Today, Congresswoman Doris Matsui (CA-06), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This vote marks the 56th time the Republican majority has undertaken a vote to repeal or undermine the ACA. Rep. Matsui's remarks, as prepared for delivery, are as follows:
"I rise today in strong opposition to the Rule and the underlying legislation. Here we go again. This bill marks yet another attempt by the Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but the first time after implementation of many provisions that Americans rely on.
"People think the ACA only provides the ability to buy health insurance on an exchange or marketplace. Yes, it is a new way to shop for health insurance, in which you can compare plans apples to apples. Yes, it is a way to obtain subsidies, to make that coverage more affordable. Yes, with all these benefits people can join the system, and cover themselves prior to a medical catastrophe.
"However, the ACA also accomplished so much more than that. Repealing the law - lock, stock, and barrel - that has been in place for nearly five years is not in anyone's best interest.
"The ACA created the Prevention and Public Health Fund, an unprecedented mandatory investment in states' public health systems. The need for this investment has become increasingly evident in recent months. Thanks to the Fund, more than $5 billion has been granted to reduce tobacco use, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, promote school health, address health disparities, and increase lab capacity to respond to public health emergencies.
"Repealing the ACA today would mean 129 million Americans could again be denied insurance coverage for pre-existing conditions. It would mean Americans would no longer have access to free preventive services such as vaccines, disease screenings, well-child visits and tobacco cessation.
"I heard from one of my constituents named Lara who as a freelance film producer with a former cancer diagnosis found getting health insurance to be impossible. Thanks to the ACA she now has coverage and is able to have regular check-ups to make sure the cancer does not return.
"The health care providers, health plans, and consumer advocates in my district and across the country have worked hard to put these provisions in place and to make the ACA work. We can't take that away now.
"I urge my colleagues to vote down this Rule and the underlying legislation."