Murray shares the story of Natasha, a mother in Washington state, to highlight the real world stakes for families as Republicans attack their health care
Murray: “Republicans’ approach to patient’s health care—making it more expensive, harder to get, and lower quality— is clearly designed to work for big insurance companies, not patients like Natasha.”
Speech is part of Democrats’ Patient of the Day campaign to show just how harmful Republicans’ health care policies are
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), went to the Senate floor to share the story of Natasha, a mother from Washington state, and highlight what’s at stake for families’ health care due to Republicans’ continued political attacks. Senator Murray’s remarks are part of Senate Democrats’ Patient of the Day campaign, an effort to lift up the stories of real people and shine a spotlight on just how much is at stake for patients and families across the country if President Trump and Senate Republicans get their way and make health care coverage more expensive, harder to get, and lower-quality.
Natasha, a constituent of Senator Murray, relied on Medicaid coverage when she learned she was pregnant. Medicaid helped Natasha cover the costs of maternity care, post-partum care, and newborn care.
“For patients like Natasha, Republicans’ health care agenda would be a disaster,” Senator Murray said. “Not only would it gut Medicaid, which helped her get the health care she needed, but if Republicans succeed in their lawsuit, insurance companies could discriminate against patients like her for having pre-existing conditions—including being pregnant—and choose not to cover essential health benefits—like maternity care.”
Since day one of the Trump Administration, the President and Republicans have acted to raise families’ health costs, take away their coverage, and make health care lower-quality. Republicans are:
Full text of the remarks are below and the video is HERE.
“Thank you M. President. As President Trump and Senate Republicans continue to press forward with their relentless attacks on families’ health care, Democrats are going to continue making clear just what’s at stake by lifting up the stories of patients and families across the country—starting with Natasha from my home state of Washington.
“Because of a diagnosis she received when she was younger, Natasha had long believed she couldn’t conceive so she and her partner were particularly surprised last year to get the news that she was pregnant.
“With that unexpected news, came all sorts of questions, including whether they could handle the cost of things like maternity care, post-partum care, and newborn care. Fortunately, Natasha’s family had coverage through Medicaid, so all of the medical costs she had been so concerned about were completely covered.
“Instead of worrying about how they would pay for the health care she needed, she and her partner were able to focus on getting ready to welcome the newest addition to their family.
“M. President, Natasha’s story shows why families across the country are so worried as Republicans continue down the damaging path they’ve been on for years. Since day one of the Trump Administration, Republicans have been working to raise families’ health costs, take away their coverage, and make health care lower-quality.
“In the Senate, Republicans have stood with President Trump as he has tried to implement draconian caps on Medicaid through his Trumpcare bill, and proposed budgets that slash funding for Medicaid.
“They’ve also stood by as President Trump has implemented a ‘gag rule’ on Title X-funded clinics—jeopardizing reproductive health care for millions of patients
“And Republicans are also opposing Democrats’ efforts to lower skyrocketing prescription drug prices by allowing Medicare to negotiate on behalf of patients, reverse President Trump’s steps to promote ‘junk’ insurance plans that don’t protect patients with pre-existing conditions and do increase families’ health care costs.
“Republicans are even cheerleading a partisan lawsuit that could be catastrophic to families across the country. We could get a ruling on this lawsuit any day now, and if Republicans get their way protections for the over one hundred million people in this country with a pre-existing condition could be thrown out the window, millions of families covered through the exchanges and Medicaid expansion could be thrown off their health care, young adults could be kicked off their parents’ plans before they turn 26, and patients could be stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars for their care as caps on their out-of-pocket costs are eliminated, caps on their lifetime and annual benefits—even for those covered through their employers—come back, and essential health benefits that make sure their coverage includes things like prescription drugs, emergency care, and more, go away.
“For patients like Natasha, Republicans’ health care agenda would be a disaster.
“Not only would it gut Medicaid, which helped her get the health care she needed, but if Republicans succeed in their lawsuit, insurance companies could discriminate against patients like her for having pre-existing conditions—including being pregnant— and choose not to cover essential health benefits—like maternity care.
“And the ‘junk plans’ President Trump is already promoting leave patients facing similar problems today. In fact, many of these “junk plans” ask patients whether they’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant as part of the application process. That’s because these ‘junk plans’ are already allowed to deny coverage, exclude benefits, or charge higher premiums for patients with pre-existing conditions.
“Republicans’ approach to patient’s health care—making it more expensive, harder to get, and lower quality—is clearly designed to work for big insurance companies, NOT patients like Natasha.
“And her story is just one of many. One of tens of millions in fact. There are so many other families across the country who are seeing their wellbeing put at risk by Republicans’ harmful health care agenda.
“But we’ve seen before what can happen when people share their stories, when we lift those stories up, when we put a face or a name to the people Republicans could hurt with their cruel policies.
“When Republicans tried to jam through their awful Trumpcare bill, we stopped it because people across the country fought back and spoke up.
“And as President Trump and Republicans continue using every tool they can to try and undermine families’ health care, Democrats are going to continue reminding our colleagues on the other side of the aisle that everything we do—and don’t do—here in the Capitol has real consequences for real families.
“Especially when it comes to issues like health care that every family has to deal with.
“We are going to continue lifting up those voices who aren’t here on the Senate floor, and making clear what the GOP’s health care plan would actually mean in people’s lives whether it’s losing coverage right as you finally have the chance to start a family or being rejected because you have a pre-existing condition.
“This isn’t a matter of politics for families, it’s a matter of life and death. And we aren’t going to let Republicans forget it.
“Thank you and I yield the floor.”