News Releases

Led by Sen. Murray, today Senate Dems held floor to urge advocates, families in Washington state and nationwide to keep up pressure with Senate GOP set to release “revised” bill

Sen. Murray, Senate Dems brought patient and family stories to the Senate floor

Sen. Murray highlighted stories of WA state constituents who are in recovery from opioid addiction, rely on Medicaid, but are scared that Trumpcare will set them back

ICYMI: Sen. Murray spearheaded for Dems recent reports on impact Trumpcare would have on opioid crisis, states’ public health programs

Sen. Murray: “There is no “fixing” Trumpcare. No tweak around the edges is going to turn Trumpcare…into a health care bill that actually helps people.” 

***WATCH VIDEO OF FLOOR SPEECH HERE*** 

Washington D.C. – Led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), top Democrat on the Senate health committee, today Senate Democrats took to the Senate floor to share stories from their constituents on the damage Trumpcare will cause and urge advocates and families to keep making their voices heard in opposition.

Last week, Sen. Murray heard directly from several patients and providers in Everett and Seattle about how devastating Trumpcare would be to Washington state, including local efforts to address the opioid crisis. In her Senate floor speech, Sen. Murray talked about meeting with Daniel Veach and Rachael Erks, who both shared how Medicaid has helped them continue their recovery from substance use disorder, but now worry that if Trumpare is passed, all the progress they’ve made would be at risk. In Washington state, over 260,000 people with Medicaid would lose coverage and nearly 30,000 patients could lose access to treatment for opioid addiction and other substance use disorders under Trumpcare.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s floor speech:

“I’ve heard from cancer survivors who have fought back as hard as they can—and worry that Trumpcare will allow insurance companies to price them out of care because they’re labeled with a pre-existing condition. Young parents of medically fragile children, who stay up at night worrying about how to afford care for their toddler if lifetime caps on coverage are imposed under Trumpcare. Seniors who simply don’t have the savings to cover the premium spikes that Trumpcare would cause. Women and men who are furious—and rightly so—that a group of 13 men wrote a bill in secret to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of women’s health care, removing a quality, affordable provider from communities where it is already difficult to get care.”

“Even though it seems you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who wants to stick up for Trumpcare—including President Trump—Senate Republican leaders are still doing everything they can to jam it through Congress as quickly as they can. They’re working on backroom deals as we speak. And coming up with new ways to sweeten the deal for Senate Republicans who are rightly wary of voting for a bill that would so clearly do so much harm. In particular I want to address the ongoing effort by extreme conservative Senators to double-down on pulling the rug out from under patients with pre-existing conditions. They’ve put together a two-track plan to make middle class workers and families pay more. If they get their way, Trumpcare will tell patients with pre-existing conditions—or anyone who happens to get sick in the middle of the year—“tough luck “and they will do that in a way that even conservative experts predict will cause premiums to skyrocket…But let me be clear: there is no “fixing” Trumpcare. No tweak around the edges is going to turn Trumpcare—which is just a tax break for special interests in the health industry on the backs of patients—into a health care bill that actually helps people. Republicans are going to have to decide whether they stand with their party or the people they came here to represent.”

“To everyone who has called, written, rallied, or tweeted—you are having an impact.  You are why Trumpcare isn’t already law. But you can’t give up now—and Democrats here in the Senate won’t either. We are going to keep doing everything we can to make sure Senate Republicans can’t hold their noses and vote for Trumpcare just to hand big corporations a tax break and President Trump a hollow political win.  And I also want to remind my Senate Republican colleagues—again—we’ve made clear all along—there is a better way. Democrats are ready and willing to work with you on policies that make health care more affordable and workable for patients and families. So I hope you listen to the stories my Democratic colleagues are bringing to the floor, think about how devastating Trumpcare would be, and do the right thing by dropping this mean bill once and for all so that we can get to work on real health care solutions that help more people afford care, get covered, and stay healthy.”

Watch video of Sen. Murray’s floor speech HERE.

Full text of Senator Murray’s floor speech:

M. President, from the moment President Trump and Republicans began trying to jam Trumpcare through Congress, I heard from family after family in my home state about the damage their efforts to undermine families’ health care would do. And this last week was no different.

Again and again, my constituents told me what a difference it makes to have affordable insurance—to know that benefits like substance use treatment are covered—and to worry about how they would  manage if Trumpcare ever becomes law.

I know some of my Republican colleagues went out of their way to avoid these kinds of stories while they were home, so I wanted to make sure they hear a few examples now that they are back in town. And I appreciate my Democratic colleagues who will be sharing stories they heard from their constituents over the past few days as well.

