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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  November 15, 2013 1:00am-3:01am EST

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companies so they can purchase, make sure that all of it's verified. so there's just a bunch of pieces to it that made it and you combine that with the fact that the federal government does a lot of things really well. one of the things it does not do well is information technology procurement. this is kind of a systematic problem that we have across the board. and it is not surprising then that there were going to be some problems. now, i think we have to ask ourselves some hard questions inside the white house as opposed to why we didn't see more of these problems coming earlier on -- a, so we could set expectations; b, so that we could look for different ways for people to end up applying. so ultimately, you're right. this is something that's really important to me, and it's really important to millions of americans who have been waiting
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for a really long time to try to get health care because they don't have it. and i am very frustrated, but i'm also somebody who, if i fumbled the ball, i'm going to wait until i get the next play, and then i'm going to try to run as hard as i can and do right by the team. so ultimately, i'm the head of this team. we did fumble the ball on it, and what i'm going to do is make sure that we get it fixed. in terms of what happens on november 30th or december 1st, i think it's fair to say that the improvement will be marked and noticeable. the website will work much better on november 30th, december 1st than it worked certainly on october 1st. that's a pretty low bar. it will be working a lot better
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than it is -- it was last week, and it will be working better than it was this week, which means that the majority of people who go to the website will see a website that is working the way it's supposed to. i think it is not possible for me to guarantee that 100 percent of the people 100 percent of the time going on this website will have a perfectly seamless, smooth experience. we're going to have to continue to improve it even after november 30th, december 1st. but the majority of people who use it will be able to see it operate the way it was supposed to. one thing that we've discovered, though, that i think is worth noting: a lot of focus has been on the website and the technology, and that's partly because that's how we initially identified it -- these are glitches.
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what we're discovering is that part of the problem has been technology -- hardware and software -- and that's being upgraded. but even if we get the hardware and software working exactly the way it's supposed to with relatively minor glitches, what we're also discovering is that insurance is complicated to buy. and another mistake that we made i think was underestimating the difficulties of people purchasing insurance online and shopping for a lot of options with a lot of costs and a lot of different benefits and plans, and somehow expecting that that would be very smooth. and then they've also got to try apply for tax credits on the
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website. so what we're doing even as we're trying to solve the technical problems is also what can we do to make the application a little bit simpler; what can we do to make it in english as opposed to bureaucratese; are there steps that we can skip while still getting the core information that people need and part of what we're realizing is that they are going to be a certain portion of people who are just going to need more help and more handholding in the application process. and so i guess part of the continuous improvement that i'm looking at is not just a technical issue. it's also, can we streamline the application process; what are we doing to give people more
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assistance in the application process; how do the call centers and the people who are helping folks in-person; how are they trained so that things can go more smoothly. because the bottom line ultimately is, i just want people to know what their options are in a clear way. and buying health insurance is never going to be like buying a song on itunes. it's just a much more complicated transaction. but i think we can continue to make it better -- all of which is to say that on december 1st, november 30th, it will be a lot better, but there will still be some problems. some of those will not be because of technological problems -- although i'm sure that there will still be some glitches that have to be smoothed out. some of it's going to be how are we making this application process more user-friendly for folks. and one good example of this, by the way, just to use an analogy
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when we came into office, we heard a lot of complaints about the financial aid forms that families have to fill out to get federal financial aid. and i actually remember applying for some of that stuff and remember how difficult and confusing it was. and arne duncan over at education worked with a team to see what we could do to simplify it, and it made a big difference. and that's part of the process that we've got to go through. and in fact, if we can get some focus groups and we sit down with actual users and see how well is this working, what would improve it, what part of it didn't you understand -- that all i think is part of what we're going to be working on in the weeks ahead. >> what about the insularity criticism that you hear on the hill? >> i've got to say i meet with an awful lot of folks, and i talk to an awful lot of folks every day. and i have lunches with ceos and
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it venture capitalists and labor leaders and pretty much folks from all walks of life on a whole bunch of topics. and if you looked at my schedule on any given day, we're interacting with a whole lot of people. and i think it's fair to say that we have a pretty good track record of working with folks on technology and it from our campaign where, both in 2008 and 2012, we did a pretty darn good job on that. so it's not -- the idea that somehow we didn't have access or were interested in people's ideas, i think isn't accurate. what is true is that, as i said before, our it systems, how we purchase technology in the
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federal government is cumbersome, complicated, and outdated. and so this isn't a situation where on my campaign i could simply say, who are the best folks out there; let's get them around a table, let's figure out what we're doing, and we're just going to continue to improve it and refine it and work on our goals. if you're doing it at the federal government level, you're going through 40 pages of specs and this and that and the other, and there are all kinds of laws involved, and it makes it more difficult. it's part of the reason why, chronically, federal it programs are over budget, behind schedule. and one of the -- when i do some monday morning quarterbacking on myself, one of the things that i do recognize is -- since i know that the federal government has not been good at this stuff in the past -- two years ago, as we were thinking about this, we
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might have done more to make sure that we were breaking the mold on how we were going to be setting this up. but that doesn't help us now. we've got to move forward. jeff mason. >> thank you, mr. president. today's fix that you just announced leaves it up to state insurance commissioners and insurance companies to ultimately decide whether to allow old policies to be renewed for a year. how confident are you that they will do that? and secondly, how concerned are you that this flawed rollout may hurt democrats' chances in next year's midterm elections, and your ability to advance other priorities such as immigration reform? >> on the first question, traditionally, state insurance commissioners make decisions about what plans can be or cannot be sold, how they interact with insurers. what we're essentially saying is the affordable care act is not going to be the factor in what happens with folks in the individual market. and my guess is right away you're going to see a number of
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state insurance commissioners exercise it. part of the challenge is the individual markets are different in different states. there are some states that have individual insurance markets that already have almost all the consumer protections that the affordable care act does. they match up pretty good. it's not some big jump for folks to move into the marketplace. in others, they're pretty low standards, so you can sell pretty substandard plans in those markets. and that's where people might see a bigger jump in their premiums. so i think there's going to be some state-by-state evaluation on how this is handled. but the key point is, is that it allows us to be able to say to the folks who received these notices: look, i, the president of the united states and the
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insurance -- that the insurance model, the affordable care act, is not going to be getting in the way of you shopping in the individual market that you used to have. as i said, there are still going to be some folks who over time, i think, are going to find that the marketplaces are better. one way i described this to -- i met with a group of senators when this issue first came up -- and it's not a perfect analogy but we made a decision as a society that every car has to have a seatbelt or airbags. and so you pass a regulation. and there are some additional costs, particularly at the start of increasing the safety and protections, but we make a decision as a society that the costs are outweighed by the benefits of all the lives that are saved. so what we're saying now is if
