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Mr. PETERS. Mr. Speaker, I stand in opposition to the Republican Affordable Care Repeal Act because it is an irresponsible approach that does nothing to address the rising cost of health care that our families and our businesses are facing today.
It is a fact that the fastest-rising cost for most U.S. companies is health care. Without the Affordable Care Act, overall health care costs will continue to rise even faster, costs that will be borne by both the public and private sector.
It is important to note that voting for this repeal bill will eliminate the Small Business Health Care Tax
Credit. This tax credit currently allows small businesses to offset up to 35 percent of their health care insurance cost. Starting in 2014, the credit will increase to 50 percent of premium cost.
Small businesses have faced outrageous increases in their health care costs over the past decade. The Affordable Care Act helps reduce that burden and is already making a real difference in people's lives.
Nearly 2 million employees at 309,000 small businesses have taken advantage of the tax credit, receiving an average credit of $1,400. This repeal bill will put a stop to this important small business tax credit. I want to make sure that we all understand that the repeal of the Affordable Care Act will result in a tax increase on small businesses, businesses which create almost two-thirds of all new jobs in this country.
Let's be clear what the Affordable Care Act does for people and for small businesses.
The Affordable Care Act prohibits health plans from imposing caps on lifetime and annual coverage; it bars cancellation of insurance policies; it guarantees free preventative care that lowers the cost of health care; it eliminates denial of coverage for preexisting conditions. And by eliminating this unfair practice, health care reform helps nearly one-third of uninsured, self-employed entrepreneurs.
But critics of the Affordable Care Act claim that they want to go back to the old system, a system where small businesses pay more on average for health insurance than large companies, yet receive fewer benefits; a system that had small business premiums rising 113 percent over the past decade; a system where our country continues to lag behind other advanced nations in delivering timely and effective care; and a system where Americans spend twice as much as other nations on Earth but have worse health outcomes.
The Affordable Care Act protects the Nation's 26 million small businesses from unfair premium hikes and ensures that they have predictable and stable cost. Without the Affordable Care Act, out-of-control costs will only get worse, rising to $4.4 trillion by 2018.
We cannot go back to business as usual. The Supreme Court has settled the issue of the law's constitutionality, and Congress should stop these election-year stunts.
This bill has no chance of being signed into law. We need to stop playing political games and focus on putting Americans back to work.
Instead of just saying no, Republicans need to work with Democrats to improve and implement a law that ensures health care is affordable and accessible to all Americans.
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