Affordable Health Care For America Act

Floor Speech

By:  Elton Gallegly
Date: Nov. 7, 2009
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the amendment offered by Mr. Boehner. I have long supported changes to current health care system which reduce health care costs through increased efficiency and provide affordable insurance for people with preexisting conditions. But, at the same time, any changes to our current system should ensure doctors and patients are allowed to make health care decisions--not government bureaucrats.

Therefore, I support real health insurance reform and support the version offered by the Minority Leader, which would:

Lower health care premiums for working families,

Allow small businesses to join together in order to buy reasonably priced health insurance,

Reduce medical costs by limiting frivolous medical malpractice lawsuits,

Prevent insurers from unjustly cancelling health insurance policies, and Establish universal access programs that provide affordable insurance for people with preexisting conditions.

Mr. Speaker, we should not consider changes of this magnitude without a complete report from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, CBO. The preliminary estimate from the CBO puts the cost of H.R. 3962 at more than $1.05 trillion, but many independent experts believe this bill will actually increase Federal expenditures by more than $1.3 trillion.

In addition, this bill would impose $730 billion in new taxes and mandates on individuals and small businesses. Most economists, including CBO experts, have concluded that these requirements could increase unemployment by discouraging businesses from hiring low-wage workers. It could also lead to wage stagnation as payroll is diverted to comply with new Federal mandates on health care coverage.

I am also concerned about the impact of this proposal on Medicare beneficiaries. H.R. 3962 would cut $400 billion from Medicare over 10 years, including a $170 billion reduction to Medicare Advantage plans, which provides insurance coverage for many seniors.

Finally, H.R. 3962 does not address the problem of frivolous malpractice lawsuits in a meaningful way. These suits lead to the practice of expensive, defensive medicine and raise the health care expenses of all patients.

I urge my colleagues to reject H.R. 3962 and support the amendment offered by Mr. Boehner.

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