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you're buying a new car, you got to have a seatbelt. well, the problem with the grandfather clause that we put in place is it's almost like we said to folks, you got to buy a new car, even if you can't afford it right now. and sooner or later, folks are going to start trading in their old cars. but we don't need -- if their life circumstance is such where, for now at least, they want to keep the old car, even if the new car is better, we should be able to give them that option. and that's what we want to do. and, by the way, that's what we should have been able to do in drafting the rules in the first place. so, again, these are two fumbles on something that -- on a big game, which -- but the game is not over. with respect to the politics of
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it, i'll let you guys do a lot of the work on projecting what this means for various political scenarios. there is no doubt that our failure to roll out the aca smoothly has put a burden on democrats, whether they're running or not, because they stood up and supported this effort through thick and thin. and i feel deeply responsible for making it harder for them rather than easier for them to continue to promote the core values that i think led them to support this thing in the first place -- which is, in this
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country, as wealthy as we are, everybody should be able to have the security of affordable health care. and that's why i feel so strongly about fixing it. my first and foremost obligation is the american people, to make sure that they can get what's there -- if we can just get the darn website working and smooth this thing out -- which is plans that are affordable, and allow them to take advantage of tax credits and give them a better deal. but i also do feel an obligation to everybody out there who supported this effort. when we don't do a good job on the rollout, we're letting them down. and i don't like doing that. so my commitment to them is, we're going to just keep on doing better every day until we get it done. and in terms of the impact on me
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i think to some extent i addressed it when i talked to julie -- there are going to be ups and downs during the course of my presidency. and i think i said early on when i was running -- i am not a perfect man, and i will not be a perfect president, but i'll wake up every single day working as hard as i can on behalf of americans out there from every walk of life who are working hard, meeting their responsibilities, but sometimes are struggling because the way the system works isn't giving them a fair shot. and that pledge, i haven't broken. that commitment, that promise, continues to be -- continues to hold -- the promise that i wouldn't be perfect, number one, but also the promise that as
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long as i've got the honor of having this office, i'm just going to work as hard as i can to make things better for folks. and what that means specifically in this health care arena is we can't go back to the status quo. i mean, right now everybody is properly focused on us not doing a good job on the rollout, and that's legitimate and i get it. there have been times where i thought we were kind of slapped around a little bit unjustly. this one is deserved. right? it's on us. but we can't lose sight of the fact that the status quo before the affordable care act was not working at all. if the health care system had been working fine, and everybody had high-quality health insurance at affordable prices, i wouldn't have made it a priority; we wouldn't have been fighting this hard to get it done -- which is why, when i see sometimes folks up on capitol
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hill, and republicans in particular, who have been suggesting repeal, repeal, let's get rid of this thing, i keep on asking what is it that you want to do? are you suggesting that the status quo was working? because it wasn't, and everybody knows it. it wasn't working in the individual market and it certainly wasn't working for the 41 million people who didn't have health insurance. and so what we did was we chose a path that was the least disruptive, to try to finally make sure that health care is treated in this country like it is in every other advanced country -- that it's not some privilege that just a certain portion of people can have, but it's something that everybody has some confidence about. and we didn't go far left and choose an approach that would have been much more disruptive. we didn't adopt some more conservative proposals that
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would have been much more disruptive. we tried to choose a way that built off the existing system. but it is complicated, it is hard, but i make no apologies for us taking this on -- because somebody sooner or later had to do it. i do make apologies for not having executed better over the last several months. >> and do you think that execution and the flaws in the rollout will affect your ability to do other things, like immigration reform and other policy priorities? >> well, look, if it comes to immigration reform, there is no reason for us not to do immigration reform. and we've already got strong bipartisan support for immigration reform out of the senate. you've got -- i met with a number of traditionally very conservative clergy who are deeply committed to immigration reform.
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we've got the business community entirely behind immigration reform. so you've got a bunch of constituencies that are traditionally much more -- have leaned much more heavily towards the republicans who are behind this. so if people are looking for an excuse not to do the right thing on immigration reform, they can always find an excuse -- we've run out of time, or this is hard, or the list goes on and on. but my working assumption is people should want to do the right thing. and when you've got an issue that would strengthen borders, make sure that the legal immigration system works the way it's supposed to, that would go after employers who have been doing the wrong thing when it comes to hiring undocumented workers, and would allow folks who are here illegally to get right with the law and pay a fine, and learn english and get to the back of the line, but ultimately join fully our
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american community -- when you've got a law that makes sense, you shouldn't be looking for an excuse not to do it. and i'm going to keep on pushing to make sure it gets done. am i going to have to do some work to rebuild confidence around some of our initiatives? yes. but part of this job is the things that go right, you guys aren't going to write about; the things that go wrong get prominent attention. that's how it has always been. that's not unique to me as president. and i'm up to the challenge. we're going to get this done. all right? thank you, everybody. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> following president obama's remarks, house speaker john data released this statement saying -- in the senate, moderately leader mitch mcconnell said -- the house is set to vote on a measure to allow consumers to keep their current plans and senator mary landrieu is proposing a bill to do the same thing. we spoke to a capitol hill reporter to explain the two pieces of legislation. >> it looks like one way or
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another, most americans will be able to hang onto their insurance plans at least through 2014. jennifer haberkorn is health care reporter for "politico" joining us from capitol hill. what did we hear from president obama today? >> the sense -- president said that he had an administrative solution that would allow insurance companies to continue selling plans they were selling in 2013 into 2014. this is one year of transitional relief to people who got cancellation notices. so chairman fred upton of the congress committee has a bill on the house floor on friday that does something similar. how does his bill differ from president obama's? >> it is technical but the upton bill would allow insurance companies to keep open these plans and sell them to anybody. what the president is proposing is that those plans can exist
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for only the people who already have the coverage. insurance -- it limits how many people can get a hold of these plans which don't have the insurance protections that the affordable care act has. the president says it is 2014tant to have in the post-obamacare, post-affordable care act world. >> the health care law has been the focal point for the past week or so. and inc. tomorrow on this debate on the upton bill, will democrats support that billio e -- bill? if not, do they have an alternative? >> house democrats were putting a lot of pressure on the white house to come up with some solution that they can vote for. they were worried about the constituents who are getting these cancellation notices. they worry that they are going to get a campaign had in the next election that says they were helping the president break his promise, that their
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constituents would be able to keep the coverage they like. when the white house came out with their solution today, they came to the helen pitched a solution, many democrats who were thinking about voting for this bill from fred upton, they are reconsidering. they might oppose it. the white house says that the upton bill would undermine the affordable care act and they are very worried about a lot of protections. we will see some democrats but for the measure, typically most of these bills against the affordable care act have gotten a little bit of support from republicans. we will probably see a little bit more than normal on this. probably at least a few dozen. i think the huge defections, 100 omar democrats that the white house is worried about, won't happen. >> let's switch to the senate. says senate democrats are not fully satisfied with the obamacare fix. a picture of senator landrieu.
