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Public Statements

Congressional Black Caucus Hour

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. BROWN of Florida. Thank you very much for leading this discussion on health care.

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And as we begin to discuss repealing the health care law tomorrow, I would like to discuss just how exactly the Affordable Care Act benefits all Americans. Although not a perfect bill--and I've been elected in Congress for 20 years and I've never seen a perfect bill, but a perfect beginning. And the reason why it's not perfect is because you make compromises throughout the process. This is a perfect start. Attempting to obtain universal health care has been a primary goal of every single President and Congress since the days of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who fought for quality access to health care and health care insurance reform for all Americans. And now, 75 years later after the Supreme Court ruling just over a week ago, our Nation has finally attained that goal. After 75 years, every single President has tried to implement some form of universal health care.

In fact, millions of Americans have already come to rely on the wide-ranging and lifesaving benefits of the Affordable Care Act. And let me say that as far as Obama health care is concerned, let me clear something up. It's President Barack Obama. And let me be clear, he does care. Let me say again, President Barack Obama does care. He cares deeply about the health and well-being of every American.

Before Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, nearly one in five citizens in the wealthiest country on Earth had little or no hope of affordable insurance or getting access to regular health care. And when fully implemented, the Affordable Care Act will cover an additional 30 million Americans and 3.8 million African Americans who otherwise would remain uninsured.

Already under the Affordable Care Act, 17 million children with preexisting conditions can no longer be denied coverage, 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on their coverage, 32 million seniors received free preventive care in 2011, 54 million Americans in private plans have received free preventive services, 6.6 million young adults up to the age of 26 have attained insurance through their parents' plan, 5.2 million seniors and disabled people saved an average of $704 each on prescription drugs, 360,000 small businesses received tax credits to help them afford coverage for 2 million workers, and 13 million families received insurance premium rebates averaging $151 in 2012.

In my congressional district of Florida, 6,900 young adults in the district will receive health care insurance, 6,200 seniors received prescription drug discounts worth $3.6 million, and the average savings is $600 per senior. And 20,000 children and 80,000 adults now have health care insurance that covers preventive services without co-pay, co-insurance, or deductibles.

Every American who has benefited from this needs to let their local Representatives, their Senator and their Governor know. We all have a dog in this fight.

The Republican Party is constantly complaining about a tax and how this law will raise taxes. But I'd like to reply to them the American taxpayers are already paying a hidden tax right now. Every single time one of the millions of our citizens who lacks health care insurance receives emergency care, that cost is passed on to paying customers through higher fees and premiums.

So the question is, how can we begin to bring our country's health care costs down? And this law is the first step in achieving this.

In closing, as I always say, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time.


Ms. BROWN of Florida. I have one question before I leave. The question of tax penalty is a very debatable question. But my concern is anyone that has insurance is not affected, veterans are not affected.


Ms. BROWN of Florida. And you will not pay that penalty unless you do not--if you can afford it and you don't have it, then you're going to pay some minimum amount?


Ms. BROWN of Florida. Can you explain that to people who are watching? Because, basically, it is just for those small, less than 1 percent, who do not try to get coverage


Ms. BROWN of Florida. The question is if you go to the hospital--and I was on the plane with one of the business persons and he was talking about it, and I said, you know, you are already paying. If someone on this plane passes out, they're going to the hospital, they're going to service them, and it is called, what, cost shifting? So you are already paying the cost of the most expensive way to provide health care. And many people do it. They wait until Friday, 5 o'clock and they go to the emergency room, which is the most expensive way to provide it.


Ms. BROWN of Florida. Last question. These Governors, Texas you mentioned, Florida, these Governors are saying, we are not going to take advantage of the expansion. As a private citizen, what can I do? Because the President, just like the Governors, they can only propose. But the legislators are the ones that dispose. The President brought his proposal to Congress, but we had the ultimate decision as to what the final bill would look like. And that is as true in the State houses also.


Ms. BROWN of Florida. Where are the health care providers and the people that provide the additional services? How should they weigh in?


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