Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue to fight for your access to health care.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Rep. Annie Kuster from New Hampshire reminding us that only one party cares about protecting the health care of those with pre-existing health conditions.

(In this week’s address, Congresswoman Annie Kuster of New Hampshire highlights the passage of the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act and the Strengthening Health Care and Lowering Prescription Drug Costs Act.)

“Over the past several weeks, the House has passed critical legislation to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, lower the cost of prescription drugs and fight back against the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

“I was proud that the House passed my legislation, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, to stop the Trump Administration from promoting junk health plans, that don’t even cover our most common ailments, and yet lead to higher out of pocket costs.

“Allergies, Alzheimers, asthma, cancer, diabetes – you can go right through the alphabet. We cannot go back to a time when Americans living with these pre-existing conditions can be charged more or even denied care. Heart disease, high blood pressure, the list goes on and on. Whatever your condition, we will fight for your access to care.

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript from YouTube:

“Hi, I’m Congresswoman Annie Kuster from New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. Over the past few months, I have had the privilege of travelling throughout my district on a Health Care Listening tour. I met with health care providers, patients, physicians and everyone in between to identify policies that will expand access to quality, affordable health care.

“From rural hospitals and mental health clinics, to alcohol and opioid misuse treatment centers, everyone shared a similar message. The Trump Administration’s actions to sabotage access to health care are causing serious anxiety for providers and patients. Whatever your medical issues may be, no one should face roadblocks in receiving health care.

“I’ve heard from so many Granite Staters about the need to protect access to coverage and drive down prescription drug costs. Our new Democratic majority in the House has been laser-focused on advancing our For The People Agenda to get the job done.

“Over the past several weeks, the House has passed critical legislation to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, lower the cost of prescription drugs and fight back against the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act.

“I was proud that the House passed my legislation, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, to stop the Trump Administration from promoting junk health plans, that don’t even cover our most common ailments, and yet lead to higher out of pocket costs.

“Allergies, Alzheimers, asthma, cancer, diabetes – you can go right through the alphabet. We cannot go back to a time when Americans living with these pre-existing conditions can be charged more or even denied care. Heart disease, high blood pressure, the list goes on and on. Whatever your condition, we will fight for your access to care.

“This week, we passed sweeping legislation to make health care more affordable and to reverse the Trump Administration’s relentless sabotage of our health care system which is putting Americans at risk.

“For so many families, access to comprehensive health coverage and affordable drugs is a life or death issue. We have heard too many stories about seniors splitting their pills in half because they cannot afford life-saving medication due to rising drug costs.

“House Democrats advanced legislation this week ensuring that generic medication can come to market as soon as possible and closing loopholes that some drug companies have been using to game the system.

“To put it simply: we hear you. You are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And we agree. House Democrats will continue our fight to pass our For The People Agenda, to strengthen our health care system and lower prescription drug costs. We urge the Senate to act now.

“Thank you.”

Any bolding has been added.

~

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s weekly news conference from Thursday:

Transcript: Transcript of Pelosi Press Conference

Speaker Pelosi. Good morning. Good morning.

It has been quite a week for us and it will culminate on Friday when we pass the Equality Act. This is an exciting time for our country because for the first time the LGBTQ community will have – it will end discrimination against that community in a very substantial way.

This is not only important to the LGBTQ community, it’s important for America, ending discrimination. Our history has always been one of expanding freedom and reducing discrimination. This will be a banner vote for us on Friday, and we hope that it will be bipartisan as well.

Health care, health care, health care, that is what is of concern to the American people, and this week we passed bill after bill. Last week and this week, bill after bill.

Let me just comment, say something about David Cicilline, the author of the Equality Act, before I move on. We thank him for his leadership.

We also thank the Congressional Black Caucus for giving its imprimatur to this legislation right from the start. John Lewis stood with us when we announced the bill a couple years ago, before we had the Majority, and now, every Democrat will be voting for this bill on Friday. We are very excited about that.

Again, on the health care front, For The People agenda, we promised – we promised a lower health care cost by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, preserving the pre-existing condition [protections], and there are many pieces of legislation in furtherance of that goal. So, we are continuing our relentless drumbeat on the prescription drug prices, on pre-existing condition.

