Democratic U.S. House Representative Joe Kennedy III of Massachusetts added more good to the *Kennedy name and made many Americans proud on Wednesday, when he spoke out against the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act proposed by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. The day before, Ryan had said Republicans are doing ”an act of mercy” by repealing and replacing Obamacare. Joshua Miller with the Boston Globe reports Kennedy did not see it that way at all. Kennedy says:
“I was struck last night by a comment that I heard made by Speaker Ryan, where he called this repeal bill ‘an act of mercy.’ With all due respect to our speaker, he and I must have read different Scripture,” Kennedy said as the House Energy and Commerce Committee dove into the details of the GOP effort … The one I read calls on us to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to shelter the homeless, and to comfort the sick.”
Kennedy then refers to a powerful quote saying, “It reminds us that we are judged not by how we treat the powerful, but by how we care for the least among us.” The young Congressman adds:
There is no mercy
in a system that makes health care a luxury.
There is no mercy
in a country that turns their back on those most in need of protection: the elderly, the poor, the sick, and the suffering.
There is no mercy
in a cold shoulder to the mentally ill.
This is not an ‘act of mercy.’ It is an act of malice.
On the critical topic of mental healthcare contained in the new proposal by Ryan, Kennedy basically unravels the fact that mental healthcare according to the new plan would not have federal coverage. Here is the video followed by the transcript of Kennedy forcing a GOP lawyer to admit that Republican repeal plan will cut off coverage to millions of Americans suffering from mental illness.
Kennedy: “Question for the legislative council, just to make sure I fully understand it.
Based off of what you were saying, sir, I understand the fact that this law does not impact mental health parity. But it was the combination of mental health parity and the ACA that included mental health benefits as part of the essential health benefits package. The parity just says if you offer mental health benefits, they have to be offered the same way that physical health benefits are — it does not mandate the offering of mental health benefits.
With the combination of the repeal language that we see on page 8, it means that mental health benefits are not required now, by federal law — that it would be up to the states to actually impose, so when we look at those essential health benefits, whether it’s mental healthcare or potentially for other health conditions, that is no longer essentially covered, or required to be covered by this version of this text, is that not correct?”
Attorney: “The text before us does remove the application of the central health benefits for the alternative plans in Medicaid.”
Kennedy: “It does remove them — including mental health. Yes, thank you.”
If there had been a handheld mic available, Kennedy would have dropped it.
Once again we enter into what feels like a surreal country where we have the dominate political party trying to pass a health bill that caters more to the rich and doesn't even guarantee mental healthcare. The bill is led by a House Leader Paul Ryan who claims to be a merciful Catholic Christian. Thank you to Joe Kennedy for calling out Ryan’s religious hypocrisy and also doing the homework to spot and expose a major flaw in the new bill. May he continue to stay diligent.
And cheers to the many Democrat lawmakers who continue to fight what must seem like an insurmountable uphill battle in order to properly serve and represent the people of their respective states. The Democratic lawmakers did not vote for the Republican Party, nor did they vote for or support the Trump administration. They could easily blame the voters saying, “You didn’t turn up!” Instead, our representatives are duking it out with a self-serving, pompous, and dishonest Republican Party that are trying to ram through their own agendas before Trump is impeached.
The Resistance will see to it that Ryan, McConnell, Chaffetz and their ilk will also go down with the Trump administration. And the Resistance will remember and lift up the many Democratic lawmakers like Kennedy. To learn more about Congressman Joe Kennedy III you can follow him on Facebook or visit his website. If you speak with him, tell him the Resistance says, “Hey.”