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Democratic Weekly Address | Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Uploaded 06/18/2018

Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ)

Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey, delivered the Weekly Democratic Address.

“Hello, I’m Congressman Frank Pallone from New Jersey. “All around our nation this weekend, kids are celebrating the end of school. Families are getting together for barbeques, or preparing for a much needed and much deserved vacation. “And that’s the way summers are supposed to be. “But in order to take a vacation – families need to be confident they can afford one. “And today, too many Americans are concerned about the costs of their families’ health care. “The anxiety is justified considering the ongoing efforts by Republicans in Washington to undermine and sabotage the health care system. “And last week, Republicans directly threatened the health care of millions of Americans when the Trump Administration asked a federal court to strike down key patient protections included in the Affordable Care Act. “If successful, the Trump Administration’s action will eliminate protections that ensure more than 130 million Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. It could also eliminate protections that prevent insurance companies from charging women or anyone between the age of 50 and 64 outrageously high premiums because of their age or sex. “One of the key points of the Affordable Care Act was that insurance companies could no longer discriminate against anyone who had a pre-existing condition. You’ll remember before the law, insurers could outright deny or limit insurance coverage to people with pre-existing conditions like cancer, Multiple Sclerosis, bipolar disorder or sleep apnea. They could also charge outrageously high premiums that made insurance virtually unaffordable. “These critical protections provided peace of mind to millions of Americans. People with pre-existing conditions could now leave a job for a better one without any concern of being denied health coverage. They also did not have to worry about going bankrupt fighting a pre-existing condition. “It’s also about doing what is right. Why should someone who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or an opioid abuse disorder be denied coverage? Why should a 50-year old woman have to pay 10 times as much for her health care as someone younger than her? “This is not who we are as a country – access to health care should be a basic human right regardless of one’s age or health status. “The American people rightfully understand this, and they’ve repeatedly voiced strong opposition to any attempt to strip away these protections. “Older Americans should not have to pay an age tax, and a baby born with a pre-existing condition should not face the prospect of being denied coverage for the rest of her life. “Thanks to that opposition from the American people, Republicans failed to strip these protections away in the Congress last year. But now, the Trump Administration is trying it again. This time through the courts and other executive actions. “And this sabotage is already driving up costs and the number of uninsured. Now, the uncertainty from this legal action will only make things worse. “That’s a raw deal for families across America. The ongoing Republican attempts to sabotage people’s health care must stop. “Democrats want to give the American people A Better Deal – strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act, and take bold action to drive down the soaring cost of prescription drugs for every American. “In March, I introduced a bill with several of my Democratic colleagues that would reduce health care costs, improve access to care and reverse some of the most egregious efforts by the Trump Administration and Congressional Republicans to sabotage our nation’s health care system. “And Democrats know we can’t stop there. That’s why one of the first pillars of Democrats’ Better Deal economic agenda focuses on prescription drug costs: • Tough new enforcement of drug price gouging, • Demanding full transparency of excessive drug price increases, and • Allowing the federal government to negotiate Medicare drug prices. “It’s long past time for Congress to listen to the American people – we should work together to bring down the cost of your prescriptions and make health care more affordable and accessible for all Americans. “And that way you don’t have to set aside money for your next doctor’s visit, and can instead plan a trip to the beach with your family. “Thank you for listening.”
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