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Mr. COURTNEY. Thank you, Mr. Andrews, for your leadership in this debate here this evening.
We've heard a lot of misleading comments about the so-called damage that has been done to U.S. employers as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Well, the people who make those statements forgot to ask the 5,200 American employers who stampeded into the Affordable Care Act's early retiree reinsurance program, over half of the Fortune 500 companies in this country included in that group, some of whose corporate logos are on the chart here.
And rather than causing problems with new employment, again, just looking at Ford Motor Company, they've added 7,000 workers this year to the ranks of their assembly plants, obviously using the benefit of the early retiree program, which acts as a Federal backstop for high insurance claims, a principle and a pattern that we have used for flood insurance, that we've used for nuclear power plant insurance, again, using the Federal Government as a backstop for high cost claims. And again, companies like Comcast, who are hiring in my district, have all taken advantage of this program.
Individuals who make these claims have also forgotten to ask the 360,000 small businesses that last year took advantage of the small business tax credit, a 35 percent tax credit on health insurance premiums. That number is going to go up to 50 percent starting in 2014.
And as Mr. Andrews has repeatedly pointed out here tonight, there is no mandate on businesses or firms 50 or less. That's 96 percent of small businesses in America. But there will be a tax credit to help those firms actually defray the cost because, as a former small employer myself, small employers want to provide benefits. The problem is that they have trouble affording it, and the tax credit set up in the Affordable Care Act will help those small businesses defray the costs and entice and enroll new employees in their businesses who are looking for those types of the benefits.
So the fact of the matter is that with the job growth that we have seen, again, we need more. But with the job growth over the last year and a half since the Affordable Care Act went into effect, we have helped businesses, 5,200 employers who are using the early retiree insurance programs, including nonprofits, religious institutions, and public sector employers across the country, and 360,000 small businesses who've taken advantage of that tax credit.
We need to build on that success and grow this economy. Let's skip this debate and move on to real jobs legislation.
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