News Releases

Senator Murray highlights impact of President Trump’s decision to cancel critical outreach efforts ahead of open enrollment period starting Nov 1, causing unnecessary consumer confusion, anxiety 

Senator Murray on Senate floor: “Good news” is bipartisan bill with Chairman Alexander would tie President Trump’s hand on sabotage & protect families from higher premiums

Senator Murray: “I would once again urge the Majority Leader to allow our legislation to get a vote…there’s no reason to wait—there's absolutely no excuse for inaction”

ICYMI: Seattle Times: “A summer assault on the Affordable Care Act by the Trump Administration and Congress has confused consumers” 

ICYMI: Government watchdog Investigation, requested by Senator Murray, confirms Trump Administration cut outreach for 2017 open enrollment period without any analysis of impact on patients & families 

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S FLOOR SPEECH HERE***

(Washington, D.C.) –  Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, today highlighted the first day of open enrollment and President Trump’s ongoing efforts to sabotage health care for millions of Americans, including his efforts to undermine community outreach prior to the start of the open enrollment period to purchase coverage beginning today, November 1.

In a Senate floor speech, Senator Murray slammed President Trump’s decision to pull funding for outreach days before the end of the 2017 open enrollment period—without any analysis of how that might impact patients and families—and his signed executive orders specifically designed to inject uncertainty and increase health care costs.

Senator Murray urged her colleagues to pass the Murray-Alexander stabilization plan—which has the support of 60 Senators and growing—to help reverse the effects of President Trump’s sabotage and lower out-of-pocket costs for patient and families in Washington state and nationwide.

Last night, Senator Murray also led Senate and House Democrats in sending a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services regarding reports that automatic re-enrollment in the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Marketplaces will occur after the last day of the Open Enrollment period, potentially locking individuals into health plans that do not meet their health care needs. More HERE.

Key excerpts of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“Since day one, the President of the United States has made clear that his top priority when it comes to health care in our country is to score political points by attacking Obamacare. He has even said, repeatedly, that health care in our country will ‘implode.’ But this wasn’t just a prediction that President Trump made—it was his goal. And he’s tried virtually everything he can do to make that implosion a reality. In January, he abruptly pulled funding for outreach days before the end of the 2017 open enrollment period—without any analysis of how that might impact patients and families—and signed executive orders specifically designed to inject uncertainty and increase costs in the health care system. President Trump then dedicated the spring and summer to attempting to jam partisan, extraordinarily destructive legislation through the House and Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act.”  

“Today is the first day of the open enrollment period for 2018—and as a direct result of this President’s actions, families are going to see higher premiums, more out of pocket costs, and fewer coverage options. Many families will have to change their coverage if they want to avoid paying hundreds of dollars more in premiums. And at a time when we continue to need to do more to bend the health care cost curve in the right direction, taxpayers are being burdened with higher health care costs to the federal government. Not because of any improvement in quality or comprehensiveness—just because of chaos this Administration has caused. In fact, just last week the Trump administration proposed a rule to double down on the sabotage in 2019, that would let insurers cover fewer services in addition to raising costs. I have to say that I truly never imagined a President of the United States would so openly and uncaringly root for the people of this country to be worse off. But that is exactly what President Trump is doing. It needs to be said—and it needs to be stopped.”

“And what makes this even more frustrating, M. President, is that a lot of it could have been stopped, months ago, if Republican leaders hadn’t insisted on trying to help this Administration carry out its partisan, wrecking-ball health care strategy. Back in September, Chairman Alexander and I were near agreement on a bipartisan bill to stabilize health care markets and protect families from higher premiums and out of pocket costs. We found common ground through regular order, through a process that engaged half of the Senate. We were on the verge of reaching agreement when Republican leaders froze negotiations in order to try to jam Trumpcare through the Senate one more time. Let me repeat that—Republican leaders hit the pause button on a bipartisan process that could have lowered premiums and stabilized markets—exposing patients and families to the full impact of President Trump’s sabotage.”

“But the good news is that the legislation Chairman Alexander and I ultimately agreed on can and will still have an impact—not just a few years from now, but in 2018, if Republican leaders don’t stand in the way again…M. President, the legislation that Chairman Alexander and I have proposed—with 12 Democratic cosponsors and 12 Republican cosponsors would do a lot to help get things back on track. It would tie President Trump’s hands on sabotage—and it would send a powerful message that elected officials in Congress can work together to get things done when we focus on common ground rather than scoring political points. So I would once again urge the Majority Leader to allow our legislation to get a vote. It has the support of 60-plus Senators and growing...There’s no reason to wait—there's absolutely no excuse for inaction—and I am going to continue doing everything I can to make that clear until Republican leaders finally listen to the patients and families they serve.”

