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More Must Be Done To Help Americans In Puerto Rico

Leaders with the American Federation of Government Employees, the largest federal employee union, are calling on President Trump and Congress to expedite the pace of recovery efforts to the 3.5 million American citizens in hurricane-battered Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In an open letter to President Trump and members of Congress, AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. and Fifth District National Vice President Everett Kelley said residents on the islands “desperately need our help.”

“Failing to treat this disaster with the same sense of urgency you displayed when Hurricanes Harvey and Irma battered the mainland just weeks earlier is indefensible,” the letter states.

Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria made landfall, most residents still lack essentials like running water, food, and electricity.

“Our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are being treated like second-class citizens,” President Cox said. “There’s no excuse for it taking this long to get aid and relief to people who desperately need our help. While President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico is a welcome show of support, residents need immediate action, not just rhetoric. Congress and the White House need to step up the recovery efforts at once.”

AFGE represents more than 5,000 federal employees who work in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. They have been working around the clock to continue serving the public, even as they face their own personal tragedies and losses.

“Thousands of federal workers who call these islands home are looking to their government for help, and the silence is deafening,” said NVP Kelley, whose district includes both islands. “They’re working under extraordinarily difficult circumstances to deliver care and assistance to our citizens in need. Help cannot come fast enough.”

Tomorrow, labor unions and United Airlines will be sending hundreds of skilled volunteers to assist in Puerto Rico.

In a joint letter, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan called on President Trump to step up disaster recovery efforts on the Puerto Rican islands of Vieques and Culebra after the islands were devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Citing in their letter the remoteness of the islands and reports that residents have been “without running water, power, gasoline or communications for more than a week,” the senators wrote to President Trump to request that sufficient aid and relief personnel be sent to the islands as soon as possible.

“The residents of Vieques and Culebra are U.S. citizens, and no fellow citizen should be left clamoring for help,'” the senators wrote.  “They need help now, and we urge that you provide them with sufficient aid and assistance without further delay.”

The Senators also expressed concern about the superfund site on Vieques and the potential health risks posed by the heavy metals and toxic chemicals left on the island after decades of military exercises by the U.S. Navy.  “We share the concern of residents that the hazardous waste may further contaminate the island and water supplies, and ultimately threaten the health of local residents,” the senators wrote.  “Additionally, the superfund site contains unexploded bombs and live ammunition that could be washed into the sea, posing long-term health and safety risks.”

The full text of the Senators’ letter can be found here.

Senators Murray And Hassan Push For New Child Care Assistance Bill In Senate

Bill would provide much-needed help for families struggling with rising child care costs

Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Representative Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (D-VA-3) introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act of 2017, which would more than double the number of families eligible for child care assistance. The bill comes on the heels of recent research from Child Care Aware of America (CCAoA) showing child care has become unaffordable for working families in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia.

The Child Care for Working Families Act would create a federal-state partnership to ensure that families making less than 150 percent of their state’s median income do not pay more than seven percent of their income on child care. The bill also supports access to high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds. Finally, the bill would support the child care workforce by significantly improving wages and training for teachers and caregivers.

“At a time when far too many working families are struggling, finding quality child care that doesn’t break the bank shouldn’t be another thing keeping parents up at night,” said Senator Murray. “As a former preschool teacher, I know what quality early learning and care can do for a child’s development, so I’m proud to introduce the Child Care for Working Families Act to address our child care crisis and support access to high-quality preschool so that all children are ready for kindergarten and beyond. This is not only the right to thing to for working families, but it’s a smart investment in our children, our future, and our economy.”

Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined with Senators Schumer (D-NY), Franken (D-MN), and Casey (D-PA), along with Representative Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in co-sponsoring the bill.

“The high cost of child care is preventing too many people across New Hampshire and America from being able to participate in our workforce and thrive economically,” Senator Hassan said. “We must do more to ensure that all children have access to affordable, high quality child care that will help families make ends meet and prepare our young ones for their futures. The Child Care for Working Families Act takes critical steps to support hard-working families and invest in our children, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to pass this important legislation.”

