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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Senator Elizabeth Warren On The Warpath Going After President Trump: Wrongly Accuses POTUS of Wishing Babies / Elderly Not Provided Healthcare

March 27, 2017


Mr. President, last week Republicans in Congress came within an inch of ripping health insurance away from 24 million people in order to give tax breaks to rich people. That collapsed, and it collapsed because the American people stood up and said no—no to kicking seniors out of nursing homes, no to booting kids with rare diseases off of their treatments, no to gutting funding for opioid addiction.

All across this country—in every corner of this country—for months people spoke up about how the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid are saving their lives and saving their families from financial ruin. They poured their hearts out, they raised their voices, and they demanded to be heard. Last week they won.

The collapse of the Republicans’ cruel scheme is a huge relief to mil- lions of people in this country, but I am not here to celebrate. I am here to warn the American people about what is coming next, because instead of listening to the American people about what they want, the President of the United States has threatened to sabotage healthcare in America. It isn’t subtle. One hour after the Republicans admitted they didn’t have the votes in Congress to destroy the Affordable Care Act, President Trump sat behind his desk in the Oval Office and told the entire Nation that he wants to trigger a meltdown of our healthcare system because he thinks that would be helpful to him politically.

Just so there is no confusion, I want to quote him word for word. He said: ‘‘The best thing we can do, politically speaking, is let ObamaCare explode.’’

Now let’s be clear. It is deeply wrong for the President of the United States—whose one and only job is to look out for the American people—to root for the failure of our country’s healthcare system. It is deeply wrong for the President of the United States to announce that he is going to drag down our entire healthcare sector—a sector that accounts for more than one-sixth of the entire U.S. economy— just so he can stand on top of the wreckage and waggle his fingers and say: I told you so.

Healthcare for millions of Americans is not a game. It is not entertainment. It is not a reality TV show. Healthcare is literally life and death, and it touches everyone in this country from elderly grandparents to tiny babies.

President Trump is responsible for making healthcare in this country work. It is his job. He is President of the United States. His party controls both Houses of Congress. A legitimate President doesn’t clap and cheer when things get worse for the American people. A legitimate President doesn’t pound his chest about sabotaging the health and security of the American people because it is politically expedient. A legitimate President does his job.

The President’s admission that he wants our healthcare system to collapse is a dangerous sign of where things are headed. For 7 years Republicans in Congress have rooted against healthcare in this country, cheering every stumble and working at every turn to hobble the law and make it harder for people to get affordable in- surance. President Trump cannot repeal the Affordable Care Act on his own, but he can strip healthcare from millions of Americans and make it too expensive for millions more. He can do that all on his own. In fact, he is already working on it.

A few days after he took office, President Trump signed an Executive order directing his agency to use every tool at their disposal to try to disrupt the Affordable Care Act. In January, he also pulled down government’s efforts to get more people signed up for health insurance. Why? So fewer people would use the health exchanges, fewer would get insurance, and premiums would go up for those who did sign up—all in an effort to make ObamaCare fail.

Senator PATTY MURRAY and I asked the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate this reckless move, and now an independent investigation has been launched into this despicable incident. But the President has more tools at his disposal to undercut the Affordable Care Act all by himself. The President can redefine what insurance plans have to cover, stripping out critical benefits like birth control coverage. The President can withhold payments that insurers rely on to keep private health plans affordable. The President can allow States to put new conditions on Medicaid, conditions like taking away healthcare coverage if a woman doesn’t get back to work soon enough after giving birth.

If the President decides to launch an all-out effort to sabotage American healthcare so he can manufacture a crisis to score political points, he can hurt a lot of people.

But there is a better way. If Republicans want to work on ideas to actually improve healthcare in America, to expand coverage, to expand access, or to reduce premiums and out-of-pocket costs, I am eager to throw up my sleeves and go to work. For years, Massachusetts has led the Nation in bipartisan health reform. We have lots to contribute on this, and lots of other Democrats are ready to get to work, too.

The American people aren’t stupid. They know the difference between a bill that kicks 24 million people off of their health insurance and a bill that actually improves care. They know the difference between a President who fights to make health care better and a President who plans to sabotage healthcare. They know the difference between a fireman and an arsonist. If this President and this Congress continue to play politics with the lives of millions of people, I promise you that the American people will see it, they will know it, and they will rise up once again to fight it. 

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