RI's all-Democratic delegation criticizes Senate health bill

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse joined other members of the Rhode Island delegation in criticizing the Senate health care bill. (WJAR)

The latest attempt to repeal Obamacare is delayed until at least next week, while Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., recovers from surgery. Rhode Island's congressional delegation is using the extra time to speak out against the bill.

“You know the phrase 'trying to put lipstick on a pig.' There's not enough lipstick in the world to cover up the pig of what they're doing to Medicaid and how that is going to hurt Rhode Islanders and Rhode Island seniors,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

One by one, all four members of the state's all-Democratic delegation criticized the latest version of Trumpcare during a news conference Monday at the Allen Berry Health Center in Providence.

"In the strongest possible terms, I oppose this bill," Rep. Jim Langevin said.

Rep. David Cicilline said the bill provides tax cuts for insurance and pharmaceutical companies at the expense of millions of Americans.

"And to finance those tax cuts, you are stripping away health insurance from 20 million Americans, making older Americans pay more, making deep cuts to Medicaid," Cicilline said.

Sen. Jack Reed described the latest version of Trumpcare as a massive giveaway to special interests and the wealthy.

“It raises premiums for the vast majority of Americans, particularly Americans 50 years and older," Reed said.

Vice President Mike Pence urged governors to embrace health care reform while in Providence last week for the National Governors Association summer meeting. He said the bill will help the poor.

“President Trump and I believe the Senate health care bill strengthens and secures Medicaid for the neediest in our society,” Pence said.

If the Senate reaches a tie while voting on the bill, Pence will provide the tie-breaking vote.

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