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Public Statements

Protecting Access to Healthcare Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GENE GREEN of Texas. I thank my colleague, the ranking member on our Energy and Commerce Committee.

I rise in opposition to this bill. I am not opposed to all of it; in fact, I am a strong supporter of the repeal of the IPAB provisions. However, we can't undermine Americans' rights in court through placing arbitrary limits on malpractice cases. That's what this bill before us does. We shouldn't solve a bad policy problem by implementing more bad policy. We should be passing good legislation, not trying to pass something that has no chance of becoming law, and that's what this bill does.

The Affordable Care Act, the underlying statute that this bill is amending, has had an enormous positive impact on the constituents I represent, and the law hasn't totally taken effect yet. But it's getting better. I was proud to support this landmark legislation as part of the Energy and Commerce Committee and on the Health Subcommittee.

Before the passage of the Affordable Care Act, my congressional district had the largest percentage of uninsured of any district in our country. We still have a lot of work to do, but things are getting better. For the last 2 years, 53,000 children in my district can't lose the security offered by health insurance due to preexisting conditions; 3,400 seniors have saved an average of $540 on prescription drugs; 9,000 young people now have health insurance that they didn't have before the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act is not perfect, but no bill is perfect. The bill before us today is far from perfect. I support the repeal of IPAB. I opposed IPAB in 2009 when it came up in our committee markup of the Affordable Care Act. I do not believe a panel of outsiders appointed by the President should take responsibility for what Congress needs to do in making decisions on Medicare payment rates. That's part of our job as Members of Congress. However, this bill has stepped too far; and I want to the opportunity to vote on a freestanding IPAB repeal, but I cannot support H.R. 5 because it's a bridge too far.

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