Elizabeth Warren Slams Republicans Scrambling to Repeal Obamacare
Much like other Senate Democrats, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has no patience for Republicans daunted by their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare. On Tuesday, just 11 days before Trump takes office, Warren delivered a message for the incoming administration, citing her support for the Affordable Care Act as well as changes to it.
"For eight years, Republicans have complained about health care in America," Warren opened. "They have blamed everything in the world on President Obama. They’ve hung out on the sidelines, name-calling, making doomsday predictions, and cheering."
"What’s the first thing on the Republican agenda now that they are in control?" Warren asked.
"The first thing: massively raise the costs of health insurance for everyone who has it. The first thing: create chaos for hospitals, clinics, and insurance. The first thing: abandon the people they were elected to represent. The first thing: repeal and run away," she warned.
Just two weeks before Donald Trump's inauguration, Mike Pence rallied Republican members of Congress to at least look like they are planning an alternative to Obamacare, which they are intent on repealing.
"And they are shocked—shocked—to discover that guaranteeing Americans access to health care is a complex business and they don’t have any good ideas," Warren added.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was instrumental in bringing America's uninsured rate to an all-time low. The repeal would affect roughly 20 million people and neither President-elect Trump nor congressional Republicans have proposed anything resembling a replacement plan. During his presidential campaign, Trump vaguely promised to replace Obamacare with "something terrific." Yet he appeared painfully unaware of how the ACA worked even just two weeks before the election.
"Now, after eight years of complaining, they are trying to convince each other that it will all be okay if they just repeal health care access—with nothing to replace it," Warren noted. "They’re trying to reassure each other that they know what they’re doing. Get real. They don’t have a clue what to do next. For eight years, they’ve had no plan. And they don’t have a plan now."
The senator then turned to the heath care reform effort in her home state of Massachusetts.
"My Republican colleagues could learn a lot from our work in Massachusetts," Warren said. "In Massachusetts, the belief that everyone should have access to affordable health insurance coverage is a shared value that Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, hospitals, insurers, doctors, consumers, and advocates have all worked to implement over the past decade."
She explained how this relates to Republicans' plan to repeal and replace the ACA.
"You have to be in it for the long haul," Warren announced. "And that’s why, in Massachusetts, we didn’t just pass one health care law in 2006 and then just run away. We came back a couple of years later with additional legislation to make fixes and adjustments. We formed commissions to study how things were working, to make recommendations for more changes."
Those changes included amendments and a revision of regulations, which led to making health care coverage more affordable and accessible.
"And when it got tough, we worked harder—we didn’t repeal and run," she added. "When the Affordable Care Act was signed into law in 2010, Massachusetts went all in. We expanded our Medicaid program, using federal funds to cover people who still lacked insurance even after our state reforms. We set up a state health insurance exchange, the Health Connector, and we combined federal and state dollars to make sure that insurance was truly affordable."