WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following remarks on the House floor in support of the American Health Care Act.
CLICK the image above to watch Chairman Brady’s remarks.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Last month, President Trump stood right here in this room and said to Congress: ‘Obamacare is collapsing.’ He called on us to take decisive action to protect all Americans.
“Today, we have a choice to make:
“Will we answer the President’s call to action and pass this legislation to repeal and replace Obamacare?
“Or, will we allow the law to remain fully in place and deny our constituents the relief they urgently need?
“I, for one, refuse to allow my constituents in Texas to suffer Obamacare’s impacts any longer.
“For the past seven years, we’ve watched Obamacare fail Americans on every single promise. And, throughout this time – as the Obama Administration turned a deaf ear to the American people – House Republicans were listening.
“We were listening to all those facing severe premium increases. People like Lauren in my district, a retiree who lives in The Woodlands.
“Lauren recently emailed me to say that her premiums this year have gone up by nearly 70 percent. Now, they’re 900 dollars a month.
“We were listening to all those who can no longer see the doctor of their choice or access the care they need at an affordable price.
“People like Elizabeth from Conroe, Texas – another constituent of mine.
“Elizabeth’s family pays about 800 hundred dollars a month in health care premiums. Yet, they can no longer see any of the doctors they know and trust.
“That includes the primary care physician that Elizabeth and her husband have been seeing for over 10 years. And, it includes her children’s long-time pediatrician.
“All of these doctors are now out of reach thanks to Obamacare.
“And that’s the thing with this law. It has helped some people, but far more are in positions like Lauren and Elizabeth – paying significantly more for significantly less access to care.
“It does not have to be this way.
“After seven years of listening carefully to the American people, we have now arrived at this moment of decisive action.
“With the American Health Care Act, we have the best opportunity since Obamacare’s enactment to repeal this harmful law, clear the deck, and begin our step-by-step process to deliver a health care system based on what patients and families truly want and need – not what Washington thinks is best.
“And this bill gets us off to an excellent start.
“First, it delivers swift relief to the American people by immediately repealing Obamacare’s most harmful provisions.
“The individual mandate tax penalty – gone.
“The employer mandate tax penalty – gone.
“Nearly 900 billion dollars in Obamacare tax hikes that have driven up costs and reduced access to care – those tax hikes are gone.
“From here, the American Health Care Act takes significant action to replace Obamacare with patient-focused solutions that expand choice, lower costs, and enhance competition.
“This is where we reclaim control of health care from Washington, and put it back where it belongs – with patients, families, and states.
“We expand Health Savings Accounts, making them more flexible and user-friendly.
“We protect health coverage for the more than 150 million Americans who receive it through their employers.
“We deliver the largest entitlement reform in decades, empowering states to improve and streamline Medicaid so they can better serve the needs of local patients and families.
“And, for low- and middle-income Americans who don’t receive coverage through work or a federal program, we offer an advanceable, refundable tax credit that people can use immediately to help purchase coverage that is tailored to their needs.
“These tax credits provide a conservative, free-market alternative to the inefficient Obamacare subsidies that exist today. They will deliver support to low- and middle-income Americans. And, at the same time, they will encourage real competition in the health insurance market.
“Finally, as a committed pro-life conservative, I’m pleased to say this bill takes vital action to protect the right to life. No federal funding can be used for elective abortions. The language is crystal clear.
“The American Health Care Act represents a critical first step in our multi-phase effort to tear down Obamacare and reinstate patient-focused solutions that help all Americans. But we know there is more work to do.
“Obamacare was a massive government-takeover of health care. To fully uproot the law, it’s going to take a sustained, coordinated effort from both Congress and the Administration.
“Fortunately, we have incredible partners in President Trump and Secretary Price at the Department of Health and Human Services.
“They are already beginning work on the next phases of this process, stripping away Obamacare’s regulations so we can enact additional free-market solutions. These include consensus conservative proposals, such as allowing insurance to be sold across state lines.
“But, to see success in the next phases, we have to take the first step today. We have to pass the American Health Care Act, deliver immediate relief to the American people, and provide a conservative path forward.
“In closing, I want to thank all the leaders in the House who worked hard to craft the bill before us today – Chairman Walden, Chairman Black, and so many others.
“I would also like to offer my gratitude to everyone at the Congressional Budget Office, Joint Committee on Taxation, and House Office of Legislative Counsel who provided analysis and support as we developed this legislation. And I would like to give a special thanks to Emily Murry, Stephanie Parks, and all of our hardworking staff at the Ways and Means Committee.
“Your time, effort, and professionalism do not go unnoticed.
“The American Health Care Act is the best opportunity we’ve had in seven years to repeal and replace Obamacare.
“Let’s pass this bill, seize this opportunity for our constituents, and take the critical first step to put control of health care back in the hands of the American people.
“Thank you. I yield back.”