July 24, 2017
President Trump gave remarks about the status of legislation to replace Obamacare, which the Senate is scheduled to vote on tomorrow. He said Senate Republicans had not done their job in repealing and replacing Obamacare and warned that any senator who voted against starting the debate on health care was in effect saying they were “fine with the Obamacare nightmare.” The President was preceded by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Vice President Mike Pence.
HHS Secretary Tom Price:
Good afternoon. I'd like to thank President Trump for inviting us to the White House today.
We are grateful for his incredibly strong commitment to patient-centered health care reforms.
I'd especially like to thank the Weer, Finn, Witzig, and Atkisson families with us today to tell their stories. The uncertainty and hardship that each of them has faced in confronting your family's health challenges are vivid reminder for all of us why inaction on this problem is not an option.
Right now Obamacare is failing to deliver for the American people and the folks here in this room today are a stark reminder of that problem. Principles of healthcare are pretty clear: accessibility, and affordability, and quality, and choices. You all represent millions of Americans for whom those principles have been violated. And it's because of your voices and your experience that we're here today, to urge Congress to give the President a bill to sign.
The President has laid out a positive vision for how to fix this mess, by putting patients and families and physicians in charge of healthcare decisions, not Washington D.C. We are committed to ensuring that the American people enjoy a healthcare system that works for them. The President has made that crystal clear.
And an individual who just like the President has been working day and night on getting this accomplished is the Vice President. He understands the imperative of patient-centered healthcare, and it's an honor to introduce to you my friend, the Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence.
Vice President Mike Pence:
Well thank you Dr. Price, and good afternoon to all.
To the families who are gathered here from all across America on behalf for the First Family, welcome to The White House.
Since the first day of this administration, President Donald Trump has been working to keep the promises that he made to the American people, to rebuild our military, revive our economy, and this President has worked tirelessly to repeal and replace Obamacare.
President Trump knows that every day Obamacare survives is another day that American families and American businesses struggle. As we've traveled across the country, we've heard firsthand from Americans just like those who stand behind me today, from families who are bearing the cost of skyrocketing premiums and plummeting choices, from families who've lost their doctors and lost their insurance and from families who are starting to lose hope that congress will ever respond.
But as I've told every one of them, and people all across this country, thanks to the leadership of President Trump, help is on the way. President Trump hears you. He is fighting for you and he will keep fighting every day until we give the American people access to the world class healthcare they deserve.
Tomorrow the United States Senate will have the opportunity to begin the debate on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. And as the President said this morning, after years of talking and campaigning on it, now is the time for Republicans in the Senate to act. Republicans in the Senate will have in his words a chance to do the right thing, to keep their promise to the American people and these families and families all across this country. And this President and the American people are counting on the Senate to act.
So, with gratitude for his leadership, and his persistence and determination to make American healthcare great again, it is my high honor and distinct privilege to introduce to these families and to all of you the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump:
Well thank you very much, Vice President Pence, Secretary Price, and thank you everyone for being here today.
For the past 17 (sic) years, Obamacare has wreaked havoc on the lives of innocent, hard-working Americans.
Behind me today, we have real American families, great families. I just spent a lot of time with them, who are suffering because seven years ago a small group of politicians and special interests in Washington engineered a government takeover of healthcare.
Every pledge that Washington Democrats made to pass that bill turned out to be a lie. It was a big fat ugly lie.
Democrats promised Americans like Steve Finn, a former police officer in West Virginia, that they would save $2,500 a year under Obamacare. Instead his premiums have more than tripled. That's pretty bad. As a result of Obamacare's skyrocketing cost, Steve and his family and many of his employees had no other option than going on Medicaid and giving up their existing coverage.
For them, Obamacare's promise was a nightmare. Marjorie and Kevin Weer, from South Carolina, have a son, Monty, who suffers from spina bifida. Washington Democrats promised families like the Weers that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, but now there is only one insurer left at the state exchange and Marjorie says that every year she waits anxiously to learn if the doctors and hospitals which her son needs the most will remain in their network. More Obamacare lies. And you've seen that, up front, unfortunately. Up front and personal.
The Democrats promised Melissa Atkisson that her son's pre-existing conditions would be covered. The Atkissons quickly learned that Obamacare's promise of covering for pre-existing conditions was meaningless though, if the doctors you need to care for you aren't on your Obamacare plan so you just have a meaningless promise and everybody knows it and most people on Obamacare know it.
