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Mr. SCHIFF. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the progress we've made towards meaningful health care reform, and I stand in strong opposition to the Majority's efforts to retract much needed provisions that have since gone into effect for millions of Americans.
Our economy's slow recovery from what's been the deepest recession in modern history has highlighted the wide and growing gaps in our health care system. We've seen too many families who've lost their insurance coverage when a provider in the household becomes unemployed, leaving the whole family unprotected and at risk to fall through those widening cracks--unable to afford COBRA, ineligible for public coverage, and precluded by high and growing premiums or pre-existing conditions from obtaining private insurance.
In California, we've been aggressive in moving forward with implementation, and will continue to lead the way in improving our ability to provide access to quality, affordable care, instead of retreating into the broken status quo of the past. We recognize what a vote for repealing the Affordable Care Act means to the uninsured and underinsured: increasing health care costs for millions of Americans, causing many families to lose coverage, and increasing the national debt by over $1 trillion.
This is a repeal vote that has real implications, and will mean a great deal in the day-to-day lives of the people I have the privilege of representing. If you're a senior who fell into the ``donut hole'' of prescription drug coverage and needed help covering that cost, this is a vote to take that assistance away. If you're a young adult who can benefit from staying on your parents' insurance until age 26, this is a vote to take you off that coverage. If you've ever worried about your insurer dropping your coverage unexpectedly if you or someone on your policy gets sick, this is a vote to bring back those worries. If you're a small-business owner trying to compete with large employers while doing right by providing insurance to your employees, this is a vote to make that nearly impossible for you. And, if you're a taxpayer worried about the national deficit, this is a vote telling you that your Representatives are not serious about our nation's budget woes.
A report released just this week brought to light the pressing need for the kind of protections the Affordable Care Act brings about. According to the report, an analysis by HHS, 50 to 129 million Americans under the age of 65 have some type of pre-existing health condition. And one in five of those--25 million individuals--is uninsured. As the number of uninsured who are denied coverage has grown considerably over the last few years, thanks to the ACA, starting in 2014, these Americans cannot be denied coverage, be charged significantly higher premiums, be subjected to an extended waiting period, or have their benefits curtailed by insurance companies.
At a time when this country is looking for those willing to make the tough decisions that lead us into a more prosperous, future, a vote for repeal is a vote to take a step, not forward, but backward. I urge my colleagues to vote no on this bill.
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