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Pelosi Remarks Before Hearing on GOP Bill to Repeal Patients' Rights

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee are holding a hearing on the impact of the Republican plan to repeal patients' rights guaranteed to millions of Americans and to put insurance companies back in charge of health decisions. This is the only hearing where parents of young children and young adults, Americans with pre-existing medical conditions, small business owners and seniors will have the opportunity to testify about the real-life effects of undoing critical patient protections. Below are the Leader's opening remarks.

Leader Pelosi on Impact of Repeal Patients' Rights:
"…The stories we will hear today will highlight the cost of the repeal of patients' rights and to set our country back to a time when: children with pre-existing conditions are denied coverage; young people would not be able to stay on their parents' plans until 26 years old; pregnant women and breast and prostate cancer patients could be thrown off the insurance rolls; and seniors would have to pay more for their prescription drugs..."

Leader Pelosi on GOP Repeal Bill:
"…In Congress, on behalf of these Americans, Democrats have made a firm commitment: that we will judge every proposal that comes before us as to whether it creates jobs, strengthens the middle class, and reduces the deficit. The repeal of the patients' rights fails on all three counts..."

"Good afternoon, everyone. This is a very special day for us because we have some very special guests coming to tell us their stories. In the course of the morning, our Members will be coming and going as we prepare for the debate that we have in the next 36 hours about health care reform.

"I am pleased to be here and thank the chairs of the Steering and Policy Committee, Chairman George Miller, Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, also Vice Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Vice Chair Henry Cuellar. Thank you for calling us together. We will shortly be joined by our House Democratic Leader [Whip] Steny Hoyer; we are joined by our Assistant Leader--House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and our Assistant Leader, Mr. Clyburn.

"I want to offer a special thank you to the people who have came here today to take the time to tell us their stories.

"In the wake of the recent tragedy in Tucson, we have come together with a renewed commitment to civility. And as we return to the work of the Congress, let us do so in a spirit of respect and dignity for all in our public discourse.

"The best way to understand the impact of the legislation we are facing this week, the repeal of patients' rights, is to understand how it affects individual families. Once again, we welcome our special guests here today:

* Vernal Branch
* Lori Bresnan
* Ed Burke
* Dr. Odette Cohen
* Alexander Lataille
* Claudette Therriault
* Stacie Ritter and her twin daughters, Hannah and Madeleine

"Our first responsibility here, as we say over and over again, is to create American jobs, and we are ready and willing to work with Republicans to achieve this goal. We believe that health care reform does just that.

"Today, we are here to highlight the impact of the repeal effort on Americans already benefitting from the health care law.

"And just today we have learned the district-by-district impact of the repeal. Ranking Member Henry Waxman's committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, released those figures, and they are available. What we have also learned is that 129 million Americans--129 million Americans--under 65 have pre-existing conditions and could lose health insurance coverage if you discriminate against those with pre-existing medical conditions. And they are under 65, 129 million Americans under 65. 17 million children have pre-existing conditions and could lose health insurance coverage, insurance they already have that went into effect in September.

"We will hear the voices of parents, children, students, seniors, and small business owners. We will see the real faces of reform -- in the one and only hearing where these Americans can share their concerns before the vote to repeal their rights. Republicans have closed off the process by not having hearings to hear these voices.

"The stories we will hear today will highlight the cost of the repeal of patients' rights and to set our country back to a time when: children with pre-existing conditions are denied coverage; young people would not be able to stay on their parents' plans until 26 years old; pregnant women and breast and prostate cancer patients could be thrown off the insurance rolls; and seniors would have to pay more for their prescription drugs.

"These stories will remind us of repeal's cost to America's taxpayers -- to the tune of $230 billion added to the deficit in the next decade.

"In Congress, on behalf of these Americans, Democrats have made a firm commitment: that we will judge every proposal that comes before us as to whether it creates jobs, strengthens the middle class, and reduces the deficit. The repeal of the patients' rights fails on all three counts.

"I again thank you all for coming together to share your stories and to stand up for the sake of the health, well-being, and economic security of all Americans.

"And now, I am very pleased to the distinguished Democratic Whip of the House, Steny Hoyer of Maryland."


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