Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act

Floor Speech

Date: Jan. 19, 2011

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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the budget-busting legislation that fails to create one new job and returns our health decisions to insurance companies rather than doctors.

Repealing the health reform law would be a big mistake. Instead of focusing on job creation or retirement security or fair taxes, we're debating repealing a law that protects Americans from insurance company abuses and provides fairer and more accessible health care for children, for veterans, for seniors, for employees, for employers. The law saves the average taxpayer money, and it saves the insured money.

On Monday, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Dr. King fought for an America where everyone regardless of race or class background had access to the American opportunity. He said, ``Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.''

Today, the new majority is trying to repeal the health reform law that we enacted just one year ago. That historic law provides secure health insurance coverage to almost all Americans and lowers the deficit. The days of ``you're on your own'' are past now. The law ensures that health insurance companies actually have to provide health insurance, not just in name, but it requires that they spend your premium dollars on actually providing health care.

If this reform law were repealed, Anna's 24-year-old son in Kendall Park, New Jersey would become uninsured; Todd from Eatontown would not be able to get insurance due to his preexisting condition; and thousands of seniors on Medicare, like Howard from Monroe, would not be able to afford his lifesaving prescriptions.

Matthew from West Windsor wrote me to say, ``I just graduated from college, and I'm working at a job with no health care.'' He's grateful now that he can be on his parents' health insurance plan, but he's concerned if this is repealed. He says, ``I have a preexisting condition, and shockingly, I truly would be without insurance and in deep trouble if this law were reversed.''

I urge my colleagues to vote no on repealing the health care reform law.

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Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the budget busting legislation that fails to create one new job and returns our health decisions to insurance companies rather than doctors.

Repealing health reform would be a mistake. Instead of focusing on job creation or retirement security or tax relief, we are debating repealing a law that protects Americans from insurance company abuses and provides fairer and more accessible health care for children, veterans, seniors, employees, and employers.

On Monday, we celebrated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life of service. Dr. King fought for an America where everyone, regardless of their racial, ethnic, or class background, would have access to opportunity. Access to health care was important to Dr. King who said, ``Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane''.

Today, the new majority is trying to repeal the health reform legislation that we enacted just one year ago. That historic law provides secure health insurance coverage to almost all Americans and lowers the deficit by $143 billion in the first ten years. Today, the majority is trying to repeal these patient protections and return them to insurance company bean counters.

A new analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services that was released this week reported that as many as 129 million non-elderly Americans have some type of pre-existing health conditions. In my district alone, there are as many as 310,000 individuals with a pre-existing condition, including 39,000 children. Due to health reform, those children can no longer be denied coverage and starting in 2014, adults with pre-existing conditions will no longer be denied health coverage. If health reform is repealed, these individuals will again be denied insurance and lose health coverage, which will lead to higher health costs for all Americans.

To understand how important health reform is, here is a picture of what my district would look like if health reform was repealed. Over 2,000 young adults would become uninsured after losing coverage through their parents' insurance; over 17,000 small businesses would lose tax credits that help provide health insurance to their employees; over 9,000 early retirees might lose benefits through the early retiree reinsurance program; over 100,000 seniors would have to pay for wellness visits and preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies; and over 8,000 seniors in the Medicare donut hole would see significantly higher prescription drugs.

Just saying that health reform ``kills jobs'' does not make it so. In fact, health reform not only provides benefits to Americans, it creates jobs. Since health reform was passed, an additional 207,000 jobs have been created in the health care sector. Over the next 10 years, health reform will create up to 4 million jobs by investing in the health care workforce and lowering costs for businesses.

Further, Americans do not support repealing health reform. In fact, according to the latest AP poll, only 26 percent of Americans think health reform should be repealed. Instead, 43 percent of Americans want more reforms to health care.

Passing health reform last year began the process of ending the injustice in health care access that Dr. King thought was shocking and inhumane. We owe all Americans access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. We cannot let them down. As the late, great Senator Ted Kennedy often said, ``decent, quality health care is a fundamental right and not a privilege.'' I strongly urge my colleagues to vote no on repealing health reform.

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