Warren: Senate O’Care Repeal Bill Pays For Tax Cuts With ‘Blood Money’ (VIDEO)

Committee member  Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Ma.,  questions witnesses  during a Senate Specials Committee on Aging hearing on drastic price hikes by Valeant and a handful of other drugmakers that have stoked outrage from patients, physicians and politicians nationwide, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 27, 2016,. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) ripped into Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill on Thursday, saying the proposal would pay for tax cuts for wealthy Americans with “blood money” that comes from cutting essential services for the poor, including Medicaid.

“It is finally clear how the Republicans were spending their time locked in those back rooms,” Warren said from the Senate floor, referring to a weeks-long secretive, GOP-only drafting process. “Now we know the truth.”

“Senate Republicans weren’t making the House bill better,” Warren continued. “Nope, not one bit. Instead they were sitting around a conference room table dreaming up even meaner ways to kick dirt in the face of American people and take away their health insurance.”

The bill is expected to come up for a vote as early as June 29.

The senator argued Republicans’ motivation was massive tax cuts for the extremely wealthy and corporations. She detailed the legislation’s proposed tax credits for people purchasing insurance on the individual market, which are less generous than Obamacare’s subsidies. The proposal would also allow states increased access to waivers from Obamacare’s requirements of insurers. 

Warren focused most of her remarks on Medicaid, to which Senate Republicans’ proposal would make even deeper cuts in the long term than House Republicans’ bill.

“All those tax cuts don’t come cheap,” Warren said. “They start to add up after a while. So Senate Republicans had to make a choice, how to pay for all those juicy tax cuts for their rich buddies. I’ll tell you how: Blood money.”

She added later: “Medicaid is the program in this country that provides health insurance to one in five Americans, to 30 million kids, to nearly two out of every three people in a nursing home. These cuts are blood money. People will die. Let’s be very clear. Senate Republicans are paying for tax cuts for the wealthy with American lives.”

She launched into examples of Americans affected by the cuts to Medicaid, including a senior living at home who would be unable to afford the help she needs to avoid moving into a nursing home, and a child born too early whose parents risk homelessness to pay for his care.

“Senate Republicans can wave their hands and say that everyone will be fine, but it is time for the rest of us to take a long, hard look at exactly what would happen to the people who have to live with the Republicans’ reckless cuts,” she said. “Senate Republicans know exactly what they are doing with this health care bill. Their values are on full display. If they want to trade the health insurance of millions of Americans for tax cuts for the rich, they better be ready for a fight. Because now that this shameful bill is out in the open, that’s exactly what they’re going to get.”

Watch Warren’s floor speech below:

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.
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