.

In any event, we are very proud of all the athleticism, sportsmanship, and community service that our athletes bring to us. Three championships in four years.

Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who represents Oakland, as you know, and I have extended a blanket invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the Capitol when they are in Washington, to bring your families any time.

Okay. So here we are this week in the Capitol, the House is voting on a series of bills related to the opioid epidemic. As you may recall, when we had a debate on the omnibus bill, it took five continuing resolutions for the Republicans to finally agree to our increase in investments in the domestic budget with a big chunk of that going to fighting the opioid epidemic.

However, although there’s some positive steps on the Floor that have come together in a bipartisan way, Republicans refuse to address the fundamental issue: the need for long term funding solutions to turn the tide in an epidemic that is claiming the lives of 115 Americans every day.

Again, at the same time, their relentless war on affordable health care especially has cruel consequences for people struggling with the opioid epidemic, especially with their cuts proposed in Medicare.

Much of the damage the Republicans have inflicted on America’s health care flows from the GOP tax scam. It’s important for you to know that the tax bill and this action are directly related. The predicate for the case was the tax bill, what they did in the tax bill to remove the mandate, the individual mandate.

That was the basis for the Attorney General to take a case to court against the preexisting condition benefit. The Justice Department, the Trump Justice Department, refuses to defend the law of the land. Direct relationship.

The other direct relationship to that tax scam was that the President’s budget which followed. It said it was going to take $1.4 trillion from Medicaid, a half a trillion dollars from Medicare, just to name a few of the cuts that have an impact on the health and well-being of the American people.

So, again, a budget, it should be a statement of our values. What’s important to us as a nation should be how we allocate our resources.

This tax bill, this tax scam for the rich, for corporate America, taking us deeply into debt at the expense of working families and the good health now of the American people just compounded the bill. Eliminate the mandate. Millions of people not having the access they should. The tax scam impacting the budget. And now the tax scam being the basis for a court case against preexisting conditions that the administration refuses to defend.

So, again, it’s just the monstrosity of Trumpcare. When they voted for that, they stole health coverage from tens of millions of Americans, causing soaring cost, imposed a cruel tax, age tax for those 50 to 64, dismantled protections for people with preexisting conditions, while handing billions of dollars of tax cuts to the wealthy.

What they’re doing continues to drive up premium costs with their senseless sabotage. And don’t take that from me. The latest report from the American Academy of Actuaries confirms that the GOP’s health care sabotage is responsible for driving up health insurance premiums across America.

What is it? What do they have against the health and well-being of the American people that they would go down this path?

Last week Republicans renewed their efforts to destroy protections again for people with pre-existing conditions. I keep saying it over and over. But we will continue to list the stories of people across America.

When we fought their bill in the course of that year, their bill and its related sabotage efforts, the outside groups, patient groups, children, Little Lobbyists, all the rest, came forward in 10,000 events across the country, whether they were visiting district offices, visiting the Capitol, press conferences in their district, and here, townhall meetings, you name it, 10,000 events to tell their stories. They will continue to tell their stories about removing the protection for pre-existing conditions and what it means in their lives.

So while the Republicans are giving the American people a raw deal on health care, Democrats are proposing A Better Deal. We’re pressing for real action to lower health costs and protect quality healthcare.

As candidate Trump said, remember during the campaign when he said they were going to negotiate like crazy, the Secretary should be able to negotiate like crazy to lower prescription drug prices? And then he had his press conference where he was going to make his big announcement about a month or so ago?

Apparently ‘negotiate like crazy’ means don’t negotiate at all.

The minute he made his statement that walked away from the commitment to negotiate to lower prices, the stock market spoke and pharmaceutical drugs went up.

So we are proposing more transparency and innovation while expanding access to these drugs and lowering the skyrocketing cost of drugs. And ways to do that are enforcement on drug price gouging, allowing Medicare Part D to negotiate for lower prices.

This has been something we have been chanting. It was Six for ’06 when we won the House in ’06, the Congress. One of our Six for ’06 was to enable the Secretary to negotiate for lower drug prices. We passed it in the House. We couldn’t get 60 votes in the Senate. So here we are still fighting for that and, again, demanding full transparency on excessive drug increases.

We’ll never, ever stop fighting for increasing access, improving quality, and lowering cost to the American people when it comes to their health care. And that is really part of our Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Pay, Better Future. And part of that is to lower the cost that families have that affects their financial stability.

Any questions?

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

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Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference Announcing Letters to Trump Administration Demanding Documents on New Attack on Pre-Existing Conditions Protections

Washington, D.C. – House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, and top Democratic Ranking Members unveiled letters to the Department of Justice and Department of Health and Human Services and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services demanding the Trump Administration produce documents on the legal justification and analysis of the health coverage and cost consequences of the administration’s decision to ask a court to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

Leader Pelosi. Recognize this? [Referencing picture on poster] That was the day Republicans in the House of Representatives were joining the President to celebrate removing the protection that the benefit of no pre-existing condition discrimination provided. Isn’t that remarkable?

