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Murray: “Working families should not have to pay the price for Republican political games—including this Supreme Court case they pushed for.”

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senator floor following last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on the King v. Burwell case. In her remarks, Murray highlighted that the Affordable Care Act clearly reflects the intent of Congress to help all Americans get health care, regardless of where they live, and expressed her confidence that the Supreme Court would reach this same conclusion. Murray stated that she found it appalling that Republicans seem to be rooting for a ruling to take away health care coverage for millions of Americans including millions in their home states, and noted that Democrats will continue to work to build on the law’s progress to move our health care system forward and help working families.

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

“I was here when we fought to get the Affordable Care Act passed. I know firsthand that our top priority was to help all Americans get more affordable health care coverage. That goal is clear in the history and text of this law. And I am confident the Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion: that no matter how the health care exchange is set up in your state, if you qualify for tax credits, you should get them just as Congress intended.”

“Unfortunately, M. President, many of our Republican colleagues appear to be hoping for the opposite outcome. I want to take a step back and just note how appalling this particular situation is. Right now, Republicans seem to be rooting for a ruling that would take away millions of Americans’ health care coverage. They seem to want a ruling that would put their own constituents’ health at risk, and that amounts to a tax increase on six and a half million people of about $3,200 a year. Working families should not have to pay the price for Republican political games—including this Supreme Court case they pushed for.”

“…if I were a mother who no longer has to worry about what happens if a child breaks an ankle, or a struggling worker who now has a little more to spend on groceries because health insurance no longer costs so much, I would have a lot of tough questions for Republicans right now. I would wonder why on earth Republicans are so focused on taking apart a law that is helping families get quality, affordable health insurance.”

“…we still have more work to do to strengthen our health care system, but there’s no question that this law is doing what we set out to do: expand access to affordable health care for all Americans.”

“…Democrats want to build on this progress. So while Republicans are putting politics first, ahead of families’ needs, Democrats are going to be focused on building on the Affordable Care Act with: more coverage, not less, more affordability, not less, and better quality, not less. We know the work to put patients first didn’t end when the Affordable Care Act passed. That’s why we are going to keep working to move our health care system forward, not backward, for families.”

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“I want to say a few words about the oral arguments in King v. Burwell last week.

“Like many of us on the floor today, I was here when we fought to get the Affordable Care Act passed. I know firsthand that our top priority was to help all Americans get more affordable health care coverage. That goal is clear in the history and text of this law. And I am confident the Supreme Court will reach the same conclusion: that no matter how the health care exchange is set up in your state, if you qualify for tax credits, you should get them just as Congress intended.

“Unfortunately, M. President, many of our Republican colleagues appear to be hoping for the opposite outcome. I want to take a step back and just note how appalling this particular situation is.

“Right now, Republicans seem to be rooting for a ruling that would take away millions of Americans’ health care coverage.

“They seem to want a ruling that would put their own constituents’ health at risk, and that amounts to a tax increase on six and a half million people of about $3,200 a year.

“Working families should not have to pay the price for Republican political games—including this Supreme Court case they pushed for.

“M. President, if I were a mother who no longer has to worry about what happens if a child breaks an ankle, or a struggling worker who now has a little more to spend on groceries because health insurance no longer costs so much, I would have a lot of tough questions for Republicans right now. I would wonder why on earth Republicans are so focused on taking apart a law that is helping families get quality, affordable health insurance.

“M. President, the Affordable Care Act was a critical step forward in terms of making sure our health care system puts patients and families first. Over ten million Americans have gained coverage in the last two years—in fact, the uninsured rate is near a historic low.

“Health care coverage is more affordable for families across the country. And we’re seeing important improvements in the quality of care patients are getting.

“We still have more work to do to strengthen our health care system, but there’s no question that this law is doing what we set out to do: expand access to affordable health care for all Americans.

“And Democrats want to build on this progress. So while Republicans are putting politics first, ahead of families’ needs, Democrats are going to be focused on building on the Affordable Care Act with: more coverage, not less, more affordability, not less, and better quality, not less.

“We know the work to put patients first didn’t end when the Affordable Care Act passed. That’s why we are going to keep working to move our health care system forward, not backward, for families.

“Thank you and I yield the floor.”