M. President, like many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I come from a state where the opioid epidemic has had a devastating impact. It has been both heartbreaking and inspiring to talk with patients and families who are doing everything they can do fight back. And right now, the message I’m getting from them—loud and clear—is: we don’t want Trumpcare.

One of my constituents, Daniel, was injured in the military and given a prescription for painkillers. He was on them for eight years—and during that time, he told me his three daughters wondered why he wouldn’t play with them. Eventually Daniel changed doctors and was prescribed Suboxone, which made all the difference for him.

He’s now able to work again and manages a grocery store—but he relies on Medicaid for health care coverage, which covers the hundreds of dollars a month his prescription costs. Daniel says that if he loses Medicaid coverage under Trumpcare, he won’t be able to make ends meet—and all of his progress would be threatened.

I also heard from my constituent Rachael in Seattle, who was addicted to opioids and living in her car when she found out she was eligible for Medicaid. Rachael got connected with Swedish Medical Center in Seattle, where she received wraparound health services, including mental and primary health care.

She and her husband are now successfully in recovery and raising a family, and Rachael is going to school. But just like Daniel—they do not know what they will do if Trumpcare becomes law and Medicaid coverage is taken away from them.

These are just two of countless stories I’ve heard from patients, families, and doctors in my home state and nationwide. I’ve heard from cancer survivors who have fought back as hard as they can—and worry that Trumpcare will allow insurance companies to price them out of care because they’re labeled with a pre-existing condition.

Young parents of medically fragile children, who stay up at night worrying about how to afford care for their toddler if lifetime caps on coverage are imposed under Trumpcare. Seniors who simply don’t have the savings to cover the premium spikes that Trumpcare would cause.

Women and men who are furious—and rightly so—that a group of 13 men wrote a bill in secret to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of women’s health care, removing a quality, affordable provider from communities where it is already difficult to get care.

These stories are powerful. They make it undeniably clear just how much Trumpcare would hurt people. So it’s no wonder that Senate Republicans spent the last week laying low and avoiding defending the indefensible.

M. President, Senate Republicans have read the same independent Congressional Budget Office analysis as we have. They’ve heard from the countless doctors, nurses, hospitals, nursing homes, and patient advocates about all the ways Trumpcare would raise families’ costs and take away coverage.

They know that people across the country completely, resoundingly reject Trumpcare. It is the least popular bill in three decades according to one study. All in all, Trumpcare shatters every promise President Trump and Republicans made about “providing insurance to everybody” and “making sure no one is worse off.”

And—incredibly—the extreme right-wing still thinks it leaves too much of the Affordable Care Act intact! But M. President—even though it seems you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who wants to stick up for Trumpcare—including President Trump—Senate Republican leaders are still doing everything they can to jam it through Congress as quickly as they can. 

They’re working on backroom deals as we speak. And coming up with new ways to sweeten the deal for Senate Republicans who are rightly wary of voting for a bill that would so clearly do so much harm.

In particular I want to address the ongoing effort by extreme conservative Senators to double-down on pulling the rug out from under patients with pre-existing conditions.

They’ve put together a two-track plan to make middle class workers and families pay more…

If they get their way, Trumpcare will tell patients with pre-existing conditions—or anyone who happens to get sick in the middle of the year—“tough luck”…

…and they will do that in a way that even conservative experts predict will cause premiums to skyrocket…

And everyone else will be burdened with dramatically higher out-of-pocket costs when they need care. 

Senate Republicans are coming up with other ideas too—like an opioid fund that a Republican governor said is like “spitting in the ocean.”

But let me be clear: there is no “fixing” Trumpcare. No tweak around the edges is going to turn Trumpcare—which is just a tax break for special interests in the health industry on the backs of patients—into a health care bill that actually helps people.

Trumpcare is mean at its core—and unless it is dropped altogether, Senate Republicans are going to have to decide whether they stand with their party or the people they came here to represent.

So—to everyone who has called, written, rallied, or tweeted—you are having an impact.  You are why Trumpcare isn’t already law. But you can’t give up now—and Democrats here in the Senate won’t either.

We are going to keep doing everything we can to make sure Senate Republicans can’t hold their noses and vote for Trumpcare just to hand big corporations a tax break and President Trump a hollow political win. 

And I also want to remind my Senate Republican colleagues—again—we’ve made clear all along—there is a better way. Democrats are ready and willing to work with you on policies that make health care more affordable and workable for patients and families.

So I hope you listen to the stories my Democratic colleagues are bringing to the floor, think about how devastating Trumpcare would be, and do the right thing by dropping this mean bill once and for all so that we can get to work on real health care solutions that help more people afford care, get covered, and stay healthy. 

If you do—you won’t have to defend this defenseless bill a minute longer. Thank you and I yield the floor.