“One month of child care costs more than one month of rent or a mortgage payment for many working families,” said Lynette Fraga, executive director of Child Care Aware of America. “This bill would help families for whom quality child care is now an out-of-reach luxury. We urge Congress to pass this bill and provide a critical, long-term investment in the future of America. We must ensure better outcomes for children, a stronger workforce and families that are more resilient. Every child, in every family, deserves high-quality care.”

The Child Care for Working Families Bill would:

  • Establish a new federal-state partnership to provide high-quality, affordable child care from birth through age 13.
  • More than double the number of children eligible for child care assistance, and ensure all those who are eligible have the ability to enroll their child in a quality program.
  • Provide incentives and funding for states to create high-quality preschool programs for low- and moderate-income 3- and 4-year olds during the school day, while providing a higher matching rate for programs for infants and toddlers, who are often harder and more expensive to care for.
  • Increase workforce training and compensation, including by ensuring that all child care workers are paid a living wage and early childhood educators are provided parity with elementary school teachers with similar credentials and experience.
  • Improve care in a variety of settings, including addressing the needs of family, friend, and neighbor care and care during non-traditional hours to help meet the needs of working families.
  • Build more inclusive, high-quality child care providers for children with disabilities, and infants and toddlers with disabilities, including by increasing funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
  • Help all Head Start programs meet the new expanded duration requirements and provide full-day, full-year programming

More than 11 million children under the age of five are in some form of child care in the United States. As the nation’s leading voice for child care, CCAoA is comprised of 125,000 online advocates from across the country and more than 32,000 members. Over 250 parents have shared their stories with lawmakers through our Family Advocacy Summit and Day on The Hill. For child care providers, we offer trainings on emergency preparedness as well as technical assistance that emphasize health, nutrition and obesity prevention and more.

For 30 years, CCAoA has been the leading voice for quality, affordable child care in the United States. While CCAoA continues to pursue our vision of the future in which every family in the United States has access to a high quality and affordable child care system, the sharing of accurate and updated information remains critical.

Currently the bill has the support of over 100 organizations including: AFSCME, the SEIU, Mom’s Rising, and the National Association of Elementary School Principles.


Text of the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.
A fact sheet on the Child Care for Working Families Act can be found HERE.

Sen. Maggie Hassan: Time To Focus On Bipartisan Health Care Solutions

Last week, three of my Republican colleagues — Sens. Susan Collins, John McCain, and Lisa Murkowski — put the well-being of the American people before partisan politics, joining Democrats to defeat a health care repeal bill that would have raised health care costs and stripped health insurance away from millions.

Members of both parties defeated this dangerous bill, and it is going to take bipartisanship to move us forward. The Affordable Care Act needs improvement; we must move on from repeal and fix what’s not working with the law, and build on the progress we’ve made in order to bring down costs for hard-working people. Some of us have already started this conversation; I was part of a bipartisan group of senators who are also former governors who recently met to find common ground.

It is possible to find bipartisan solutions, even on an issue as complicated as health care. As governor, I worked across party lines to pass a bipartisan Medicaid expansion plan that is delivering quality, affordable insurance to more than 50,000 hard-working Granite Staters.

Medicaid expansion has made a real difference for communities across New Hampshire, particularly for people impacted by the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis. People like Elizabeth, who I recently met at Goodwin Community Health in Somersworth.

Elizabeth told us that she had been homeless and lost the custody of her son as a result of a substance use disorder. Now, Elizabeth is in recovery and working at the SOS Recovery Community Organization in Rochester, helping others get the support they need. She said that she owes her recovery to the insurance she received through Medicaid expansion.

Elizabeth’s story is a great example of what is possible when Democrats and Republicans work together to improve the health of our people.

We need to take the same bipartisan approach in Congress that we took in New Hampshire, and I am eager to work with my colleagues to find areas of bipartisan cooperation so we can make key improvements to the Affordable Care Act.

To start, we must stabilize insurance markets and protect the marketplace from the Trump administration’s actions to sabotage it, actions that are increasing the cost of health insurance premiums.