It is a stunning thing. Maybe you noticed during the campaign that the Republicans kept saying, ‘Oh, no, we are for pre-existing conditions benefits,’ but yet, almost every one of them voted against the bill on the Floor. That was discretely just about pre-existing conditions, Annie Kuster’s legislation. We are very proud of her.

And the Administration’s guidance now is inviting states to dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions and push families into junk plans that discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.

I want to commend Chairman Pallone of the full Committee, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of the Health Subcommittee, and our freshmen, for their leadership on strengthening health care and lowering prescription drugs.

This has many facets to it. It builds on our past progress. Last week, we had bipartisan legislation passed to lower the price of prescription drugs by removing barriers to generics to the market.

We have, again, been doing this while the Republicans at the same time have been dismantling and sabotaging and continuing their attacks on health care, and now for women specifically, as we have seen in Alabama. Quite frankly, an unconstitutional assault on basic reproductive freedom.

It’s really – I don’t want to be a fearmonger, but I do believe that they are trying to go on a path that would totally dismantle Roe v. Wade. And we have to be vigilant and express our concerns on this legislatively and at the grassroots level.

And then in D.C., we see the Trump Administration, his Administration, continuing an unprecedented and unconstitutional campaign to conceal the truth from the American people.

The Trump Administration is continuing its vicious attack and campaign in the courts to destroy every last protection in the Affordable Care Act: the pre-existing condition benefit, children staying on their parents’ policies until age 26, the Medicaid expansion, bans on lifetime and annual limits, being a woman no longer being a pre-existing medical condition, as we see from personal experience in that regard in terms of insurance companies, and that is what they are doing in the courts.

Now, the public has to know how and why the President decided to force the Department of Justice to try to obliterate Americans’ health care in the courts. The Chairmen of five Committees of Jurisdiction – Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, Education and Labor, Judiciary and Oversight – have written letters to the DOJ, the Department of Justice, and the White House, asking for information about how this decision was made.

You understand, this is the law of the land. When it goes to court, the Justice Department is supposed to protect the law of the land. Instead, they are there to undermine the law of the land.

Attorney General Barr and the White House refused to comply with Congress’s demands for answers about the Administration’s assault on Americans’ health care. This week the White House Counsel sent a letter to Jerry Nadler brazenly and boldly denying Congress’s Constitutional responsibility to conduct oversight.

The beat goes on. The beat goes on. The beat goes on.

Now, in terms of what happens to our legislation that we are so proudly and in many ways, in a bipartisan way passing in the House, Senator McConnell, as I’ve said to you last week, describes himself as the Grim Reaper. The Senate is the graveyard where bills that pass in the Congress, that have bipartisan support in the country, go to die.

Well, I have news for him: the legislation we are sending is alive and well in public opinion, in the court of public opinion, and he will be hearing from the public.

Lincoln said: ‘Public sentiment is everything.’ How many times have I said that here? ‘With it, we can accomplish almost anything. Without it, practically nothing.’ Abraham Lincoln. Public sentiment. In order for the public sentiment to prevail, the public has to know.

So, you will be seeing people, advocates at the grassroots level. Last Congress, we had 10,000 events, not with the grassroots, there were 10,000 events by the grassroots, people telling their individual story, Little Lobbyists, associations associated with any particular disease in our country, just speaking out about pre-existing conditions, about lifetime limits, about young people being on their parents’ provision.

But their personal stories won the day and preserved the Affordable Care Act. Now, we have to fight it in court.

So, again, we will just say to [Leader] McConnell: You will be hearing from the American people and their views on their health care and their financial security as it is attached to their health care.

Okay. So now we have Iran. We have asked for a classified briefing for the entire Congress. Well, I can only ask for the House of Representatives. We asked last week. They said they couldn’t be ready. We thought hopefully this week, with all the urgency that they seem to be attaching to what is happening in the Middle East. Not yet.

So, we are hoping that for sure, before the break, we will have a classified briefing on the Middle East, on Iran, for the full House of Representatives.

We will have one for the Gang of Eight later this afternoon, but that is no substitute for the full Membership of the Congress having that access. There might be particular things that only we can hear, but that is not to undermine the responsibility that the Administration has to making sure that the full Congress has the information.

