Majority Leader Hoyer's Floor Statment on the Affordable Health Care for America Act

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Transcript: 

i yield one minute to the majority leader.
Hoyer (D-MD):[in progress]
14:01:44our towns and counties. and the anxiety of the them a family that finds itself paying more and more each year for the health insurance that grows weaker and weaker, in the frustration of the small business owner weighing the
14:02:00choices of dropping her employees' coverage by threat of being driven out of business by her competitors and in the fury of the patient who learns that
14:02:13an insurance company bureaucrat has deemed thyme sick for the coverage he paid for. they are our families, our neighbors, our fellow citizens. they are waiting for health insurance reform that is more
14:02:27affordable, more secure, more just. their stories will be with me and i know with each of us when we cast our vote. because i want to say to he was american facing down illness,
14:02:46never again, never again will you be denied coverage because you have diabetes or asthma or some other disease or because you're pregnant or because you have anything else your insurer decides is a pre-existing
14:03:00condition. never again will your coverage run out. nor will you find the coverage you thought you paid for was actually not there at all. and never again can insurance companies drive out competition
14:03:14and set premiums as high as they like because there will be a public insurance option and a transparent marketplace to keep them honest, to keep them competitive, to bring prices down. i want to say to our middle
14:03:30class families, the backbone of our country, you will are have coverage that you can depend upon. even if you change your job or lose your job or decide to start a business, you will be able to find affordable coverage in a
14:03:48competitive marketplace. an insurance exchange that offers you a choice of good policies and fair rates. in fact, according to an m.i.t. analysis, buying coverage on the exchange will bring your premiums down by a great deal.
14:04:05even without affordability credits. if your family makes $90,000 or more you'll save more than $1,200. if your family makes $66 -- $60,000, you'll save more than
14:04:19$5,000. and if your family is making $38,000 you'll save more than $9,000. that's the kind of tax cuts to the -- that america needs to security medical future. i want to say to our seniors,
14:04:36you can count on medicare, on a federal program for dignity and peace of mind in your golden years and that will not change. today we will vote to protect your access to your doctor, to
14:04:50encourage medicare physicians to cooperate on higher quality care, to keep your medicare solvent for longer and bring an end to the doughnut hole that leaves prescription drugs unaffordable for so many. i want to say to our small business men and women, i know
14:05:08your premiums keep going up and eachier they make it harder to stay in business, to compete with big business and with foreign firms. you deserve a fair playing field and in the insurance exchange marketplace you'll be able to
14:05:24buy coverage at the low group rates you're now being denied. i want to say to the 35 million americans without insurance who are forced to skip checkups and preventive care, forced it to
14:05:40return to the e.r. as the first and only line of defense, who live sicker and shorter lives, you will have what every man, woman and child has in every other industrialized country in the world. health coverage you can afford
14:05:56and that you can count on. and every american who is rightly worried about our mounting deficits and debt, i can tell you this, this bill does not add to the deficit over the next 10 years or the 10 years thereafter.
14:06:11this bill means that health care that is more fiscally sustainable for years to come. that's what this bill, the affordable health care for america act, can achieve for our country and for our people.
14:06:27it isn't a simple bill. it isn't a perfect bill. but it is the product of months and months of careful debate, sometimes animated debate, yes, even angry debate. careful scrutiny, hard work and
14:06:44citizen input. and it's the right response to this time of economic insecurity in which we have been called to lead. if we miss this chance or if we vote for a republican plan that
14:06:59does very little to expand coverage, weakens insurance for millions who have it and continues to allow millions of americans to be denied
14:07:11affordable coverage, we'll find ourselves back here again but by then premiums will eat up even more of our families' budgets, health care will consume even more of our economy and even more americans will have died for the lack of health care.
14:07:27if we miss this chance, if we miss this challenge of nearly a century's duration, when teddy roosevelt, one of the great presidents of this had country, a republican president of this
14:07:44country, said 100 years ago, we need to have health care coverage for all americans, this is not a new idea but it is an idea whose time has surely come. the years between this chance
14:08:00and our next one will be filled with stories that are unworthy of america at its best. stories like linda who wrote to "the new york times" on the anguish she felt suffering from abdominal cancer and standing in
14:08:15the hospital just feet away from the drugs that could help save her life. drugs her insurance company was denying her. stories like the one just a few miles down the road, who died at
14:08:34the age of 12 from a tooth ache, a tooth ache that was not treated by a dentist. and as a result it became infected. that infection he went into his brain.
14:08:49he was in the hospital for 30 days at a cost of $250,000. why? because he didn't have $80 to get that tooth filled. this bill will change that. we can be better than that.
14:09:08america is better than that. we must be. americans rightly want to know what's in this bill for them and for their families. but there's also something important in this bill for us. as a people.
14:09:24a system worthy of the values we profess and the principles we hold dear. we'll vote for a healthier america, we'll vote to give our fellow citizens a greater sense of security, we'll vote to make medicare stronger for our seniors, we will vote for a
14:09:41healthier economy, for affordable coverage for individuals and small businesses, we will vote to begin containing costs which will otherwise be unsustainable for our children and for our grandchildren.
14:09:57we will in sum, my colleagues, on this historic day, vote for a more perfect union of which our founders dreamed. i yield back the balance of my time.