WASHINGTON — Senate Democratic leaders blasted the Republican Senate health care bill dubbing it as “meaner” than the House version.
“When the White House passed their health care bill — a bill that President Trump called mean, I thought it wouldn’t be possible for the Senate Republicans to conjure up a bill even worse than that one,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said at a Thursday press conference surrounded by fellow Democrats. “Unfortunately, that is what they have done.”
Grabbing one word from a critical quote President Donald Trump made about the House health care bill, Democrats stood next to an easel holding a bright red sign with bold black letters spelling out “mean.”
Schumer grabbed a black pen and scribbled in a dash and an “er” at the end of the word to describe his caucus’ sentiments about the bill.
The Senate minority leader, along with Washington Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, blasted the bill as large tax break to wealthy Americans and claimed Americans on Medicaid would lose their insurance.
“First, it’ll cause health care costs for middle class and working families to go up by cutting back on tax credits and making Americans pay even a bigger percentage of their income for their premiums. They’re going to send costs soaring. Second, the bill will kick millions off Medicaid By making even deeper cuts than the House bill. If you’re a middle-class family with a loved one in a nursing home, the cost of that care is going to go up. Third it abandons people with preexisting conditions putting at dire risk maternity care and mental health coverage by allowing states even more latitude to get out of covering essential health benefits,” Schumer said.
He added, “Fourth it defunds Planned Parenthood making it harder for millions of women to obtain the health care they need and deserve. Now why are they doing all this to provide a giant tax break for the wealthiest Americans,” noting that higher costs would be the result of the bill and “millions of Americans” on Medicaid would lose their insurance.
Sen. Murray agreed, saying, “After seven years of refusing to work with us as Democrats on actually helping families get better health care of obstructing progress playing partisan political games even when it hurt their own constituents. What Republican leaders have put forth is truly shameful and it needs to be stopped.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell defended his conference’s bill, saying on the chamber floor earlier on Thursday, “Seven years ago, Democrats imposed Obamacare on our country. They said it would lower costs. It didn’t. From 2013 to 2017, premiums have on average doubled in the vast majority of states on the federal exchange. Next year, Obamacare premiums will go up across the country again — potentially by as much as 43 percent in Iowa, and 59 percent in Maryland, even a staggering 80 percent in New Mexico. Does it sound like Obamacare is working?”
McConnell also said, “We agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under Obamacare as well, and policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies, so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets and hope to Americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under Obamacare. And ultimately transition away from Obamacare’s collapsing system entirely, so more Americans will not be hurt. We also agree on the need to strengthen Medicaid, preserve access to care for patients with preexisting conditions, and allow children to stay on their parents’ health insurance through the age of 26.”
Schumer, however, responded to McConnell and went to the Senate floor and criticized the majority leader for not allowing enough time for members to look through the bill.
“And we’re potentially voting on it in a week! No committee hearings. No amendments in committee. No debate on the floor save for 10 measly hours, on one of the most important bills we’re dealing with in decades. That brings shame on this body,” Schumer said.
But McConnell claimed that all 100 members will participate in amending the bill next week in an open process.
“Next week, we expect the Congressional Budget Office to release a score. After that, we will proceed with a robust debate and an open amendment process on the Senate floor — a process that I would encourage each of our 100 Senators to participate in,” the Kentucky Republican said.