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Mr. AL GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 3962, the Affordable Healthcare for America Act. I would like to thank the Democratic Leadership and the Chairmen of the committees of jurisdiction for their unwavering commitment to this important cause.
Today, we are faced with a historic opportunity to accomplish meaningful change in the lives of millions of Americans. I am in support of this bill because I believe in improving the quality of care, the accessibility of care, and the affordability of care. The status quo is unsustainable and the cost of inaction is simply too high.
If we pass this legislation, we will reduce the federal deficit by an estimated $129 billion over the next ten years. If we fail to do so, we will ensure that our country continues to spend $79,274 a second on healthcare. We will continue to dedicate 17.6 percent of our gross domestic product, or $2.5 trillion a year towards healthcare expenditures.
To pass this legislation would mean that an estimated 36 million Americans would gain access to health insurance; failing to do so, would mean that the 45.7 million Americans who cannot afford, or cannot gain access to healthcare, would remain without coverage. Among the 45.7 million uninsured, 1.4 million are children in my home state of Texas--this is simply unacceptable.
Finally, passing this legislation would mean an end to the discriminatory practices of the health insurance industry that have devastated so many Americans. No longer will people fear having a pre-existing condition will prevent them from receiving health insurance coverage. No longer will families fear the uncertainty of a catastrophic health event, or fear being driven into bankruptcy in trying to pay for the cost of care. No longer will people have to fear losing their health coverage simply for getting sick. In passing this legislation, we put an end to the days when 14,000 Americans lose their coverage every day.
The time has come when we, in Congress, are faced with a decision to either change the course of this country, to shift its direction towards accessible and affordable healthcare, or continue down an unsustainable path, one wrought with uncertainty. With so many American families struggling to support themselves, I am proud to support this legislation.
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