Watch full video of Senator Murray’s floor speech HERE

Full remarks by Senator Murray (as prepared for delivery):

“Thank you, M. President. 

“Since day one, the President of the United States has made clear that his top priority when it comes to health care in our country is to score political points by attacking Obamacare.

“He has even said, repeatedly, that health care in our country will ‘implode.’ But this wasn’t just a prediction that President Trump made—it was his goal. And he’s tried virtually everything he can do to make that implosion a reality.

“In January, he abruptly pulled funding for outreach days before the end of the 2017 open enrollment period—without any analysis of how that might impact patients and families—and signed executive orders specifically designed to inject uncertainty and increase costs in the health care system.

“President Trump then dedicated the spring and summer to attempting to jam partisan, extraordinarily destructive legislation through the House and Senate to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

“Despite one independent analysis after another showing that each version of Trumpcare would cause premiums to spike, take coverage away from millions of people, rip protections away from patients with pre-existing conditions, and gut Medicaid.

“This fall—after Trumpcare failed another time in the Senate—he slashed investments in helping inform families about their coverage options by 90 percent and followed through on his yearlong threat to discontinue payments designed to lower out of pocket costs for low-income enrollees.

“M. President, this is a scenario that health care experts said would cause ‘mass consumer confusion and anxiety.’ One that insurance companies planned for by shifting the burden of uncertainty to patients and taxpayers—in the form of higher premiums and fewer options in state marketplaces. This is by no means the full list of ways President Trump has attempted health care sabotage—but it does explain where we are right now.

“Today is the first day of the open enrollment period for 2018—and as a direct result of this President’s actions, families are going to see higher premiums, more out of pocket costs, and fewer coverage options.

“Many families will have to change their coverage if they want to avoid paying hundreds of dollars more in premiums. And at a time when we continue to need to do more to bend the health care cost curve in the right direction, taxpayers are being burdened with higher health care costs to the federal government. Not because of any improvement in quality or comprehensiveness—just because of chaos this Administration has caused.

“In fact, just last week the Trump administration proposed a rule to double down on the sabotage in 2019, that would let insurers cover fewer services in addition to raising costs. I have to say that I truly never imagined a President of the United States would so openly and uncaringly root for the people of this country to be worse off. But that is exactly what President Trump is doing. It needs to be said—and it needs to be stopped.

“And what makes this even more frustrating, M. President, is that a lot of it could have been stopped, months ago, if Republican leaders hadn’t insisted on trying to help this Administration carry out its partisan, wrecking-ball health care strategy.

“Back in September, Chairman Alexander and I were near agreement on a bipartisan bill to stabilize health care markets and protect families from higher premiums and out of pocket costs. We found common ground through regular order, through a process that engaged half of the Senate.

“We were on the verge of reaching agreement when Republican leaders froze negotiations in order to try to jam Trumpcare through the Senate one more time.

“Let me repeat that—Republican leaders hit the pause button on a bipartisan process that could have lowered premiums and stabilized markets—exposing patients and families to the full impact of President Trump’s sabotage.

“That’s the bad news, M. President. But the good news is that the legislation Chairman Alexander and I ultimately agreed on can and will still have an impact—not just a few years from now, but in 2018, if Republican leaders don’t stand in the way again.

“Our bill would, among other priorities, continue out-of-pocket cost reduction payments —and it would make sure that patients and families, not insurance companies, see the benefit of that certainty in the form of rebates next year.

“M. President, the legislation that Chairman Alexander and I have proposed—with 12 Democratic cosponsors and 12 Republican cosponsors would do a lot to help get things back on track.

“It would tie President Trump’s hands on sabotage—and it would send a powerful message that elected officials in Congress can work together to get things done when we focus on common ground rather than scoring political points.

“So I would once again urge the Majority Leader to allow our legislation to get a vote. It has the support of 60-plus Senators and growing. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said it provides billions in savings and would stabilize markets this year and lower premiums in 2019. And the President has told Chairman Alexander that he supports this process moving forward.

“There’s no reason to wait—there's absolutely no excuse for inaction—and I am going to continue doing everything I can to make that clear until Republican leaders finally listen to the patients and families they serve.”