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what in particular do we hear about senator landrieu today? whacks it was interesting. in the house, a lot of democrats senate,used -- in the most of the democrats who are facing reelection in 2014 were not happy with this measure. they still want to see about. they want to be able to say that the past something or at least got a chance to cast a vote in favor of some kind of legislative fix that would restore the promise from the president that they had broken. senator landrieu and several other democrats still are pushing forward with a proposal. >> our viewers can follow jennifer haberkorn. thanks for joining us. >> thanks a lot. >> senator mary landrieu's legislation would allow consumers to keep their current
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health insurance is permanently. following the senate democrats meeting, she talked about her plan with reporters. her remarks are 10 minutes. >> thank you for coming today. i wanted to make a brief statement about the announcement of the president made earlier today. regarding keeping the promise that we made to americans that have individual health insurance plans. that may not be comprehensive, may not be exactly what they need, but it is what they have. i believe they should be able to keep it. the president's action was welcomed. it is a first step towards making that possible. his guidance, i hope we will be received with good will by our 50 states. the insurance commissioners, etc. i'm going to continue to work
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with leadership. i'm open to working with democrats and republicans if there is a legislative fix that is also necessary. it is very important to understand, this is very important step for our country. if this were easy to do, it would have been done 100 years ago. our nation, the greatest on the planet, has been struggling for decades as to come up with a way that middle-class families and average hard-working americans, and the entrepreneurs that are in our country that we're so proud of, we have been struggling and struggling with a way to provide for them affordable health insurance that they can depend on when they are sick. not just when they are healthy. insurance they can afford, that they can plan on having. the affordable care act does that.
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do we have some things to fix? absolutely. is this one of them? yes. the president's guidance is a great step forward. i have a bill, there are others that have been filed. we are going to be working across the aisle. not to repeal the affordable care act, not to defund the affordable care act, not to undermine the affordable care act, not to gut the affordable care act, but to fix it. anybody that wants to work with me or anybody else to fix it, i will be willing. let me say these cancellation notices that went out to north carolina, arkansas, a lot of places, under the president's guidance, these letters now will have to explain to people that receive them, you know, what their policy did and what is
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available on the exchange. many people will find better options on the exchange. assuming we can get those exchanges up and running and assuming we can get the websites working, many people will find a better option. we told people if they had these plans, they could keep it. i will end with this and will answer your questions. i do not want to lose sight of the promise of the affordable care act. i will give to the press this letter i received from my office. i will not read the whole part of it. but this child, emily, is now 22 years old. her mother, susan, wrote me this letter to say, i know you are struggling with the aca and i want to tell you this is worth fighting for. she goes on to describe her daughter, who lost her hearing as a young child, struggled through and got great grades and ended up going to one of the toughest universities in the country, as she was partially
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deaf. she then gets hit by a car. this is too much to believe, but it is true. gets hit by a car and, had she not been at the age of 22 on the affordable care act, she would have virtually no insurance today. do not lose sight of the promise of the bill, even though we have to get it fixed. dana. go ahead. >> what the president is doing is encouraging insurance companies to give people back their plans. your legislation would require it. is he going far enough and will you continue to push? >> the president's guidance was welcome and well received. we may have to fashion some legislation and we will continue to work in that regard. >> what is the democratic leadership saying to you? >> you will have to ask them. they there are encouraging us to fix this.
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they understand, since we are the ones who helped build the bill, how important it is. ask them. i am continuing to fight very hard for the promise to be kept. >> why would something from congress the necessary? >> i could not hear the last part. well, first of all, the president has come to the conclusion that he does not have the authority to direct commissioners of insurance. congress could do that. there is a bill in the house, as you know. there are several bills moving through congress. my view of the upton bill, and my view of every republican bill i have seen, is that it does not go to fix the affordable care act, but to gut it. it should be understood in that regard. there are bills like mine and
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others that want to find a way to fix to this and keep the promise. it was an important promise that was made. people who have insurance, even though it is expensive and deductibles were high, even though most of these plans did not really cover much at all, it was their plans and if they want to keep it, they should be able to. i am very hopeful, if the affordable care act works as it should, that within a year or less, they will be able to find even better options on the exchange. but we made a promise and we need to keep it. >> many of your democratic colleagues have come out of the caucus and said, more needs to be done and we need legislation. you do not seem to be saying that. you said we may need legislation. >> no. you're not hearing correctly. that is your ears. i said the president's announcement this morning was a great first step and we will probably need legislation to make it stick.
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however, do not underestimate the power of a presidential directive. do not underestimate the willingness of insurance commissioners around this country, republican and democrat, to make this right for people. there are people in this country, contrary to what we might think here in this capital, that really want this legislation to work, because they know the promise it has for people. that is why i am being strong but careful in how we approach this legislatively. we have six cosponsors now, five cosponsors now, and we are picking up support everyday. there is an important vote in the house that will take place, that will send some sort of signals. we are continuing to pick up support. again, i think the president took a step in the right direction.
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>> he is asking about the length of the bill. i will respond -- one of the most important components of my bill, which the president spoke about this morning, was the importance of the notification that insurance companies will have to make, telling people, unlike this letter, that says, your plan is canceled with no explanation, based on the president's guidance this morning, and he knew cancellation letters that go out will have to explain why your policy does not meet the threshold and what is now available to you. but it will also say even though the policy does not meet the new threshold, you can keep it. my bill is a permanent solution. we will be working to see how that can be shaped to make it
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real, hold a promise, and support the affordable care act. one more, yours. >> do you have any concerns about the possibility republicans will push amendments on this subject on the defense bill or anything else? your college has his own push on obamacare related amendments. are you worried about any of those that might come up? >> the only thing i'm keeping my eyes on are the 800,000 people in louisiana do not have health insurance. small businesses, hundreds of thousands that do, but premiums keep going up every year and they keep getting dropped because we had an unaffordable health care system in this country. fixing it so they could depend on it and we can build on it and they can count on it. that is what i will do. i cannot control other amendments that come up from any other bills. it is important to focus, in my view, on fixing the affordable care act, when we see problems. this is a problem and it needs to be fixed. thank you all.
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>> following the end of legislative business thursday, dozens of house republicans took part in an extended series of one minute speeches on the health care law. members spoke about letters received from constituents and spoke about the upcoming vote in the house to allow people to keep their current health care plans. we hear from house majority leader cantor at the top. it is 30 minutes. for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. speaker, millions of americans are coming home and opening their mailboxes to find shocking news. their health care plans are being taken away from them. the president broke a promise we knew he couldn't keep, and now millions of americans feel betrayed, wondering why their health care plans are being canceled. mr. speaker, the house is not in order.
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the speaker pro tempore: the house will be in order. mr. cantor: mr. speaker, this letter was september to me by a constituent -- was sent to me by a constituent named bruno, and he's a constituent of mine in richmond, virginia. he's a self-employed individual who purchases health insurance through anthem blue cross blue shield. a few weeks ago he was stunned to receive this letter in the mail, and it clearly reads, to meet the requirements of the new law, your current plan can no longer be offered. any me plan to cost him this nds and thousands -- plan will cost him thousands and thousands more. as every day passes, we continue to learn more and more people in the same situation. mr. gorra and this cancellation
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letter represents millions of obamacare victims across the country who are having their health insurance ripped away from them. as a result, we as republicans will have the keep your plan act on the floor tomorrow. e only way to stop the cancellation letter will be full repeal of this law. hopefully this legislation will help those feeling the effects of the new health care law. tomorrow we'll see who will put their constituents before politics and vote for a bill that will allow americans to keep their plans. i sincerely hope that my colleagues will act as a united voice and take the first of many steps to provide relief to the american people from the many, many burdens brought about by obamacare. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back.
