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House could vote as soon as today on Trumpcare, legislation that would jeopardize care for millions of people, including hundreds of thousands in WA state

In floor speech, Murray spoke about standing with Marci Owens—health care and transgender rights activist from Seattle—when Affordable Care Act was signed into law

Murray also highlighted a WA constituent who depends on the ACA for critical heath care services

*Video HERE*

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, on the seventh anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being signed into law, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, took to the Senate floor to call on Republican leaders to drop the harmful House Republican Trumpcare bill that would cause chaos and confusion throughout our health care system. Senator Murray urged Republicans to work with Democrats on a bipartisan solution that doesn’t leave vulnerable families across the country at risk.

Senator Murray specifically highlighted the story of Erin Zerba, a teacher of 19 years, who depends on the ACA for critical health care services and whose life would be at risk if Trumpcare becomes law.

Key excerpts of Senator Patty Murray’s floor speech:

“M. President—I want to start by addressing the news last night that Republican leaders have decided to try to make their awful Trumpcare legislation even worse. Trumpcare wasn’t enough of a giveaway to insurance companies—it didn’t do enough harm to women, seniors, and people with pre-existing conditions—so Republican leaders decided to double down in efforts to appeal to their extreme conservative base. They’re now claiming they can take away essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health care, and pre-existing conditions through the reconciliation process. But here are the facts. Republican leaders know just as well as Democrats do that measures to take away these critically important protections can’t survive the reconciliation process and could never get 60 votes in the Senate. They are simply trying to sell conservatives a bill of goods today in the rush to jam this through—but the more they scramble, the more harmful this bill gets for patients and families, and the worse this will be for any House Republican who will be held accountable for their votes on it.”

“M. President, I come to the Senate floor to share some of these stories of families in my home state of Washington, who are worried, afraid, and whose lives will be at risk—if President Trump and Republicans take us down this dangerous path toward repeal. People whose voices, more than ever, need to be heard. But first, I want to make very clear—why we are here and what’s at stake. M. President, the House Republican Trumpcare bill would have a profoundly negative impact on the lives, wellbeing, and financial security of people across the country—people who, again, are truly terrified about the uncertain path forward.”

“Yet, M. President, for having such a profound impact, Republicans are seemingly doing everything they can to limit public discussion on Trumpcare. This bill was rushed through four House Committees without a single public hearing, no testimony or expert view. House Republicans voted the bill out of two of these committee—without a CBO score—without knowing how many people would be impacted. In the Senate, M. President, this week, every Senate Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee called on the Chairman—the Senior Senator from Tennessee—to allow for a hearing to discuss this bill. Not to be out done, of course, the Majority Leader, instead of committing to give all Senators time to review and evaluate the bill, has now said that the bill will go straight to the floor for a vote, as soon as next week.”

“M. President, we now know many of the facts of the bill. This bill would kick 24 million people off of their coverage; it would cause premiums to sky rocket; seniors to pay more for care; it would put at risk those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders, including opioid addiction; and it would end Medicaid as we know it. And, predictably, it attacks women’s constitutionally protected health care and rights; defunding Planned Parenthood; and putting insurance companies back in charge of other critical parts of women’s health care, including: maternity care, cancer screenings, and contraception. As I’ve said—this bill undermines women’s access to health care and women’s ability to make their own health care decisions, in virtually every way a piece of legislation could.”

“Like many of my colleagues, I have constituents coming up to me constantly when I’m back at home, asking me what’s going to happen to them if Trumpcare becomes law. They are bravely sharing deeply personal stories about their health, their families, and their fears—something they shouldn’t have to do—and they deserve to be heard. Erin Zerba from my home state of Washington deserves to be heard, M. President. Erin has been a teacher for nearly 19 years. She teaches in two rural school districts…If it wasn’t for the Medicaid expansion, under the Affordable Care Act, she would have no options.”

Full text of Senator Patty Murray’s floor speech:

Thank you, M. President.

As we all know, today marks 7 years since the Affordable Care Act was signed into law.

Now, while some here in Congress, may view this as an ideal opportunity to ram through a reckless, harmful repeal of the law.

I, for one, think about today a little differently.

I remember seven years ago standing with a young constituent of mine from Seattle, Marci Owens, as we watched President Obama sign the Affordable Care Act into law.

I had met, Marci, when she was about 11 years old, in the midst of some of the most heated moments of the health care reform debate.

And, to this day, I’ll never forget the story she told me about her mom—who had all of a sudden become sick, was forced to miss work, lost her job, and lost her health insurance.

