Thursday, July 12, 2012

Democrat: Affordable Care Act 'cuts more than $400 billion from Medicare'

The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Lipinski) for 3 minutes.
   Mr. LIPINSKI. Mr. Speaker, we have heard hours of impassioned speeches on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, most defending all or nothing, and pitting us against them. But the American people aren't interested in the politics. They want us to focus on what we can do moving forward to make good health care more affordable for them without breaking the bank.
   I believe the ACA is flawed, and I parted ways with the majority of my Democratic colleagues in voting against it in 2010. As I said then, ``The bill does not do enough to lower the skyrocketing costs of health care, cuts more than $400 billion from Medicare, is not fiscally sustainable over the long-term, and breaks with the status quo by allowing Federal funding for abortion and abortion coverage.''

   But we all agree there are good provisions. The bill expanded access to care and improved health insurance by doing things such as prohibiting discrimination based on preexisting conditions and extending family coverage to children up to the age of 26. Why, then, are we being asked to blindly throw out the good with the bad, or alternatively, to simply let the law stand with no changes at all?
   A few months after I voted against the ACA, in a town hall meeting in Hickory Hills, I was asked by an opponent of the law if I would vote to repeal it. I said, ``No. We need a fix, not a repeal that would take us back to the status quo.'' He said, ``Okay. Repeal and replace. Keep the good parts, and make other necessary changes.''
   I agreed, and that's exactly what I have been working to do. I helped pass into law a bill to repeal the burdensome 1099 requirement for small businesses and helped introduce and pass legislation to repeal the ACA's CLASS Act program, which would have added tens of billions of dollars to the deficit. In addition, I worked to pass legislation to ensure that no taxpayer money is spent for abortion under the law, and I continue to fight against portions of the HHS mandate that violate Americans' religious liberty.
   At the start of this Congress, I hoped we could work on major fixes to the health care law. Instead, a bill was brought to the floor in January 2011 which would have eliminated the entire law with no exceptions. I opposed that bill. I voted for a resolution instructing four House committees to develop replacement legislation. Yet, 18 months later, there still is no replacement. Instead, we're again voting on a repeal, period. And once again, we all know this bill will pass the House and die in the Senate.
   A Chicago Tribune editorial recently stated: ``If Democrats want to save the ambitions of this law, they're going to have to find a way to write a Truly Affordable Care Act.'' And the Tribune concluded that Republicans ``ought to engage Democrats in a real effort to contain the costs before the law takes full effect in 2014.'' I wholeheartedly agree.
   Let's stop the posturing, roll up our sleeves, and work to make health care more affordable for all Americans in a fiscally sound manner. That is what the American people want us to do. That is what we need to do. 


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