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Public Statements

Pretend Legislation

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DeFAZIO. Repeal and replace. If multiple failed attempts constitute delivery on a promise, the Republicans have delivered in spades.

Today, the House of Representatives, for the 31st time in this session, will take up legislation to repeal all or part of the Affordable Care Act, so-called ``ObamaCare.'' There have been 31 attempts tying up the floor of the House. One's enough. We already did it the first or second day we were here. The Senate is not going to take it up, but repetition is their mantra here for pretend legislation.

They could take up real legislation. In fact, they had an opportunity as part of today's faux repeal to take up my legislation, which passed the last House of Representatives with massive bipartisan support, which would provide lower health care costs and health insurance costs for every American. That was real legislation.

Why won't we do that? Maybe because it would upset the insurance industry, and they're awful generous at campaign time on that side of the aisle. Maybe. I don't know why.

I offered to the Rules Committee an amendment to take away the antitrust immunity of the insurance industry. Yes, the insurance industry can and does get together behind closed doors and collude to drive up your rates, to exclude your coverage, and do a whole host of other things. They have been somewhat constrained by the Affordable Care Act in some of their collusive practices. Actually, the House version of the bill contains repeal of the antitrust amendment. The Senate, due to, as I understand it, one Democratic Senator, Ben Nelson, failed to include it in their version of the law. We had a separate vote later in the House. Over 400 Democrats and Republicans voted for it. It's common sense.

They want to talk about free enterprise. It's not free enterprise when an industry can get together and collude to screw consumers. It's just not. That's not free enterprise.

My amendment was not allowed. So we're just going to have another fake debate about repealing all of ObamaCare. Let's think about their vision here. Remember, it was repeal and replace. Where is the replace part? They're not talking about the replace part. That's strange. I guess they just want to go back to the way things were--status quo. That would be in the 10 years before ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, health insurance premiums were up 100 percent. That's an average of 10 percent a year.

Let's go back to those good old days. Uninsured, up from 35 to 44 million, during those same 10 years. Let's go back to those good old days.

Rescissions? Wow, the industry could and did refuse to renew your policy or take it away when you got sick, due to technicalities. That was called a rescission, a dirty little secret. That was outlawed by the Affordable Care Act. They want to bring that back. Give the industry the right, when you get sick with cancer, to take away your policy even though you have been paying your premium for 20 years at these inflated rates.

Then, denial of coverage, of course, we'll bring back denial of coverage--any preexisting condition. Nope, sorry, we won't sell you a policy.

Lifetime limits, they want to bring back all those good old things because they have no replacement. They haven't talked about replacement. All they're talking about is repeal.

Let's put just a few statistics on who would not benefit under their proposal.

In my district, 7,400 young Americans under age 26 are on their parents' policy. Nationwide, 3.1 million young Americans have insurance today who won't have it if their repeal bill goes through.

Seniors, they are getting a 50 percent discount in the doughnut hole that never should have been created. I voted against their doughnut hole bill and the bill that subsidized the insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry and didn't do a great job overnight helping out seniors with their pharmaceuticals.

We could have done it for less, straight up, negotiate lower drug prices and offer a policy at cost. No, they wouldn't do that because the industry didn't like it. A pretty consistent theme here of sucking up to the insurance industry.

Then 148,000 people in my district now get free preventive care under their insurance, 54 million people across the country. That goes away when their repeal bill goes through with no replacement.

Children with preexisting conditions; 36,000 in my district have coverage now, 17 million nationwide. Tough luck, kids. You're back off the policy here under the Republican vision for the future of health insurance.

Lifetime limits; 230,000 people in my district, 105 million people nationally. Most people don't know their policies have lifetime limits until they get a catastrophic illness and they start to read the fine print and the insurance company stops paying the bills and you go bankrupt.

They want to bring back those good old days with repeal of this horrible ObamaCare.

Then we have the business rebates and on and on. This is kind of a dyspeptic view of the world here. Let's go back to the dysfunctional system we had before.

Is ObamaCare great? No. Can we fix it? Yes. Should we fix it? Yes. Should we adopt measures that would make it better, like taking away the antitrust exemption of the health insurance industry? Yes. Will they bring those issues up? No. They just want to pretend. It's pretend Congress day.


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