“…It is very simple. They are cutting eight hundred and forty billion dollars from the Medicaid program, okay, in order to give a tax break of over a trillion to wealthy people and corporations. That’s it…”
Senator Claire McCaskill (D) continued her face to face contact with constituents in Missouri yesterday with several events in Kansas City.
The Greater Kansas City Women’s Political Caucus hosted a forum with Senator McCaskill midday. Close to one hundred fifty individuals attended. The Senator spoke for about twenty minutes then took questions for about an hour.
Senator McCaskill’s (D) remarks on the republican controlled House of Representatives attempting to resurrect Zombie Trumpcare:
Senator Claire McCaskill (D): [….]
….I think that the House of Representatives made a grave error this week. [voices: “Yes.”] I think that they have, um, under the umbrella of thinking they needed to have a, the president wanted to have a quote, unquote, win they have passed a piece of legislation that is, um, frankly stunning if you really understand what it is. Now, I will admit, like the people who voted for it, I have not reviewed it, uh. [laughter] I have not had a chance to go through it line by line, but I certainly will. But my staff has had an opportunity to look at it and, um, let me make sure you understand what it is so you can go out and tell all of your friends and neighbors. It is very simple.
They are cutting eight hundred and forty billion dollars from the Medicaid program, okay, in order to give a tax break of over a trillion to wealthy people and corporations. [hand slaps] [voice: “That’s horrible.”]That’s it.
It is the contraction of health care services in order to give a tax break. This is a tax break bill. It’s not a health care bill. Now, you can, people, they, they would argue and they would say, well we can’t afford Medicaid program expansion, we can’t afford all the money we’re spending on Medicaid, we have to cut Medicaid.
And here’s what everybody needs to understand – in this country when you show up at the doors of Truman Medical Center and you are sick we take care of you. [voice: “Yes, that’s correct.”] Right? [voice: “Yes.”] I always tell the story of a twenty-seven year old man that lives down in Cole County. And he can, he’s finally making enough money at work, they don’t have insurance at work, that he can either buy insurance or a Harley. Well, guess what he buys? [voices: “Harley”] Buys the Harley. Gets out on the highway, somebody cuts him off, puts it on the pavement, he has traumatic brain injuries, he gets Life flighted to St. Lukes, or VJC or Truman, and we give him millions of dollars of health care. Right? [voices: “Right.”] Because we don’t stop ‘em at the door and say, I’m sorry, you bought the Harley and not insurance, we’re gonna let you die. [voice: “That’s right.”] We bring ‘em in and we them the best medical care in the world. And, by the way, he may have such a debilitating brain injury that we have to, he has to go to rehab and then he has to have help the rest of his life, is on disability. And I ask all of you, who pays that bill? [voices: “We do.”] Of course we do.
When you don’t expand Medicaid, when you cut the Medicaid program it just ups the number of people without insurance. [voice: “That’s right.”] And that is just shorthand for your premiums go up. Because when uninsured care goes up at Truman Medical Center there isn’t somebody magically who shows up and says, we’re gonna pay the bill. Here’s what happens – uninsured care goes up, they can’t balance the books, Truman Medical center calls the insurance companies, they call Blue Cross Blue Shield over here and they say, we’re gonna have to charge you more for labor and delivery, and we’re gonna have to charge you more for an angioplasty because we have too much uninsured care so our prices have to go up. And then that insurance company calls your employer and says, I got news for you, your premiums next year for your group policy are gonna go up ten percent. So, you are paying eight per cent more in your insurance premiums in Missouri just because Missouri legislature won’t expand Medicaid. [vice: “Why can’t the Republicans get that?”] I don’t know. [voices: “Why?”] I don’t know. [….] [voice: “Are they that stupid?”] I, I, I don’t know. I don’t know. [voices: “They are.”] I,I, just, I think it’s really important that we stay focused that this is cutting Medicaid to give a tax break to wealthy people. [voices: “yeah.”] That’s what this is. And, and along the way they’ve decided to make it five times more expensive for seniors than younger people, they’ve decided to make it more expensive for rural people, they’ve decided also that if states want to they can avoid, uh, the requirement of certain benefits and even the requirement of, of having to be fair to people who have the nerve to be sick before.
So, um, I do not think this bill will ever become law. Uh, I can’t imagine that my Senate colleagues on the other side of the aisle are going to be excited about voting for this, especially once the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] score comes out. Everybody says, why would they do it before the CBO score came out? Well, it’s very simple. They knew they couldn’t pass it once the CBO score comes out. So, the CBO score will come out and that will make it even more difficult for this bill to have any kind of traction in the Senate. So, I don’t think the bill will pass the Senate. I don’t know what they will come up with in the Senate. They’re struggling. Uh, it’s hard. It’s hard to cover people with preexisting conditions if you don’t have a mechanism to make sure healthy people pay into it, too. Uh, that’s what insurance is, right? [voice: “Amen, amen.”] Insurance is healthy people paying the bills for sick people. [voice: “That’s right.”] That’s what insurance is. And you kind of signed up for the bargain in that process. [….]
So, the bottom line is, the reason that we don’t have single payer, the reason we don’t have, uh, a public option is because there hasn’t been enough political support for it. Um, that’s why other countries have it, is because their people have, um, decided that the, there’s enough support for it out in the community. Um, and I do think having some kind of quasi public option for people in [inaudible] where there are not choices for your insurance policy makes perfect sense and is a solution that we’re working on trying to get into whatever they’re doing. I, my idea is if you’re in a county where there’s only one insurance company on the exchange or whether there’s none, that you ought to be able to buy into the federal system. [voices: “Yeah.” “Right.”] Uh, that federal employees have. Or buy into Medicare or Medicaid. [applause] So, that’s what we’re going to try to get done.
Uh, and, and so, I hope you guys spread the word on this health care bill because I do think it’s a mechanism by which we can keep people engaged and involved.
A clear day in Kansas City, from the twenty-second floor:
What a difference eight years makes (April 13, 2017)