Sen. Blumenthal Opposes Graham/Cassidy Health Bill
When I look at Graham/Cassidy, I can’t help but think of 7-year-old Conner Curran of Ridgefield, Connecticut. Conner has Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an illness that slowly erodes motor functions. As it progresses, he will lose the ability to run, walk, or hug his parents goodnight. Unless a cure is found, it will one day take his life. But you’d never know it from the courage and strength he brings to each day, much like his incredible, hardworking family. This summer, just before the last Republican scheme to gut the Affordable Care Act failed, Conner’s parents installed stair lifts in their home. You can imagine the infectious smile on Conner’s face as he tried it out – not fully grasping the reason for its necessity, but enjoying his newfound freedom to be a kid. Conner’s mother wrote that their experience underscored just how vital Medicaid is to their family. As Conner gets older, he will need more and more help to maintain his quality of life. He will need a loving and compassionate healthcare system that will protect him when he is at his most vulnerable. That’s his only hope for a fair chance at life. Graham/Cassidy, to put it mildly, deprives him of that chance. I wonder if my Republican colleagues could look Conner or his parents in the eye and explain why protections for kids with preexisting conditions should be eviscerated – or why the funds they’ve proposed to replace Medicaid, the program that could one day make a life or death difference for him – should run out in 10 years. I wonder if they realize the havoc this bill would wreak on families facing similar worries in their own states. This moment asks us to consider what kind of country we really are. I know we are better than a system that turns its back on kids like Conner and forces families to make an impossible choice between their children’s health and their finances. I am ready to work in a bipartisan way on solutions to the healthcare problems facing our country. But I will not stand by and let Graham/Cassidy give Conner’s family – and countless others like them – more reason to worry. Not now, not ever.