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for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new mexico ise? ms. lujan grisham: i ask unanimous consent to revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. lujan grisham: mr. speaker, on veterans day, i had the honor of speaking at a veterans ceremony in albuquerque where i was reminded of our solemn responsibility that we have as lawmakers to do everything we can do to stand up for those who stand up for us. that's why last month i introduced the veterans independent living enhancement act. bipartisan legislation that will help disabled veterans live independently and participate in family and community life. currently only 2,700 veterans in the entire country can enroll in the v.a.'s highly successful independent living program each year. when you compare that to the 2.6 million veterans of the iraq and afghanistan wars alone, it is clear that this
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number is far too low, preventing veterans from getting the services and support they need. my bill, which has both democratic and republican co-sponsors, along with the support of a dozen different veterans and health organizations, would remove this arbitrary cap so that every veteran would ben frit from the independent living -- would benefit from the independent living program who can participate in it. mr. speaker, i ask my colleagues to take up this commonsense, bipartisan legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from california rise? without objection. >> mr. speaker, the president's announcement today does little to change to act. the president's plan, if you like your plan, you can keep it, is an empty promise. californians are finding out firsthand in the form of a
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letter that their current plan has been canceled. one of those one million californians happens to be a constituent of mine from bakersfield, california. he wrote me recently how obamacare has failed. mr. mccarthy: he writes, our youngest son was born with a rare genetic condition that results in severe mental retardation. an inability to walk or talk and a need to be tube fed directly to his surgecally implanted port in his stomach. -- surgically implanted port in his stomach. our insurance company has been great helping our son, who requires 24-hour care and prescriptions and formula which is expensive. we learned that our previous coverage, not cheap by any means, with the premium of nearly $1,000 a month, is no longer available. nd that for a far inferior
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replacement coverage with more out-of-pocket coverage, bringing our total to over $1,600 a month. with the added out-of-pocket expenses we anticipate for his care in the coming year, we expect to pay $24,000 more for the care of next year than this year, all thanks to a.c.a. that is why we must take up and pass keep your health plan act, and we ask the democrats to join with us to keep a pledge, to keep a promise and stop increasing the cost for the constituents. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from california rise? without objection. mrs. capps: mr. speaker, i rise to tell the story of one of my constituents' experiences with the affordable care act. allen from santa barbara
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county. prior to the affordable care act, his wife was paying $20,000 a year in insurance premiums. he has a pre-existing condition, so even though it cost so much, she was thankful to have any coverage at all. now, when covered california, our online marketplace opened, she made a call, looked at her options and found a plan that works for her. this plan saved them $8,000 a year, and it was a much better plan. now, we know that the rollout nationally has been sloppy, but the law is not perfect and there are real issues we must fix. and we must fix those problems without diminishing the true benefits the law is giving to my constituents and those across the country. we must ensure that all americans have access to quality, affordable health care. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. for what purpose does the
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gentleman from minnesota -- michigan. >> mr. speaker, i'd ask unanimous consent to speak -- to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. upton: mr. speaker, for the last three years, the president personally promised that if they like their current health care plan that they can keep it no matter what, period. but cancellation notices are now arriving in millions of mailboxes across the country. and in michigan, the great state of michigan, some 225,000 folks will see their plans terminated because of this law. that's twice the number of people who have even been -- who have even tried to select a plan nationwide. now, i've heard from countless families back home that took the president at his word. they're upset, yes, they are, and worried how they're going to make ends meet. a self-employed family of three in bangor, michigan, had purchased their own insurance for more than 30 years.
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their blue cross blue shield plan was working well, had no deductible, $750 monthly premium. to replace it, the premium is going to nearly double to $1393 and their du ductible will jump to $2,800. in their own words, they told us they had been thrown under the bus. sadly, they're not alone. tomorrow, we will vote on the keep your health care plan act, a straightforward, one-page bill that says if you like your coverage, you ought to be able to keep it. let's keep that promise. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. the chair recognizes the gentleman from -- for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> mr. speaker, i rise to share with you a story of a couple zaccos.nsylvania, the
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mr. cartwright: in a one-on-one session a week ago monday, beverly and bob sat as the navigator, mr. hartman, worked online through their application with them. this time, although they had a prior bad experience, the online connection worked like a charm, hartman said, and once it's finished, the zaccos will get a plan that is $500 less expensive than the cobra coverage they had been purchasing for $1,200, even without subsidies. at 62 years old, mr. zaccos is hoping with some adjustments to his income and his wife's medicare, he could qualify for hundreds more a month in subsidies. and i take that from the allentown morning call. and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from indiana rise? without objection.
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mrs. walorski: thank you, mr. speaker. i'm pleased to co-sponsor the keep your health plan act, to make sure individuals can keep the health care plans they like and need. i asked hoosiers in the state of indiana to share their stories with me about their experiences with obamacare. the stories are shocking. kathryn from south bend, got this letter from her insurance company stating that her plan will be canceled. her monthly payments will ncrease from $186 per month to $329 per month, nearly double. cancer m elkhart is a patient undergoing chemotherapy. she has to pay over $1,200 a month for her own coverage. barton said his group premiums will increase up to 80% this year. these are serious problems causing incredible hardships for the very people that we represent. it's time to work on commonsense reforms that will
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lower health care costs and improve the quality of care for our constituents. if we work together, we can get it done. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? mr. davis: to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. davis: thank you, mr. speaker. late last wednesday, the 57-year-old of libertyville became one of the first enrollees for health insurance after glitch-stricken online marketplace operated by the federal government for 36 states, including illinois. i just kept trying, she said. tell people to just keep trying and they'll get in eventually. with federal tax credits, they will pay about $260 a month in premiums, less than what they paid before. they will be able to retain their family doctor and their dentist and their annual deductible will drop to $1,500
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from $5,000. just keep trying. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. poe: mr. speaker, the house of representatives has voted numerous times to repeal obamacare, but the president finally admitted today that obamacare is just not working. and so to save his flawed legislation, he has decided to selectively enforce the law. the individual man darktse the idea that you can keep your own insurance. he said he won't enforce the fine for noncompliance for one year. his method is unconstitutional. the constitution requires congress to write, rewrite and amend laws. no president can just use administrative discretion to not enforce laws or change the law. administrative discretion is just not mentioned in the constitution. selective enforcement violates
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the 14th amendment. no president can just administratively change any law. what's next? is he going to raise taxes by administrative order? congress must write the law. the president must enforce the law. the house will address this very issue legally tomorrow by bringing up legislation that now the president seems to support. i assume the former constitutional law professor will sign on this excellent legislation that you can keep your insurance if you like it. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back. for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania rise? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: ithout objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, over 200,000 pennsylvanians have been notified that they will lose their plans because of president obama's health care law. what these numbers don't tell
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you is the story of hardworking pennsylvanians like these two. don is a marine corps veteran and a former coal miner. he and karen run a ministry that helps people in developing countries. rough rough done recently -- don -- mr. rothfus: don recently let me know that he will lose his plan. he said he specifically bought a plan that met his needs. i liked my plan very much and it was something i could afford. when don and karen were able to get onto the website, the plan he was offered had a deductible of more than $6,000. in don's words, this is, quote, ridiculous, and unaffordable. unfortunately their story is not unique. we need help -- health care reform that works for don and karen and the rest of the american people. the empowering patients first act and the american health care reform act provide a good place to start and a better way on health care reform. i thank the speaker and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from oklahoma rise?