One of these destabilizing actions is the administration’s ongoing threats to withhold payments — to fund what are known as cost sharing reductions — that help lower out-of-pocket expenses such as deductibles and co-pays for individuals with health insurance plans in the marketplace. This creates uncertainty, which in turn drives up costs. That’s why I’m supporting a proposal from Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, which would help lower premiums by ensuring that these payments get made.

I also joined my colleagues in introducing legislation to encourage the creation of reinsurance programs, which help reduce insurance premiums by lowering the risk to insurance companies associated with high-cost patients. At the state level, the New Hampshire Department of Insurance is also pursuing a waiver under the Affordable Care Act to establish a reinsurance program.

Additionally, we need to address the Affordable Care Act’s income cliff that currently blocks many middle-class individuals and families from receiving financial help to purchase insurance through the marketplace. This will help bring down the cost of premiums for middle class Granite Staters and allow more people to access affordable coverage.

While we work to ensure market stability and address premium prices, there are other steps we can take to bring down health care costs. One of the most common issues I hear about from Granite Staters is the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs, and it’s long past time for Congress to act.

I joined my colleagues in introducing legislation to crack down on big pharmaceutical companies that hike the cost of prescription drugs that have been on the market for years or who game the system at the expense of consumers. I also believe that we should allow Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs and permit the safe importation of drugs from countries such as Canada.

There is more work to do, and these are important steps that we can take now to lower costs for consumers.

Every American deserves to have access to quality, affordable care so that they can be healthy and contribute to our economy. By working across party lines, we can take important strides toward reaching that goal.

Senators Share Real Life Stories Of Granite Staters Highlighted In US Senate Fight Against Trumpcare

WASHINGTON – Last night, Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan went to the Senate floor together to highlight a few of the stories they heard at an emergency Trumpcare field hearing they held last Friday in Concord. The Senators also emphasized that even though Republican leadership has delayed a vote on Trumpcare this week, the fundamentals of what is wrong with Trumpcare will not change.

“The Senate bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act and radically cut Medicaid is a clear and present danger to the State of New Hampshire and to every other State,” said Senator Shaheen. “I am grateful to the Granite Staters who attended our field hearing on Friday, and I was particularly struck by the many parents who expressed their fears over what ACA repeal would mean for their children’s healthcare. In other States, too, large numbers of people are attending town hall meetings to express overwhelming opposition to the Republican leaders’ bill.  We need to listen. We need to stop this headlong rush to pass a cruel and heartless bill.”

During her remarks on the Senate floor, Shaheen highlighted the stories of Paula Garvey from Amherst who is worried that insurance companies would impose lifetime limits on benefits for her 19-year-old daughter Rosie, who has cystic fibrosis; Sarah Sadowski from Concord whose daughter has cerebral palsy; and Melissa Fernald from Wolfeboro whose patients rely on Medicaid expansion for their health insurance.

“Trumpcare would be a disaster for people in New Hampshire,” said Senator Hassan. “Granite Staters know this and they have been standing up and speaking out against this dangerous bill. As Senator Shaheen discussed, we held an emergency hearing last week in Concord to hear from our constituents about how Trumpcare would impact them. We held this emergency hearing at 2 p.m., on a Friday afternoon in the summer, with just a day’s notice – yet hundreds of people showed up. […] They told us what their lives were like, and why Trumpcare would be devastating to them and their families. I’d like to share some of those stories here today.”

On the Senate floor, Senator Hassan highlighted the stories of Ariel, a mother from Rochester who has struggled with substance misuse and is now in recovery because of services she received through Medicaid; Jeff, who has muscular dystrophy and discussed how Medicaid covers critical services for people with disabilities that private insurance doesn’t cover; and Enna, who is self-employed and purchases health insurance through New Hampshire’s Marketplace, providing affordable care for her and her family that she couldn’t get before the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Hassan Joins Prominent Doctor Organizations to Speak Out Against Trumpcare

WASHINGTON – Today, Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) joined doctors from the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Academy of Pediatrics, Americans College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, American College of Physicians, American Psychiatric Association, and the American Osteopathic Association, to speak out against the dangerous Trumpcare proposal in the Senate, which would harm millions of Americans.

