Weekly Democratic Address
March 10, 2017
Hi, I’m Congresswoman Cheri Bustos.
I come from America’s heartland – the Illinois Quad-Cities, along the banks of the Mississippi River.
For 17 years as a journalist, I asked the tough questions to hold the powerful accountable.
Later, I worked at a non-profit health system where I helped families in our community get the care they needed.
And today, I’m proud to represent the more than 7,000 square miles and 14 counties of the rural, 17th Congressional District of Illinois.
As a proud daughter of the Midwest, I learned early on about the importance of looking people in the eye, hearing their stories and telling them the truth, even if it’s not always easy.
But, unfortunately, when it comes to the Washington Republicans’ health care bill, it’s an ugly truth.
They’re calling it the American Health Care Act: the AHCA. But they should call it the BBBA: the Big Breaks for Billionaires Act. That’s because you pay more, you get less, while billionaires get all the breaks.
For years, we’ve heard one promise after another from Washington.
Not all that long ago, President Trump said it very clearly. He told you directly he’d deliver “insurance for everybody” – that is a direct quote.
And for seven years now, Washington Republicans guaranteed they’d repeal and replace.
Well, this week, they were finally forced to put their cards on the table.
And it turns out they’ve been bluffing.
Because when you get past the smoke and mirrors of President Trump’s repeal plan, it’s clear they’ve dealt America a bad hand.
Here’s what their bill will actually mean for you.
It means less coverage and higher costs for working families, for seniors, the disabled and for children. Your deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket costs for basic coverage are too high already. We know that. But their plans make it worse.
It means insurance companies charging you 30 percent more if your coverage lapses. It means making older Americans pay five times more than others for their health care. Again, older Americans will pay five times more!
It means raiding 170 billion dollars from the Medicare Trust Fund, shortening the solvency of this vital lifeline for our seniors by three years.
It means putting rural hospitals and small clinics on life support.
And it means taking coverage away from about 10 million Americans – including tens of thousands of farmers, factory workers and hardworking families across Illinois!
Just like Trump University, their bill is a scam designed to rip off folks like you.
While his plan costs you more and takes coverage away from the people who need it the most, Washington Republicans found a way to give massive tax breaks to the CEOs of health insurance companies, as well as to America’s billionaires.
That’s right, we’re back to those days again.
The 400 richest Americans are each going to get a 7 million-dollar tax break every single year. And even though that’s not an alternative fact, it sure is unbelievable.
Right now, we need a little Midwestern sensibility to solve the challenges we face.
We need to work together to lower out-of-pocket costs and make prescription drugs more affordable.
But the fact is, their proposal would take us in the wrong direction.
As one of just 12 Democrats from a Congressional district that Donald Trump won, I’m here to tell you that the tide has turned, on factory floors and in grocery store aisles, in big cities and in small towns, men and women from all backgrounds are coming together and demanding accountability from Washington. They want leaders who will stand up and fight for them.
We hear you and we’re ready to stand up for the values that unite us and fight to get real results for hardworking families.
So make your voice heard right now.
Get active in your community and work with us to build a better future for our children, our seniors and our families.
Together, we can, and we will protect the economic and health security for all Americans.