Weekly Democratic Address
June 23, 2017
Aloha, this is Senator Mazie Hirono. I have the honor of representing the people of Hawaii in the United States Senate.
For the past few months, 13 Republican male senators have been sequestered away somewhere, literally plotting in secret, to come up with a bill which deprives millions of people across this country from accessing essential health care.
All so that the richest people in our country will get a huge tax cut!
On Thursday, we finally got a chance to see what’s in their version of Trumpcare. And it isn’t surprising that they chose to keep it hidden from the American people until the last possible moment.
It’s even worse than we thought.
Fundamentally, this bill lacks heart. And it sends a simple and clear message: if you’re young and healthy, you’ll be fine. If you’re poorer, older, or sicker? Well, you’re screwed.
Its draconian cuts to Medicaid would have a devastating impact on our seniors, our kupuna as we say in Hawaii, who depend on the program for long-term nursing care.
It imposes an age tax on people 50-64 that allows insurance companies to charge them up to five times more for insurance.
It fulfills the Republican Party’s cherished goal to defund Planned Parenthood.
And it undermines protections for Americans living with serious and chronic diseases, who could face the re-imposition of yearly and lifetime caps on their care.
We are all one diagnosis away from a serious illness. For me, during a routine physical two months ago, my doctor told me I have kidney cancer.
It’s a moment that everyone dreads.
Thankfully, I had health insurance, I was able to sit down with my doctors and decide how I would fight my cancer, not how I would pay for treatment.
I’m fighting to make sure everyone in Hawaii and across the country can afford the quality health care that might one day save their life.
Unfortunately, President Trump and his allies in Congress do not share this goal. Instead, they’ve crafted Trumpcare – a bill that would devastate hundreds of thousands of families in Hawaii and millions more across the country.
We are going to fight Trumpcare tooth and nail, and there are a lot of great reasons to do so. But I also want to be clear about what we’re fighting for.
We are fighting for universal healthcare that is a right, and not a privilege, for every American.
Senate Democrats are going to do whatever we can, however we can, whenever we can to fight back against this bill. And we need you in this fight because we’re all in it together.
Millions of people are mobilizing across the country against this mean, ugly bill because health care is personal.
I’m encouraged that so many people have been calling and making their voices heard.
Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump can try to jam this bill down our throats, but we aren’t going to let them succeed and they will be held accountable.
Mahalo nui loa.