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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I have to say that I am so sick and tired of the time that the House Republicans continue to waste on their anti-ObamaCare message--repeal, defund, obstruct. You pick the tactic. Our country has some pressing issues that we should be addressing here today, like rising student loan rates, immigration reform, budget issues, or a jobs bill. Yet the Republicans insist on focusing on politicizing this health care fight over and over again. ObamaCare is here to stay. Let's face it. If you have to make some improvements at some point after it's fully implemented, we'll look at them but not now before it has even taken place.
Let me talk to you about this individual mandate. The requirement that individuals obtain coverage is the most critical part of the law. In order for our health care system to operate in a sustainable and cost-effective way, we have to get Americans covered so the insurance marketplace must include both sick and healthy individuals in order to ensure that the system is sustainable. Repealing the individual responsibility provision will only raise health insurance premiums and increase the number of uninsured Americans. That's why that New York State report says that premiums for those in the individual market have gone down 50 percent. It's because you do have the individual requirement now and because everybody sick and healthy is part of a much larger pool.
Now, as to this other issue of the employer-reporting requirements, that has already been delayed by the administration. It's a done deal. Nothing that we're going to do here today in the House is going to change that. Also, the effect of that is minimal because the vast majority of large employers already provide health coverage. I think less than 4 percent do not. If someone is not covered, he can go into the exchange, and he can probably qualify for tax credits and get affordable coverage.
As Mr. Levin has said, this has already had a major impact on providing health coverage for individuals. Whether they're children, students, seniors, families, small business owners, so many have already gotten affordable coverage. Once this kicks in in October, you'll be able to go into an exchange; and by next year, the vast majority--almost every American--will have affordable coverage with good benefits, and what people pay will not be based on preexisting conditions.
Leave it alone. This is the law and it's a good law.
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