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without objection. >> oklahoma, i rise today to say enough is enough. enough of the rhetoric, enough of the dishonesty. promises have been broken, we face critical situations that need to be made right. countless americans and many within the second district of oklahoma are going to their mailboxes only to learn that the health insurance plan they like is being canceled. in the house we have chosen to listen to the american people through keep your health plan act. mr. mullin: individuals can keep the plan they like and we can clean up the damage done by this administration's failures. aside from the consequences on individuals, business owners like me also face mounting regulations and penalties as a result of obamacare. small businesses provide stability to our economy and employ millions of americans. that stability has been jeopardized by the result of obamacare. i will not sit back and watch americans be subject to empty promises with no solution in
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sight. i encourage my colleagues to join me in saying enough is enough and vote in support of keep your heament plan act. i yield back -- your health plan act. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the entleman from colorado rise? without objection. >> mr. speaker, as my colleagues today have already pointed out, the president made this promise to the american people. if you like your health care plan, you'll be able to keep your health care plan. period. i have in my hands a letter sent to my office from noel from akron, colorado, in my district. this is in part what it says. mr. gardner: i'm 37-year-old auto motive mechanic in the family business, volunteer firefighter, devout catholic. my wife is a 33-year-old third grade teacher. our daughter, a 2-year-old, our son is a 1-year-old and our third child is due in march. i received a letter from rocky mountain health plan stating my existing policy is canceled as of january 1, 2014, due to mandated government policies. 250,000 coloradans have lost
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their insurance. that's more people than have now signed up across this country nationwide for obamacare. you're not alone. i join you because i too lost my health insurance when i chose to opt out of the congressional coverage. one of the 250,000 people that lost our coverage and it is time for this president to uphold his promise to the american people. mr. speaker, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana rise? without objection. >> mr. speaker, as a physician my goal is to make certain that every american has access to quality, affordable health care. the president and congressional democrats promised that you can keep your health insurance if you like it. well, we learned yesterday that in my home state of indiana, only 701 hoosiers have signed up successfully for the affordable care act while over 108,000 hoosiers have had their current plans canceled. i think the people of indiana
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know, this promise has not been kept. mr. bucshon: mary from evansville, indiana, wrote to me about this very thing. she said, our insurance is excellent. i had a heart attack a year ago, we met our deductible this year, but insurance has paid for everything recommended. two months of cardiac rehab, prirpgses and even more surgery -- prescriptions and even more surgery. my insurance and my doctors saved my life and now auto -- and now i'm at risk of losing both. on facebook andrea wrote that she was able to extends her plan for her and her son until next december, then it will be canceled. what happened to if you want to keep your health care, you can, she went on. and finally allen summed up his frustration in one sentence. i will not have insurance beginning january 1, end of story. mr. speaker, these are real stories that affect real people, hardworking families just trying to get by. mr. speaker, we need to hold the president and congressional democrats to their promise. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired.
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for what purpose does the entlewoman from kansas rise? ms. jenkins: address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. ms. jenkins: across kansas, folks are struggling from the affects of obamacare. this cancellation letter is from greg and linda in osage city who wrote to tell me their son was losing his health care plan. linda spent hours each night for weeks trying to sign up for a new plan on the website. she tried the online chat, she tried calling the number and no one could answer her questions. they were forced to add their son to greg's more expensive employer plan and now their son's health insurance bill is going up 50% each month. after years of knowing about these problems, today the president tried to make good on his promise, if you like your plan, you can keep it. but for greg and linda, it's likely too late to the dead line. they have no good options. we must continue to work for
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hardworking american families who are paying the price for this unworkable law. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from nevada rise? without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. period. if you like your doctor, you can keep him, period. we all remember when we heard those words. here's an article from today's las vegas review journal. nearly 25,000 nevadans lose insurance plans under obamacare, that's roughly 27% of the individual market in that state. one of those individuals is janet. janet's 55 years old and battling recurrent cancer. she's had the same insurance policy for 11 years. mr. heck: for 11 years that policy and those doctors have taken care of her and kept her alive. she's currently battling a recurrence undergoing chemotherapy and she received this letter from her insurer on september 25. we would like to take this
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opportunity to thank you for allowing us to be your heament insurance carrier. we are writing to advise you that due to the passage of the federal patient protection and affordable care act, effective december 31, 2013, your standard of basic individual health plan will be discontinued and terminated. you will no longer be able to continue coverage under this benefit plan as of this date. as janet valiantly battles her disease, the last thing she needs is the added stress of wondering about her insurance coverage. mr. president, it's time that americans are allowed to keep their health care plan, period. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? >> address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. peter earlying is a 24-year-old from middleland, texas, who has done everything he's supposed to do. when he was 18 he began working in the oil fields as a roustabout and through hard work and perseverance, he eventually became -- worked his way up to field operations manager.
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four years ago he married a beautiful young lady and they started a family. he now has three small boys and there's a fourth one on the way. but, mr. speaker, he's now in a bad position because of bad calls made by those law makers who voted for the affordable care act and the president who signed it into law. mr. conaway: thanks to obamacare, his company, in the face of a 40% increase in rates, has switched their health insurance plan. the kicker is that peter's wife is halfway through the pregnancy with their fourth child. his wife's doctor is not a part of the new insurance plan. and they're going to have to spend an extra $18,000 out of pocket to stay with the doctor they like and the doctor they were promised they could keep. this is a broken promise that has turn what had should be a joyful and momentous occasion into a nightmare. as he said to one of my staff, i'm 24 years old, at my age, at this point in my career, this is not something that i should have to worry about. mr. speaker, this is not an intellectual exercise we engage in. obamacare is causing major problems for hardworking people like peter and his wife in the
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11th district of texas. his wife is in tears over this issue. the american dream that he was working so hard to provide for his family has turned into a nightmare because of a bad lot. this is unacceptable and it's inexcusable and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? >> mr. speaker, i request permission to address the house for one minute, revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. >> thank you, mr. speaker. 3.5 million americans have seen their health care plans canceled under the affordable care act. i personally heard from many constituents in my district who are seeing their health care plans canceled. for example, anthony, who is a small business owner in my district, got these letters from his insurance plan saying that his plan would be canceled. as a result of that there's a new plan that's available to him, but his monthly cost goes up by a little over 80%.
