Congressman Ed Towns Rises Against Republican Attack on Health Care

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Washington, DC- Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong opposition to H.R. 2, the Patient’s Rights Repeal Act.  In the 112th Congress, the American people were promised a focus on our economy.  Today however, rather than discussing legislation that would strengthen our economy, legislation that would create jobs, or even legislation that would reduce our nation’s deficit, we are discussing the repeal of legislation that protects more than 500 families in my district from bankruptcy due to the costs of health care.
We are discussing the repeal of legislation that would give tax credits to 117,000 families in my district and a 35% tax credit to the 11,400 small businesses in my district that choose to offer coverage.  If our intent here is truly to create jobs, why would we repeal legislation that since its enactment, has contributed to the creation of more than one million private sector jobs, including more than 200,000 jobs in the healthcare industry?
Mr. Speaker, I am not here to represent the insurance industry or the pharmaceutical industry. I am here to represent the interests of the ordinary Americans that reform will protect.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be in direct opposition to those interests by increasing our national deficit by one trillion dollars over the next two decades and preventing tens of millions of uninsured Americans from gaining coverage.  In my district alone, 37,500 people will receive coverage under this law, and 75,000 seniors on Medicare will receive improved care, giving them full access to our healthcare system, which is the “best in the world.”
Mr. Speaker, I ask you, what is the point in having the “best healthcare system in the world” if more than thirty million Americans, including the 37,500 in my district, do not have full access to its benefits?  What is the point of having the “best healthcare system in the world” if insurance companies are allowed to deny people coverage when they need it the most, based on “pre-existing conditions.” It is wrong. You know it’s wrong. This law has corrected it and we should not mess with it.
There may be weaknesses in the health reform law, but based on an average of 117,000 private sector jobs created per month since its passage, I strongly believe that it is a good starting point for efforts to make our nation stronger.  The Affordable Care Act is good for not only our seniors and the uninsured, but all Americans who not only deserve, but need access to quality, affordable healthcare.  In the name of the hundreds of thousands of constituents in my district, in the name of the Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center and 30 other community health centers that will receive increased funding to provide my district with better care, and in the name of the tens of millions of Americans that we fought so hard for in passing reform, I will vote no on this bill, and any other efforts to undermine the legislation passed last year.  Instead I hope we can begin a meaningful conversation about moving forward, using this established framework to continue to strengthen our nation. Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I yield the balance of my time.