Lewis Opening Statement at Subcommittee Hearing on the Affordable Care Act and Ongoing GAO Investigation

Jul 23, 2014
Press Release

(Remarks as Prepared)

Thank you for holding today's hearing, Mr. Chairman.  I would also like to thank our witness for being here today. 

Let me begin by highlighting a simple, important fact -- the Affordable Care Act works. 

Last week multiple reports from Gallup, the Commonwealth Fund, and the Urban Institute, provided Congress with a truth that cannot be denied, explained away, or disputed.  Today, more Americans have health insurance than they did one year ago. 

Many of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle said that no one would sign up for the Affordable Care Act.  Instead, 8 million people enrolled. 

There were claims that parts of the law were too expensive.  But last month, HHS reported the average cost was only $82 per month for those receiving tax credits. 

Let me highlight some more undisputable ACA successes.  Today, more than 17 million children with pre-existing conditions can no longer be denied coverage.  3.1 million young adults can be covered on their parents' plans until age 26.  And 105 million Americans will no longer face bankruptcy because insurance companies will stop paying their medical bills.  That is what the ACA did, and we should be proud of this work.

Despite constant attacks, the predictions of disaster have simply failed to come true.  Instead the doors to health care have opened for millions of Americans. 

Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask unanimous consent to insert two articles into the record -- one is from Politico, entitled “The verdict is in: Obamacare lowers uninsured.”  The second is from the New York Times, entitled, “Obamacare Fails to Fail.”  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is crystal clear that it makes no sense to continue attacks to defund and destroy the health care law.  There should be no fear in a good faith, bipartisan effort to make the ACA stronger and better for future generations.  This is why I look forward to the testimony of the GAO about ways to make common sense improvements to the ACA. 

In fact, there are certain actions that we can take right now to fight waste, fraud, and abuse.  For example, Congress can provide adequate funding for the IRS and HHS enforcement systems so that all taxpayers will be protected.  We have an opportunity to be proactive, not reactive.

One thing is crystal clear.  It is time for political stunts and baseless fear tactics to end.  Success cannot -- must not -- be dismantled. 

We will not go back to a time when Americans did not have access to affordable health insurance.  We will not destroy the ACA. 

I hope that all of my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, will come together to strengthen and improve the historic benefits and protections of the ACA. 

It is time to move forward and do what is right, what is just, and what is responsible.  Again, thank you, Mr. Chairman.