Democratic senators on Thursday harshly criticized their Republican colleagues’ newly unveiled health care bill, warning that GOPers would “own the consequences” of repealing Obamacare and urging the public to read the proposal and to question their Republican representatives about it.
“I thought it wouldn’t be possible for the Senate Republicans to conjure up a bill even worse than that one. Unfortunately, that is what they have done,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said in a press conference after the bill was publicly released for the first time. In a speech on the Senate floor minutes after the bill’s release, Schumer had said the Senate bill is “every bit as bad as” the House GOP’s version.
“Surely we can do better than what the Republican health care bill promises,” he told reporters. “Every American should be asking their Republican senators one simple question this weekend — why do the wealthy deserve a tax cut more than we deserve health care?”
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), speaking after Schumer, said Republican senators have “done everything possible to prevent people from seeing” the legislation.
“No hearings, no scrutiny, no public input,” she said.
Murray called the secretive drafting process “truly unprecedented” and said “it’s clear why.”
“Because they did promise to lower health care costs, and this plan will actually raise them, especially for seniors and those with preexisting conditions,” she said.
The drafting process of the so-called working group involved in writing the bill was so secretive that rank-and-file Senate Republicans were just as in the dark about the legislation as their Democratic colleagues until the public release of the bill on Thursday morning. More than one lawmaker expressed frustration about the closed-door process of the 13 Republican senators tasked with drafting the legislation.
Murray urged people to “read the fine print” of the bill.
“The Senate Republican Trumpcare plan is every bit as bad as the version patients and families rejected in the House,” she said. “If Republicans jam through this plan, they will own the consequences.”
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said Republican senators “basically doubled down on everything that the American people rejected the first time around.”
“Senate Republicans are trying to con Americans into thinking that they are fixing problems here when in fact what they’re doing is causing new ones,” he said.
The bill unveiled by Senate Republicans on Thursday would eliminate most of Obamacare’s subsidies and impose deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid than the House version, cutting government assistance for health coverage and leaving states to make up the difference.
Wyden said “what’s clear” is that “Senate Republicans are going to keep telling Americans they’re fixing their health care right up until the second when it gets taken away.”