POLITICS
06/27/2017 12:07 pm ET

Mazie Hirono Makes Senate Speech Against Health Care Bill Night Before Cancer Surgery

“Trumpcare would be a disaster to the American people," the Hawaii Democrat said.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) spent the hours before major surgery fighting against the controversial Republican health care bill

Hirono was diagnosed with kidney cancer in May and was to undergo surgery to remove a lesion on her rib Tuesday afternoon. But that didn’t keep her from doing her job Monday night. Hirono, 69, stood on the Senate floor to excoriate the legislation crafted by the chamber’s GOP leaders that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated would leave over 20 million Americans uninsured

“Trumpcare would be a disaster to the American people, and we’re fighting it tooth and nail,” Hirono said. “But I also want to be clear, what we’re fighting for.  We are fighting for universal health care that is a right, not a privilege, for every American. Tomorrow I’m going into surgery to remove the lesion I have on my rib, but I’m going to be back as quickly as I can to keep up the fight against this mean, ugly, bill.” 

Republicans worked on the bill behind closed doors, only releasing the bill Thursday so that a vote could be pushed through as soon as possible. 

Although the bill would reduce the federal deficit by $321 billion over time, according to the CBO, Hirono called its proposed cuts to Medicaid “draconian” and said its impact would be devastating to many senior citizens. She attacked provisions in the bill that would allow insurers to increase premiums for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions

“No one should have to worry about how whether they can afford the health care that one day might save their life,” Hirono said. “Health care is personal. And it is a right, not a privilege reserved only for those who can afford it. It is why we are fighting so hard against Trumpcare.” 

The Senate’s Republican leadership has yet to announce when the bill will be put up to a vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is struggling to bring the party together, as some GOP senators openly denounce the proposal.

If all goes well with her surgery, Hirono should still be able to cast her vote against the bill when it comes to the floor.

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