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Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I would like to express my appreciation to the distinguished vice chairman of the Committee on Rules, our friend from Dallas, Mr. Sessions, for his superb management of this rule.
I would like to say that as we look at where we're going, contrary to arguments that have been propounded here on the floor, it's important to note that everybody wants to do everything we possibly can to ensure that our fellow Americans have access to the best quality, affordable health care in the world. We have the best health care system in the world; we all know that. We want to make sure that we continue to see that health care system improve, and we have just come to the conclusion that the massive expansion of government is not the answer to the goal of ensuring that people have access to quality health care.
The Supreme Court made their decision. We know what the Supreme Court's decision was. I think that that decision pointed out a few things. It's a tax. We were told consistently it wasn't a tax, and, frankly, if we had known what the Supreme Court told us about it being a tax, I don't believe that we would have had the passage of that measure from the House.
That decision has been made, and also the Supreme Court, by virtue of determining what is constitutional, does not mean that it's good public policy. In fact, the Chief Justice has made it clear that they are not casting an opinion as to whether or not this is a right measure.
I think that most of us have come down on the side of saying that we should have taken an incremental approach in dealing with this. There are a number of things that if we had done that would have, I believe, immediately reduced the cost of health insurance and direct health care costs, Mr. Speaker.
They include things like allowing for the purchase of insurance across State lines, things like saying that there should be association health plans, which interestingly enough passed the House and died because of Democrats blocking it in the Senate when my party was last in the majority here. Also, things like allowing for real meaningful lawsuit abuse reform, which the President of the United States said he advocated when he was here, and I acknowledge pooling to deal with pre-existing conditions is something that needs to be done.
The fifth point is expanded medical savings accounts, which encourage people to put some dollars aside with a tax incentive plan for their health care
If we had done these five things, Mr. Speaker, and these are things that we as Republicans have put forward and again--as I said when we were last in the majority, when people on the other side often said that we did nothing--we passed association health plans, which, again, allow small business to pool together, come together and work to get lower rates as large corporations do.
It seems to me, Mr. Speaker, that as we look at the challenges that we have, we can make this happen. The reason that we are casting the vote, as we will today to repeal, is that we need to do that so that we can do this in an open way.
Now, I have got to say some would say this is a closed rule. This is simply an up-or-down vote on whether or not we should repeal this. When we last considered this measure that we are voting to repeal today, Mr. Speaker, I have got to tell you it was done under the most closed process we have ever had.
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Mr. DREIER. Let me just say that when we did this, when we did this here, it was done under a process that was unprecedented for an issue of this magnitude.
That closed process, Mr. Speaker, is one of the things that I believe played a role in seeing the Speaker of the House of Representatives, then Nancy Pelosi, have to hand the gavel to John Boehner.
The American people understood the fact that things were so closed around here, and I am very proud and happy that since we have been in the majority our Rules Committee has reported out bills that have allowed for a structure that has made more amendments considered in the first several months of this Congress than have been considered in the entire last Congress.
So we have tried to work for more openness and, again, a real example of that closed process was what took place in the last Congress.
Well, we need to take this measure, we need to repeal it. I hope very much that some of our colleagues in the other body will agree to that. People always say it's a foregone conclusion what's going to happen. Well, you know what? I never come to an absolute foregone conclusion.
We have our responsibility, as Members of the House of Representatives, to step up to the plate and do what we as a body think is the right thing for us to do, and that's exactly what is going to take place today.
So if it doesn't happen, I think that there might be a chance for us next year to do this. Again, Republicans, contrary to what is often said, do want to take steps to ensure that all of our fellow Americans--and we listen to these horror stories, and they are terrible stories of the way people have been treated.
That's why I am a proponent of a structure that will allow for ways to deal with pre-existing conditions. I believe that we can in a bipartisan way, since the President advocated it, deal with meaningful lawsuit abuse reform.
Again, we need to remember that if we want to keep our Nation on the cutting edge of technological development to find a cure for cancer, Alzheimer's and these other ailments, we need to make sure that there's still an incentive for that to take place.
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