Schumer Floor Remarks On Democratic Efforts To Roll Back The GOP’s Health Care Sabotage This Week & Save Protections For People With Pre-Existing Conditions

October 9, 2018

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today spoke on the Senate floor regarding Democratic efforts to roll back the GOP’s health care sabotage this week and save protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Below are his remarks, which can also be viewed here:

Now that the Senate has concluded a divisive debate on the Supreme Court, it is time to talk about the number one issue to the American people: health care. We begin that debate tomorrow, when the Senate will take up a Democratic motion to repeal the Trump administration’s effort to expand short-term insurance plans.

Let me be very clear: these so-called “short-term” plans are junk insurance. The short term plans are junk insurance. People who buy them are going to be extremely disappointed, because they bait consumers in with low prices but hardly cover anything. They might not cover maternity care, mental health care, prescription drugs, you name it. Even worse, the plans draw consumers out of the health insurance marketplace, making it more expensive for everyone else to purchase insurance, especially more expensive for those with pre-existing conditions.

That is why so many prominent patient and consumer groups have filed a lawsuit against the administration's rule to expand these junk plans. Groups like the American Cancer Society, AARP, Lung Association, Diabetes Association, and others that represent millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions have clearly said this is sabotage of the health insurance market and will drive up costs for millions and millions of Americans.

So, Senator Baldwin has introduced a CRA disapproval resolution – a resolution brought under the Congressional Review Act – to repeal this fundamentally misguided policy from the Trump administration. All of my colleagues should vote for this, but I suspect my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have a different idea. Because ever since taking control of Congress and the presidency, Republicans have deliberately, relentlessly undermined Americans’ healthcare. This particular policy is part of a long campaign to sabotage our health care system.

Remember, nearly every Republican was silent when President Trump canceled the program that helped low-income Americans afford insurance.

Remember, nearly every Republican was silent when President Trump directed his administration to stop helping Americans sign up for the right insurance policy.

Remember, nearly every Republican was silent when President Trump’s Justice Department refused to defend protections for pre-existing protections. And a large number of Republican attorneys general, some running for Senate right now, were part of the Trump administration’s efforts to say it’s just fine to get rid of protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

And remember, nearly every Republican voted to gut Medicaid, raise premiums on older Americans, repeal protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions, and move us towards a future where 20 million fewer Americans have health insurance.

And remember, every single Republican voted to repeal the coverage requirement and caused premiums to be much higher this year than they needed to be. So Americans, when you’re paying more for insurance and you hate it, when those deductibles go up, those co-payments go up, and you say ‘where’s the insurance that’s supposed to protect me? I have to put so much money out of my own pocket, it’s hardly worth it:’ look to the Republican side of the aisle here and what our senators, your senators if you come from a state that represents them, has done.

As a result of Republican sabotage: premiums are up, out-of-pocket costs are up, prescription drug costs are up, and the quality of insurance is down, in many cases way down. Under this Republican president and this Republican Congress, Americans are paying more to get lower quality health insurance. Again let me say that, Americans under this president, this Congress, are paying more to get less when it comes to health insurance. And, protections for pre-existing conditions are under assault in so many different ways. No wonder, in poll after poll after poll, Americans rank health care as the number one issue in the upcoming election.

Tomorrow, the Senate will have an opportunity to undo a portion of the Republican campaign to sabotage health care. And in November, the American people will have a golden opportunity to move our country in a dramatically different direction, by voting for Democratic candidates who will work to improve our health care rather than so many of those Republicans candidates who in obeisance to the big insurance companies, work to destroy it.