“The reason there are so many physicians here from so many different specialties is because these doctors know firsthand that Trumpcare is bad for America’s health,” said Senator Hassan. “The decision to delay the Senate vote does not change the fact that under Trumpcare, Americans would pay more for worse health coverage, and it’s all in order to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to corporate special interests – including Big Pharma – at the expense of hard-working Americans and the programs they rely on.”

Senator Hassan highlighted how Trumpcare would make things worse for most Americans, regardless of whether they get insurance through an employer, buy it individually, or have Medicaid. The Senator also emphasized how Trumpcare ends Medicaid expansion and makes massive cuts to the Medicaid program, threatening efforts to combat the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis, as well as the health and well-being of children, pregnant women, seniors who require home care or nursing home care, and Granite Staters who experience disabilities.

Democratic Senators Demand Answers To Policy Changes To Civil Rights Protections In The Dept of Education

Shaheen, Hassan Join Senate Democrats to Call Out Secretary DeVos for Harmful Actions on Civil Rights Protections, Enforcement 

Betsy DeVos
Image by Gage Skidmore Feb 2017

Senators highlight numerous steps taken by Secretary DeVos to roll back civil rights enforcement and protections for students 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 33 Senators today in sending a letter to Secretary DeVos citing major concerns with steps the U.S. Department of Education has taken under her leadership to diminish civil rights enforcement for students across the country. The Senators highlight a number of alarming steps Secretary DeVos has taken, including hosting events with anti-LGBTQ hate groups, proposing to slash the budget of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), and scaling back OCR’s civil rights enforcements, among others.

Your testimony in front of Congress, your continued association with groups with records of supporting discrimination, and two memos written by the Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, have reemphasized longstanding concerns about your dedication to the idea that all students, no matter their race, religion, disability, country of origin, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity, have a right to receive an education free from discrimination,” wrote the Senators.

In the letter the Senators continued to press DeVos on her failure to protect transgender students.

“We are also extremely disappointed in the Department’s failure to take actions to protect transgender students.  More than a third of transgender students report being the subject of harassment or bullying in school,[5] sixty percent of transgender youth report being forced to use bathrooms inconsistent with their gender identity,[6] and half of transgender children have seriously contemplated suicide.[7] Despite these shocking statistics, on February 22, 2017, the Department withdrew joint guidance on transgender students’ rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”).

On March 10, six Senators wrote you expressing outrage at that decision and asking how you intend to enforce civil rights protections for transgender students. While you have not yet answered that letter, recent steps by the Department suggest you will not act to protect transgender students. In fact, the Department has already abandoned its defense of some students who have experienced discrimination or harassment by dismissing or closing at least two cases involving transgender students and withdrawing previous findings of discrimination against the school districts.[8] ” 

The Senators are also demanding answers to open cases and policy changes within the Department of Education.

In order to fully understand the impact of recent policy and civil rights investigatory and enforcement changes at the Department and the Office of Civil Rights, please provide the following information and documents by July 11, 2017:

  • A list of all open OCR cases involving a transgender student as of January 30, 2017, disaggregated by the nature of the complaint, and the current status of each of these cases.
  • A list of all open OCR cases involving sexual assault or sexual harassment as of January 30, 2017 and the current status of those cases.
  • A list of all cases OCR has closed or dismissed between January 1, 2017, and today, and the specific reason each case was closed.
  • A complete, un-redacted copy of the manual used by investigators.
  • An explanation of how the Department intends to ensure that OCR investigators are making determinations about transgender students’ rights based on binding legal precedent in their region. 
  • An answer as to whether the Department will continue to post all resolution agreements online.
  • Any and all memoranda, analyses, or other communications discussing the rationale for, and impact of, policy changes affecting civil rights enforcement by the Department.
  • Any and all memoranda, analyses, or other communications discussing the rationale for, and impact of, proposed budget cuts in OCR.
  • A list of all metrics that will be used by the Department to assess effectiveness of civil rights enforcement.

There is no more serious responsibility of the Department than to ensure consistent, vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws and protections for all students.”

Due to the disturbing actions of the U.S. Department of Education and other agencies, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights has opened a multi-agency investigation into whether the Trump Administration’s proposed budgets, staffing cuts, and policy priorities have increased the risk of discrimination.

