WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement upon the release of the Senate Republicans’ secret health care bill:
“President Trump infamously called the House health care bill ‘mean.’ Well, if that bill was mean, this one is downright diabolical.
“It is diabolical because it absolutely eviscerates Medicaid, ripping away health care from millions of Americans with cuts that are even deeper than the House version.
“In what kind of society do we steal care from struggling and working class Americans to pay for billions of dollars of tax giveaways for the richest of the rich?
“It is diabolical because it deeply cuts the Medicaid coverage that 60% of nursing home residents rely on to pay their bills. Without that coverage, many would be out on the streets.
“It is diabolical because this bill encourages states to gut essential coverage. It rewards states for taking away guaranteed coverage for emergency care, hospital stays, addiction treatment and more—encouraging insurance companies to create health policies that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.
“It is diabolical because it will impose a pregnancy tax on millions of American women, forcing them to pay thousands of dollars for maternity care out of pocket, and threaten the lives of patients with preexisting conditions.
“Last month, I spoke with an Oregonian named Carol. Carol’s husband is in a nursing home, and Carol suffers from multiple preexisting conditions, including congestive heart failure. Both Carol and her husband are covered by Medicaid. Without the Medicaid coverage guaranteed under current law, Carol told me, ‘Surely I will die.’
“Lives are at stake here. This is not a political game. If this bill passes, it will go down as one of the blackest marks on our national history.”