09.18.18

Murray: President Trump’s Sabotage Has Increased Chaos, Not Transparency

At latest HELP hearing on health costs, Murray stressed importance of transparency to improve health care

 

Since taking office, President Trump has cut program to help people navigate complexity of health care system from $63 million to $10 million

 

Murray: “Unfortunately, instead of taking steps toward greater transparency, President Trump has only taken steps toward greater chaos by sabotaging our health care system.”

 

Murray: “… transparency alone is absolutely not enough. A drug company being transparent about its exorbitantly expensive drugs doesn’t help the patients who can’t afford them. An insurance company being transparent about its discrimination based on age, sex, and pre-existing conditions doesn’t help people get the care they need.”

 

***WATCH SEN. MURRAY’S REMARKS HERE***

 

Washington, D.C – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, delivered opening remarks at the Committee’s latest hearing exploring ways to address high health care costs through transparency. In her remarks, Senator Murray stressed the potential for transparency to improve health care, and noted the efforts of the Washington Health Alliance in Washington state. She condemned President Trump’s efforts to sabotage health care and drive up costs and specifically criticized his decision to reduce funding for the Navigator program, which provides guidance to help people understand the complex health system and get health insurance for their families. Senator Murray also called on her Republican colleagues to not only discuss transparency, but work with Democrats on bipartisan solutions to bring down health care costs and address the damage of President Trump’s sabotage.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“Just look at the Navigator program, which provides clarity, transparency, and guidance to people trying to understand our complex system and get health insurance for their families. This program is especially important for patients who don’t speak English as a first language and people who are less familiar with the health care system. Last year the Administration cut Navigator funding nearly in half—slashing it from $63 million to $36 million. And just two months ago they did it again. After dragging their feet and giving little heads up for organizations to adjust, they cut funding by about two-thirds down to $10 million.”

 

“And they announced the Navigator organization serving a state can be located virtually anywhere—even across the country, far from those who need their help. In our stabilization hearings last year, this committee heard just how valuable Navigators with a physical presence and cultural competency can be, especially for tribal communities. We can expect these communities to be hit particularly hard by President Trump’s sabotage of the Navigators program.”

 

“But while President Trump’s decision to shortchange this program and deny Navigators adequate time to prepare for these changes is disappointing. Sadly it’s not surprising. Sabotaging the health care system and raising costs for families have become standard practice for this Administration.”

 

“I hope we can find common ground to reject President Trump’s sabotage, and address the damage and skyrocketing prices he’s caused. Because transparency alone is absolutely not enough. A drug company being transparent about its exorbitantly expensive drugs doesn’t help the patients who can’t afford them. An insurance company being transparent about its discrimination based on age, sex, and pre-existing conditions doesn’t help people get the care they need.”

 

 

Video of Senator Murray’s remarks HERE.

 

Full text of Senator Murray’s Remarks:

 

“Thank you Mr. Chairman, and thank you to all of our witnesses for joining us.

 

“I’m especially looking forward to hearing from Nancy Guinto about the amazing work her organization, the Washington Health Alliance, is doing in my home state. The Alliance has been an incredible advocate for quality and value in health care, and taken on impressive projects to increase transparency, and arm patients, employers, and health care providers across Washington state with information they can use to improve patients’ care.

 

“One report from the Alliance details how improvements to our state’s health system could help more kids get checkups, more women get screened for breast cancer, and more diabetics get the treatment they need. Another refutes the myth that higher cost or a bigger facility necessarily means better care for patients. And a report that looked at overused treatments and low-value care found nearly one-half of patients received such care.

 

“That adds up to $282 million in unnecessary health care spending—or one out of every three dollars that were spent. This is consistent with testimony our committee has heard over the last few months from experts across the country. Your work shows exactly why transparency is such an important tool for patients, providers, and governments looking to lower health care costs and increase value, efficiency, and quality.

 

“Unfortunately, instead of taking steps toward greater transparency, President Trump has only taken steps toward greater chaos by sabotaging our health care system, and making it harder for families to access the care they need, and the information that can help them make care decisions.

 

“Just look at the Navigator program, which provides clarity, transparency, and guidance to people trying to understand our complex system and get health insurance for their families. This program is especially important for patients who don’t speak English as a first language and people who are less familiar with the health care system.

 

“Last year the Administration cut Navigator funding nearly in half—slashing it from $63 million to $36 million. And just two months ago they did it again. After dragging their feet and giving little heads up for organizations to adjust, they cut funding by about two-thirds down to $10 million.

 

“In addition to cutting funding, they cut the number of Navigator entities required per state down to one. And they announced the Navigator organization serving a state can be located virtually anywhere—even across the country, far from those who need their help. In our stabilization hearings last year, this committee heard just how valuable Navigators with a physical presence and cultural competency can be, especially for tribal communities. We can expect these communities to be hit particularly hard by President Trump’s sabotage of the Navigators program.

 

“But while President Trump’s decision to shortchange this program and deny Navigators adequate time to prepare for these changes is disappointing. Sadly it’s not surprising. Sabotaging the health care system and raising costs for families have become standard practice for this Administration.

“From day one, President Trump has made every possible effort to restrict access to health care and roll back protections for pre-existing conditions—despite people across the country rejecting his backwards agenda. Last year, people stood up and spoke out against the mean-spirited Trumpcare bill which would have hurt families by spiking premiums, gutting Medicaid, and denying protections for pre-existing conditions. In the end, the people succeeded, and President Trump’s sabotage bill failed. 

 

“However, instead of learning his lesson and listening, President Trump decided to continue sabotaging health care from the Oval Office instead.

 

“Like when he handed back control to insurance companies, making it easier for them to sell junk insurance that discriminates against older people, women, and those with pre-existing conditions.

 

“Or when, after all his campaign talk of being for ‘law and order,’ he actually ordered the Justice Department not to defend the law of the land and take the highly unusual step of refusing to defend pre-existing condition protections in the courts.

 

“Or when he nominated a judge for the Supreme Court hand-picked for his willingness to strike down health care protections for millions of people.

 

“At every step, President Trump has moved health care in this country in the wrong direction.

 

“And so, while I’m glad to know there’s bipartisan agreement about the importance of transparency in helping ensure quality and value in health care, I hope we can find common ground to reject President Trump’s sabotage, and address the damage and skyrocketing prices he’s caused.

 

“Because transparency alone is absolutely not enough. A drug company being transparent about its exorbitantly expensive drugs doesn’t help the patients who can’t afford them. An insurance company being transparent about its discrimination based on age, sex, and pre-existing conditions doesn’t help people get the care they need.

 

“I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about how transparency can help move us forward, but for the sake of families in Washington state and across the country, I hope the conversation doesn’t stop there.

 

“Thank you.”

###

Murray: President Trump’s Sabotage Has Increased Chaos, Not Transparency