Pelosi Remarks at Press Conference with Health Care Guests Ahead of State of the Union

February 4, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi joined Senate Democratic Leader Charles E. Schumer, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer and the Chairs and co-Chairs of the House and Senate Democratic Policy and Communications Committees (DPCC), Senator Debbie Stabenow, Representatives David Cicilline, Matt Cartwright and Debbie Dingell, in a press conference with doctors, health care advocates and patients ahead of the State of the Union.  Together, House and Senate Democrats are bringing more than 80 patients, doctors and health care advocates from across the country as guests to the State of the Union.  Below are the Speaker’s remarks:

Speaker Pelosi.  Thank you very much, Mr. Leader.  I associate myself with your remarks about what is at stake and what the realities are about health care in America and the misrepresentations that are being made by the President.  Health care, health care, health care: the three most important issues in America’s working families.  That’s why tonight we have so many guests who are – who have taught us so much about how important the Affordable Care Act has been to them. 

I’m very grateful to Madam Senator Stabenow and our distinguished leaders from our Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, David Cicilline, Debbie Dingell and our colleagues who are here, Matt Cartwright – who else is here? – Matt.  We’ll be hearing from Matt and his special guest and we’ll be hearing from Senator Stabenow and her guest.  But I want to thank all of the guests who are here, but also who will be in the Gallery tonight to bear witness to what the President has to say, and to give testimony in the course of the day to the press and others about what is at stake here.

I want to introduce my guests, Cheyanne and Morgan, twins from San Francisco who are living with Type 1 Diabetes who are also patient advocates.  They came when they were younger, as they grew older and the rest, and have borne witness to what this means to people with diabetes.

It affects so many people in our country.  Thank you Cheyanne and Morgan for your ongoing leadership and Xiomara who has complex medical needs and her mother Elena.  They have been part of what – the co-founders of Little Lobbyist, both of whom have been with us every step of the fight.

And you are a Little Lobbyist too, right?

Aire.  Yes.

Speaker Pelosi.  What’s your name?

Aire.  Aire.

Speaker Pelosi.  Hey, how about that, another Little Lobbyist here. 

They, Xiomara and Morgan and Cheyanne are some of my guests for the State of the Union.  Most of them are here to talk about health care.  They are showing the nation that the fight for affordable, quality health care is a life-and-death fight. 

In the election, Democrats made a promise, we had For The People.  We would lower the cost of health care by lowering the cost of prescription drugs.  And we have delivered on that, passing bill after bill to protect the pre-existing condition benefit, lower prescription drug costs, H.R. 3, and strengthen access to quality, affordable health care.  And in December, we were proud, as I said, to pass H.R. 3, the Elijah E. Cummings Lower [Drug Costs Now] legislation. 

And just last week, just to make – I mean we have, tonight, President Trump – I will talk about next week in a moment – will desperately try to distract the American people from the reality of his all-out assault on health care.  But the public won’t be fooled, because they know in their own lives what it means. 

But, here’s the truth about what the President is doing.  The President swears that he supports protections for people with pre-existing conditions, but right now, he is fighting in federal court to eliminate these life-saving protections and every last protection and benefit of the Affordable Care Act.  And that is why, when Mr. Leader says, ‘Mr. President, if you care about this and you are really sincere about it, you will withdraw your lawsuit to eliminate all of that.’

After promising to negotiate for lower prices – during the campaign, he said we’ll lower – ‘I’m going to negotiate because negotiation is the way to lower prices of drugs.’  And he said, I’m going to negotiate ‘like crazy.’  Well, negotiate ‘like crazy’ must mean not negotiate at all, because he’s abandoned his pledge to support the drug price negotiation that House Democrats delivered in our Elijah Cummings Act.

And then, just last week, the President unveiled his plan to cap and slash Medicaid – Medicaid – would punish families across the country.  People think of it as a low-income benefit, and low-income children do benefit from it.  But many in the middle-class, for seniors in long-term care, for families with pre-existing conditions who do have some health care coverage in private insurance, but need the Medicaid benefits as well; rural hospitals, families seeking opioid addiction treatment and middle class seniors in long-term care need – needs would be ruined.  This would be ruinous to them.  How dare the President to do it.  And we want to shine a bright light on this because it has an impact on so many people’s lives.  Democrats will fight this plan, will stand strongly against every last one of the President’s attacks on families’ health care.

In stark contrast to the President and the Republicans in Congress who share his view and his approach, Democrats are For The People, fighting to lower health care costs by lowering the cost of prescription drugs, protecting the pre-existing condition benefit and other benefits in the – in the Affordable Care Act.

Now I am pleased to yield the podium to the distinguished Democratic Leader in the House of Representatives, Steny Hoyer of Maryland.