A picture of Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Providing for Consideration of Senate Amendment to H.R. 3762, Restoring Americans’ Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2016-01-06

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    JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, a picture is always worth a thousand words, and this is a picture of words. It is very clear that the Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver for many Americans. And this budget reconciliation act is obviously misdirected, wrong directed, and the 62nd time this body has tried to gut ObamaCare.

    Thank you, Mr. President, for vetoing it, no matter whether it came from the Senate or the House.

    We worked, without ceasing, to get a bill that would cover millions of Americans. It was a deliberative process, and everyone had a right to vote.

    The Republicans refused to vote for good health care, and here we are, 13 million Americans benefitted from $1.1 billion in rebates for health insurance; 105 million Americans, including 71 million Americans in private plans and 34 million in Medicare.

    Last August, millions of women began receiving free coverage for comprehensive women's care; 17 million children with preexisting conditions have insurance; 6.6 million young people have insurance; 6.3 million seniors.

    And, of course, they want to attack Planned Parenthood, which provides vulnerable women with health care.

    I don't know what they view the budget reconciliation act, but I call it the Anti-New Year's Celebration. Now that we have a new year, we have this horrible bill. Vote against it, and vote for a thousand words right here.

    Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the rule for H.R. 3762, the Restoring Americans' Healthcare Freedom Reconciliation Act of 2015.

    I oppose the rule for H.R. 2762 for three reasons: 1. The rule only allows one hour of debate equally divided between the supporters and opponents of the rule; 2. This is not an open rule that would allow for amendments that could have been offered improve the bill; and 3. The President has communicated to the House that he will veto this bill if it is not amended.

    The House needs more time to debate this bill because it could mean a return to the days when nearly 20% of Americans had seriously deficient healthcare coverage or none at all.

    Unfortunately this rule for the underlying bill is the latest GOP attempt to end the Affordable Care Act guarantee of access to health insurance for millions of Americans and not an attempt to improve the lives of working men and women or their families.

    The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 3762, would result in 22 million Americans losing their health coverage after 2017.

    The impact of the bill should it become law is significant and should have more than an hour of debate prior to a vote.

    The worse thing about this bill is that the authors are well aware of the public reaction should it become law, and this is why it would not go into effect during 2016, but 2017 after the general election and would remove health coverage for those who are the most vulnerable such as those who have coverage under the Medicaid expansion.

    I also object that this is a closed rule that does not allow amendments that could provide support for bipartisan efforts to improve the bill.

    Instead of attempting to repeal and undermine this law, we should use our time to work together to make improvements where necessary such as ending the so called ``Cadillac Tax'' and making sure that health insurance is focused on providing the care prescribed by doctors and not health insurance plans.

    Finally, I oppose the rule and the underlying bill because the Administration has made it clear that this bill will be vetoed if presented for signature by the President.

    The House has important work it should be doing such as voting on legislation to create new infrastructure to support the 21st century need for universal high-speed broadband access and; closing the gap in STEM employment opportunities and skills that has over 1 million positions that are going unfilled; and strengthening gun safety by increasing the number of agents at the ATF to ensure that all gun dealers are following the law; and promoting greater access to mental health services.

    Instead we continue to waste time on fighting the Affordable Care Law in ways that would hurt Americans who need affordable, assessable and available healthcare we could be engaged in productive legislative work.

    Mr. Speaker, I ask that my colleagues reject this bad rule and the flawed underlying legislation.

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