Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined her Democratic colleagues on the Senate floor to call out Senate Republicans for their secretive and undemocratic process for their American Health Care Act (AHCA). Republicans have refused to hold a hearing or debate on the legislation, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act, and cause millions of Americans – including children, veterans, and seniors – to lose affordable, quality healthcare.
On the floor, Cortez Masto shared the story of a Nevadan who, because of the Affordable Care Act, was able to open her own business and afford to keep her infant son alive after he was born prematurely. Cortez Masto’s remarks as prepared for delivery follow:
“Thank you, M. President.
I join my colleagues today to speak out in opposition to the secret healthcare legislation that Republicans are attempting to jam through the Senate without any public review or consideration.
This is an insult to the American people. It is a shameful abdication of the role as a U.S. Senator to represent the concerns and priorities of the people of a state and country. We were elected to be a voice for the people of our individual states and what I’m hearing is loud and clear: keep the Affordable Care Act. Do not repeal it. Keep it. And work together to improve it.
I would like to share the story of one of the many Nevadans who contacted me to share their story about the ACA and why they so desperately want to avoid repeal:
Jessica Kleinedler and her husband own a brewery in Reno, Nevada. I was lucky enough to get to meet and speak with her in person when I was home last month, after she wrote the following letter to my office:
Dear Senator Cortez Masto,
I am a resident of Nevada, a small business owner, and a mother. I am writing to express my views about the Affordable Care Act. The Affordable Care Act has had a tremendously positive effect on my life, and I would like to share my story with you.
The Affordable Care Act saved my small business.
When The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law in 2010, and when it was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012, my husband and I were in the planning stages of our small business. At the time, my family was provided health insurance through my corporate job. Knowing the ACA would take effect gave me the peace of mind to leave my job and become a full time small business owner. Today, our business, Under the Rose Brewing Company is celebrating our 4th year in existence, and we are in the beginning stages of a large expansion, which will create many new jobs in Reno. This business would not have survived without my full time dedication. I would not have been able to leave my corporate job without the ability to procure affordable healthcare for my family.
The Affordable Care Act allowed me to start my family in a healthy way.
As my husband and I prepared to sign up for our first year of health care with the ACA, we found out that I was pregnant. Prior to the ACA, health insurers were allowed to consider pregnancy a “pre-existing condition”. Instead of being denied coverage or charged higher premiums, I was able to receive appropriate and affordable care during my pregnancy through the ACA.
The Affordable Care Act saved my life and my baby’s life.
30 weeks into my pregnancy, at a regular checkup with our midwife, my husband and I were advised to see a doctor. Since I didn’t look sick or feel sick, we hesitated, but our midwife was positive it would be for the best. Our insurance through ACA allowed us to see the recommended OBGYN. Half way through our appointment he became very concerned and rushed me into the hospital with preeclampsia. My son was born by emergency C-section a few hours later. Several doctors agreed that neither the baby nor myself would have survived a further 24 hours of pregnancy. Having health insurance through the ACA allowed my husband and I to seek treatment and care without having to worry about the affordability of following doctor’s orders. This is the first time I could say that the ACA saved my life and the life of my beautiful baby boy.
The Affordable Care Act saved my baby’s health insurance.
Thus my son was born 9 weeks early and was admitted into the NICU. He stayed in the NICU for 32 days and was under constant doctor care. By the time he left the hospital, he had incurred well over 1 million dollars in total costs. The ACA allowed him to start his life without a cap on his total lifetime health care coverage. Prior to the ACA, many NICU babies reached their lifetime limits before even feeling the sunshine on their faces. I am eternally grateful for this provision of the ACA.
The Affordable Care Act saved my life a second time.
One week after bringing our beautiful baby boy home from our hospital’s NICU, I found myself in need of emergency care for a second time. I suffered a postpartum stroke. I was taken to the emergency room and admitted to the hospital for the second time in 2 months. Again, the ACA allowed me to seek treatment and care without worrying about coverage.
The Affordable Care Act will save my son’s health care. My son now has a medical issue with his growth. Should the ACA be repealed, amended, or replaced with something less inclusive, this issue will be considered a preexisting condition. The thought of my 18-month-old son being denied coverage, or potentially not being able to afford the healthcare offered to him, makes me sick to my stomach. Why would our lawmakers vote to take this away from him? I implore you to consider the great lengths the Affordable Care Act has gone to not only improve and save lives in my family, but families across the Great State of Nevada. I further implore you to consider the children currently covered and benefitting from the ACA as you contemplate your vote on this significant matter. I strongly urge you to defend this crucial legislation. Too many of your Nevadan constituents rely on this lifesaving, health-saving, and financial-saving legislation.
Thank you for reading my story and considering my views. I am happy to speak directly with you or your staff about this and any other healthcare issues at your convenience.
Jessica Kleinedler and family
I know Jessica’s story is one of thousands. I hope my colleagues across the aisle think of Jesse and her family, and the millions of Americans like her who have so much at stake, while continuing to secretly rewrite our country’s healthcare laws.
Thank you, M. President, I yield the floor.”