01.19.11

Comments Of Senator Patrick Leahy On The House's Expected Vote To Repeal The Affordable Care Act

The new leadership in the House say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  This is a carefully staged show vote, with a simplistic debate that was short on substance.  The American people have the right to know that if a vote to repeal were to stand it would take away the rights of millions of patients and insurance coverage from millions more, from the aging and the elderly, to men and women with preexisting conditions, to the most vulnerable children.   

When you boil away the rhetoric, the alternative offered to the American people by advocates of repeal is this:  Don’t get sick.

This is a vote to turn back the clock to a time when, once again, women would have to pay more for health insurance than men, insurance companies could rescind a health insurance policy because someone gets sick, and coverage could forever be denied to someone born with a disease or ailment.    

This is a vote to accelerate the health cost spiral and to boost the federal debt and deficits by $230 billion.  It is a vote to repeal vital anti-fraud provisions I have long advocated that have helped the Obama administration recover billions of taxpayer dollars.  Repealing the Affordable Care Act would remove these fiscal safeguards and reopen the floodgates to insurance discrimination, by putting insurance companies back in charge. 

I do not support a return to less protection, less coverage, less fairness and higher costs.   The Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to millions of families in Vermont and across the country.  Those who represent the American people in Congress should stand ready to get to work for their constituents.  This is a time to work together for further improvements in health care quality, access and costs, not a time to reset back to a broken system that has burdened most American households with health coverage uncertainty and crippling expenses.

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