Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, the health care marketplaces are finally open. The only complaint is that people are so eager to learn more about their options and to sign up that too many people logged on yesterday.
Now, to hear my colleagues from across the aisle describe this day, you might expect to look out the window and witness the beginning of, as ``Ghostbusters'' once put it, 40 years of darkness--earthquakes, volcanos, the dead rising from the grave, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria. Perhaps these warnings were overblown.
The start of the Affordable Care Act resulted in exactly zero people locked out of their offices with their paychecks on hold. By contrast, the Republican shutdown has furloughed 800,000 Federal employees.
Exactly zero people yesterday were deprived of their annual flu shots because of the Affordable Care Act. In fact, ObamaCare has made preventive care for things like vaccines free, without copay, to insured patients nationwide. By contrast, the Republican shutdown has forced the CDC to halt its annual seasonal influenza program, just as flu season is getting underway.
Because of the Affordable Care Act, exactly zero infants yesterday were deprived of healthy food and nutrition information. By contrast, the Republican shutdown has put at risk the entire Women, Infants, and Children program, which provides some 9 million Americans with the support they need to feed their children.
The Republican shutdown has also brought to a standstill critical lifesaving biomedical research being conducted at the NIH and NSF. Exactly zero people yesterday went untreated because of the ACA for foodborne illnesses. By contrast, the Republican shutdown has forced the FDA to cease many of its food safety operations.
The Affordable Care Act has not ushered in an era of doom and gloom that the Republicans promised. Instead, it has offered hope and opportunity for good health care coverage.
Here is the reality: The ACA is helping my constituents who previously found health insurance out of reach. The access provided by ACA is long overdue. Rather than seek delay, we should be embracing it.
For years I've been hearing from people like Nicole, from Lawrence, who writes not about the fear of the ACA but, rather, ``the fear that the health care of your family will bankrupt you and that your lack of resources will leave you and your loved ones vulnerable to sickness and death.''
Now, I also hear optimism--optimism--that comes from the options that can now be found in the new marketplace. Just ask Mary, from Princeton, who wrote me earlier this week:
Please do not allow the implementation of ObamaCare to be delayed. I've been waiting and waiting for a time when my adult children would be able to afford health insurance.
She goes on to say that the health care marketplace has given her ``the opportunity to review plans with them and to assist them to choose the best plan.''
There is the single mother from Scotch Plains who wrote me:
I am a registered Republican, and I am embarrassed by all that has been happening for the last few days. The Tea Party and some Republicans keep yelling that they're speaking for the people. Well, they're not speaking for me or anyone I know.
ObamaCare must be given a chance. I have been without coverage since my COBRA ended 2 years ago. I was unable to get reasonable coverage at a reasonable rate. I don't want charity; I'm not looking for a handout. I want affordable health care. I've been praying I stay healthy. I'm patiently waiting for the affordable care exchanges so that I can finally try my luck there. Please, please don't let the Tea Party take this away from me and so many others who need it.
Now, I wish my colleagues on the other side of the aisle would accept this as the good news that it is. I wish they would accept that their stories of doom and gloom for ObamaCare were wrong. But instead, we're learning that the dire stories were not a prediction, they were a threat.
The Tea Party, confronted with the prospect of a duly passed law that has been upheld by the Supreme Court, have thrown a temper tantrum. They have taken hostage the entire Federal Government, and they have sabotaged the process of self-government--all to prevent Americans from gaining access to affordable health care.
Let's make the health care law work as well as possible. Let's, together, make our other government services--necessary services--work as well as possible.