News Releases

At a news conference yesterday, Senator Murray explained why allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices is a crucial step in lowering drug costs for all Americans

Later in the day, Senator Murray took to the Senate floor to demand Republicans’ stop their efforts to undermine Medicaid and health care for millions of people 

Senator Murray: “At the end of the day, President Trump’s talk is cheap, and prescription drugs are still far too expensive. If Republicans really want to show people they take this issue seriously, it’s time they join Democrats in pushing for serious solutions—like Medicare negotiation.” 

Senator Murray: “State after state has worked to expand Medicaid in recent years, and time after time we’ve seen the benefits of those efforts… And yet Republicans have tried every trick in the book to try and undermine that progress.” 

Senator Murray: “In short, [Washington state is] showing how Medicaid can do more—while Republicans here in the nation’s capital are trying to gut it so it does less.”

***WATCH VIDEO OF SENATOR MURRAY’S NEWS CONFERENCE REMARKS HERE*** 

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

(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate health committee, joined her Democratic colleagues to stand up for the millions of families in Washington state and across the country that struggle with health care costs. First, at a morning news conference, Senator Murray followed up on her recent plans to lower prescription drug costs by advocating for Medicare to be at the table to negotiate drug prices, and made clear that Medicare negotiation is the number one way to lower the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Americans. Later, Senator Murray took to the floor of the Senate to highlight how successful and important Medicaid has been for the Evergreen State, with one in every five Washingtonians relying on Medicaid for quality, affordable health care. During her remarks, Senator Murray sought to hold Republicans accountable for their efforts to undermine the program, blasting President Trump and Republicans for attacking Medicaid with funding cuts, burdensome paperwork meant to help kick people off the program, and a blatantly partisan lawsuit seeking to strike down Medicaid expansion. Senator Murray also emphasized Medicaid’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic, improving maternal and infant health, and reducing racial inequity in the health care system, as well as highlighted innovative efforts in Washington state to use Medicaid to take on even more challenges.

“In my home state of Washington, instead of taking Medicaid away from people, we are taking on even more challenges through the program,” Senator Murray said. “In short—we’re showing how Medicaid can do more—while Republicans here in the nation’s capital are trying to gut it so it does less.”

Watch Senator Murray’s news conference remarks HERE and read the full text below:

“Thank you Senator Klobuchar.

“I’ve heard from families across Washington state about how high prescription drug prices have forced them to ask unthinkable questions as they try to make ends meet.

“Do they buy their groceries or their medication?

“Will moving in with a family member be enough to help them afford the drugs they need to stay alive?

“Can they risk taking one pill instead of two?

“Families are desperately looking to Congress for answers on how we can bring down high prescription drug costs.

“But so far President Trump has offered lots of bluster, and little meaningful action.

“At the end of the day, President Trump’s talk is cheap, and prescription drugs are still far too expensive.

“If Republicans really want to show people they take this issue seriously, it’s time they join Democrats in pushing for serious solutions—like Medicare negotiation.

“Medicare is one of the largest purchasers of prescription drugs in the country. Letting it use its sway to negotiate lower drug prices is one of the most important steps we can take to tackle this problem. 

“It is way past time we stop letting drug companies charge exorbitant prices, with no justification and start empowering Medicare to bring companies to the negotiating table, and bring prices down.

“And it’s not just Democrats who think so—people across the country have been speaking out on this.

“In fact, my office got over 1,200 letters last week calling for Medicare negotiation—more letters than I received on any other issue.

“And it’s not just families in Washington wondering if they can afford, their groceries, their rent, and the drugs they need.

“It’s not just patients in Washington wondering how they’re going to pay for their prescription, and what might happen if they risk going without it.

“This is a national crisis.

“So Democrats are going to keep pushing to let Medicare negotiate lower drug prices—and we are going to keep pushing for Republicans to join us in that effort.

“Just like we’re going to keep pushing them to address President Trump’s health care sabotage, which has driven costs up, threatened access to drugs for families who get coverage from commercial insurance, and undermined protections for people with pre-existing conditions, including people with disabilities…

“People across the country have been clear they want us to make sure they can get quality, affordable health care.