And ultimately—because she wasn’t even able to see a doctor or get any care—she died as a result of her illness. 

I took that story with me, along with countless of other stories, of families—unable to access care, pay for medication, or see a doctor—and I used them as motivation, as my colleagues and I worked tirelessly to pass the Affordable Care Act.

M. President, last month, I was proud to have, Marci, now 18, attend President Trump’s Joint Address to Congress as my guest.

Today, Marci is still sharing her story, advocating for affordable health care, as well as transgender rights.

And she, along with millions of others across the country, is once again, standing up, speaking out, and making it clear that we cannot go backward.

So, M. President, I come to the Senate floor to share some of these stories of families in my home state of Washington, who are worried, afraid, and whose lives will be at risk—if President Trump and Republicans take us down this dangerous path toward repeal.

People whose voices, more than ever, need to be heard.

But first, I want to make very clear—why we are here and what’s at stake.

M. President, the House Republican Trumpcare bill would have a profoundly negative impact on the lives, wellbeing, and financial security of people across the country—people who, again, are truly terrified about the uncertain path forward.

Yet, M. President, for having such a profound impact, Republicans are seemingly doing everything they can to limit public discussion on Trumpcare.

This bill was rushed through four House Committees without a single public hearing, no testimony or expert view.

House Republicans voted the bill out of two of these committee—without a CBO score—without knowing how many people would be impacted.

In the Senate, M. President, this week, every Senate Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee called on the Chairman—the Senior Senator from Tennessee—to allow for a hearing to discuss this bill. 

He refused. He practically ignored the request. And he held a hearing on other health policy instead.

M. President, that the health committee—I repeat the health committee—hasn’t been allowed to hold a single hearing to discuss and debate Trumpcare—is completely appalling and it is shameful.

Not to be out done, of course, the Majority Leader, instead of committing to give all Senators time to review and evaluate the bill, has now said that the bill will go straight to the floor for a vote, as soon as next week.

Prompting even members of his own party to come out against this plan.

In all, these efforts are unprecedented. They are wrong. And they speak volumes about the kind of bill they are trying to ram through.

Because, M. President, we now know many of the facts of the bill.

This bill would kick 24 million people off of their coverage; it would cause premiums to sky rocket; seniors to pay more for care; it would put at risk those struggling with mental illness and substance use disorders, including opioid addiction; and it would end Medicaid as we know it.

And, predictably, it attacks women’s constitutionally protected health care and rights; defunding Planned Parenthood; and putting insurance companies back in charge of other critical parts of women’s health care, including: maternity care, cancer screenings, and contraception.

As I’ve said—this bill undermines women’s access to health care and women’s ability to make their own health care decisions, in virtually every way a piece of legislation could.

So, M. President, I oppose this bill in the strongest terms—and I am going to be doing everything I can to fight back against it.

And I know that Senate Democrats are ready to do so as well.

Families across the country are looking to us—and they have nowhere else to turn. 

Like many of my colleagues, I have constituents coming up to me constantly when I’m back at home, asking me what’s going to happen to them if Trumpcare becomes law.

They are bravely sharing deeply personal stories about their health, their families, and their fears—something they shouldn’t have to do—and they deserve to be heard.

Erin Zerba from my home state of Washington deserves to be heard, M. President.

Erin has been a teacher for nearly 19 years.

She teaches in two rural school districts.

But because of her part-time standing in both districts, she’s ineligible for insurance.

If it wasn’t for the Medicaid expansion, under the Affordable Care Act, she would have no options.

As Erin puts it, she is “terrified” to learn that Medicaid would be gutted under Trumpcare.

She has multiple disabilities, including Autism and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. 

She has had repeated surgeries, following a difficult pregnancy.

And the medication she has to take, every day, is extremely expensive.

And there is no generic form.

She is one of the millions of people—who would have nowhere to turn—if Medicaid is dismantled.

And, M. President, I just have to say that we are going to fight back with every way we have.

Because the Trump bill that is being rushed through the House, with giveaways for Senators for their votes, is not the way we take care of people in this country.

M. President, I am deeply worried about the process of this bill.

I just want to say, as the ranking member on the health committee, it is appalling that we have had no hearings, no expert witnesses, no markup.

We have not seen this bill.   It is being rushed through.  It will impact every American family.  And it deserves the time of day.

Not some created timeline, deadline. Simply to pass a campaign promise. And not to do the right thing for the American people.

Thank you, M. President, and I yield the floor.

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