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Public Statements

Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Mr. Speaker, as a Member of Congress from Texas, I supported the health care reform law proudly. Texas has some of the highest rates of uninsured in the United States.

Twenty-six percent of our Texans are uninsured--6.4 million residents--compared with the national average of only 16.7 percent. Over the past 8 years in Texas, employer-based insurance coverage has dropped 18 percent. Now, only 48 percent of Texans have health insurance provided by their employers--well below the national average.

Texas has some of the highest health insurance premiums in the U.S. A family of four making $44,000, the average premium out-of-pocket is $6,548--almost 15 percent of their income. In Texas, our State Department of Insurance report to the legislature acknowledged the positive impact of the Affordable Care Act.

The State of Texas Department of Insurance concluded the Affordable Care Act will have a positive impact on the State and help Texans gain access to private insurance coverage. As the Department of Insurance report states, ``the removal of underwriting restrictions, new premium rating reforms, availability of subsidies and limitations on out-of-pocket expenses for low- and middle-income families should make it easier for many low-income Texans to obtain private insurance.''

In our district in Houston and Harris County, 40 percent of my constituents were uninsured when we passed the Affordable Care Act in March of last year. Repeal, H.R. 2, would be a major setback to what we're trying to do in our own district.

To cite a few local statistics from the repeal on my constituents: increase the number of people without insurance by almost 217,000; allow insurance companies to deny coverage to at least 102,000 people in our district, including at least 12,000 children with preexisting conditions; eliminate health care tax credits for 14,600 small businesses and 177,000 people; increase prescription drug costs for 4,400 seniors in my district who fell into that doughnut hole except for health care reform.

My Republican colleagues want to work on improving it. I'm here to do it, but repeal is not the answer.

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. Madam Speaker, I want to respond, because if the Constitution means anything, it also shows that as Members of the House and the Senate, the legislative branch, it's not our job to decide constitutionality. My opinion is just as important as yours. It's the nine people over in the Supreme Court that the Constitution gives that authority to.

And I think the health care law is constitutional, because all those companies serve all of our States. It's across State lines. The commerce clause works that way. So hiding behind the Constitution--and we read it here on the floor--this bill will be constitutional because Social Security's constitutional, mandatory insurance in our States is constitutional. So we can have that argument. It doesn't do any good.

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