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Hoyer Floor Remarks on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in support of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. Below are excerpts of his remarks and a link to the video.   
  Click here to watch the video.
“Madam Speaker, last week in the middle of the worst pandemic in our lifetimes, the Trump Administration submitted briefs to the Supreme Court in support of a lawsuit by Republican-led states seeking to overturn the law that provides millions of Americans with access to affordable health care. They offer no substitute. They said they were going to, but they have never done it. In spite of a decade of Republican efforts – a decade, ten years they’ve had to work on this, and come up with a plan that all of them are talking about: ‘Oh, we want to protect pre-existing conditions; we don't want to have lifetime limits,’ all these things. Where is the bill? Where is the meat? It's not here. It hasn't been offered. And the one bill that was offered and passed this House was called by the President United States a ‘mean bill.’”

“When the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the Republican lawsuit this autumn – in the Republicans’ lawsuit, these are Republican AGs – it will hear their arguments for taking away protections for those with pre-existing conditions, those most vulnerable to COVID-19, at the very moment health care experts predict another wave of infections and the start of the flu season. And where do we see the spike? Along the southern border: Texas, Florida, Arizona.”

“Taking away Americans’ coverage and throwing our health care system into chaos is not, Madam Speaker, what the American people want or need during this global public health and economic crisis. When President Trump ran for office – this was before he called the bill that the House passed a ‘mean bill’ under Republican leadership – President Trump falsely promised that he would offer an alternative to the Affordable Care Act that was far less expensive and better quality. I ask any of my colleagues if they have seen that bill? Either side of the aisle, have you seen that bill? This President has been president for three-and-a-half years. There is no Republican bill to make sure that Americans have affordable, quality health care and have them able to get insurance irrespective of pre-existing conditions. There is no such legislation. Now, having failed to produce an alternative the President and his Republican allies are determined simply to repeal it entirely. That's been their position for the last 12 years.”

“I’m proud that one of the first acts of our Democratic House Majority was to defend the ACA in the Republican lawsuit. Indeed, Americans don't want to scrap the law. They want to strengthen and expand it. They understand that it's not an option having health care coverage. Protecting your health is not an option. When Democrats won the Majority in the House, we did so promising to work to expand coverage, lower out-of-pocket costs, and provide greater stability for health insurance marketplaces. That's what we promised, and we picked up 40 net seats. This bill is part of that promise. Now, we passed another one. It sits untouched in the Senate, as some of my Republican colleagues predict for this one. I understand that. The Republicans are not for health care being affordable, being quality, being accessible for people. At least they haven't offered a bill to accomplish that objective, notwithstanding what the President said.”

“Importantly, among the other provisions you have heard about from my colleagues this morning, this legislation addresses the racial disparities in health care that have become so starkly evident during this pandemic. Expanding Medicaid will help close those disparities and the bill's provisions to require Medicaid coverage of maternal health care for 12 months postpartum will help reduce disparities that make African American women as much as four times as likely to die as a result of the birth or pregnancy than white women. Those disparities aren't acceptable, and our House Majority is taking action to address them.”   “Moreover, this bill would require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate over the most expensive prescription drugs that do not have marketplace competition… That's what keeps prices down, consumers having choices... That said, I want to be clear that while we use international measures, we will continue to work with the patient and disability community to ensure that our efforts to reduce out-of-pocket costs do not have the unintended result of rationing life-saving and life-sustaining treatments or discriminate against our most vulnerable communities.”

“I want to thank all the chairs and their committees who came together to produce this bill. I have mentioned Chairman Pallone, Chairman Scott, Chairman Neal, and others. I want to thank all the Members who were instrumental in bringing these policies together including the many freshmen Members who ran on strengthening the ACA, I see Ms. Underwood on the Floor, but there are many others in the Freshman class who worked very hard. Why? Because they campaigned on for the people bringing costs down. That’s what this bill does.”

“I urge every Member of the House to join in supporting this bill. Now is the time, now is the time, Madam Speaker, to strengthen access to high-quality, affordable health care, to bring costs down, and to address the stark racial disparities that have come into view with COVID-19. I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, if your rhetoric is about bringing costs down, if your rhetoric is about accessibility, if your rhetoric is about quality, walk the walk. Don't just talk the talk. Vote for this bill because it does what you say you want it to do.”