Opening Statement of Ranking Member Jim McDermott on Subcommittee Hearing on Employer Mandate

Apr 8, 2014
Press Release

(Remarks as Prepared)

We will see a good deal of wringing of hands and hear a healthy dose of gnashing of teeth from Republicans during this hearing today about how the ACA is unworkable. 

Of course all this bluster is pure fantasy… Yet another stunt cooked up by Republicans to satisfy the extremist will of the Koch Brothers and the producers at Fox News.

So, let’s begin these proceedings with some enlightening facts:

Thanks to the ACA, every American now has health security because they can no longer be locked out of the market or discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition.

More than seven million people have signed up for health insurance through the federal and state-based marketplaces. 

More than 11 million people have been determined eligible for Medicaid since between October and February. And three million young adults are now covered on their parents’ plans.

These are real people.  Real stories.  Real progress… Not actors paid via extremist PAC money to appear in fraudulent GOP attack ads.

Sorry, Republicans… You have lost the fight on ACA.  The law is succeeding.  And all the bogus hearings about the ACA aren’t going to change that. 

These bogus hearings – like today’s proceedings – only delay the inevitable…

The day – and trust me it is coming – when Republicans will pivot away from trying to destroy the ACA… to their attempts to fix it… to their attempts to “love the ACA to death.”

But before Republicans join Democrats in the real world… We all have to wade through yet another partisan hack attempt to undermine a law that prevents insurance companies from discriminating against Americans because of pre-existing conditions or gender. 

Today’s Republican cries about employer responsibility regulations, which are designed to help employers transition to new ACA requirements – certainly won’t acknowledge the truth: that the economy has improved since the ACA became the law of the land. 

Since the enactment of the ACA, the economy has added eight million jobs. 

Today’s Republican cries certainly won’t acknowledge this week’s Gallup poll confirming that the uninsured rate in America is at its lowest rate since 2008. 

This reduction in the uninsured rate to 15% is driven by coverage enrollment under Obamacare. Declines in the uninsured rate were largest among low-income and black Americans.

Instead, Republicans will surely offer up a healthy dose of mistruths and misinformation. 

So, let’s be clear, the CBO has definitively stated that there is no compelling evidence that part-time employment has increased as a result of the ACA. 

Let’s be clear, the ACA eliminates the so-called “job lock”, empowering American workers to change jobs, to become an entrepreneur or leave work to take care of a child or a sick loved one.

But most importantly, Republican misinformation has nothing to do with the story of a constituent of mine named Ingrid. 

In 2008, Ingrid was badly injured after a terrible fall in her home. Ingrid was rushed to the emergency room, where she was cared for and her life was saved. 

Yet, Ingrid was stuck with a $23 thousand hospital bill because she didn’t have… she couldn’t afford health insurance. 

A few months later, Ingrid was forced to sell her home to pay off that enormous hospital bill.

Today, Ingrid’s life is vastly different from what it was in 2008. 

She’s happy, healthy and covered… because of the ACA.

Ingrid no longer has to choose food on her breakfast table over life sustaining medicine on her bedside table.

Due to the health security and affordability provided to her by the ACA.

So, before Republicans – who have no plan to replace the ACA – join the real world and inevitably drop their sad mission to kill a law that’s saving lives and saving money, they’ll likely stage a few more repeal votes on the floor and bogus hearings like today’s proceedings.

They’ll likely expend a little more elbow grease to throw Ingrid and millions upon millions more Americans back into the cold, harsh winter of no health coverage, no peace of mind and no protection.

I can’t wait for the day when Republicans inevitably cave.  

 I just.  Can’t.  Wait.