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Mr. RIVERA. Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the ``Repeal of Obamacare Act'' before us today. I commend our Leadership for bringing this bill to the Floor so quickly to enable us to start the important process of repealing and replacing this job-destroying healthcare law. Our vote today demonstrates once again our commitment to our constituents that we will protect them from government interference with their relationship with their doctors and fulfills our promise that we will protect all Americans from new taxes on the middle class.
I strongly support healthcare reform, for example, by offering tax credits for individuals to purchase healthcare insurance, by allowing small businesses to pool together beyond state lines, thus gaining bargaining leverage to purchase more affordable health insurance policies for their workers, and by prohibiting insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions.
As we begin the process of replacing Obamacare with commonsense reforms that lower healthcare costs for families and small businesses and increase access to affordable quality care, we must ensure that the replacement includes critical Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the other territories. The funding, originally added to Obamacare legislation because it was the sole legislative vehicle available at the time, has just begun to reverse federal policy that has treated our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico inequitably. Where previously Washington paid less than 20 percent of Puerto Rico's Medicaid costs, the federal government is now paying 35 percent of the cost of the program. This is a step in the right direction, but still far below equal treatment. By comparison, the federal government pays nearly 70 percent for the District of Columbia's program and 75 percent for Mississippi's program. How can we continue to ask the U.S. citizens of Puerto Rico to do their share in service to our country--with hundreds of thousands serving honorably in the U.S. military--when the federal government isn't doing its part to treat them fairly in federal programs like Medicaid? This isn't about a hand out, but rather a level playing field to provide a fair and just level of medical care to every American citizen.
I have voted to repeal Obamacare, and will continue to do so until we prevail, and intend to work on reform measures that include access to high quality health care at affordable costs. Ensuring the current levels of Medicaid funding for Puerto Rico and the territories must be part of that reform effort.
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