Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) voted today against the repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare. The Patients' Rights Repeal Act passed by a vote of 229-195. It is the 37th time the House has attempted to repeal the ACA. Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard released the following statement about her vote against repeal:
"People in Hawai"i and across the country want us to focus on creating jobs and improving our economy. While I continue to have serious reservations about the Affordable Care Act, and feel strongly that improvements must be made, repealing the ACA is not the answer at this time. We should work together to strengthen it, in order to ensure affordable healthcare is available for all people."
Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard acknowledged that positive outcomes of the ACA have already occurred, such as covering those with pre-existing conditions and allowing students and young adults to have access to healthcare through their parents' insurance. Still, grave concerns remain on the impacts of the ACA on middle-class families and small businesses.
"The rising cost of healthcare continues to burden middle-class families, seniors and small business owners. The challenge we must address now is to provide accessible healthcare to all without bankrupting our country.
"Unfortunately, big insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies had significant influence throughout the drafting of legislation. The Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act of 2003, for example, gave mega-pharmaceutical companies a blank check by restricting the government's ability to negotiate group rates for prescription drugs. That is unacceptable.
"Together, we must continue to identify creative ways to improve the ACA. We can start by allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, and encouraging small businesses to use available tax subsidies. This is not an impossible problem to fix if we focus on finding real solutions."