June 25, 2017

Word: Elizabeth Warren on the GOP health slash bill

Elizabeth Warren - Today, we finally got a look at the monstrosity of a bill that Republicans have been hiding behind closed doors for weeks....

Now we know the truth – Senate Republicans weren’t making the House bill better. Nope, not one bit. Instead, they were sitting around a conference room table, dreaming up even meaner ways to kick dirt in the face of the American people and take away their health insurance.

The Senate bill is crammed full with just as many tax cuts as the House bill. Tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, tax cuts for wealthy investors, tax cuts for giant companies. But all those tax cuts don’t come cheap. They start to add up after a while. So Senate Republicans had to make a choice. How to pay for all these juicy tax cuts for their rich buddies?

I’ll tell you how: blood money. Senate Republicans wrung some extra dollars out of kicking people off tax credits that help them afford health insurance. They raked in extra cash by letting states drop even more protections and benefits, like maternity care or prescription drug coverage or mental health treatment.

And then they got to the real piggy bank: Medicaid. And here they just went wild. Senate Republicans went after Medicaid with even deeper cuts than the House version. The Medicaid expansion? Gone – ripped up and flushed down the toilet. And the rest of the Medicaid program? For Senate Republicans, it wasn’t enough that the House bill was going to toss grandparents out of nursing homes or slash funding for people with disabilities or pull the plug on health care for babies born too soon. No. Senate Republicans wanted to go bigger.

The Republican bill claims to protect kids with disabilities by leaving them out of the calculations that decide how big the Medicaid cuts will be in each state. Now I don’t know if the Republicans were expecting a round of applause for pitting kids with breathing tubes against vulnerable seniors or someone needing treatment for addiction, but I do know this so-called exemption won’t do a thing to help these kids. The Republican cuts still slash hundreds of billions of dollars from Medicaid, leaving states with no choice – no choice – but to cut services that kids with disabilities desperately need.

Medicaid is the program in this country that provides health insurance to one in five Americans. To 30 million kids. To nearly two out of every three people in a nursing home. These cuts are blood money. People will die. Let’s be very clear: Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives...

And it isn’t just seniors who will be hit hard. How about a premature baby born with lung defects? His parents both have full-time jobs, but no matter how hard they work, no matter how many hours they put in, they will never be able to pay for the millions of dollars in surgeries, equipment, medicine, therapy that their child needs. Right now, Medicaid makes sure that kids with complex medical needs have coverage for feeding tubes and medication and surgery and physical therapy.

Senate Republicans can wave their hands and say that everyone will be fine, but it is time for the rest of us to take a long, hard look at exactly what would happen to the people who have to live with the Republicans’ reckless cuts.

Senate Republicans know exactly what they are doing with this health care bill. Their values are on full display. If they want to trade the health insurance of millions of Americans for tax cuts for the rich, they’d better be ready for a fight. Because now that this shameful bill is out in the open, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.

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