Reid Remarks On The Affordable Care Act And On A Bill To Expand Veterans’ Health Care

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“The Koch Brothers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling Americans that ObamaCare is bad for them. But the Kochs should stick to what they know – the oil business. Because the truth is simply more powerful than any myth, any legend or any false political ad.” 

“Democrats have our own stories to tell – true stories. True stories of average Americans whose lives have changed for the better because of the Affordable Care Act. True stories of families that rest easier knowing insurance companies can never again put profits first and people second.” 

“Republicans say they want to help our veterans. But when Democrats introduce a bill that would do just that, Republicans immediately inject partisan politics into the mix, insisting on amendments that have nothing to do with helping veterans. If I didn’t know better, I would assume Republicans don’t really care about improving health care and job training for our nation’s heroes.”

  

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the Affordable Care Act and the importance of expanding veterans’ health care. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Over the last few months, millions of Americans have signed up for affordable health insurance, many for the first time in years. Millions of young people have stayed on their parents’ insurance plans while they pursue higher education or start their first jobs. Millions of senior citizens have saved money on prescriptions and tens of millions of women have accessed free preventive care. And across the country, Americans who were once denied insurance because they suffered from something as scary as cancer or as simple as acne were able to buy affordable, quality health insurance they could trust.

But despite all that good news, there were plenty of horror stories being told – stories of cancelled policies, premium increases and ruined lives. And the quote-unquote “real people” telling those stories? Many of them turned out to be paid actors, hired by the billionaire Koch brothers and other wealthy Republican donors.

Don’t take my word for it. This is what Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote last week in the New York times: “What the right wants are struggling average Americans, preferably women, facing financial devastation from health reform. So those are the tales they’re telling, even though they haven’t been able to come up with any real examples.” Republicans are “just making stuff up,” Krugman writes.

But Democrats have our own stories to tell – true stories. True stories of average Americans whose lives have changed for the better because of the Affordable Care Act. True stories of families that rest easier knowing insurance companies can never again put profits first and people second.

Take the story of Jane and Brett Thomas of Henderson, Nevada, for example. Jane wrote to me recently to say she is “ecstatic” – her word – to be saving $1,200 every month on a top-of-the-line, family insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act. For years Jane was locked into her job as a school teacher because she, Brett and their two teenage children needed the guaranteed health insurance. But Jane was able to quit her teaching job to spend more time with her children and help out her husband at the family’s small business.

Jane says the Affordable Care Act has literally changed her life and the lives of her loved ones. This is what she wrote to me: “Everyone on the news keeps talking of all the people the law has hurt, but I thought I should share our joy. The best part is our insurance covers so much more and pays better on every front…  I can’t thank you and your colleagues enough for fighting for people like me and my family.”

Republicans may need actors to convince people that ObamaCare is bad for them. But Democrats don’t have to make things up. There are millions of real Americans, like Jane and Brett Thomas, benefiting from the Affordable Care Act every day.

Their premiums are lower. Their prescriptions are cheaper. They can’t be denied a policy or discriminated against. Their benefits can’t be cut off because they get sick or reach some arbitrary cap. And they are no longer locked into jobs they don’t love or don’t need because they can’t get insurance anywhere else.

The Koch Brothers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars telling Americans that ObamaCare is bad for them. But the Kochs should stick to what they know – the oil business. Because the truth is simply more powerful than any myth, any legend or any false political ad.

I am disappointed to see partisanship at work this week on the Senate floor as well. Yesterday we advanced a measure that should be bipartisan – a measure that would help the veterans who have given so much to defend our country.

Democrats were willing to work with our Republican colleagues to consider relevant amendments to this legislation. Yet the first amendment Republicans demand is an unrelated amendment on Iran.

Can you imagine the audacity? Republicans say they want to help our veterans. But when Democrats introduce a bill that would do just that, Republicans immediately inject partisan politics into the mix, insisting on amendments that have nothing to do with helping veterans.

If I didn’t know better, I would assume Republicans don’t really care about improving health care and job training for our nation’s heroes. I would assume they aren’t interesting in legislating or governing. I would assume they’re more interested in political theater. But I know that can’t possibly be true. And I invite my Republican colleagues to prove it by working with Democrats to pass this crucial legislation and improve the lives of former service members.

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