We have been having some problems with them because for a long time now we have been asking for a classified briefing for the Congress on what’s going on in North Korea, and the Administration has ignored or rejected those requests. It is outrageous. Even what is happening in Venezuela, for Venezuela, from their standpoint, just to get the objective briefing.

So, this is part of a pattern that is not right because we have responsibilities, and the responsibility in the Constitution is for Congress to declare war.

So, I hope that the President’s advisers recognize that they have no authorization to go forward in any way. They cannot call the authorization, AUMF, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force, those passed in 2001, as any authorization to go forward in the Middle East now.

I like what I hear from the President that he has no appetite for this. This is one place where – one of the places that I agree with the President, is both of us in our opposition to war in Iraq, and I hope that that same attitude will prevail with the President of the United States even though some of his supporters are more – are rattling sabers.

With that, I’ll be pleased to answer any questions.

Press questioning followed (see transcript)

~

Pelosi Statement on Alabama’s Near-Total Abortion Ban

May 16, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement after Alabama’s near-total abortion ban law, which does not contain exceptions for victims of rape or incest, was signed into law:

“Alabama’s new law is heartbreaking. Imprisoning doctors and punishing women over access to vital, legal medical care is a staggering violation of both basic morality and constitutional rights.

“Every woman has the right to basic reproductive health care – yet Republicans have trampled over a long-standing constitutional right in their haste to push a radical anti-woman agenda.

“This clear and intentional violation of the Constitution directly imperils the health of countless women, and cannot be allowed to stand.”

~

Administration’s Dead-on-Arrival Immigration Plan

May 16, 2019

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement on the Trump Administration’s latest dead-on-arrival immigration proposal:

“This dead-on-arrival plan is not a remotely serious proposal.

“The White House has repackaged the worst of its past failed immigration plans: greenlighting the Administration’s barbaric family detention policies, reviving the President’s ineffective and wasteful wall, completely abandoning our patriotic and determined Dreamers and gutting our asylum and refugee protections, which the evangelical community has called the ‘crown jewel of American humanitarianism.’ To say that this plan’s application criteria are ‘merit-based’ is the height of condescension.

“Democrats continue to fight for immigration reform that secures our borders, protects our workers, unites our families, defends our Dreamers and provides an earned pathway to citizenship. We look forward to working with the White House on serious and smart solutions that reflect our nation’s values and interests.”

~

Pelosi Floor Speech in Support of H.R. 5, the Historic Equality Act

May 17, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 5, the historic Equality Act, to end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding and I’m so proud that you are in the Chair, as well as all the others who will preside in the course of this historic debate today – Angie Craig being one of them.

Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished Chairman of the Judiciary Committee for giving us the opportunity for us today to expand freedom in America.

I commend Congressman Cicilline for his extraordinary leadership, his courage and his persistence in introducing this legislation – so important to our country.

And doing so with the full support of the Congressional Black Caucus. To see him stand there – the rest of us honored to join Congressman John Lewis on the day of announcement a couple years – a while back. Was that a year and a half, two years ago?

And now, in the Majority, for us to have the privilege to bring this legislation to the Floor – thank you Congressman Cicilline for being a champion of equality in our country.

And again, I salute the Congressional Black Caucus and John Lewis and so many others – Mr. Cleaver who will speak later today.

It is a deeply powerful moment to be on this Floor to talk about this important legislation.

What I would like to do is take the opportunity of the time allotted to me, or that I will use, to salute the countless activists, advocates, outside organizers and mobilizers who have courageously demanded the full rights and justice of all Americans.

We have been on this Floor – many of us, Mr. Hoyer, we all go way back when we fought for funding for HIV and AIDS and we were successful not only because of our inside maneuvering, but because of the outside mobilization.

We were successful in passing a fully-inclusive hate crimes legislation. Barney Frank led the way for us inside, but the outside groups mobilizing, mobilizing, mobilizing.

Then, under the leadership of President Barack Obama, we salute him for it, we were able – in the Congress, in the Majority – to pass the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and putting that into the dustbin of history – successful because of the activism of outside groups and advocates.

And then, of course, the horrible Defense of Marriage Act. I don’t know what marriages they were defending, but the defense of marriage that was proposed by some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle, the Supreme Court gave us that answer about justice in our country.

And then, ending the hateful ban on transgender military service.