“Democrats have made clear we are at the table, and have impactful ideas like Medicare negotiation to bring down drug prices, and proposals to repair President Trump’s health care sabotage.

“Now is the time for Republicans to make clear whether they are going to start putting patients first—or keep putting politics first.

“I hope they make the right decision—and if they don’t they can be sure we are going to keep holding them accountable.

“And now I’ll hand it over to Senator Murphy.”

Watch Senator Murray’s Senate floor speech HERE and read the full text below:      

“Thank you M. President.

“People across the country have been absolutely clear they want us to fight for families struggling with high health care costs, and help make sure everyone in our country can get quality, affordable care.

“And unfortunately, Republicans so far have been equally clear in their answer—we don’t care.

“While Democrats have been coming forward with solutions, and calling for Republicans to come to the table to address the health care sabotage they’ve helped President Trump accomplish, Republicans have repeatedly refused to fight the fire, and only ever shown real interest in fanning the flames.

“There are so many glaring examples of how President Trump and Republicans have worked to sabotage families’ health care.

“But I’m here today to focus on one: their tireless efforts to undermine Medicaid—a program that helps people across the country get quality, affordable health care.

“State after state has worked to expand Medicaid in recent years, and time after time we’ve seen the benefits of those efforts.

“Data shows Medicaid has helped reduce racial disparities in health care.

“It has helped increase access to treatment for opioid use disorder—a critical need as our country confronts a nationwide epidemic.

“It has helped improve maternal and infant health—another area where we desperately need to make more progress.

“And Medicaid expansion has helped tens of millions of people get quality, affordable health care. That is why, states that expanded Medicaid have seen their uninsured rates drop more than those that didn’t.

“And yet Republicans have tried every trick in the book to try and undermine that progress. 

“Back when Republicans were first peddling their harmful Trumpcare plan, they made clear they wanted to put Medicaid on the chopping block in a big way—not only rolling back Medicaid expansion, but proposing deep cuts for moms, kids, people with disabilities, and seniors who need long-term services and supports.

“And even after people across the country spoke up, pushed back, and defeated that backwards proposal, Republicans have still tried to take care away from millions of families across the country who rely on Medicaid.

“President Trump has still called for enormous cuts to Medicaid in his budget proposals.

“He has still pushed for burdensome paperwork requirements that serve no real purpose except to put up barriers that make it harder for people to get the care they need, and easier for him to take their care away.

“And Republicans in Congress have still made clear their preferred way to pay for the expensive tax breaks they gave to corporations and the wealthy is to cut programs like Medicaid that give health care to those who are struggling and in need.

“And even as President Trump and Republicans fight against the wishes of people across the country and for these backwards proposals, they are fighting to dismantle Medicaid in court as well.

“If President Trump gets his way in the blatantly partisan Republican lawsuit, not only will protections for people with pre-existing conditions be struck down; not only will young adults be dropped from their parents’ plans; not only will essential health benefits that ensure coverage includes prescription drug costs, maternity care, and more go away; not only will lifetime and annual caps on coverage return—even for people insured through their employer;

“If President Trump has his way in court, Medicaid expansion would be struck down, and tens of millions of families across the country will have the care they rely on taken away.

“That is wrong—and Democrats are absolutely not going to stand for it.

“We are going to defend patients’ care and look to expand coverage and improve quality for more families.

“I’m proud that Washington state is leading the way on this.

“In my home state of Washington, instead of taking Medicaid away from people, we are taking on even more challenges through the program.

“Our state is showing how Medicaid can help provide people with long-term care benefits in their homes, and how it can help address employment challenges, housing needs, and other social determinants of health that improve the health of entire communities.

“In short—we’re showing how Medicaid can do more—while Republicans here in the nation’s capital are trying to gut it so it does less.

“M. President, enough is enough. It’s time for Republicans to stop sabotaging families’ care, stop trying make health coverage more expensive and further out of reach, stop trying to undermine Medicaid and the lives of the millions of people who rely on it, and start working with Democrats to fight for patients and families.

“And if Republicans want to keep sitting by and cheering on harmful health care sabotage proposals, they are going to keep seeing families, patients, and Democrats standing up to hold them accountable.

“Thank you.”

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