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and that's low compared to some. he's in the process of building a business and he just hired his first employee. he told me he is scared to death to hire another employee because he just got his insurance cancel and the cost doubled. it's just another story of how this law is hurting people and stifling job creation. i'd like to ask all my colleagues to join me in supporting chairman upton's bill, the keep your health plan act. mr. stivers: i urge all of you to support it. thank you, i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. for what purpose does the entleman from kentucky rise? without objection. >> mr. speaker, for the last four years, president obama repeatedly promised the american people that if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. but for melody in lexington, kentucky, that's simply not true. melody received a notice that her health care plan was no longer good enough under
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obamacare. and when melody looked into options for new insurance, like so many other americans, she found out that her family's insurance costs would go up by 250% and their deductible would increase by $2,000. mr. barr: melody in this email told me, we do not qualify for any premium assistance, even though we are a family of three living on a single income. we are more likely to go without health care coverage because our premiums are going to cost more per year than we would wind up spending on medical expenses without insurance. mr. speaker, this is not about politics. this is about real people in our districts that are being harmed by obamacare. the american people don't need apologies, they don't need temporary administrative waivers. they need permanent solutions that will protect hardworking americans from the coverage cancellations, loss of access to doctors and premium spikes. it's time for the president to keep his promise and allow
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americans who like their health care plans to keep them. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentleman from montana rise? without objection. mr. daines: mr. speaker, president obama promised if you like your health care plan, you can keep your health care plan. but for tens of thousands of montanans, his words are nothing more than a broken promise that has resulted in canceled insurance plans and rising health care costs. i've already heard from hundreds of montanans who are looking for relief from obamacare and unfortunately the president's recent announcement isn't a long-term fix, nor does it address the core problems of this failed law. mr. speaker, this is called the people's house and i want to share the story of the people of montana tonight in this body. dean and summer from flat head county have an autistic son and a daughter with muscular dystrophy who were just notified as i spoke with the mom last week on the phone that their rates are going up $4,500 a year because of obamacare.
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or take for example jim, a business owner in troy, montana, who will need to cut employee hours to avoid paying the obamacare fine and keep his business afloat. or ann marie in mile city, montana, whose family is facing an additional $3,000 per year in health care costs due to increased premiums and deductibles. or paula, a health care provider in cow's bell, who is questioning the viability of her private practice and her ability to continue providing care to many of her parents -- patients. montanans deserve a permanent solution, not a short-term politically driven patch. i will continue fighting to fully repeal obamacare in working toward real solutions to protect montanans' access to their doctors and the health care plans they want. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from michigan rise? mr. miller: unanimous consent to address the house for one minute, revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mrs. miller: mr. speaker, president obama misled the american people about obamacare and now he's admitted it.
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and here's a letter to me from a small business owner in my district. my husband and i have a small medical education business and ever since obamacare passed, our business has been cut in half, doctors are not spending money on education, so for the last four years, our business has really suffered. then we were told we could keep our insurance. we had good insurance. not junk. we currently pay $514 a month for the $2,000 deductible. we were canceled as of 12/31/13. to get anything near where we had, we'll have to pay $1,900 a month which we cannot afford. so much for affordable health care. this is the first time in 30 years that we might not be able to have health insurance. we always run our life, not depending on the government for handouts and now we are losing our insurance. i ask you, what are we to do? americans are suffering. yes, something was wrong, and i believe that something needed to be done. but not this. mr. speaker, it's time to keep
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the promise to the american democratic leaders said the president posses announcement that you could keep what you wanted for a year -- positive received. it would mandate insurance companies must people -- keep people in their policies. this briefing is 25 minutes. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> give us just a second. we are waiting. are we ready?
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ok. chairman of the house democratic caucus, joined by nancy pelosi, our whip, our assistant leader, jim, and our vice chairman is unable to attend. we just completed a very good meeting. a very very good meeting. extremely well attended meeting discussing with the administration how we move forward to continue to improve our health security law.
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we were pleased to have several representatives from the administration further outline what the president announced to the american public earlier today on how we will move forward to make sure people can hold on to their insurance and people can continue to secure good quality health insurance through the marketplaces as well. the good news, there are some 500,000 americans today who will have health insurance that gives them access to doctors and hospitals, that helps them have the relief of knowing their children can go visit a physician when they get sick, which they did not have before the affordable care act became law. 500,000 people. among those, someone i would like to mention, andrew, who i hope i get to meet. i mention them all the time. he is from los angeles. gentleman who was frustrated and spent some 300 -- three hours trying to navigate the website him in california and was not pleased he had to wait three hours. after three hours, he ended up
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saving $6,000. while no one should have to wait three hours to find out if they will qualify for quality affordable health care, everyone wants to save $6,000 and that is why we're here. we want americans to save money on health insurance and we want the millions of americans who could never say they could afford to buy health insurance let alone save money, have access to the doctors and hospitals, so important for their children and themselves. we are here to say we will do everything we can to make our health security law work and work well. when there is an opportunity to improve it, we will work with the president and our colleagues in congress to make that happen. we understand speaker banner today announced the bill the house republican majority will put him a floor of the house tomorrow is not for the purpose of improving the new health security law, or the purpose of trying to help americans trying to steer health insurance through the new marketplaces, but it is for the purpose of moving towards once again repealing the affordable care act.
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this will be the 46 -- 46th time republicans will try to repeal all or part of the law that americans now count on so they will not be discriminated against to make sure their children if they're under 26 can stay on their health insurance policy, to make sure seniors continue to watch as the doughnut hole for payment of their prescription drugs it operates 20 so they do not have to pay out-of-pocket. we want to continue to see health insurance coverage improve for americans and that is why we are please we can join with the president to say we are ready to improve on the affordable care act and make it possible for more than 500,000 people to become insured americans. for all the millions of americans navigating the website, to have that chance as well. let me now ask our leader, nancy pelosi, for her comments. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman.
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i am pleased to join you, as well as all of our members, in the very important meeting we have today. i commend you for how well you have channeled all of the beautiful energy into a spirit that is positive and unified that will take us to the floor tomorrow, but, more important to that, to take us on our way to full implementation of the affordable care act. it is really hard to resist when we are talking about quantifying the numbers signed up. half a million people now, as you said, have access. those of the numbers released. there are more since the end of october, even in california,
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numbers have practically doubled from october to the first two weeks of november. nonetheless, tooth also think in terms of the over 3 million young people who can stay on their parents policy until there are 26 years old. 100% of americans little children no longer have to be discriminated against because of a pre-existing medical condition to the high risk pools that have given people the opportunity with an illness without resources to access to care, to the seniors who benefited from
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the wellness, no co-pay, no deductible, implementation is already in effect, as well as the cost of prescription drugs, and lengthening the stability of medicare. where are we in terms of a bill passed, its constitutionality was upheld by the court, implementation was rolled out over a year to help american people in many ways already and now, despite the glitches, still half a million people. 1,000,000.1 -- 1.1 million more people eligible have logged in and are eligible to go to the next step. we expect, as was the experience of massachusetts, after the initial rollout, there was an acceleration to it. it is pretty exciting. i think i can almost unanimously say there are members very pleased with the president posses statement today, that he
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would do what he could do administratively on this, to have the delay, to encourage insurance companies to make sure people know what their rights are in terms of going to an exchange. you know his provision. i will not visit it except to say it was positively received in the process of putting together our motion to recommit our legislative opportunity as a minardi for tomorrow. you will hear more about it tomorrow. it is complementary to what the
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president has done. i think the administration for their availability in any and all occasions, to, and spell out specifically what the opportunities are and for some of our members, to spell out clearly what the problems are with the bill, the bill of the hour coming out tomorrow. for all the fuss and everybody said how the bill would protect, it does not mandate insurance companies must keep those people in their insurance policies. it is only a masquerade, a trojan horse, coming in to undermine the affordable care act by expanding. i am very pleased with the combination of meetings we have been having in the course of the past couple of days.
