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Yesterday, I cast my NO vote against the Republican healthcare bill that squeaked by, passing in the House by a vote of just 217-213. This bill gives huge tax giveaways to big pharma and insurance companies while stripping essential health benefits, expanding the crippling age tax on our kupuna, breaking the bank for those with pre-existing conditions, and slashing Medicaid coverage on which one in five Americans rely. People across the country are in desperate need of serious improvements to our healthcare system—this bill just makes things worse. As we look at ways to best deliver healthcare to all Americans, we must focus on bringing down costs, increasing access to quality care, and ensuring basic health services are available to all Americans.

As a cosponsor of H.R.676, the Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act, I’m working towards a system that will provide universal healthcare to all Americans—a standard met by nearly every other major industrialized country in the world. We need a system that puts people first, ahead of the profits of insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The Medicare for All Act is an important step forward.

Click the video above to watch Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s speech on the House floor urging her colleagues to oppose the Republican healthcare bill.

Funding for Hawaii

We passed a bipartisan omnibus bill to keep the government open and avoid a disastrous government shutdown. The bill includes many Hawaii priorities that I fought for, including funding for the East-West Center, Native Hawaiian housing, healthcare, and education programs, important environmental protections, and clean energy initiatives.

We also secured funding to allow Hawaii’s COFA migrants to be treated at Army medical facilities; reduce recidivism in our criminal justice system—including veteran treatment courts and the highly successful HOPE program; improve clean water infrastructure nationwide—including critical Hawaii resources like the Lower Hamakua Ditch, Upcountry Maui Watershed, Lahaina Watershed, and Wailuku-Alenaio Watershed; and support PMRF on Kauai.

Passing this bill with bipartisan support is a positive step, and shows what is possible when both parties come together to put the people of this country above partisan politics. Read more

Above: In her recent tour of criminal justice facilities across the state, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard saw firsthand how prison overcrowding has strained Hawaii's resources and communities. The omnibus bill passed this week includes funding for initiatives to reduce recidivism and prison overcrowding.

Equality for All

LGBT Americans in many states still face discrimination in their everyday lives. This is wrong, and defies our American principles of equality, justice, and individual freedom. I joined 190 of my colleagues in introducing the Equality Act this week, which will ensure that all Americans—regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, disability, or national origin—receive equal treatment under the law. Read more

I look forward to coming home to Hawaii this week. In the meantime, I wish you and your ohana a safe and wonderful weekend.

Mahalo nui loa,

Tulsi Gabbard
Member of Congress (HI-02)

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