Last night, U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), who is currently fighting Stage 4 kidney cancer, took to the Senate floor and gave the speech of her life in an impassioned effort to stop the GOP health care bill. Speaking from a deeply personal place, she implored her Republican colleagues to show the millions of Americans at risk of losing health care under the “skinny repeal” bill the same compassion they showed her when she was first diagnosed just two months ago in May.
An immigrant from rural Japan, Senator Hirono fought back tears as she spoke about the 2-year-old sister she lost to pneumonia because of her family’s lack of access to medical treatment. She talked about how her parents then came to America, with nothing, to give her and her brothers a better life; about being a girl in Hawaii, and not being able to make ends meet; about being so afraid that her would mom get sick, and how they would not have the money to pay for treatment, which would render her unable to work and provide for the family.
Of the personal battle she is currently fighting, the Senator said, “I’m just so grateful that I had health insurance so that I could concentrate on the care that I needed rather than how the heck I was going to afford the care that was probably going to save my life.” She has already undergone two separate cancer surgeries, removal of her right kidney as well as a lesion from one of her ribs.
“When I was diagnosed with kidney cancer and facing my first surgery I heard from so many of my colleagues, including so many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle who wrote me wonderful notes, sharing with me their own experience with major illness in their families or with the loves ones. You showed me your care. You showed me your compassion. Where is that tonight?”
To my GOP colleagues, after I was diagnosed with cancer, you showed me your care. You showed me your compassion. So where is that tonight? pic.twitter.com/BfWMIDd0Vo
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) July 28, 2017
Hirono concluded by urging Republican Senators to send the bill to committee so that it can be debated. “I find it hard to believe that we can sit here and vote on a bill that is going to hurt millions and millions of people in our country. We are better than that.”
As of early this morning, it was reported that “the Senate has dealt a devastating setback to Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare, defeating a GOP ‘skinny repeal’ bill.” Sens. John McCain, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins “joined with Democrats to oppose the measure, a major blow to President Donald Trump and the Republican congressional agenda.”