GOP attacking Americans with pre-existing conditions. It’s really a riot. At least it should be.

More at the link.

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GOP’s Assault on Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Continues

The Trump Administration’s latest cruel effort to strike down key consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act preventing insurance companies from denying coverage or charging more for covering people with pre-existing conditions has far reaching consequences.

Not only would this strip away protections for those purchasing coverage through the individual marketplace, it would eliminate protections for everyone with pre-existing conditions regardless of where they get their insurance – including those who are insured through their employer.

More than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions are currently protected by the Affordable Care Act. Every day, babies are born with health conditions, children and adults get sick. This Republican sabotage of health care will touch families in every community in every state.

(links to news reports)

The American people deserve better than the raw deal Republicans have been forcing on them in health care. Democrats will continue to fight to protect Americans’ health care and lower their costs, and are offering A Better Deal to lower the surging costs of prescription drugs.

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Statement on Supreme Court Decision Attacking Voting Rights

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after the Supreme Court handed down a dangerous, wrongly-decided decision in Husted v. APRI, upholding Ohio’s voter registration purge policy:

“Today’s decision marks a grave step backward in our nation’s progress to advance a future in which every person can enjoy their full, equal right to be heard at the ballot box. This wrongly-decided decision paves the way to mass disenfranchisement in Ohio and around the country, disproportionately impacting communities of color and working families who already face suppression of their voices.

“This case is the latest in a long string of Republican attacks on civil and voting rights. From day one of this Administration, Republicans have waged a nationwide voter suppression campaign and created pernicious new barriers to the ballot box that threaten the rights of working families and communities of color. These cruel attacks on the sacred right to vote undermine the very foundation of our freedom, and assault a key pillar of our democracy.

“Democrats will never stop fighting to defend every American’s right to be heard at the ballot box. The Republican Congress must immediately bring up for a vote on the Floor the Voting Rights Advancement Act (introduced by Rep. Terri Sewell of AL) to restore full protections for voters in states with a recent history of discrimination, and the Voter Empowerment Act (introduced by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia) to expand access to the ballot box and ensure that every vote is counted as cast.”

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  3 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats believe that access to affordable health care is a basic human right”

  1. JanF
    June 16, 2018 at 10:18 am

    Pelosi Statement on GOP Anti-Immigrant Bill

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after House Republicans released their new immigration legislation:

    “This bill fails to provide a permanent legislative fix to protect our Dreamers. It is nothing more than a cruel codification of President Trump’s anti-immigrant agenda that abandons our nation’s heritage as a beacon of hope and opportunity.

    “We were hopeful that the bill would stop the separation of mothers from children. Yet, the Republicans’ language on family separation reverses a court-imposed requirement prohibiting the prolonged and indefinite detention of families seeking asylum. It is a cruel sham that does nothing to stop President Trump from continuing to separate parents and children seeking asylum at the border.

    “If Speaker Ryan were serious about ending the barbaric mass separation of vulnerable families, he would call upon President Trump to end this stunningly inhumane policy that his Administration adopted immediately.

    “Democrats will continue to fight for a permanent legislative fix to protect our Dreamers, who make America more American.”

  2. JanF
    June 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

    Nancy Pelosi’s Thursday press conference included some strong statements about family separation. Here is a snippet:

    Q: Leader Pelosi, Speaker Ryan just said that he’s not comfortable with the separation of children and their parents at the border and he said that legislation is the best way to change that. Do you agree with him, that legislation is the best approach? And have you talked to him about that legislation and a possible timeline?

    Leader Pelosi. No. Let me say this. First of all, this was an act of the Administration. They have been planning this for a while.

    As a mother of five children, grandmother of nine, I’m sure any parent here, mother or father, knows that this is barbaric. This is not what America is. But this is the policy of the Trump Administration. And they put down this practice and they [can] take it back.[…]

    The Catholic Conference of Bishops, in their statement they said: ‘At its core, asylum is an instrument to preserve the right to life. The Attorney General’s recent decision elicits deep concerns because it potentially strips asylum from many woman who lack adequate protection.’

    They close by saying: ‘While protecting our borders is important, we can and must do better as a government, and as a society, to find other ways to ensure that safety. Separating babies from their mothers is not the answer and is immoral.’ […]

    I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend. It’s a horrible thing and I don’t see any prospect for legislation here.

    There is her call to arms:

    I just don’t even know why there aren’t uprisings all over the country, and maybe there will be, when people realize that this is a policy that they defend.

  3. bfitzinAR
    June 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

    Hillary was right – she mostly was (still is). The systemic racism and sexism she wanted to address is what makes this country exceptionally Deplorable. What’s going on right now IS who we are. There are dreams of better (see King, Martin Luther). Dreams that will take a whole lot of work to create. A whole lot of work even to find a path out of our deplorable now so we can head towards them. Channeling the Good Energy as best I can, doing what Good Work I can find at hand. And hoping it, combined with that of others, will be enough.

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