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Public Statements

Fairness for American Families Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ANDREWS. The purpose of this amendment, which if passed would let us still proceed to final passage, is to provide protection for important consumer protections that I believe this bill puts in jeopardy.

There's probably not a Member of this Chamber who doesn't agree with the proposition that if a woman with breast cancer or a child with asthma goes to buy an insurance policy, I don't think many people here think they should be denied that policy because of their preexisting condition, or charged two or three times as much money because they've had breast cancer or asthma or they're a woman or they've been pregnant.

Almost everyone I hear talk about health care says Well, sure, I'm for getting rid of discrimination based on preexisting conditions. But I think we all know this: you can't accomplish that if you don't have a mechanism to keep costs from exploding for everybody else in the insurance marketplace. And, ladies and gentlemen, there's only two ways to do that.

The first way is to have a public fund that buys down those premium costs for people. With all due respect, the majority tried to do that and couldn't pass their bill on the floor. The second way to do it is to give everyone who can afford it the responsibility to buy health insurance for themselves.

The way that we create a situation in which we can say to that woman with breast cancer, Yes, you can have a health insurance policy, and it doesn't have to be three times as much in price, or the way that we can say to that young boy with asthma, Yes, you can have a health insurance policy, and it doesn't have to be three times as much in price, is to get everyone covered. If you don't get everyone covered, then the whole thing unravels. And when it unravels, so do the other protections in the Affordable Care Act. The preexisting condition discrimination we all say we want to prevent happens anyway.

The family whose child has a $1 million or $2 million chemotherapy bill runs up against a lifetime policy limit and they're on their own again. That expires, too. The protection for young men and young women who seek coverage on their parents' policy, that unravels, too. We go back to a day when the health care of the American people is in the clutches of the insurance industry and not decided between patients and their families and their physicians.

We have had this argument 38 times before on this floor. But this argument has taken place outside this floor as well. Last June, the litigants went to the United States Supreme Court and said this law was no good because it was unconstitutional. But the United States Supreme Court said, Yes, it is, and we're not going backwards.

Last year, two Presidential candidates traveled all over this country. One called for this law's repeal. The other stood by this law's enforcement. Last November, the American people spoke and they said, We're not going backward. Well, here we are again, and the choice is backward or forward.

Make no mistake about it, if the underlying bill passes, the law unravels and all the protections people say they want unravel with it. And we go back to the day when American health care was run by insurance companies and not by consumers and providers.

The choice, ladies and gentlemen, is backward or forward. I say we do not go backward to a day when insurance companies ran everything. We go forward. And when that woman with breast cancer goes to apply for that health insurance policy, the answer is no longer, Ma'am, I'm sorry, you're not eligible. You had cancer one day. The answer is, Ma'am, here is your policy. Here is your health security. Here is your independence from losing everything you had because you got sick.

The American people are better than this repeal. Vote ``yes'' on the motion to recommit and vote ``no'' on the underlying bill.


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