While addressing the House earlier today, Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee pleaded with her colleagues to vote against the GOP health care bill. Lee’s speech, a direct appeal to the morality and humanity of her Republican colleagues, was proof that House Republicans are apparently in possession of neither. In response to her speech, during which Lee noted her own preexisting condition as a survivor of breast cancer, was met instead with a particularly callous (not to mention historically gendered and racial) dismissal. “If I had to defend Obamacare, I’d go into hysterics, too,” Georgia Republican Doug Collins said in response.
The Republican health care bill (the American Health Care Act) guts coverage for those with pre-existing conditions (a wide-ranging list that includes everything from cancer to C-sections, domestic violence to sexual assault, and really any disability) and weakens employer plans, is likely to pass the House today. Lee called the bill the “mother of all bombs of health care dropped on the American people.”
She described the AHCA as “heartless and callous,” particularly for seniors and those who, like her, have pre-existing conditions. It’s perhaps worth noting that many of Lee’s colleagues, even as they’re eager to vote for the Obamacare repeal, will not be affected, they have exempted their own health care plans, as well as their Congressional staff, from the bill.
Lee continued, adding that the bill will throw 24 million people off healthcare “and reverse Robin Hood of stealing from the poor or the seniors, laying in their bed... Where you’re doing an age tax that is five times more than any young person has to pay.” She also criticized the bill for its “pittance for pre-existing conditions.” Though the House GOP tacked on $8 billion to help states set up their own high-risk pools, the numbers don’t quite add up and will leave many with pre-existing conditions uninsured or unable to afford insurance. Lee railed again the $8 billion figure, as well as the GOP’s plan to provide states with waivers.
Before being cut off, Lee finished her appeal by saying that she wanted to protect the poor, for the sick “be able to live in dignity and be able to get well.” “I want to stand with the people,” she said. Apparently, Lee’s plea, as well as her promise to her constituents was worthy of Collins’s derision. Watch the video to the end to enjoy his smug self-congratulatory laugh at his wit.