WASHINGTON, D.C. | June 29, 2020
Today, the House will vote on H.R. 1425, misguided legislation that will limit health care options for patients, contribute to already skyrocketing health care costs, and double down on the many failures of the Affordable Care Act.
On the House floor, Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), Republican Leader of the Education and Labor Committee, delivered the following remarks:
"I rise today in opposition to H.R. 1425, the so-called Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act – the latest in a series of attempts by House Democrats to score cheap political points at the expense of hardworking Americans.
"At a time when Congress should be united in our continued fight against the novel coronavirus and in ensuring the country can reopen safely, we are instead here today debating a bill that amounts to nothing more than political posturing. Rather than solve any pressing health care problems, including the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, this misguided legislation will limit health care options for patients, contribute to already skyrocketing health care costs, and double down on the many failures of the Affordable Care Act or ACA.
"As the Republican Leader of the Committee on Education and Labor, I am committed to improving and enhancing employer-sponsored health care options for American workers and their families.
"Yet, today we are debating legislation that would enlarge Obamacare even further by providing subsidies for some of the wealthiest Americans, providing a blank check bailout for insurance companies, strong arming states into expanding Medicaid, and eliminating lower cost health care options like short-term limited duration insurance plans.
"Short-term insurance plans offer health care options for Americans who may find themselves between jobs or unable to afford rising premiums in the already expensive individual market.
"What’s astonishing to me is that Democrats conveniently fail to mention that these short-term limited duration plans were legal under the Obama administration, and that states still have the authority to regulate these plans.
"As Republicans, we believe in federalism. If states choose to limit or prohibit the sale of these plans, they are free to do so. Instead of respecting the judgment of state lawmakers and local authorities to act in their state’s and constituent’s best interests, House Democrats are doubling down on a one-size-fits-all federal mandate.
"And as we’ve seen over and over again, Washington-knows-best requirements simply do not work. In the case of the ill-advised legislation before us today, federally-dictated policies will only lead to fewer choices and higher premiums.
"Additionally, House Democrats have missed the mark with H.R. 1425 when it comes to COBRA notices for millions of workers.
"While there is room for improvement in this area, such as increasing transparency and allowing consumers to decide which plans work best for them, Democrats are instead blocking consumer access to information about other forms of valued coverage options outside of the ACA.
"Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, the blatantly political bill we are considering today incorporates Speaker Pelosi’s socialist drug-pricing scheme to cover up the hundreds of billions of dollars this government health care expansion would cost American taxpayers.
"The rising costs of prescription drugs is an issue that resonates with everyone in this chamber. Seventy percent of Americans consider reducing the price of prescription drugs to be a top priority and they are looking to us, their elected representatives, to get the job done to get drug prices under control.
"That is why Congress started a collaborative and bipartisan process last year to tackle this issue.
"Unfortunately, this bipartisan collaboration was abruptly cut short by Speaker Pelosi’s introduction of H.R. 3, which was written in secret without member input or the regular committee process.
"Lowering drug costs should not be a partisan issue, yet the underlying partisan socialist provisions in H.R. 3 are included in the legislation before us today.
"Democrats are well aware that H.R. 3 will never become law. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said it will go nowhere in the Senate and President Trump has said he will veto the bill if it comes to his desk.
"Still House Democrats continue to waste time during an unprecedented health and economic crisis on legislation that will die after House passage.
"Their socialist drug-pricing scheme is nothing more than a left-wing down payment on a government-run health care system that would eliminate private insurance and implement government-controlled rationing of prescription drugs.
"As I have said many times before, governments don’t negotiate, they dictate. The Democrats’ radical drug-pricing scheme will eliminate choice and competition, and jeopardize innovation, investment, and access to future cures. And we are considering this at a time when we are in the process of developing treatments and a vaccine for COVID-19.
"This type of unprecedented government interference in private, market negotiations and substantial increase in regulatory red tape proves one thing: the Democrat party is being held hostage by their most radical, left-wing Members.
"The American people deserve better from Congress than the socialist drug-pricing scheme in the bill before us today. They deserve a real solution that will lower the cost of prescription drugs without jeopardizing access to new treatments and cures.
"That is why House Republicans have introduced H.R. 19, the Lower Costs, More Cures Act. This bill contains bipartisan, bicameral measures and it can become law this year. Specifically, H.R. 19 will help lower out-of-pocket costs, protect access to new medicines and cures, strengthen transparency and accountability, and champion competition.
"Yet, House Democrats are ignoring this bipartisan, commonsense legislation. Clearly, they prefer politics over progress.
"I’m deeply disappointed that we are here today debating yet another partisan ploy from my colleagues on the other side of the aisle. There are bipartisan solutions to many pressing issues at our fingertips including continuing to fight the COVID-19 pandemic but Speaker Pelosi and her Democrat colleagues continue to turn its back on bipartisan legislation to help the American people. And that is truly shameful."