Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), California’s Insurance Commissioner for eight years, voted against the 31st attempt by House Republicans to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. H.R. 6079, the Patients’ Rights Repeal Act, passed the House by a 240-182 vote, with 236 Republicans voting against patient protections and 182 Democrats voting for patient protections. Like 30 times previously, the House of Representatives wasted its time, as this bill will never be considered by the Senate.
"I should be saying today that the House of Representatives voted for a good bipartisan jobs bill to get Americans back to work … but I can’t. The Republican leadership in Congress would rather waste time on meaningless theater than do something about jobs," Congressman Garamendi said. "Yet again, they scheduled a vote to allow 17 million children with pre-existing conditions to once again be denied coverage and to raise prescription drug costs for more than five million seniors."
A vote to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Patient’s Bill of Rights within it is a vote to:
- Increase the deficit by $124 billion over the next 10 years and by over $1 trillion over the following decade, according to the latest CBO estimates available (2011).
- Cause the Medicare Trust Fund to become insolvent in 2016 – eight years earlier than under the health care law.
- Take away the guarantee for young adults that they can stay on their parents’ plan until age 26. 6.6 million young adults have already taken advantage of this provision.
- Raise prescription drug costs for seniors. 5.3 million seniors in the ‘donut hole’ have already saved $3.7 billion on their prescription drugs, an average of $600 per senior.
- Take away the peace of mind that the parents of children with pre-existing conditions now have that their children cannot be denied coverage. Under the law, up to 17 million children with pre-existing conditions currently have the protection that they cannot be denied coverage by insurers.
- Allow insurance companies to once again place a lifetime limit on coverage. Already 105 million Americans are benefiting from no longer facing this limit, which can lead to a family bankruptcy.
- Raise the costs of preventive services, such as mammograms and wellness visits, for millions of Americans. 86 million Americans – including 54 million Americans in private plans and 32 million seniors in Medicare – have already received one or more free preventive services.
- Eliminate provisions that hold insurance companies accountable for double-digit premium increases.
- Eliminate savings for consumers, by removing the requirement that insurance companies spend at least 80% of premiums on medical services, not administrative costs and CEO bonuses. This summer, nearly 13 million Americans will be benefiting from rebates from insurers because of this provision.
- Raise the taxes of hundreds of thousands of small businesses by eliminating the small business health care tax credit. In 2011, 360,000 small businesses used the tax credit to help them afford health insurance for 2 million workers.
More information on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is available at http://www.healthcare.gov.
As California’s Insurance Commissioner, Congressman Garamendi authored a state health insurance plan that would have covered almost all Californians, but it was vetoed by then-Governor Pete Wilson. While California’s Insurance Commissioner, Garamendi published "Priced Out", a report that highlighted the problems associated with health care delivery in California and offered more than 50 concrete recommendations to improve care and access. As a state legislator, Garamendi authored the Rural Health Services Act of 1976, which expanded community clinics in unserved and underserved areas and provided health care for hundreds of thousands Californians. Garamendi served as a health care advisor to then-candidate Bill Clinton during his 1991-1992 run for President.