WASHINGTON, DC - Today, Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) delivered remarks during a virtual press conference with state and local leaders to encourage uninsured Marylanders to sign up for health insurance ahead of the July 15 open enrollment deadline. Below is a transcript of his remarks:
“Thank you very much, Vinny DeMarco… We have County Executives, we have [Maryland State] Legislators, we have Members of Congress and Senators on this phone call. Vinny, thank you very much for your leadership and your passion and your energy that you have brought to this effort. We all know that if we are going to be a great society, we need to have our citizens healthy. So I thank you for putting us all together on this call.
“Right now, as all of you know, our communities and our country are facing a global pandemic and concurrently an effort by some Republicans to take away access to affordable health care from millions of Americans. The President and the Justice Department have initiated a lawsuit to take that protection away from people. It makes no sense. The very moment we are fighting to defeat COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of the most vulnerable in our communities, they are trying to repeal and overturn the Affordable Care Act. They are trying to take coverage away from those with pre-existing conditions at a time when these pre-existing conditions – like diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, compromised immune systems – are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. That is why we've taken action during our first week in the majority to defend the ACA in court. And it's why I was proud to stand with my Democratic colleagues to pass legislation in June to strengthen and expand the Affordable Care Act. That was just a few days ago. To make it more accessible, to make out of pocket costs less, so that more people could be covered. Our objective, obviously, is to have everybody covered.
“Vinny, as you know, we used Massachusetts as our model. That was done in a bipartisan way, with Mitt Romney as Governor and a Democratic Legislature. They passed that bill. Now in Massachusetts, 100% of children are covered and 98% of adults are covered. We want to see 100% of adults and 100% of children why? Because the healthier my neighbors are, the healthier I am going to be. What we see with COVID-19 and distancing is, you need to stay apart because we're not sure if everybody is healthy. We need a healthy America.
“As part of the effort to protect the vulnerable against COVID-19 and ensure that those who lost jobs can still afford quality health care, our state – as Vinny you pointed out – a Republican Governor, Democratic Legislature, Members of Congress Republican and Democrat, we are all together on this effort. So our state has launched a special open enrollment period so residents who need it can sign up for coverage through Maryland Health Connection.
“I want to thank Michele [Eberle] for the work she has done, so effectively on making sure that this exchange is a viable one. That open enrollment period ends on July 15... so it is very, very important for our citizens who need health care to get on their computer, get on their phone, get on whatever device they use to communicate to make sure that they can get coverage they need. If anyone still needs coverage or wants to check out more affordable options, I urge Marylanders to visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov before July 15, which means do it today.
“I want to thank Rep. Raskin and Rep. Sarbanes for joining me, as well as our state and county leaders. I want to thank the County Executives in particular. They're on the front line, and we know how important they are and our state legislators as well. I want to thank as well Vinny DeMarco one more time and Michele Eberle one more time as many times as we need to thank them for the extraordinary work they have been doing. They've been leaders in advocating for expanded coverage and access to affordable health care in our state. It is important. If you need it, do it today. Thank you very much, Vinny; thank you, Michele.”