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Public Statements

Protecting Access to Healthcare Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the state of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 5) to improve patient access to health care services and provide improved medical care by reducing the excessive burden the liability system places on the health care delivery system;

Mr. PASCRELL. Mr. Chair, I rise today in reluctant, but strong, opposition to this bill. I say reluctant, because I support repealing the Independent Payment Advisory Board, as do many Democrats.

Now, make no mistake, I strongly support the Affordable Care Act. This bill will lower costs, strengthen Medicare, and provide 33 million uninsured Americans with health insurance. This is a tremendous accomplishment. But I have concerns with IPAB, including how it will operate and that it gives up important Congressional authority over pricing. Abdicating our responsibility is not the right thing to do for our seniors. I was elected by my constituents to protect Medicare.

I supported this bill in the Ways and Means Committee, and I would love to support it on the floor. That's why it's so disappointing that the majority would abandon any semblance of compromise by attaching this sharply partisan medical malpractice proposal. Capping malpractice settlements limits patient protection. There's no question that we need to protect health care providers from frivolous litigation, and I am willing to work in a bipartisan way to develop those protections. But not at the expense of the vast majority of Americans who have, for too long, lived without access to affordable quality health care, and who should also be afforded the fullest protection of our legal system.

I urge a no vote and I hope that the Majority comes to its sense, embraces bipartisanship, and comes back with a bill I can support.

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