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it has brought us together and will take us forward for the full implementation of the affordable care act. i am pleased to yield to the distinguished house democratic with. >> thank you. jim, our assistant leader. our -- let me say, the democratic caucus is almost unanimous on the belief the affordable care act is good for our country, good for our people, that it will make affordable, quality health care available to all americans. that is the substance of what we are talking about. it is the substance of what we are talking about and we have
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not changed the message, even from our party's perspective, when we think the affordable care act will make health care available to all americans and have all americans participate to the extent they can in paying for that health care, which we think is fair to all americans. the message has not changed on our side. -- repeal the affordable care act. this is just another in that effort to do so.
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we believe the president has taken positive steps to make it very clear people who had a policy can't continue in that policy for another year. while figuring out what alternatives are available to them. it also bears repeating that 83% of the people who are in the individual marketplace have
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changed their policies on a regular basis. this is not something that is unusual and not something caused by the affordable care act. to the extent policies were canceled because they did not meet the requirements of the affordable care act, the president has now said, we will give you another year to look at alternatives.
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we think that is a good step forward and we may well have an alternative of our own tomorrow. the bottom line is this. the affordable care act, passed by the congress of the united states and signed by the president of the united states, held to be constitutional by the supreme court of the united states, is working for millions and millions of people right now. and it will work for millions and millions more people who will have the security of having
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insurance and the availability of affordable health care. we will continue this fight for the american people. i would now like to yield to my friend, the assistant leader, jim, south carolina. >> thank you. i often think of two experiences i had with the affordable care
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act. one come in several days before march my first, 2010, when we passed the bill. the other came in several hours afterwards. several days before we passed the bill, i was doing a call in
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radio program and while we were answering questions from collins, the gentleman called in and chastised me pretty profusely for advocating before book air act. he said he had a policy like any did not want anybody messing with his policy. he liked his policy. he did not want us fooling with
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it. i assured the gentleman we had no intention of fooling with his policy. well, a few minutes later, a young lady called in and says, congressman, i do not have a question, but i would like to say something to the german who called in a few minutes ago. she says, and 48 years old. i went to work on the job is 22. i paid my premiums every week, every month, on time. but, several months ago, i was diagnosed with rest cancer. when i went for my second treatment, i got a letter from our insurance company, canceling my policy. she said, i want to say to that gentleman, i thought i liked what i had, until i tried to use
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it. what the president said today, allows people who think they like what they have, to keep it. it also says to insurance companies, you must inform these people of what they have. when you inform them of what they have, they may not like that policy they have. they may not know what they do not have.
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that is what this is all about. i will close with the lady who called me several hours after. she sent me an e-mail. she said to me, i stayed up late last night. you remember we passed this bill late one sunday night. she said, i stayed up late and waited for this bill to pass. because i have not been able to sleep. for several days, i had just gotten a letter from my
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insurance company telling me my policy was being canceled because i have an eight-year-old daughter with cancer and we used up all of our benefits for a lifetime and i have been laying awake at night worrying about what would happen to me or my
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husband if one of us to sick or one of my other children. that is what this law is all about. this is about providing affordable and quality health
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care for all americans and doing so in such a way that they enter into these agreements with these insurance companies with their eyes wide open. i would hope we would come together as a country and begin to make this law work well for everybody. you do not do big things like this in one fell swoop. it is done incrementally. we have taken significant first steps. i would hope we work together to
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get the country where it ought to be and get health care affordable for everybody. thank you and i yield back. >> we think are democrats will be against the upton bill.
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>> the president has made it a very important administrative proposal. that is what he can do administratively. we, in the minority, have very few parliamentary opportunities to put on the floor, further,
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proposals which would require legislative -- a legislative action. we will have a motion to recommit. we are in the process of voting consensus around it with our colleagues tomorrow and when you come to the floor, you will see what it is. the president had done something or nothing, we were going to use our congressional minority prerogative to make our voices heard on the floor about access to quality health care. >> the president has apologized [indiscernible]
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[inaudible] >> i have not apologized because i think all of us, when we were advocating for this legislation, we said time and time again we wanted to get rid of discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions, we wanted to get rid of people having their policies canceled as soon as they got sick, we wanted to get rid of the annual limits, the lifetime limits, and all of us knew full well that our constituents had made a well of what is in the policies. we have determined that whether they liked what they wanted. once they become aware, if they like it, keep it eerie when they become aware, of what they did not have, i do not think there is anything for us to apologize for. what we are doing is pressing issues most people -- and i am one of them. i have three daughters. my first not -- my first he does, it out of my pocket because i did not read the fine print. i changed jobs in the middle of my life's pregnancies and they would not pay. both of my jobs were state jobs. they had a little thing in the fine print that says, if you change jobs, you have to be on a new job 10 months before we paid for maternity leave. and i end up paying for it. just having a college degree will not help you much. >> thank you. i have got a district that is extremely -- the average income in my district is probably in the low 30's. in a place like los angeles, that does not take you very far. if you look at census data, you will find folks in my district probably hold down more jobs, work longer hours, then most people in america. they has to -- they have to because they do not learn very much. the congressional districts in the nation, the second-most uninsured when it comes to health care in the nation. what do i hear from folks back home? i am getting a lot of thank you's. as i mentioned, andrew waited three hours to get his policy, but he will save $6,000 now. the same or better health-care coverage 6000 extra dollars in his pocket. i think all of us are hoping that is the story. we have got to get past the glitches. the administration has heard from us many times. >> coming up on c-span, janet
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yellin, president obama's choice to head the federal reserve, testifies before the senate banking committee followed by president obama's announcement on the healthcare law. after the president, we will hear from senator mary landrieu about legislation to allow consumers to keep their current healthcare plans. >> i think robert hayden is one
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of the most major poets of our time. whenever i feel like reading poetry, i take on his books and go over them again and again. principally also his prose. one of the attractive features is that all of his poems are written in different styles.
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different voices. different forms. and techniques. he was very deliberate about this from the very beginning. many poets write well but they write essentially the same home over and over again. determined to try to make every poem as unique as it could be. so he writes historical poems, personal poems, comic poems, poems, so hes, -- is a fascinating figure because he represents the world of early detroit, detroit in the teens and 20's in the 20th century, and all the way through the depression, the work, the aftermath of the war, the life that people lived in the 50's and 60's. he was part of the civil rights movement.
