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Weiner Defends Health Care Bill

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Location: Washington, DC

Marisa Bearak, 22, of Bellerose is looking to make a smooth transition between adolescence and adulthood.

Fearful of that transition being affected by a repeal of the historic health reform law, Bearak is now scared she may find herself among 385,000 uninsured Queens residents that would be prevented from receiving basic health insurance options if House Republicans have their way.

On Monday, U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Kew Gardens) released, a report outlining the impact the Republicans proposal to repeal the law would have on the borough.

Standing outside former Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, Weiner stood with Bearak and criticized GOP efforts that would also leave nearly 8,000 young adults between the ages of 19-25 without affordable health insurance.

In January, House Republicans voted overwhelmingly along party lines to repeal the 10-month-old law, keeping a campaign promise that landed them in the majority last November.

After graduating from college last May, Bearak became ineligible to receive coverage under her parents' health insurance plan.

Awaiting low-cost health insurance options to become effective under the health care reform law this April, Bearak now finds herself in limbo.

"Although I am fortunate to have parents that can afford to pay for care that I [may] need, they're bearing the burden," said Bearak. "It doesn't seem fair."

Weiner believes the health care reform law is a rational way to pay for health care and eagerly suggested reopening the debate on the issue to re-educate Republicans about its financial benefits.

"It is an opportunity for us to take stock of exactly what this law, which is widely misunderstood by some of our neighbors, mean to Queens and mean in New York," Weiner said. "In the county of Queens, it would mean that nearly 400,000 people -385,000 residents of Queens - who are getting health insurance as a result of this program, will not get it."

Weiner also said Republican efforts "would bite the Big Apple," saddling the city with more than $3 billion in health care expenses over 10 years. Under the health care reform, the Medicaid Expansion Program would alleviate those costs according to the New York City Office of Management and Budget.

It is unlikely the Republican battle will make its way past the Democratic controlled Senate, whose leaders have said they will not engage in repealing the legislation. A federal district court in Florida overturned the law this week, setting the stage for a Supreme Court showdown on the constitutionality of the bill.

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