Save American Workers Act of 2015by Representative Frank Pallone Jr.
Posted on 2015-01-08
PALLONE. I thank my colleague from Michigan.
Mr. Speaker, I was happy to see not the last speaker but the previous Republican speaker--I think he was the gentleman from Alabama (Mr. Byrne)--actually say that he wanted to repeal the Affordable Care Act because that is what this is all about.
I guess I could take some happiness in the fact that we are not having an outright repeal of the Affordable Care Act on the floor today, but I know that this effort is really about repealing the bill. It is a piece-by-piece approach, where the Republicans want to basically tear down what--in my opinion, and when I go home my constituents say--is an excellent program.
More and more people are signing up for the Affordable Care Act. More and more people are getting insurance at an affordable price with subsidies and the expansion of Medicaid. The Republicans know that they can't repeal it outright, so now, they are trying to do it piece by piece.
There is no kidding ourselves as to what this bill will do. It is going to increase the deficit, adding $53 billion to our debt. It is going to increase the number of uninsured. It will shift more people onto public programs, and it will cause workers who are currently receiving employer-sponsored health coverage to lose that coverage.
My Republican colleagues claim this bill is necessary to protect jobs, but the fact of the matter is that the Affordable Care Act has strengthened the job market. Our economy and workforce are stronger now than before the law was passed.
Basically, what is happening here is if you are a large employer with more than 50 full-time workers--in other words, 96 percent of employers are unaffected by the law--for those 4 percent of larger employers who have the means, the law says they need to do right by their full-time workers and offer them health insurance.
The Republicans don't think businesses owe their employees anything at all. They think that bigger businesses should have the right to deny their workers health insurance. Even though the ACA says that that is what they should do--give them health insurance--they say, ``No, they shouldn't have to do that.'' The bill the Republicans have presented today would say that big businesses could deny health coverage to someone working 39 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. That is not a part-time worker. Their employers should provide them with health coverage. That is all that we are asking.
Giving big businesses a green light to drop coverage for their workers is not the way to move the country forward. Workers have the right to decent health care, and businesses should help them get it. That is the fair thing. That is the right thing.
This bill simply takes us in the wrong direction. I keep hearing from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle as to how terrible the Affordable Care Act is. The fact of the matter is it is working and it is working for working people.