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Floor Remarks: H.R. 4038 The Republican Alternative ” Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act”

November 07, 2009

Madame Speaker,

The American people deserve and demand a common sense approach to health care reform that:

1) Makes health care reform affordable,

2) Guarantees all Americans, regardless of a pre-existing condition, have access to affordable health care and

3) Does so without raising taxes, without increasing the deficit and without the federal government making health care decisions that should be made by patients and doctors. 

The Common Sense Health Care Reform and Accountability Act, the House Republican health care bill, does that.  The plan offered today by the Speaker does not.

Just some of the highlights of the Republican’s Common Sense Health Care Reform and Affordability Act include:

  • Lowering health care premiums: The Republican plan will lower health care premiums for American families and small businesses, addressing Americans’ number-one priority for health care reform.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican health care reforms would reduce premiums by up to 3 percent for Americans who get insurance through a large business, up to 8 percent for Americans without employer sponsored insurance, and up to 10 percent for those working for a small business.  CBO has not made a claim that the Democrats’ bill would lower premiums.

What do those numbers mean?  It means families who do not have health insurance in 2016 through their job could buy health insurance that is $5,000 less expensive than the cheapest plan the Democrats offer.

  • The Republican plan guarantees access to affordable health care for those with pre-existing conditions. Republicans create Universal Access Programs that expand and reform high-risk pools and reinsurance programs to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of pre-existing conditions or past illnesses, have access to affordable care – while lowering costs for all Americans.
  • The Republican plan reduces the number of junk lawsuits – which saves taxpayers money and lowers premiums – by enacting medical liability reforms modeled after the successful state laws of California and Texas.
  • The Republican plan prevents insurers from wrongly cancelling a policy unless a person commits fraud or conceals material facts about a health condition.
  • The Republican plan encourages Small Business Health Plans so these employers can pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as large corporations and labor unions do today.
  • The Republican plan encourages innovative programs by rewarding states that reduce premiums and the number of uninsured.  In comparison, the Democrat bill adds a new unfunded mandate state’s cannot afford with their over $400 billion expansion of Medicaid.
  • The Republican plan allows Americans to buy insurance across state lines and find the health care plan that best meets their needs and at a cost they can afford.
  • The Republican plan promotes prevention & wellness by more than doubling the financial incentives employers may reward employees who adopt healthier lifestyles.
  • Republicans enhance Health Savings Accounts by allowing Americans to use HSA funds to pay premiums for high deductible health insurance.
  • And, the Republican plan allows dependents to remain on their parents’ policies up to the age of 25.

The health insurance reforms in the Republican bill will significantly reduce health care premiums, insure millions of Americans, guarantee those with pre-existing conditions have access to quality, affordable health care. 

And, we do all of this without raising taxes, without spending $1 trillion we don’t have, without cutting Medicare and without putting some new Health Czar in between doctors and patients, which is what the Democrat majority does in their government takeover bill.

Clearly, the bill offered by the Speaker is not what the American people want.  Americans are clamoring for lower cost health care and that is what the Republican plan offers.

I urge my colleagues to reject the Democrats’ government takeover of health care and vote yes on the Republican substitute that will lower health care premiums.