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Congressman Joe Courtney

Representing the 2nd District of Connecticut

COURTNEY ON HOUSE FLOOR: SENATE SHOULD LISTEN TO THE REAL WORLD AND REJECT GRAHAM CASSIDY PROPOSAL

September 25, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – In remarks on the House floor today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-2) highlighted the broad opposition to the Graham-Cassidy bill being brought to a vote this week in the Senate. As Courtney noted in his remarks, nearly every major health advocacy, provider and real-world practitioner group has rejected the measure.

“Mr. Speaker, in the real world at the end of this week, the children's health insurance program, a bipartisan measure that passed a couple decades ago, expires its authorization. The law that provides authorization for America’s community health centers, that expires at the end of this week. The National Health Service corps which allows young Americans to get the opportunity for affordable medical education, that expires at the end of this week. That's what we should be focused on -- not another mindless rushed judgment to satisfy a political promise that the American people don't want and we know from all the folks who are out there in the real world of America’s health care system knows won't work,” Courtney said.

A link to Courtney’s remarks and a transcript can be found below:

 

 

Click here to watch Courtney’s remarks

 

 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Mr. Speaker, Albert Einstein is reported to have once said the definition of insanity is trying to do the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Using that definition, the men in the white coats with large butterfly nets have plenty of whacky patients to catch in the senate where this week – tomorrow, in fact -- the republican leadership is once again for over the 60th time trying to jam through a so-called health care bill which will repeal the Affordable Care Act without a coherent replacement.

Once again, the republican leadership will force a vote without analysis by the Congressional Budget Office of the Cassidy-Graham bill. No hearings at the health care committees. And, in the face of a tidal wave of opposition from the health care world, patient groups, health care givers, and even Republican governors have had one message over the last week -- which is to vote no.

Mr. Speaker, just to give you a small sample of some of the patient groups that have spoken out over the last week in opposition, they include the ALS Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, the Heart Association, the Lung association, the Arthritis Association, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the National Kidney Foundation, the National Down Syndrome Caucus, the American Foundation for the Blind, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, the amputee coalition, Autism Speaks groups, the coalition to stop opioid overdoses, and AARP.

These are mainstream trusted organizations which all of us have donated to, done walk-a-thons and everything we can to help their mission which is to help America’s patients. They are unanimous that the Senate should reject this measure and that we should move on to a new approach, following Mr. Einstein's advice, to try and fix the American health care system.

Incredibly, American provider groups -- who many times are at each other's throats in terms of different health care legislation -- have also taken the same position. The American Medical Association, the American Nurses Association, the American Medical Colleges, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Hospital Association, and the American Health Care Association which represents thousands of nursing homes like the one that gentleman we heard such kind words a moment ago from Louisiana.

Again, incredibly the national association of Medicaid directors from all 50 states, Republican states and Democratic states, issued an extraordinary letter last week. Again, these are folks who run the system. They are actually on the ground. They are in the real world. Not in the bubble – the political bubble of Washington -- and they have unanimously begged the Senate to vote no and to stop this rush to undermining and creating a catastrophic damage to America’s health care system.

The Rand Corporation issued a report just a couple days ago that talked about the impact of this measure on America’s veterans. 1.75 million American veterans use the Medicaid program. Many in nursing homes, maybe like Mr. Hunter that we just heard about. Rand has told us that passing this measure will undermine our promise to America’s veterans, the people who wore the uniform of this country, that they would have access to coverage through the Medicaid program. That's what this bill does.

Mr. Speaker, in the real world at the end of this week, the children's health insurance program, a bipartisan measure that passed a couple decades ago, expires its authorization. The law that provides authorization for America’s community health centers, that expires at the end of this week. The National Health Service corps which allows young Americans to get the opportunity for affordable medical education, that expires at the end of this week. That's what we should be focused on -- not another mindless rushed judgment to satisfy a political promise that the American people don't want and we know from all the folks who are out there in the real world of America’s health care system knows won't work.

Vote no.

I yield back.

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