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Mr. HOYER. I thank the gentleman for yielding. I rise in opposition to this bill to repeal.
Last year, we acted to reform health care in America to make it easier for small businesses to cover their employees, to take important steps to bring down costs, and to stop insurance company abuses that bankrupt sick Americans and deny them coverage. We acted in the face of a crisis, a cost crisis, which saw premiums more than double over the last decade; a coverage crisis, which saw more than 40 million Americans without health care insurance; and a fiscal crisis, which saw the cost of health care driving our country deeper and deeper into the red.
A constituent of mine from southern Maryland recently wrote to thank us for health reform that now lets her carry her 21-year-old daughter on her insurance, but she wrote that something else also inspired her to support this piece of legislation, seeing ``a lot of other people who are hardworking, honest people who were going bankrupt because of unexpected medical expenses.'' Those were the stories we had in mind last year when we passed the health reform law--and today, as we fight to protect it.
Nonpartisan observers tell us it will reduce the rise in premiums for millions, cover 95 percent of Americans, and contribute to reducing our deficit. The opponents of health care reform have spent more than a year painting it in apocalyptic terms, but they can't erase the history that proves that bringing affordable care to all Americans has long been the goal of both parties.
Just yesterday, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a Republican, said that the Affordable Care Act ``is the law of the land, the fundamental platform upon which all future efforts to make that system better will be based.'' That was Senator Republican leader of the Senate, Bill Frist from Tennessee, one of the great medical practitioners in this country, a doctor. In 2008, Senator John McCain said this: ``We should have available and affordable health care to every American citizen.''
There has been no alternative offered to accomplish that objective. And in 2006, when signing a State bill remarkably similar to the Affordable Care Act, Governor Mitt Romney, Republican, a leading candidate for President of the United States in the Republican Party, said this of that bill, almost exactly like this one: ``An achievement like this comes around once in a generation.''
While our Republican colleagues in Congress failed to take action on health care during a decade of doubling premiums and mounting debt, Congress acted last year.
Now my Republican friends have come to the floor with a plan to put insurance companies back in charge of American health care and to strip Americans of their hard-won freedom to make health choices for themselves.
Once again, families would face insurance companies' unfair caps on their coverage--or find their coverage canceled altogether. Once again, insurance companies could discriminate against children with disabilities and pregnant women. Once again, prescription drug costs for our seniors will go up. And once again, small businesses will be without any help to cover their employees in a world of skyrocketing premiums.
There's no arguing with the facts: repeal would cost our economy as many as 400,000 jobs per year, notwithstanding the rhetoric on the other side. They would be lost under the burden of crushing health care costs, and repeal would pile up over $1.2 trillion of additional debt on our children over the next two decades.
I urge my colleagues, preserve Americans' freedoms to control their own care. Join together to protect a system that meets the objectives set by generations of American Presidents: Truman, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, George H.W. Bush, Clinton and George W. Bush, as well as President Obama.
Oppose this repeal bill.
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