Today, Congressman Steve Rothman (D-NJ) voted against a bill to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which passed the House by a vote of 245-189. Congressman Rothman released the following statement:
While I look forward to working with my Republican colleagues to improve our health care system, a wholesale repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not the answer. I agree that the health insurance reform bill that passed last Congress was not perfect, but it was a great step in the right direction. Our nation cannot afford to go backwards on health insurance reform.
If our nation was to repeal the progress we achieved last Congress there are many positive policies that would be reversed. We would go back to a time when insurance companies were able to discriminate against Americans who were deemed to have "pre-existing conditions." There are nearly 130 million American citizens who are classified as having a "pre-existing condition." These millions of Americans include cancer survivors, those living with heart disease, and those with conditions such as asthma, high blood pressure, or arthritis -- and in some cases pregnancy.
The American people also do not want to go back to a time when millions of seniors struggled to make ends meet on fixed incomes as they entered the Medicare Part D "donut hole" and lost coverage of their drug expenses. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act included a $250 rebate to Medicare beneficiaries in the donut hole beginning in 2010 and a 50% discount applied to prescriptions on drugs for those in the donut hole at the start of this year. Also, my constituents do not want to return to a health care system when our children, under the age of 26, were kicked off family health insurance plans and left to fend for themselves.
Our small businesses, the engines of our economy, would not benefit if that sector's tax credits, which were included as part of the health insurance reform, were reversed. Specifically, under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, small businesses with less than 100 employees are able to benefit from group rates, lower costs and a greater choice of insurers. Small businesses with 25 employees or less, with wages of less than $50,000 per employee, qualify for tax credits of up to 50% of the costs of providing health insurance to their employees. Sole proprietors are able to deduct the full cost of their own health insurance. These provisions allow small businesses to pay less for their employees' insurance policies, and thereby free vital capital to invest in hiring new employees.
In the 112th Congress we must continue to improve the reform of our health care system. There are many positive measures in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that Congress passed last year, and we must work together to make sure that we hold on to the progress we have made. A complete repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is not the right answer and would be a step backward toward the broken system we had before. That is not what the American people want or need.