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Congressman Raul Ruiz

Representing the 36th District of California

Ruiz Leads Charge to Protect Access to Health Care

January 11, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC – Representative Raul Ruiz, M.D. (CA-36) delivered the below remarks during a Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Press Conference to defend access to high-quality, affordable health care for millions of Americans. Dr. Ruiz is one of only two Democratic physicians in the House and is Chair of the CHC Health Care and Mental Health Task Force. Remarks as delivered below:
Dr. Raul Ruiz, Congressional Hispanic Press Conference on Health Care
Remarks As Delivered
January 11, 2017

Good morning!

I’m Representative Raul Ruiz, I’m from California’s 36th District.

I am an emergency medicine physician and I’m here to demand access to high-quality, affordable health care for the American people.

As an emergency physician, my role is to defend and protect my patients and people across the country from policies that could put their health and well-being in jeopardy.

Como médico de urgencias, mi papel es de defender a mis pacientes y al público a traces del país de la política que pone su salud y bien estar en riesgo.

This is about people, every day hardworking people. It’s not about party, it’s not about politics, it’s about people.

This is about the young man with ulcerative colitis, a chronic and painful condition, with diarrhea and abdominal pain. He has lived his whole life embarrassed, wanting to have meaningful relationships, wanting to have a significant other, wanting to find a employment and live a life with dignity. He was unable to afford the medication that would help ease the pain and control his hardships. He was unable to get a job because employers would say no, insurance for you is too much.

Now, with the Affordable Care Act, he has a meaningful relationship, he has a job, he has his dignity back, and he’s living a normal, productive life.  

This is about the more than 20 million people who could lose coverage and access to care, including 6.3 million Hispanics.

This is about the 913,000 Latinos between ages 19 and 26 who now have health insurance because they can now stay on their parents’ plans.

This is about the young mother of three that I saw in the emergency department who didn’t have health insurance. Her sister visited during the holidays and insisted that she go see a physician because of this concerning lump in her breast.

So with tears in her eyes she saw me, concerned about what the diagnosis would be. Sure enough she had a lump the size of a lemon. The next step was for her to go get a biopsy. I saw that fear of not knowing what it was going to show, whether it was malignant, whether it had spread, or whether it was benign.

This mother of three, that concern and that anxiety, waited and waited because it could not only reveal something she might not want at this age but also something that could break her bank and put her in financial crisis. Not only her but the shared income of her family would be in financial crisis.

So now preventive services for women like her – our mothers, our wives, our sisters, and our daughters – are covered.

Republicans have no new ideas, only old, failed ideas that got us in the mess in the first place.

Los Republicanos no tienen ideas nuevas, solamente ideas viejas, política que ha fracasado.

Their strategy to delay replacement is really a strategy to evade responsibility because even they know that repealing the Affordable Care Act would mean taking away health insurance for over 20 million people.

Delaying or slowing down doesn’t make it better, is like putting a leech on a patient and slowly watching them die.

Su estrategia es de retrasar el reemplazo y evadir las consecuencias que los pacientes van a enfrentar. Esto es como poner una sanguijuela en un paciente y dejarlo que sangre lentamente hasta su muerte.

This does nothing to help the millions of people with disabilities and seniors who could lose coverage if the Medicaid expansion is canceled.

This ignores the millions of seniors in the Medicare ‘donut hole’ who have saved more than $23.5 billion collectively on prescription drugs, who could stop taking their critical medications if they become too expensive.

This neglects the root of the problem which is that health care costs are rising too high at a rapid rate and prescription drugs are unfavorably expensive for individuals, for families, for seniors, and for people with disabilities.

As a physician first and foremost in the core of my soul, I have seen first-hand how patients struggle when they cannot access the care they need to live healthy lives.

We need to address these health care costs, we need to address the physician shortage crisis, we need to address the cost of prescription drugs, we need to make sure individuals don’t have to pay more out of pocket.

As a physician, I will fight that access to care for my patients, for my district, and for the American people.

Como médico, yo luchare para que mis pacientes tengan acceso a servicios médicos, para mi distrito, y para el público Americano.

Thank you.