After an excruciating series of events and complications, Melissa and her husband found themselves, just before Christmas, emotionally and financially devastated, crying in a doctor's office faced with yet another seemingly unpayable bill when insurance wouldn't cover the Atkissons' care, they emptied out Melissa's 401K to pay their bills.
They're not gonna be and they haven't been the first. There are many many cases such as that. The 401Ks. The first rule of medicine is Do No Harm. But Obamacare's lies have caused this and throughout the whole country, families like this, nothing but pain.
Erin and Andy Witzig are small business owners from Illinois. They have six children. Their youngest daughter Poppy has a rare genetic condition. Children born with it are sometimes called butterfly children because their skin is as fragile as the wings of a butterfly. Poppy has to wear special bandages all of the time. Unfortunately, under Obamacare, Poppy's insurance has been repeatedly discontinued and replaced with what Washington deems equivalent policies, but for Poppy, these plans are not equivalent and Poppy's family has to spend precious time and tremendous resources fighting for exceptions for Poppy.
The Washington politicians who made those promises to Steve, Marjorie, Melissa, Erin and their beautiful children want to ignore all the pain, all the suffering, and all of the money, the tremendous amounts of money that these lies have caused. They want to forget about the countless Americans they've hurt and the many that they are continuing to hurt every day by refusing to help us replace Obamacare.
For the last seven years, Republicans have been united in standing up for Obamacare's victims. Remember, "Repeal and Replace, Repeal and Replace." They kept saying it over and over again. Every Republican running for office promised immediate relief from this disastrous law. We as a party must fulfill that solemn promise to the voters of this country to Repeal and Replace, what they've been saying for the last seven years. But so far, Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare. They now have a chance, however, to hopefully, hopefully, fix what has been so badly broken for such a long time, and that is through replacement of a horrible disaster known as Obamacare. The Senate is very close to the votes it needs to pass a replacement.
The problem is we have zero help from the Democrats. They are obstructionist. That's all they're good at, is obstruction. Making things not work. They say all the right things and then they do exactly what they're not supposed to be doing. The Democrats aren't giving us one vote so we need virtually every single vote from the Republicans. Not easy to do.
The Senate bill that is being considered outside of the outright repeal of Obamacare will also provide emergency relief for the law's victims and it will deliver truly great healthcare and healthcare reforms that our citizens want, need, and really should be demanding. Some are demanding. You'll see that at the voter booth. Believe me.
Here are just some of these terrific reforms that we will be doing if everything works out the way it should. The Senate bill eliminates the painful individual mandate. It eliminates the job killing employer mandate. It repeals other burdensome taxes and will significantly lower Americans' premiums. It will stabilize collapsing health insurance markets and give Americans far more choice and far more flexibility.
The Senate bill protects coverage for pre-existing conditions, and you don't hear this from the Democrats – they like to tell you just the opposite, and they didn't even know the bill. They run out, they say death, death, death. Well Obamacare is death, that's the one that's death and besides that it's failing, so you won't have it anyway. It dramatically expands popular Health Savings Accounts, it provides tax credits so Americans can purchase a private plan that is right for them and their families.
It devotes substantial resources to fight the opioid – and this is a tremendous problem – the opioid epidemic, $45 billion is being put in so that the people of many states like New Hampshire, Ohio, and so many others that have such a big problem can be helped and helped greatly when we are fighting the drug problems, very very seriously, in my administration.
And it provides among many other things, higher quality care and more flexibility for states to administer Medicaid to better serve their poorest citizens.
Tomorrow the Senate will vote on whether to allow this urgently needed bill to come to the Senate floor for debate.
The question for every senator, Democrat or Republican, is whether they will side with Obamacare's architects, which have been so destructive to our country, or with its forgotten victims. Any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the Obamacare nightmare, which is what it is. For Democrats this is a chance to make up for the terrible harm they have inflicted on Americans like those who are with us today. Obamacare has been, for them, a nightmare.
There is still time to do the right thing, and for Senate Republicans, this is their chance to keep their promise. Over and over again they said "Repeal and Replace, Repeal and Replace" but they can now keep their promise to the American people to provide emergency relief to those in desperate need of help and to improve healthcare for all Americans.
To every member of the Senate I say this, the American people have waited long enough. There's been enough talk and no action. Now is the time for action. We are here to solve problems for the people. Obamacare has broken our healthcare system. It's broken. It's collapsing. It's gone. And now it's up to us to get great healthcare for the American people.
We must repeal and replace Obamacare now. Thank you, God bless you, God bless the United States of America.
Thank you very much. Thank you.