The full letter is attached below.

062717 - Betsy DeVos ED Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

Trump Renegs On Campaign Promise To Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Progressives Push Back

Image from healthmindandlife.com on FLIKR

Group Urges President to Support Landmark Proposal to Address Skyrocketing Drug Prices, A Major Driver of Health Care Costs

WASHINGTON –It appears that Donald Trump is preparing to give a massive gift to the pharmaceutical industry with an executive order that reportedly favors the industry over consumers,

The New York Times reports that the report “is light on specifics but clear on philosophy: Easing regulatory hurdles for the drug industry is the best way to get prices down.”

This is just more “free market” mythology: If you remove regulations, business will thrive.  The executives and hedge fund managers that own all the stock in these pharmaceutical companies may thrive, but at what cost? Is it acceptable that a few wealthy executives make even more money or that millions of Americans see relief from the ever climbing cost of prescription drug prices?  The worst part is that all of those newly found profits will come from the taxpayers like you and me who pay into the Medicare system will now be forced to pay even higher rates for the same medications.

The New York Times further explains:

“The document directs the United States trade representative to conduct a study of price differences between the United States and other countries, and to review trade agreements that may need to be revised “to promote greater intellectual property protection and competition in the global market.”

If you read between the lines, the pharmaceutical industry wants to force other countries, who are already paying drastically lower drug prices, to bring prices more in line with the prices here in the United States.

The order specifically targets low income families in an effort to boost Big Pharma’s exorbitant profits.

“The draft order targets a program, 340B, that requires the drug industry to give discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve large numbers of low-income patients. The industry has complained that the program is being abused, while hospitals say they would have to cut services without it.”

Yes, the proposed order would take away the “requirement” to provide low income families with low cost medications and allow the pharmaceutical industry to jack up the prices on those drugs at the same time.

On Friday, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined progressive Democrats from the Senate and House in urging President Donald Trump to get behind real solutions to bring down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the central reasons why health care costs are rising.

Senator Hassan recently helped introduce the Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act, a comprehensive piece of legislation that the group pressed President Trump to support in a letter sent Friday (attached below). This commonsense legislation would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors, including many who have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving drug and putting food on the table.

“We hear time and time again from our constituents across the country about how high prices for life-saving and life-sustaining treatments force patients to choose between their health and their economic security,” the lawmakers wrote to President Trump. “Now is the time to address the American people’s concerns in a meaningful way. We urge you to stand up to the pharmaceutical corporations and put the needs of patients first and to support a comprehensive approach that offers real solutions that will make a real difference in peoples’ lives.”

The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act has already gained the support of a broad range of organizations and patient advocacy groups and runs in contrast to the executive order that’s being prepared by the White House.

These legislators are also holding Trump accountable for his campaign promise to reduce prescription drug prices.

On the campaign trail, then candidate Trump said, that the pharmaceutical industry is “getting away with murder.”  He implied that the pharmaceutical industry is gouging people and gouging federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid with outrageously high drug prices.

Trump also promised to change the law to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices as they do in other countries around the world.”We are going to start bidding. We are going to save billions of dollars over time,” he said.

Between the newly proposed cuts to Medicare and Medicaid in the Republican’s new healthcare proposal and President Trump’s proposed Executive Order to reduce regulations on the Pharmaceutical industry, it is abuntantly clear that Trump has no intention of upholding his campaign promise.

 


The letter to the president was led by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), was also signed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Tom Udall (D-N. Mex.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.),  Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

It also was signed by Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Peter Welch (D-Vt.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Raul Grijalva (D-Ari.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Kathy Castor (D-Fl.), Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Sanders Levin (D-Mich.), and Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio).

You can also read the open letter of support from groups like Public Citizen, the Alliance for Retired Americans, The National Center for Health Research, and many more, here


170623_TrumpRXLetter

NH Elected Officials, Seniors Group, And Labor Unions Speak Out Against Senate Version Of Trumpcare

By now you have probably heard about the Senate Republicans plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act with a terrible new bill called the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017“.

