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Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 2.
Over one-third of my constituents in the 15th Congressional District of Texas are currently uninsured. With passage of the Affordable Care Act, that number, which has risen year after year, is finally coming down. I project that the percentage of uninsured individuals could drop to only 10 percent.
Right now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, children who are 26 and under can stay on their parents' policy as they finish school and search for a job. With the passage of health care reform in 2010, senior citizens who hit the doughnut hole are now going to receive rebates and small businesses have had their taxes cut, all the result of the Affordable Care Act. If the proposed health care act repeal were to pass, it will destroy this progress I have seen in my district and in my State.
The families and businesses in my district cannot afford more uncertainty. They cannot afford to go back to the old health care system that was not working for millions of Americans and whose spiraling costs were driving our Federal budget into the abyss.
Right now, the Affordable Care Act is extending affordable health care insurance to millions of Americans. However, here in Congress, the majority party is asking the House to repeal the law we passed without holding hearings and without offering a meaningful alternative to the American people who are working, who are presently without insurance, or who have preexisting medical conditions. Those Americans were struggling to pay for hefty premiums to insurers. If there are some things that need to be fixed in the present law, we can fix them, but throwing out all the progress we have made is not the answer.
The focus of this new Congress should be reducing the staggeringly high 9 1/2 percent unemployment rate. Instead, we have a bill before us today that makes it harder for businesses to provide benefits to the employees that eliminate the hundreds of thousands of new jobs that were being created in the health and medical fields.
The Affordable Care Act doesn't reduce jobs; it saves lives. I strongly urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on H.R. 2.
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