We need you in the fight.

The battle for health care continues in Congress this week, and I wanted to reach out to ensure that you have the latest information about what’s happening on Capitol Hill and how these decisions will affect Marylanders across our state. I'll also be hosting a Health Care Forum this SaturdayJune 24, 2017, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm at the Greater Mt. Nebo AME Church in Bowie, Maryland. All are welcome to attend, and you can learn more about the event here.   

Health care is one of the most personal and consequential issues that Congress tackles, as it touches every single family in our country. In the heated debate about the best way to improve our health care system, some in Washington have lost sight of the human consequences of the actions we take here.

The Senate Republican plan that was released this week isn’t a health care bill, it’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and lower income families to the richest people in America. In many ways the Senate Republican's plan is even meaner than the House bill – that is especially true with respect to its deeper long-term cuts to Medicaid, which helps provide affordable care to a variety of people – from seniors in nursing homes, to kids in schools, to those with disabilities. In Maryland alone, this proposal would harm millions of seniors, people with disabilities, and lower income working families. 

There are ways we can and should improve our health insurance system, chief among them is increasing choice and affordability on the state-run exchanges. But this bill — written in secret without a single public hearing or committee meeting — doesn't even come close to making health care more accessible or affordable. In fact, it would decimate the insurance market and leave millions of more Americans without insurance. It would gut funding for rural hospitals, limit our fight against opioid addiction, and make health care for women more expensive.

These are among the many reasons that not a single patient advocacy group — whether they are fighting cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, or any other disease — is in favor of this atrocious proposal. It is also opposed by those who provide patient care, like the nurses, doctors, and hospital associations. Of course, there are some who support the Republican Senate bill — those advocating for powerful special interests that get windfall tax breaks. It is outrageous that millionaires will receive any average annual tax cut of $50,000. 

I continue to stand ready to discuss ideas to improve our health care system — as long as the common goal is to increase access and affordability of care for Marylanders. But the plan Senate Republicans put forward fails that basic test. It just doesn't make any sense to ask people working hard to pay more, while giving a tax break to the wealthiest Americans and special interests.

I will fight this tooth and nail in the Senate, but I need your help. We need everybody in Maryland and across the country to share their stories about how this immoral monstrosity will impact their lives. I hope you can join me for our Health Care Forum tomorrow. Together, we will stop this Republican plan and work to protect and improve health care for all Americans.


 U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen