Congressman Bill Owens voted today against H.R. 6079, the "Repeal Obamacare Act." Nearly identical legislation passed the Republican-led House of Representatives on January 18, 2011 and was rejected by the United States Senate. H.R. 6079 was the 31st vote held by the House to repeal, defund or dismantle the Affordable Care Act.
Owens released the following statement in response to today's vote:
"Our goals have always been to expand coverage, improve health care outcomes, and reduce costs for patients and providers. Now that the Supreme Court has ruled, it's time to move forward with those goals in mind instead of holding votes on political messaging bills. The "repeal and replace' mantra rings hollow after 31 votes without a single proposal to achieve the goals of lowering costs and improving health care outcomes.
"We have a blueprint in the Affordable Care Act that expands community health centers, focuses on preventative care, closes the "donut hole' for seniors, strengthens Medicare, and ensures that recent college grads looking for a job can remain on their parents' insurance plans. Democrats and Republicans must come together to implement the law, which includes making changes where appropriate to improve provisions that still need work."
The Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional June 28th and upheld critical health care provisions for millions of New Yorkers, including:
Private insurers can no longer place lifetime limits on the coverage they provide, ensuring that the 10 million New York residents with private insurance coverage never have to worry about their coverage running out and facing catastrophic out-of-pocket costs.
Insurance companies are banned from dropping people from coverage when they get sick.
Insurance companies cannot exclude children from coverage because of a pre-existing condition.
More than 240,000 New York Medicare beneficiaries who hit the donut hole gap in Medicare Part D drug coverage are receiving extra help to defray the cost of their prescription drugs until the law completely closes the donut hole by 2020.
Plans and issuers that offer coverage to children on their parents' policy must allow children to remain on their parents' policy until they turn 26. This provision will bring relief to roughly 77,800 individuals in New York who now have access to coverage through their parents.
Increased funding for Community Health Centers is helping the 508 Community Health Centers in New York and supporting the construction of new centers -- including in Watertown and on Route 11 between Champlain and Rouses Point.
Increased funding for scholarships and loan repayments available for doctors, nurses and other health care providers who work in areas with a shortage of health professionals will help the 11% of New York's population who live in an underserved area.
Increased federal Medicaid funding will allow New York to cover more low-income populations.
340,000 New York small businesses are eligible for a new small business tax credit that makes it easier to provide coverage to their workers and makes premiums more affordable.