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Public Statements

Repeal of Obamacare Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the gentleman from Michigan, and I thank this House.

I am reminded of the Declaration of Independence that calls upon this great Nation to pursue life and liberty with certain inalienable rights, as I paraphrase it. I don't know what the answer is to my friends on the other side.

I don't know what the answer is to those who are languishing in the State of Texas when we have our Governor rejecting Medicaid and politicizing it by, in fact--in the ObamaCare plan the Federal Government sought to force the States to expand Medicaid. He says, in repeating, that the gun to our heads has been removed--certainly, a personal statement by this Governor.

I asked him whether or not he has asked 357,000 young people in the State of Texas, who actually are on insurance plans because of this bill. I wonder, has he asked the 3 million children that have benefited in the State of Texas since 2010, boys and girls like these little ones who are seeing doctors now for the first time.

What next, is the question. Maybe this little one, who needs to have doctors' appointments.

I would like to know, has he responded to the fact that our plan, the Affordable Care Act, reduces the deficit by $143 billion. Has he responded to the fact that 5.3 million seniors have saved $3.7 billion in part D, or does he realize that health care costs have been halved to 3.9 percent now after this legislation was passed, the Affordable Care Act, because before it was 6 percent and over. I call ObamaCare LeRoy care, Maria care, senior citizens' sick care, nursing home care. That's what it is.

Does he realize that the American Cancer Society said this organization was looking at the ruling on Medicaid and is concerned that the decision may limit the expansion of quality coverage to some of our Nation's most vulnerable citizens. That is what the Governor of the State of Texas has done and many others.

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Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. Finally, Mr. Speaker, these soldiers who are coming home, who lose TRICARE, are the very people in the State of Texas whom we want to salute and honor. They will come home. Their families will need the Affordable Care Act. Thirty percent in the 18th Congressional District in Houston, we will lose this; $1.74 trillion in costs in health disparities, health disparities, death, and disease because we are losing the Affordable Care Act.

What is next? What is your answer?

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in vehement opposition to H.R. 6079, the ``Repeal Obamacare Act of 2012.''

This is a colossal waste of time and resources--this body should be focused on fostering an economic climate that promotes job creation--not settling old grudges.

The health care overhaul signed into law in March 2010 through two separate acts--the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (PL 111-152)--remains the signature legislative achievement of the Obama administration. Otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or ``Obamacare'' by its detractors, the laws have been the main target of Republicans since taking control of the House in 2011.

But on June 28, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the health care law, essentially by affirming the government's power to require that Americans have health insurance or pay a financial penalty. In a 5 to 4 decision, the Court ruled that the law's ``individual mandate'' requirement that individuals maintain health coverage or pay a penalty falls within Congress' power to tax. The justices also ruled, however, that states may opt out of the law's expansion of the Medicaid health care program without losing all of their federal Medicaid funds.

This bill repeals the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PL 111-148, PL 111-152). The measure also contains a number of ``findings'' detailing the rationale for repealing the law, including the argument that the overhaul fails to lower health care costs and instead raises the cost of coverage for millions, jeopardizes many Americans' ability to keep their current health care coverage, and ``imposes 21 new or higher taxes'' on individuals and businesses.

The findings also claim that the board created by the law to make cost-cutting recommendations if Medicare spending exceeds target growth rates would limit seniors' access to care, and that the law ``expands the role of the federal government in funding and facilitating abortion and plans that cover abortion.''

Texas is one of those states that has vehemently vowed to opt-out of the law expansion. This is a devastating decision for the 6.2 million people, including 1.2 million children, who lack health insurance. Texas has the largest percentage of people without health care than any other state. In my congressional district in Houston, 30 percent of the population is uninsured. It is my goal to continue to push Texas government to help ensure affordable and decent healthcare for those that so desperately need it.

The major provisions of the law will take effect within the next two to seven years (2014-2019). States will only spend roughly 5 percent for new Medicaid funding. This is especially true for states, like Texas, with low Medicaid coverage. This is because a large share of new enrollees will be financed by federal spending. The State of Texas may see a reduction of about 1.4 million uninsured individuals compared to the national baseline. To say the least, the state of Texas is one state that will greatly benefit more from reform than most other states.

The repeal of the ACA will eliminate patient protection provisions, which this one provides equitable and fair services to businesses and consumers.

Estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation determined roughly $1.3 billion in rebates to consumers and businesses by this year in August. This is one of many definable benefits within the ACA. The State of Texas will receive roughly $127 million in total rebates in the individual market plans, $28 million in small group market plans, and $30 million in large group marker plans.

As part of the patient protection provisions drawn out within the ACA, insurance companies are required to issue a rebate if they did not comply with the Medical Loss Ratio provision within the ACA. The Medical Loss Ratio is calculated by dividing health care claims and

quality improvement expenses by the insurers' premium income minus taxes and regulatory fees. Insurers for individual and small group markets must spend at least 80 percent of their premium income on health claims and improvement activities.

Insurers for large group markets must spend at least 85 percent of their premium income on health claims and improvement activities. This basically entails that if an insurance company pays $70 for every insurance claim and quality improvement activity but collects $100 in monthly premiums, they have a MLR of 70 percent.

This means that the company has 30 percent left over to spend on administrative costs, marketing, and other functional actives. As a result of the ACA, insurance companies can only spend 20 percent on such marketing and administrative activities. Therefore, the company has to issue a 10 percent rebate to consumers and small businesses in individual or small group market plans in the example above, or a 15 percent rebate back to the consumer or businesses in large group market plans.

It is yet to be determined if these rebates will either be refunded as a decrease in premium amount or issued directly back to the employer. Additionally, it is not an estimate of based on the experience of an individual enrollee or group. Instead, MLR rebates are based on an insurers' overall compliance with applicable MLR standards in each state it operates.

The most vulnerable (or use low-income adults) citizens are now able to access affordable health insurance. Eliminating a more organized and competitive market for individuals to buy health insurance. Reduce health disparities between different socioeconomic and cultural communities can change to communities of color.

The United States spends more on healthcare costs than any other developed country. The ACA helps many small businesses be more competitive by reducing the cost burdens through tax subsidies. The last sentence here is already identified in the key points. But the first sentence may help emphasize why it should not be repealed.

It is time for Republicans to get to work on jobs and to end outsourcing instead of voting for the 31st time to take patient protections away from Americans.

The GOP will vote to take away patient protections for Americans that they already enjoy as Members of Congress--in order to protect their friends in the insurance industry:

Up to 17 million children can no longer be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, 6.6 million young people have obtained insurance through their parents' plans, 5.3 million seniors have already saved $3.7 billion on prescription drugs, 105 million Americans no longer face lifetime limits on their insurance coverage.

President Obama has promised to veto the Republican bill to repeal patients' rights:

``The last thing the Congress should do is refight old political battles and take a massive step backward by repealing basic protections that provide security for the middle class. Right now, the Congress needs to work together to focus on the economy and creating jobs.''

The President is right. Enough is enough. It is time to act to put people to work and strengthen the middle class.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to reject this bill.

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Ms. JACKSON LEE of Texas. I thank the gentlelady from New York for her distinguished commitment and service to small businesses across America.

Mr. Speaker, just a few minutes ago, a colleague rose to the floor and called this ``socialism.'' It is not. Many have risen to the floor to talk about how this will impact negatively on small business. It will not.

I rise enthusiastically to oppose what is a political legislative act--the repeal of ObamaCare. It is really the Affordable Care Act by the statement of the United States Supreme Court. The statement of Justice Roberts, of which I read, indicates that, beginning in 2014, those who do not comply with the mandate must make a shared responsibility payment to the Federal Government.

That is what this is about--sharing and bringing about health care costs that will go down, not up.

To my small businesses, let me say how much we care for you. I have supported small businesses throughout my public life and before, and I would argue vigorously that this helps to ensure that you can keep employees and add employees.

In fact, between 2010 and 2011, health care costs dropped to 3.9 percent when it was above 6 percent--almost one half less than before the Affordable Care Act was passed. This, frankly, exempts all businesses fewer than 50 employees. That means some 96 percent of American small businesses will not even be impacted. For those that are, this legislation will provide $40 billion in tax credits for small businesses to offer health care.

Now, in 2011, 360,000 small businesses have benefited from the health care tax credit--2 million workers. As well, you will be able to ensure with your health insurance that 85 percent of your premiums will go toward health claims and improvement activities, not to advertisement.

It entails that if an insurance company pays $70 for every insurance claim and quality-improvement activity, you will get rebates, $127 million in total rebates in the individual market, and $1.3 billion, Mr. Speaker, to consumers and businesses.

The fact is this is the right thing to do. Support ObamaCare. Oppose the repeal. This is good for business.

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