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there are so many areas in which he has written beautifully and delightedly, so i am there is attention being paid to him at his centennial. >> the life of poet robert hayden this weekend as the tv in american history tv look at the history and -- history of life. >> janet yellin, president obama's choice to replace ben bernanke testified thursday. if confirmed she would be the first woman to serve as federal reserve chairman. the senate banking committee hearing is two hours and 15 minutes. >> i call this hearing to order.
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today we consider the nomination of the honorable janet yellin to be chair of the board of governors of the federal reserve system for a term of four years. dr. yellin is an extraordinary candidate to lead the federal reserve. she currently serves as a member and vice chair of the board of governors. she previously served as a member of the board of governors in the 1990's. she was a chair of the -- of president clinton's council on economic advisors and she served six years as the president of the san francisco fed.
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in addition, dr. yellin has an impressive academic record. she is a professor at berkeley's school of business and was previously a professor at harvard university as well as a faculty member of the london school of economics. dr. yellin graduated suma cum laude and received her phd in economics from yale.
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the nomination is especially timely as our nation struggles with high unemployment in the wake of the great recession. she has devoted a large portion of her professional and academic career to setting labor market, unemployment, monetary policy and the economy. dr. yellin also has a strong track record in evaluating trends in the economy. her academic analysis has been spot on. the "new york times" recently noted that she was "the first fed official in 2005 to describe the rise in housing prices as a bubble that might damage the economy. she was also the first in 2008 to say that the economy had fallen into a recession ."
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these forecasts were not an anomaly. the "wall street journal" recently analyzed 700 predictions made between 2009 and 2012 in speeches and congressional testimony by 14 federal reserve policy makers and found dr. yellin was the most accurate. this accurate economic judgment would be a tremendous quality of a fed chair. dr. yellin has proved through her extensive and impressive record in public service and academia that she is most
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qualified to be the next chair of the federal reserve. we need her expertise at the helm of the fed as the nation continues to recover from the great recession. complete wall street reform and continues to enhance the stability of our financial sector. i'm excited to cast my vote for to confirm her as first woman to serve as chair of the federal reserve and when we vote on the nomination i urge my colleagues to do the same. i now turn to member crapo for his opening statement. >> thank you.
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today's hearing is an opportunity not only to examine governor yellin's qualifications but also her views on role and direction of the federal reserve. in recent years the fed has engaged in unprecedented policies including purchasing trillions of dollars in treasuries and mortgage-backed securities. current fed purchases total up to $85 billion a month. as a result, the next fed chair will inherit a balance sheet that currently stands at approximately $3.8 trillion, four times higher than before the financial crisis. as i think everyone knows, i
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have been a long-time critic of the fed's quantitative easing purchases. now that a reduction in asset purchases seems to be on the horizon, i'm concerned that markets have become overly reliant on them. it is essential to know how dr. yellin, if confirmed, would manage the process of normalizing the monetary policy. the fed indicated it would hold short-term interest rates low for an extended period.
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governor yellin stated the policy rate should be held lower for longer. how long is too long? the extended period of low rates is hurting individuals. the international monetary fund cautioned that the actions taken by central banks are associated with financial risks that are likely to increase if the policies are maintained.
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how would the fed ensure that the risks are avoided under dr. yellin's chairmanship? in addition to unprecedented monetary policy, the next fed chair will finalize several regulatory reform rules that must balance the financial
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stability with the inherent need for markets to take on and accurately price risk. they must be done without putting the u.s. markets at an undue competitive disadvantage or harming consumers with unintended consequences. the chair must understand how different rules interact and what impact they have on the affected entities and economy at large. just as some worried that we did not have enough regulations on the books to prevent the economic crisis, some of us worry that the post crisis response will result in a regulatory regime that stifles
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growth and job creation. the chair of the federal reserve must know and understand the need for that balance and how to carefully manage competing demands without harming the economy. u.s. banking system and capital markets must remain the preferred destination for investors throughout the world. during previous hearings i asked
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chairman bernanke what parts of dodd-frank could be revisited. chairman bernanke also commented in july that legislation is needed to allow the fed flexibility to deal with the collins amendment and tailor appropriate capital requirements for insurance companies. i look forward to hearing dr.
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yellin's views on what dodd- frank fixes congress ought to consider and how she intends to achieve an appropriate balance between the regulation and economic growth in confirmed. in addition to the previously mentioned issues, the makeup of the board itself will change in the near future. governor sarah bloom raskin
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nominated. if governor yellin is confirmed as chair, the fed will need a new vice chair. moreover, dodd-frank created a vice chair of supervision which has not yet been officially filled. the appointments will shape the direction of the federal reserve policy making for years to come. i look forward to working with the chairman to see that the positions are filled in a way that provides the proper balance
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and expertise at the fed. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, senator crapo. we have agreed, to allow for sufficient time for questions, we are limiting opening statements to the chair and member. all senators are welcome to submit an opening statement for the record.
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we will now swear in dr. yellin. please rise and raise your right hand. do you swear or affirm that the testimony that you are about to give is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> do you agree to appear and testify before any duly constituted committee of the senate? >> i do.
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>> please proceed. >> please be sure that your written statement will be part of the record and i invite you to introduce your family and friends in attendance before
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beginning your statement. dr. yellin, please proceed with your testimony. >> thank you. i would like to introduce my husband george, and my sister, and my friend and a former san francisco fed director carla chambers here with me today. chairman johnson, senator crapo and members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today. it has been a privilege for me to serve the federal reserve at different times and in different roles over the past 36 years. and i'm honored to be nominated by the president to lead the fed as chair of the board of governors. i approach this task with a clear understanding that the congress has entrusted the federal reserve with great responsibilities. its decisions affect the well- being of every american and the strength and prosperity of our nation. that prosperity depends most, of course, on the productiveness
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and enterprise of the american people but the federal reserve plays a role, too, promoting conditions that foster maximum employment, low and stable inflation and a safe and sound financial system. the past six years have been challenging for our nation and difficult for many americans. we endured the worst financial crisis and deepest recession since the great depression.
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the effects were severe. but they could have been far worse. working together, government leaders confronted these challenges and successfully contained the crisis. under the wise and skilled
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leadership of chairman bernanke, the fed helped stablize the financial system, arrest the steep fall in the economy and restart growth. today the economy is significantly stronger and continues to improve. the private sector has created 7.8 million jobs since the post crisis low for employment in 2010. housing, which was at the center of the crisis, seems to have turned a corner. construction home prices and sales are up significantly. the auto industry has made an impressive comeback with domestic production in sales back to near their pre-crisis levels. we have made good progress, but we have further to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession. unemployment is down from a peak of 10%, but at 7.3% in october it is still too high. reflecting a labor market and economy performing far short of their potential. at the same time, inflation is running below the federal reserve's goal of 2% and is expected to continue to do so for some time. for these reasons, the federal reserve is using its monetary policy tools to promote a more robust recovery. a strong recovery will ultimately enable the fed to reduce its monetary accommodation and reliance on unconventional policy tools such as asset purchases. i believe that supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy. in the past two decades, and especially under chairman bernanke, the federal reserve has provided more and clearer informatioab