Pelosi Remarks at Press Event as Oral Arguments Begin in GOP Lawsuit to Destroy Protections for People with Pre-Existing Conditions

Sep 5, 2018
Press Release
Contact: Ashley Etienne/Henry Connelly, 202-226-7616
 

Washington, D.C – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democrats and individuals with pre-existing conditions for a press event, as oral arguments began in a federal District Court in Texas on Wednesday in Republicans’ Texas v. United States lawsuit to strike down protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  Democrats highlighted the urgent need to protect Americans’ health care from Republicans’ continuing attacks.  Below are the Leader’s remarks: 
  
Leader Pelosi.  Good morning everyone.  Thank you all, each one of you, for being here.  This is a day that is important to us because with everything else that is going on in the Capitol, and you know what many of the things are, and down Pennsylvania Avenue, we want to stay very, very focused on the health and financial security of America’s working families.  Central to that is the issue of pre-existing medical conditions not being a barrier to access to quality affordable health care and insurance.  

So today, as oral arguments are in district court and Republicans’ Texas vs. U.S. lawsuit begins, as those arguments begin, Members of Congress and advocates are here today to protect our care.  Thank you all for being here.  Thank you all for being here.  

Last year, House Republicans voted to rip away protections from millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions.  That’s over 125, 130 million families in our country.  Thankfully, families across America rose up to defeat Trumpcare and its brutal attacks on health care of those who need it most.  And let me salute the groups who have been involved with all of this, I’ll be with some of them later this afternoon as well.  10,000 events were held by the groups across the country in order to tell the stories, the individual stories, whether it was town hall meetings, press conferences, marches, sit-ins, you name it, every manifestation of concern by telling the stories.  

But now, with this lawsuit being argued today, the Republicans are yet again trying to drag us back to the dark days of discrimination against those with pre-existing conditions.  If the GOP succeeds with this lawsuit, a baby born with a heart defect, a parent diagnosed with cancer, any of the 130 million Americans, including 68 million women and girls, people who have asthma, diabetes, depression or any other illness or injury that is no fault of their own, of course, could be denied affordable health care coverage their entire life.  Republicans have worked relentlessly to destroy protections for people with pre-existing conditions.  That’s just the way it is in the Congress with their Trumpcare bill.  

Now what they did, and what brings them to court now is, they failed with Trumpcare.  That was a big fight, a fight we won.  Now where they succeeded is their tax bill, and in the tax bill they eliminated the individual mandate, which has given them their basis to say there’s no pre-existing condition benefit, and that’s what they’re taking to court.  

So in the Congress, in the courts with the Kavanaugh nomination and with this despicable lawsuit, and in the White House with their sabotage campaign: families’ health care will never be safe while the Republicans control Washington. Hiking families’ premiums by thousands, voting to allow insurance companies to impose an age tax, handing massive tax breaks to Big Pharma as they hike pharmaceutical drug prices on families and seniors, and shattering the guarantee of Medicare – which they say should whither on the vine – and Medicare and Medicaid by pushing budgets that cut $1.4 trillion from Medicaid and half a trillion from Medicare.

Families deserve a government that works For the People.  A Democratic majority would mean real progress For the People: lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices, increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America, and cleaning up corruption to make Washington to work For the People. 

But Congress can’t do our inside maneuvering without grassroots, outside mobilization.  That is the key to every success.  As Lincoln said, ‘public sentiment is everything.  With it you can do almost anything and without it you can do practically nothing.’  But people have to know!  So I thank all of the outside groups for mobilizing, a campaign, so people will know what difference this makes in their lives.

We’re grateful for those that are speaking for what’s at stake, Kelly Gregory, business owner and cancer patient and by the way, today is Kelly’s birthday.  Kelly, over there, give us a wave.  She’ll be up here shortly.  Jeff Jeans, cancer survivor, we’ve heard from him before.  And Elinor Simmons, a home care worker and cancer survivor.  

If I may, you’re going to be hearing from our Ranking Members, Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia, the Ranking Member, soon to be Chair, of the Education and the Workforce Committee.  And Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, who is the Ranking Member, soon to be Chair, of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  And because there was an election in Massachusetts last night [Ranking Member] Richie Neal is not back down yet.  We’re joined by a real champion for the health care of America’s working families, [Congressman] Lloyd Doggett of Texas, a leading member of the Ways and Means Committee.

But I do want to acknowledge that we’re also joined by our Whip Steny Hoyer, [Congressman] José Serrano of New York, [Congresswoman] Carolyn Maloney of New York, [Congresswoman] Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, [Congressman] Mike Thompson of California, [Congressman] Brad Schneider of Illinois, [Congresswoman] Brenda Lawrence from Michigan, [Congressman] Jamie Raskin of Maryland, [Congressman] Al Green of Texas, Barbara Lee of California, [Congresswoman] Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, [Congresswoman] Debbie Wasserman-Schultz of Florida, [Congressman] Greg Meeks of New York, [Congressman] Bobby [Scott] I’ve introduced, Mr. [Congressman Adriano] Espaillat of New York, [Congressman] Bill Foster of Illinois.  Well, thank you my colleagues, for bringing your presence to this important focus that we have today as the oral arguments begin.

So now it is my privilege to yield to the Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee: Frank Pallone of New Jersey.

* * *

Leader Pelosi.  Thank you again.  Jeff [Jeans] has been here before.  Thank you very much Jeff for telling your very compelling story and joining Elinor Simmons and Kelly Gregory to hear their personal experiences.  But these are experiences that are shared, as Kelly said, by many in our country.  So their generosity of spirit to share their personal stories is more eloquent than any statistics we could share with you and the rest.  

Nonetheless, I thank our distinguished Chairman Frank Pallone – is Frank Pallone still here – who has been a champion on health care for so many years and now, as Chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee.  

Ranking Member Bobby Scott of the Committee of jurisdiction understands what was before and what is now.  And [Congressman] Lloyd Doggett, how appropriate from Texas in understanding the lay of the land legally and otherwise, so I thank our colleagues, and I thank each and every one of you.  Thank you to the groups.

[Applause]

Again, no matter what else is going on in the Capitol, we will stay focused on the health and well-being of America’s working families – that includes their health also, financial stability which health care can have a big impact on.

Thank you to Kelly, to Elinor, to Jeff and to all of you.  Thank you so much. 
 

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