The text of the “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” was released yesterday and it is worse that we thought it would be.  ThinkProgress laid out some of the details in their post last night.  Here are a couple of the top issues with the new legislation from ThinkProgress.

  • The bill would strip health care coverage from millions of low income Americans by rolling back the expansion of Medicaid — and then making even deeper cuts.
  • The bill would follow the Obamacare subsidy model, but help fewer people.  Subsidies would only be available to those making 350% of poverty instead of the ACA’s 400%
  • The Senate bill is a massive tax cut for the rich. Rolling back taxes on those who make $200,000 a year.
  • The bill will mean higher out-of-pocket medical costs for many people with insurance.
  • The bill will seek to limit the ability of insurers to provide coverage for abortions.
  • The bill will hit older Americans especially hard. Rates for older Americans raise astronomically, making healthcare completely unaffordable.

New Hampshire’s elected leaders are speaking out against this new GOP plan.

“The Senate Republican’s secretive healthcare repeal bill is a wolf in sheep’s clothing that would be devastating to the health of Granite Staters,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “If passed, it would mean less coverage for fewer people at higher costs, all while giving a tax cut to the wealthy. It would significantly cut Medicaid and the program’s expansion, hurting our state’s response to the opioid epidemic, place an age tax on New Hampshire seniors, and take aim at women’s health by defunding Planned Parenthood, which provides vital healthcare services to more than 12,000 Granite State women. Taken together, this is a bad deal for New Hampshire and a bad deal for the American people. I will do everything that I can to fight it, which is why I am holding an emergency field hearing in Concord tomorrow with Senator Hassan to hear directly from Granite Staters. I will also continue to urge my Republican colleagues to work across the aisle to make needed fixes to the Affordable Care Act, not repeal it, so that more Americans have affordable, accessible healthcare.”

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans took the House Trumpcare bill, which even President Trump admitted was ‘mean,’ and managed to make it even more heartless,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “Under the Senate Trumpcare bill, if you buy your own insurance, you could have to pay more for your coverage. You could face an age tax, which would be especially harmful if you are between the ages of 50 and 64. And you could see states undermine the requirement that insurance companies must cover the most important services.

“The Senate Trumpcare bill also ends Medicaid expansion and makes even deeper cuts to the Medicaid program than the House bill, jeopardizing care for tens of thousands of Granite Staters including children, people struggling with addiction, seniors in nursing or at-home care, and people who experience disabilities. Trumpcare also fulfills Washington Republicans’ partisan agenda of defunding Planned Parenthood.

“There is no doubt that the Affordable Care Act needs to be improved, but Trumpcare would make things worse for most Americans – whether they currently get their insurance through their employer, buy it privately, buy it through the exchange or have Medicaid. Trumpcare would raise costs, take away coverage, and hurt people across New Hampshire, all to give billions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. I will do everything in my power to stop this devastating Trumpcare bill from ever becoming law, and I urge all Granite Staters to continue telling your stories and making your voices heard about how harmful this bill would be for you,” concluded Hassan.

Senator Shaheen and Senator Hassan are holding an emergancy field hearing on the Senate version of Trumpcare, today June 23rd, at 2pm, at the UNH School of Law. (More info here)

“Senate Republicans have crafted a cruel healthcare bill behind closed doors that would threaten access to healthcare for thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “This misguided legislation would be a disaster for hardworking families in New Hampshire and cannot be allowed to become law. I’m eager to work across the aisle to repair, not repeal the Affordable Care Act. There are members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat, who want to work in a bipartisan way to make constructive improvements to the Affordable Care Act to expand access to care and lower costs. It’s long past time Republican leadership abandon its single-minded focus on repealing the Affordable Care Act and instead got down to the hard work of actually improving our healthcare delivery system for all Americans.”

“I am appalled by today’s Senate Republican healthcare repeal bill,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “Like the House bill I vehemently opposed, it would kick millions off their coverage, charge older Americans more, and leave people who have pre-existing conditions without coverage for the care they need. The bills don’t stop at repealing the Affordable Care Act – they also end Medicaid expansion and drastically reduce funding for Medicaid. Ending Medicaid as we know it would set our state back in the fight against the heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioid crisis and put millions of kids, seniors in nursing homes, and people with disabilities at risk of losing their care.

