Statement of Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)United States Senate floorTuesday, October 1, 2013
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"What we have here, Mr. President, is the Tea Party Republicans' version of Elizabeth KublerRoss's 5 Stages of Grief.
"More than 40 years ago, Dr. KublerRoss laid out the 5 different emotions experienced by people when they face what they consider to be an awful, unacceptable fate.
"Making affordable health care available for millions of Americans is anathema to today's Tea Party Republicans. They cannot accept it. They shut down the government to try to stop it.
"The Tea Party Republicans just cannot handle the fact that the Affordable Care Act will guarantee that:
- • Millions more Americans are going to have access to quality, affordable health care coverage;
- • Being a woman is no longer going to be a preexisting condition - women cannot be charged higher insurance rates just because of their gender;
- • No one is going to go bankrupt just because they get sick. Before the Affordable Care Act, medical bills contributed to more than 60 percent of personal bankruptcies - that ends with Obamacare, which lifts lifetime caps on insurance coverage;
- • 6.6 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved more than $7 billion on their prescription medicines since Obamacare was signed into law.
"The Tea Party Republicans are in the grip of the political equivalent of the 5 stages of grief, and it is the American people who are getting squeezed.
"The First Stage: Denial
"Tea Party Republicans refuse to accept the fact that the Affordable Care Act is the law. They have tried to repeal it - more than 50 times.
"They ignore last year's presidential election, in which the Republican candidate, who promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he was elected, was defeated soundly.
"The Tea Party Republicans deny the decision by the Supreme Court that found the Affordable Care Act constitutional.
"The Second Stage: Anger
"The Tea Party Republicans are enraged that the Affordable Care Act is going to work.
"We know it is going to work because we have 7 years of experience in Massachusetts, where 97 percent of adults and 99 percent of children are covered.
"We have a poll conducted in April of this year by the Massachusetts Medical Society.
"It indicates that 84 percent of Massachusetts residents are satisfied with their health care. They like their health coverage under the Massachusetts system, which is the very model for President Obama's plan.
"Tea Party Republicans cannot stand the fact that the Affordable Care Act will finally make health care a right, not a privilege, in our country, in the words of the great Ted Kennedy.
"Tea Party Republicans are so angry about Obamacare that they closed down the federal government today, sending hundreds of thousands of federal workers home without pay.
"The Third Stage: Bargaining
"Tea Party Republicans are doing a lot of bargaining these days.
"They are using the entire federal budget - and soon the full faith and credit of the United States - as leverage in their negotiation to try to gut Obamacare.
"Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially in this case.
"That's because the Tea Party Republicans do not really want to negotiate, they want to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and the benefits it provides to millions of Americans.
"The Fourth Stage: Depression
"The Tea Party Republicans are clearly depressed that they are getting blamed for shutting down the government, that public opinion is sharply turning against them, and that many Republicans are repudiating their tactics and extremism.
"Republicans are fighting among themselves, struggling to find a way out of the mess they have made for themselves.
"The Fifth Stage: Acceptance
"The Tea Party Republicans have not yet reached this final stage of acceptance.
"They still do not fully understand the backlash they are going to face from the public - which will justifiably blame them for this Republican shutdown.
"The Tea Party Republicans do not yet regret their destructive ways. They certainly are nowhere near 'Acceptance'.
"So I say, Mr. President, we are witnessing the Tea Party Republicans in the throes of their grief over losing the last election and losing the battle over health care reform.
"But it is the American people who are paying the price for this political psychodrama that is tearing the Republican party apart and hurting our country.
"Now is the time to get over it.
"Obamacare is the law of the land. It is not going away.
"Now is the time to join together to ensure that it works for the American people.
"Now is the time to move forward. To pass a budget that funds our government.
"Now is the time to get our economy back on track, create jobs and build a bright future together, "for all Americans.
"Thank you, Mr. President, and I yield back the balance of my time."