Durbin To Senate Republicans: Real Lives Are At Stake, End Secret Health Care Repeal Once And For All

Senate Republicans and Vice President Pence Vote To Proceed To Secret Health Care Repeal Bill

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) slammed Senate Republicans for voting to proceed to a secret health care repeal bill that no one – Congress and the American public alike – has seen.  The various health care repeal proposals put forth by Senate Republicans thus far would result in anywhere from 22 to 32 million people losing health insurance, undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and raise costs on older Americans and those in rural communities. The bills would slash Medicaid funding by hundreds of billions of dollars – hurting patients and devastating hospitals, especially critical access and rural hospitals.  They would provide tax cuts to big businesses and wealthy individuals.  And all are opposed by virtually every patient, provider, and medical organization nationwide – including the AARP, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association, and the American Nurses Association.

Durbin echoed Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) speech in calling for the Senate to return to regular order and to work in a bipartisan manner – through the committee process, with amendments and hearings, in an open and public way – to strengthen our health care system for all Americans, and not just the wealthy few.

“History was made on the floor of the Senate chamber,” Durbin said.  “I don’t think it’s ever happened before.  Think about this: 50 out of 100 senators came to the floor with the Vice President of the United States and voted to begin debate on a bill they’ve never seen.  A bill they’ve never seen because we don’t know what the Republicans are going to offer as the alternative to the Affordable Care Act.”

Durbin continued: “The question is, by the end of this debate – after we have gone through this crazy process of voting up and down quicklyWe think there’s a better way.  We think Americans should have access to affordable health insurance across the board.  And we think we can achieve that if we work together on a bipartisan basis.  So I hope one more Republican senator will join Senators Collins and Murkowski, bring us back to what John McCain described on the floor – to the Senate where you have a real debate about real issues and really care about the American people.”

Video of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor are available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks on the Senate floor is available here for TV Stations.