So, this Congress, this has been a scene where we have fought the fight on legislation, fought the fight presenting the case in the court of public opinion and to bolster the case in the Supreme Court.

And, on this monumental day, my thoughts with Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin, who shared their lives together for decades. They were mentors to so many of us in San Francisco for decades about civic engagement, some of that civic engagement related to LGBTQ rights. They were an inspiration, as I say, to many of us.

When people say to me, it’s easy for you to be for some of these things because you are from San Francisco, people are so tolerant there. I say, ‘Tolerant? That is a condescending word to me. This is not about tolerance, this is about respect of the LGBTQ community. This is about taking pride.’ And that is what we do.

For Phyllis and Del and other older LGBTQ couples, for LGBTQ workers striving to provide for their families, for young people, LGBTQ youth, this is a historic, transformative moment.

Fifty years after the LBGTQ Americans took to the streets outside of New York’s Stonewall Inn to fight against harassment and hate, we take pride in the progress we have forged together. Our Founders, in their great wisdom, wrote in our beautiful preamble – wrote of the blessings of liberty, which were to be the birthright of all Americans.

To bring our nation closer to the founding promise of liberty and justice for all, we, today, pass the Equality Act and finally, fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. LGBTQ people deserve full civil rights protections in the workplace, in everyplace – in education, housing, credit, jury duty, service and public accommodations. No one should be forced to lose his or her job, their home or to live in fear because of who they are and whom they love.

This is personal, it’s not just about policy, but about people. Earlier this year, I received a letter from a trans woman living in San Francisco who faced threats, stalking and harassment because of who she is. This is what she says in her communication, ‘The fear is very much there. All I want to do is live my life like anyone else. Please keep seeing me.’

Today, and for all days, we say to all of our friends, we see you, we support you, we stand with you with pride. We look forward to a swift, strong, successful and, hopefully, strongly bipartisan bill today for equality.

This is not just an act of Congress that we are taking for the LGBTQ community, this is progress for America. I urge an ‘aye’ vote and I yield back the balance of my time.

~

  2 comments for “Fighting Back: “Democrats will continue to fight for your access to health care.”

  1. JanF
    May 18, 2019 at 11:11 am

    Pelosi Statement on the 65th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka

    May 17, 2019

    Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued this statement in honor of the 65th Anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka:

    “Sixty-five years ago, the Supreme Court unlocked the doors of opportunity, and unanimously declared in Brown v. Board of Education that ‘the doctrine of separate but equal has no place’ in our nation’s public schools. Despite great progress in our fight to honor the spirit of one of the most groundbreaking court decisions, we continue to struggle to overcome generations of systemic injustice and inequality, combatting new threats to the promise of a free, quality public education for all.

    “In the decades since the momentous victory in Brown v. Board, Democrats have worked tirelessly to bring equity to our nation’s schools, bridging the divide between poverty and possibility for all of America’s children. We know that to fully close the opportunity gap, we must first close the education gap that disproportionately impacts students of color and low-income families. Yet, from day one, the Trump Administration has been relentless in its efforts to pull out the rug from under America’s students, undermining core civil rights protections in our public schools designed to increase diversity, improve student outcomes and keep our children safe.

    “After 65 years, our nation continues to battle segregation and work to diminish inequities in our education system. Guided by the extraordinary leadership of Chairman Bobby Scott, Democrats are hard at work combatting the Trump Administration’s shameful assaults on public education and advancing bold legislation to strengthen our schools, our educators and our communities. Together, we will fight to ensure that every student, regardless of their zip code, has the tools they need to achieve their dreams and succeed in the 21st Century economy.”

  2. bfitzinAR
    May 18, 2019 at 12:19 pm

    We’ve got smart leaders. Keep very publicly doing our jobs. Get everything in train and ready for when we have the power to push the “go” button. We Dems follow the rules. The Rs have pretty much decimated the rules in the belief they can election-fraud, voter-suppress their way into permanent power. We take the power back – and follow the new rules…no more blocking from the minority party. By their own new rules. So we have everything ready. All the legislation written. Our first 100 hours January 2021 – IF we keep the House and win back the Senate in 2020 – are going to be fun. As Nancy brings up this sessions’ passed legislation under new numbers and repasses them on to the Senate and a Dem Senate brings them to the floor and passes them all… I don’t think any of us will stop grinning.

Comments are closed.