Statement ● Health Care
For Immediate Release: 
June 21, 2017
Contact Info: 

Mariel Saez 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) delivered remarks on the House Floor today to announce #TrumpCareStories, a video series highlighting the devastating impact of the TrumpCare bill being written behind closed doors in the Senate. Below is a video and a transcript of his remarks:

Click here to watch a video of his remarks.

“Mr. Speaker, when someone keeps something secret, it's often because it's embarrassing, or negative, or damaging, or unsupportable. Over in the Senate, Leader McConnell and some of his Republican Senators, Mr. Speaker, are doing just that: crafting a health care repeal bill in secret because they know what it contains would deeply embarrass anyone who supports it openly.

“They know it's going to be a hard sell to convince even their own Republican colleagues, Mr. Speaker, to get behind a bill that even President Trump called ‘mean.’ That was the House American Health Care Act to which he was referring. He called it mean for the harm it does to Americans.

“They know it's going to be difficult in the Senate to convince Senators to support a bill that raises health care costs for working families and kicks millions of Americans off their coverage, including those who are covered by their employers. A bill that makes millions of individuals with pre-existing conditions uninsurable and reinstitutes annual and lifetime limits. A bill that imposes an age tax on those between ages 50 and 64, increasing premium costs by as much, by as much, as 800%. A bill that forces states to cut benefits and kick millions of people off Medicaid whether it's next year, three years, or seven years. Those times are to try to get by elections so that perhaps the people will not be held accountable for voting for such draconian legislation.

“Mr. Speaker, such a bill ought to be very embarrassing, indeed, which is why Senator McConnell, I believe, and his allies don't want anyone to see it until they are asked to vote on it.

“We have a similar problem, of course, in the House. Whatever happened to transparency? To openness? To reading the bills? To posting it for all to see in advance? Where are all those people who wanted everybody to read the bills and see the bills? Where are they today in demanding bills be fully and thoroughly vetted, read, heard, and voted on?

“It's no wonder even Republican Senators who haven't seen the bill are getting angry with their leader and those drafting it in secrecy. Republican Senator Johnson said last week, ‘I want to know exactly what's going to be in the Senate bill. I don't know it yet.’ And then he concluded, ‘It's not a good process.’ And Senator Marco Rubio said, I quote, ‘The Senate is not a place where you can just cook up something behind closed door and rush it to a vote.’

“But Mr. Speaker, that's what we hear is exactly what's happening – cooking it up in secret and rushing it to a vote. Now, Mr. Speaker, they are not the only ones who want to know what's in this bill. Millions of Americans are deeply worried about its contents.

“Last week, I sat down with two courageous Americans who shared their personal health care stories with me. I want to thank them for doing so. I want to share their stories today. Their names are Ola Ojewumi and Megan Foley.

“Ola lives with a pre-existing condition. As a young child she received a heart and kidney transplant. She's also a cancer survivor. She is a young woman. She told me about how the Affordable Care Act saved her life. She was able to access affordable coverage because of the ban on denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Ola also told me how frightened she is that these protections could be taken away from her under the Senate's secret TrumpCare bill. If it's enacted, Ola and others with pre-existing conditions may not be able to access the coverage needed to keep them alive and healthy, or they may simply not be able to afford it.

“When I spoke with Megan [Foley], she shared her courageous story and struggle with mental illness and addiction. She told me how she overcame her addiction. Despite her recovery, before the Affordable Care Act came into effect, she was denied coverage again and again because her addiction was considered a pre-existing condition. Those were difficult months cutting back on expenses and accruing debt just to pay for her medication until the Affordable Care Act kicked in and allowed for Megan to obtain coverage. She made it, and now the law protects Megan and millions and millions of others like her struggling with addiction who were given a second chance.

“At a time when this country is plagued, Mr. Speaker, with an unprecedented opioid addiction crisis, the Republican repeal bill is an insult to courageous Americans for whom a recovery is lifelong process and access to care is essential. They and so many Americans are now living with uncertainty and fear for their future.

“Mr. Speaker, I’ll be sharing my interviews with Ola and Megan on social media, and I encourage all Members of this House to sit down, sit down with your constituents and listen to their stories and hear about their concerns.

“Americans deserve to know what's in the secret TrumpCare bill and how it will impact them and their loved ones. Americans deserve to know. Senators who represent those Americans need to know, and they have not seen it yet. Yet, there is some discussion they may have to consider that as early as next week. Senators and Members of this House deserve to know.

“End the secrecy. Pull back the curtain. Let us see what's in that bill that these Senators think is so embarrassing that it must be hidden from us all.

“I will remind Republicans both in the House and in the Senate that their party's control of our government is complete, and they will be held responsible for whatever happens to our health care system on their watch.

“CBO tells us that 23 million to 24 million people, as a result of the House bill, would lose their insurance. The pre-existing conditions would be put at risk, that over $800 billion dollars will be cut from Medicare and Medicaid.

“Mr. Speaker, I urge all of us to listen to Americans, to hear how beneficial the Affordable Care Act has been. I hope they listen to Ola and listen to Megan and all those concerned for the put and not huddle in a secret back room making decisions that will negatively impact millions and millions and millions of our fellow citizens. Do the right thing. Do it for Ola. Do it for Megan. Do it for all of our citizens. I yield back the balance of my time.”