Sen. Murray: GOP plans will ‘make America sick again’

U.S. Senator Patty Murray joined other top Democrats Wednesday to warn Republicans to back away from any plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act or cut the popular Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Murray, Washington state’s senior senator, said Republicans’ vow to do away with the Affordable Care Act (commonly called Obamacare), privatize Medicare or put limits on Medicaid spending are campaign promises that Republicans shouldn’t keep.

Murray (D-WA) made her comments at a press conference following President Barack Obama’s visit Wednesday to Capitol Hill to meet with Democratic lawmakers in the hopes they will rally to protect the signature accomplishment of his administration. Republicans have set out a repeal of the Affordable Care Act as one of the top priorities of the 115th United States Congress, which opened Tuesday.

“You know, Republicans have made all kinds of empty promises about how ripping apart the health care system — with no plan to replace it — somehow won’t hurt anyone,” Murray said. “But I’d like to focus on just one promise Republicans made: that if they repeal the Affordable Care Act, privatize Medicare, and cap Medicaid, families will magically be better off.

“Republican leaders said exactly this. In fact, three days after his election, President-elect Trump even said he’d deliver better health care for ‘much less money.’ Well, President-elect Trump might be able to make that kind of promise from his tower — but workers and families can’t take it to the bank,” Murray added.

Murray was joined at the press conference by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, and the presser came following Senate and House Democrats’ meeting with President Obama.

Murray said that studies show Republican plans to dismantle the health care system will make health care more expensive and leave seniors vulnerable when they can least afford it.

“People across the country will pay more. Premiums will skyrocket. Prescription drug costs will increase. Out-of-pocket costs will rise,” Murray said.

“All that will do is make America sick again — and it shouldn’t have to be said, but that’s the wrong direction for families and for our economy,” said Murray, in a twist on Trump’s campaign catchphrase.

“If Republicans think causing chaos in our health care system, heightening economic uncertainty, and burdening seniors and families with higher health care costs somehow makes our country stronger, they’ve got another thing coming,” she said. “They should step back from the brink, stop putting politics ahead of families’ health care, and agree to join together on efforts to make our health care system work better for families — instead of destroying it, and before it is too late.”

According to Murray’s office, the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid have provided access to health care for more than 100 million Americans.

And in Washington state, the Affordable Care Act has helped 600,000 lower-income residents get insurance through Medicaid.