Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), armed with actual facts just shut down GOP hypocrisy in a debate over the Trump administration’s budget for the fiscal year 2019, and it was beautiful. The right remains adamant that the Affordable Care Act is “unsustainable.” However, the facts are starting to prove that, in states that put it to work, The ACA is a very workable program.
And today, Merkley led the charge against some of the GOP hypocrisy and lies with some glorious truth and undeniable facts gleaned by putting the program to work in his state.
Senator Merkley sat across from the Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services for the question and answer period.
Republicans and Azar support “junk plans,” which is essentially insurance that skirts the laws of the ACA and allows insurers to deny people with pre-existing condition coverage. Merkley asked Azar why Republicans refuse to support American’s having the option to purchase Medicare as their insurance plan.
Then proceeded immediately to outline how it’s already working in his state.
“We’ve created a public option under workers comp that cut the cost in half. Rhode island copied Oregon’s model, public option, cut the cost in half. So, under your philosophy, why not allow a choose medicare option?”
Azar attempted to give a typical non-answer about the elderly before Merkley shut him down with more remarkable facts.
Merkley pointed out that if Republicans are genuinely interested in competition, then it is a common sense approach to allow people to choose from a public option, as well. Putting Medicare on the market is shown to drop rates across the board.
“Why not support a public option?” asked Merkely. “I certainly think that the citizens would overwhelmingly, and we see this in polling, overwhelmingly would like to see that they could have this choice on the exchange or enable their employers to be able to choose this.”
Azar attempted, again, to say that it wouldn’t be financially sustainable. Merkley shut him down immediately in one of the highlights of the exchange.
“You obviously haven’t read the bill or you wouldn’t say that. Because this is a stand-alone competition on a level playing field parallel to the way we do it in Oregon for workers compensation,” said Merkley.
It is a rare and beautiful thing when a politician like Merkley simply tells it like it is.
“Take a look at it,” urged Merkley. “Look for things that are market-based that actually work rather than undermining Medicare for all citizens across this country as embedded in your current budget.”
The exchange ended when Merkley dropped the biggest bomb of the day. After Azar talked about denying people with cancer insurance because of “basic math” Merkley laid out a heartwrenching and powerful truth:
“Sustainable means cutting healthcare for poor people and damaging rural America and that’s shameful.”
A personal note: as someone with a pre-existing condition, I would like to take a moment to thank Senator Merkley and those like him that are fighting for us. Thank you, Senator, we all appreciate that there are a few politicians left who have our backs.
Watch the entire exchange below:
Featured Image via YouTube Video