Congresswoman Shelley Berkley today spoke from the House floor in opposition to legislation that would repeal the comprehensive health reform law now in place. The legislation would leave Nevadans without important coverage protections, deny guaranteed access to affordable care, end help for seniors who fall into the prescription drug donut hole and cut incentives for small businesses to provide coverage. A transcript of Berkley's remarks appears below and video of her floor speech can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/shelleyberkley
"I rise in strong opposition to this legislative stunt to repeal health care reform and I'm going to tell you why. There are 600,000 of my fellow Nevadans who have no health insurance. This doesn't mean that they don't get sick. It means that they wait until they are very sick and then they go to the emergency rooms to get care. Every hospital in Southern Nevada is operating in the red. Why is that? Because the cost of providing health care to the uninsured in emergency rooms is astronomical. But there's more. If we repeal this bill, we'll be eliminating the pre-existing condition ban. If you have a pre-existing condition, which at least 129,000 people in my Congressional District have, you will not be able to get any insurance at all. If we repeal this bill, all of those 20-somethings who are living at home and because of the economy, they can't find a job. They're not going to be able to stay on their parents' health care plan. That's 26,000 people in my Congressional District, including my two children. The health care reform bill eliminates lifetime caps. Ask Jazelle Scott, age 8, or Michael Braun, age 5, they both have juvenile diabetes and they both already exceeded their lifetime caps. Better yet, why don't you ask their mothers how they will be able to afford the life-saving medication for their children if this bill is repealed? And what should we tell our seniors -- the millions that fall into the donut hole that this law starts to close -- we changed our minds? And who is going to ask the seniors 8,900 seniors who received the $250 last year to help with the high cost of medication, to return the check? I'm not going to do that. Or the discount that they're going to be receiving this year on prescription medication, it's not going to be available. I'm not going to do that to them. And are we going to take away the preventative health care benefits that will help 90,000 seniors in my Congressional district alone? I won't do that. And what about the 16,000 small businesses who will now be eligible for health care tax credits. We're saying small businesses don't want that. I know at least one. Thousands more have contacted my office. Ron Nelson has a small family business. He also wants to be able to provide health care insurance for his employees. And finally, for those who are truly concerned about the deficit, the CBO, the non-partisan arm of Congress, explicitly stated that repeal will cost $260 billion over 10 years. It appears that those who shout loudest about the deficit want to add to it. Let's fix what needs fixing and let's not repeal this lifesaving, life-enhancing legislation and we need to do the doctors' fix, too."