“Senate Republicans know the majority of Americans oppose their plan, so they wrote it in secret sessions and are now trying to rush it to a vote next week. Every person in New Hampshire who gets health coverage through the individual market, Medicaid, or the New Hampshire Health Protection Program will be affected by this bill if it passes. Even people with coverage through their employer aren’t protected because states could strip back requirements that plans cover essential benefits like hospitalization, prescription drugs, or maternity care. Over the coming days, we must all speak out and make our voices heard,” Shea-Porter added.

The Alliance for Retired Americans represents over 4 million older Americans and “stand fervently against this legislation” calling the legislation as “mean” as the House version of Trumpcare.

“We all heard President Trump say he hoped the Senate version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) would be less ‘mean’ than the House version. Today, we finally got to see the secret Senate version, and it is still ‘mean’ by any reasonable test,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “No wonder Majority Leader McConnell hid this dangerous plan for so long. It will cause harm to millions of older Americans, all for the sake of tax breaks for the wealthy.

“The Senate bill decimates Medicaid. In this respect, it is worse than the House bill, enacting even deeper long-term cuts. Medicaid covers long-term care for millions of seniors and health care for people with disabilities, making this bill devastating to older and vulnerable Americans. President Trump promised on the campaign trail that he would not cut Medicaid and Medicare. He should promise to veto a bill that does not keep that promise.”

“The 4.4 million members of the Alliance for Retired Americans stand fervently against this legislation and urge senators to vote ‘no’ for the sake of seniors, the disabled and millions of working families,” Fiesta concluded.

Labor unions were quick to point out how terrible this legislation would be for working people across the country.

“The Senate’s bill follows the same failed approach as the House-passed bill. It would deny health care coverage to millions of Americans in order to lavish huge tax cuts on corporations and the wealthiest 1 percent,” said David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees National, that represents over 700,000 workers. “The Senate may have written its health care bill behind closed doors, but the harmful effects this bill would have on millions of Americans could not be clearer. What Congressional leaders are doing is shameful and disgusting, and anyone with an ounce of compassion for their fellow humans should be outraged.”

“I wouldn’t have believed it possible but the health care proposal released today by Senate Republicans is in many ways worse than the version that House Republicans adopted,” Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “This plan, drafted in complete secrecy by a handful of Republican leaders – all men – would leave millions of Americans without health care coverage. It allows states to drop coverage for services like maternity care and emergency services.”

“Many states would be forced to kick low-income and disabled people off their health care coverage once federal funding for the Medicaid program is cut, as this Senate bill would do. The Senate’s attack on Medicaid is even worse than that of the House bill,” Shelton added 

The Communication Workers warned that union members would be punished under this new proposal as well saying “it is a slap in the face to millions of hard-working Americans who need and want access to quality, affordable care.”

“Health insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers and of course the wealthiest Americans still would get tax cuts, just like in the House version.  Union members fortunate enough to keep their coverage, however, will be punished with higher costs under the “Cadillac tax” that Republicans left in place. Many Americans will find the cost of health care premiums simply unaffordable.”

The good news is that Democrats in the Senate are united against this horrible piece of legislation, but Republicans should also be outraged at this bill and take a stand for the American people.

“It’s time for those Republican Senators who today are expressing such concern about the impact of this shameful plan on ordinary Americans to show the courage of their convictions,” Shelton concluded.”

Male Senators Are Deciding Women’s Healthcare Behind Closed Doors

On Senate Floor, Senator Hassan Says “Trumpcare is a Disaster for Women”

Senator Shaheen Takes To The Senate Floor Calling On Republicans To Work With Democrats To Improve The ACA

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan delivered remarks on the Senate floor, highlighting that “Trumpcare is a disaster for women” in New Hampshire and across America. Senator Hassan also noted how Senate Republicans are working on the Trumpcare proposal behind closed doors – without any women Senators.

