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James M.
Democrat MA 2

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  • Providing for Consideration of H.R. 596, Repeal of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

    by Representative James P. McGovern

    Posted on 2015-02-03

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    McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Texas for the customary 30 minutes.

    I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Mr. Speaker, first of all, I rise in very strong opposition to this closed rule and to the underlying bill. Let me just say to my colleagues, to make it crystal clear, that this is an absolutely closed rule.

    This bill had no hearings in any of the committees of jurisdiction; it was not reported out by any of the committees of jurisdiction; and the Committee on Rules decided last night that no Member, no Republican or Democrat, has the right to offer any amendments. This is a closed process.

    Whatever happened to regular order? So, Mr. Speaker, here we are again, back on the House floor with yet another pointless attempt by the Republican majority to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Today's exercise in time-wasting gamesmanship marks the 56th time that we have been down this well-traveled road.

    Fifty-six. Let's see. That is two score and 16. It is 4\1/2\ dozen. But no matter how you add it up, it has to be some sort of world record in political futility.

    So it is tempting to say that nothing has changed, but that is not exactly true because, in fact, a great deal has changed since my Republican colleagues first tried to repeal the ACA. Here are some of the things that changed: The number of uninsured Americans has dropped by 10 million people; 3 million young adults have been able to gain coverage through a parent's plan; insurance companies can no longer discriminate on the basis of a so-called preexisting condition, like, say, being a woman; lifetime limits and caps on coverage have been eliminated; seniors have saved more than $11 billion in prescription drugs, an average of $1400 per Medicare beneficiary; copays and deductibles for preventive services for Medicare patients have been eliminated, and the solvency of the Medicare trust fund has been extended by 13 years; and the growth in health care spending in this country is the slowest on record, while health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years.

    All that has happened thanks to the Affordable Care Act. If the Republicans get their way, much of it will disappear in an instant. If Republicans get their way, millions of Americans would lose their health care coverage, millions more would lose the subsidies they receive to purchase plans, millions of children would lose CHIP coverage, millions of seniors would lose benefits, and the deficit would increase.

    So let's be crystal clear, Mr. Speaker: this is no longer a theoretical political exercise; this is very, very, very real. If this Republican bill were ever to become law, then real people would see real benefits taken away. That is why President Obama has said very plainly that he would veto this bill if it ever reached his desk.

    There is something else new about this 56th version of Republicans banging their heads against a brick wall. For the first time, according to Politico: House Republicans want to postpone the full repeal of ObamaCare for 6 months to allow time to come up with a replacement plan.

    I have to say, Mr. Speaker, when I read that, I actually laughed out loud. The health care crisis in this country has been happening for years and years--decades. How many studies have been done? How many reports issued? How many hearings and debates and news stories? But after all of that, my Republican friends still need another 6 months to come up with a replacement plan.

    Here is an idea. Let's vote down this rule with the understanding that in 6 months--actually, I will give you 7, until after Labor Day-- that in 7 months you will be back here with your magic replacement plan, which I assume will be flown in on a unicorn sliding down a rainbow.

    I will tell you why, Mr. Speaker. Because Republicans have absolutely no intention of actually doing the hard work of health care reform. This is just a gimmick. It is a chance for their new freshmen to cast their symbolic vote against ObamaCare so they can put out a press release and act like they have accomplished something.

    As the Washington Examiner reported: Republicans know that the repeal legislation isn't ever going to become law. ``We are just getting it out of the way,'' one GOP aide told the Examiner when asked about the repeal vote.

    Just getting it out of the way, Mr. Speaker? What a cynical abuse of this House. It is a sham. It is a waste of everyone's time. It deserves to be defeated in this House, and if it ever makes it out of the Senate, it deserves the quickest veto President Obama can muster.

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