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Bishop Votes Against Health Reform Repeal

Originally Posted: January 20, 2011

Southampton - Congressman Tim Bishop voted against Republican legislation to repeal the landmark patient protections and consumer benefits in the Affordable Care Act, which was signed into law last March. The repeal plan is opposed by Senate Leadership and has no chance of success.

Bishop gave the following statement during debate on the repeal bill:

"Mr. Speaker, I believe it is time this Congress does what President Obama called on Americans to do last week: approach our debates and our differences with civility and honesty. We appear to be doing reasonably well with regard to civility, but less so with honesty.

As we once again tackle health care, the debate is sliding back to one-line attacks and misrepresentation instead of the new health care law's merits or its actual impact on real Americans.

The Affordable Care Act has been referred to as a "job-crushing law." This is simply not honest, as my colleagues across the aisle disregard the fact that since it was signed into law last March, over one million private-sector jobs have been added to the economy; 207,000 of those jobs coming from the health care sector.

Some speak of repeal as if eliminating health care reform would have no meaningful fiscal consequences. This too is not honest. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated full repeal would increase the deficit by $230 billion over 10 years and another $1.2 trillion in the following decade. Some argue that repeal will in fact reduce the deficit. If this is true, why have we yet to see a positive score that affirms such a point?

Repeal does nothing, absolutely nothing, other than leaving families with real health issues no place to go for help. What will families do when it is difficult to find or afford insurance for their son with asthma? What do I tell the parents of the 9,000 children in my district with pre-existing conditions, who will be unable to access coverage because the ban on discriminating against children with pre-existing conditions is repealed?

When insurance companies can claim cancer or pregnancy as a pre-existing condition, what will survivors and mothers do for health coverage? What will the 126,000 affected individuals on Eastern Long Island do?

When the ban on annual or lifetime limits is repealed, what will patients who suffer from heart attacks, strokes, or other serious illness do when the cap is hit and they have to pay for expensive care on their own? 474,000 people in my district who get their health insurance through their employer or the private market will have these kinds of crucial consumer protections taken away by repeal.

What will the 2,400 young adults who have been able to stay on or rejoin their parents' health insurance do if repeal is successful?

What do the 112,000 Medicare beneficiaries who can now receive free cancer screenings and other preventive care do? Or the 8,500 Part D prescription drug plan recipients who can no longer count on the donut hole being closed and will once again face higher drug costs?

Mr. Speaker, simply replacing the positive impact the Affordable Care Act has had on American families with inaccurate arguments about the new law does not breed the search for common solutions the American people are calling for, and repeal deprives many of our constituents every opportunity for health and prosperity. I urge my colleagues to oppose the underlying legislation and I yield back the balance of my time."

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