“To compete economically – on a level playing field – women must be able to make their own health care decisions,” said Senator Hassan. “They shouldn’t have to pay more than men do for their health care. They should be able to visit providers of their own choice who understand and have expertise in the woman’s health care needs. The health insurance that is available to women should be equal to that of their male colleagues – that means it should cover their basic health care needs. And to fully participate not only in our economy, but also in our democracy, women have to be recognized for their capacity to make their own health care decisions – just as men are.”

Senator Hassan highlighted the story of Carla from Newfields, New Hampshire, who depends on Planned Parenthood for birth control to treat her ovarian cysts. Senator Hassan described how Trumpcare would completely defund Planned Parenthood, leaving Carla and millions of women across the country without essential health care.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood would leave many women in the Granite State and throughout the country without access to care – plain and simple,” Senator Hassanstated. “There just aren’t enough other providers – as I heard from medical providers throughout my state when I was Governor there – to absorb all of the patients that Planned Parenthood cares for now.”

Senator Hassan also stressed how under Trumpcare, for a mother, giving birth could be considered a pre-existing condition, giving insurance companies the ability to charge them more. Additionally, Trumpcare would increase the cost to women for maternity care in other ways, including undermining the Essential Health Benefits.

“The Congressional Budget Office says that the House-passed Trumpcare bill would increase out-of-pocket spending for maternity care for women… by thousands of dollars per year,” Senator Hassan explained.

“Any cut to Medicaid would disproportionately affect Granite State women – as 62 percent of Medicaid recipients in New Hampshire are women,” Senator Hassan added.

Senator Hassan concluded her remarks urging all Granite Staters and Americans to continue speaking about how Trumpcare would impact their lives.

“It is critical that people in New Hampshire and across our nation continue to speak out and share their stories about how Trumpcare would impact their lives,” Senator Hassan concluded. “And I am going to continue to work with my colleagues to defeat this bill.”

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) also spoke on the Senate floor in opposition to President Trump and the Republican leadership’s healthcare repeal bill and the devastating impact it would have on women’s healthcare. “The Republican bill would take us back to the days before the Affordable Care Act, when insurers could charge women more just for being women, with no other reason needed,” Shaheen said. “It would take away the federal protection against discrimination based on pre-existing conditions. Bear in mind that many of these ‘conditions’ apply mostly or exclusively to women.”

Shaheen went on to read stories from Maura Fay of Exeter and Samantha Fox of Bow, both of whom wrote to Sen. Shaheen about why the Affordable Care Act is vital to protecting their health.

Shaheen urged her Senate colleagues to “put ideology and partisanship aside. Let’s work together to strengthen elements of the Affordable Care Act that are working in the real world, including Medicaid expansion, and fix what’s not working.  This is what the great majority of the American people what us to do.  It’s time, now, to respect their wishes.”

Senator Hassan: “Trumpcare Would Be Devastating To Older Adults”

 

Senator Hassan Joins Colleagues to Highlight How Trumpcare Would Increase Health Care Costs for Older Granite Staters and Americans 

Under Trumpcare, Older Adults Could be Charged Five Times More than Younger Americans

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and 63-year-old cancer survivor, Susan Flashman, to highlight how Trumpcare would increase health care costs for older Granite Staters and Americans.

“Trumpcare would have devastating impacts on millions of Americans, including our nation’s older adults,” Senator Hassan remarked. “The dangerous Trumpcare proposal that Senate Republicans are working on behind closed doors would jeopardize the ability of seniors to stay in nursing homes or receive in-home care by slashing funding for Medicaid. And by creating an age tax, Trumpcare would lead to huge premium increases for older citizens.”

Senator Hassan urged all Granite Staters and Americans to speak out about how the bill, which President Trump himself has called “mean,” would negatively impact them.

“I urge people in New Hampshire and across America to share their stories, call their elected officials, and make clear that this ‘mean’ bill is simply unacceptable,”Senator Hassan urged.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Trumpcare would lead to 20% higher premiums in 2018, with especially high premium hikes for older Americans. Trumpcare would also create an age tax, letting plans charge older adults up to five times more than younger people, which would hit Americans between the ages of 50-64 particularly hard. By changing Medicaid into a per capita cap system, Trumpcare would massively cut the Medicaid program, which millions of seniors across the country depend upon to stay in nursing homes and to receive in-home care.

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