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Rep. Jim McDermott

January 26, 2011

Rep. Jim McDermott

Statement for the

House Ways and Means Committee Hearing on the “Effect of Health Reform on Jobs and the Economy”

January 25, 2011

Mr. Chairman, this hearing is really just a press event for the Republicans to twist the facts of the health care law and attempt to further scare and polarize the American public.  It won’t work, but we’re still going to waste time with this political theater.

I am very sorry to see Doug Holtz-Eakin, the former Director of the Congressional Budget Office, testifying before our committee today.  He’s here to beat up on his former agency whose conclusions he no longer likes.  Railing against the very institution he formerly directed, one that is so essential to our work, does a disservice to the Budget Office, the whole Congress and the American people. 

Republicans, like Mr. Holtz-Eakin, have taken to dismissing any non-partisan assessments they don’t like.  These days, in the eyes of Republicans, CBO is only right when they release reports that validate Republican political rhetoric.

As for the other witnesses who are testifying, I am sorry you believe the new health care law is bad for your businesses.  However, there are countless other small, medium and large businesses that like the health care law and believe repealing it is an awful idea.

You don’t have to take my word for it.  The National Business Group on Health, a collection of nearly 500 big employers, opposes repeal.  Helen Darling, the group’s President and a former Republican Senate Staffer, has said the following about the health care law:  “I don’t think we’ll get a better solution in the U.S. in our lifetime.  If it gets repealed or gutted, we’ll have to start over and we’ll be worse off.”

As for the impact on small businesses, PolitiFact looked into a U.S. Chamber of Commerce campaign ad that said the health care law was bad for small businesses and said the claims were “perplexing because small businesses can actually qualify for tax credits under the new health care law.” 

PolitiFact went on to say:

“A vast majority of U.S. firms are smaller than 50 employees and are exempt from the health insurance requirements. The chamber’s ad is sweeping, and doesn’t account for any of the positive provisions that don’t ‘crush’ small business but actually help them.”

It is my hope that we can move beyond Republicans’ political theatrics and focus on getting the economy back on track.