tv U.S. House Convenes for Legislative Business CSPAN March 22, 2017 1:59pm-4:00pm EDT
watched as all of those promises were broken. for seven years we have heard from families and small businesses across the country that have seen their health care costs skyrocket and their choices diminish. members of the house education and work force committee recently heard from scott bolenbacher, an indiana small business owner with 11 full-time employees. the company has been forced to switch health care plans twice now under obamacare, and their only viable option this year was a plan with a 78% premium increase. mr. bolenbacher is one of countless small business owners struggling to make ends meet under a failed government takeover of health care. because of obamacare, 300,000 small business jobs have been destroyed, including nearly 8,000 in my home state of north carolina.
additionally, an estimated 10,000 small businesses nationwide have closed their doors and small business employees have lost $19 billion each year in wages. mr. speaker, the house is not in order. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is correct. the house will be in order. members and staff will take their conversations from the floor. the chamber. the gentlelady may proceed. he gentlelady may proceed. the gentlelady will suspend. the house will be in order. mbers of the body and staff,
to the chair's left, will take their conversations from the floor. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady may proceed. ms. foxx: thank you. it should come as no surprise since 2008 the share of small businesses with fewer than 10 employees offering health coverage has dropped 36%. it's not that they don't want to, it's that onerous mandates and regulations have made it simply unaffordable to do so. fortunately, relief is on the way. this week we are not only moving to repeal obamacare, we're also advancing positive reforms that promote affordable coverage for working families, including the small business
health fairness act. as its title implies, this important legislation is about fairness for small business and their employees. today, small businesses are on an unfair playing field with larger companies and unions when it comes to health care. large businesses have the ability to negotiate for more affordable health care costs for their employees, but small businesses do not have the same advantage. because of their size, small businesses have limited bargaining power, which means their employees can end up paying more for health insurance. with millions of americans employed by a small business, it's long past time to level the playing field. that's exactly what this commonsense legislation is about. this bill would empower small businesses to band together through association health plans, or a.h.c., to help lower costs for workers. this bill represents a first step toward a more competitive
health insurance market that crosses state lines. under h.r. 1101, small businesses in different states could join together through a group health plan. these plans would have strong protections and solvency requirements to ensure workers can count on their health care coverage when they and their families need it. what does all this mean? more choices, more freedom and more affordable health care for working families and small business owners like scott bolenbacher. this is a better one -- this is a better way, one that stands in stark contrast to obamacare's failed approach. instead of more mandates, this bill empowers individuals to access the high-quality affordable health care plan that meets their needs. i want to thank my colleague, representative sam johnson, for championing for years the positive reforms in this bill. i urge members to vote yes on
h.r. 1101 so we can level the playing field for small businesses and expand affordable health coverage for working families. thank you, mr. speaker. i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves the balance of her time. the gentleman from virginia is recognized. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. scott: mr. speaker, today we're considering a bill that purports to make it easier for small businesses to obtain coverage, and tomorrow we'll vote on a bill that will take away health insurance coverage for 24 million americans and force everyone else to pay more for less. so not only are we considering a bill today that will make things worse, we're considering it a day before we vote on ruining health security for working families in order to provide tax cuts for the wealthy. as we debate the possible replacement of the affordable care act, i think it's instructive that we look back at the situation -- what the situation was before the a.c.a.
passed. listening to some, you think costs weren't going up at all. in fact, costs were going through the roof before the a.c.a. and small business in particular were having cost increases -- spectacular cost increases and that's until somebody got sick. at that point you were unlikely to be able to afford any insurance at all. every year before the a.c.a., small businesses were dropping insurance right and left, particularly after somebody got sick. also, before the affordable care act, people with pre-existing conditions couldn't get insurance. women were paying more than men, and millions of people were losing their insurance every year. since then, the cost have continued to go up but at the lowest rate in the last 50 years. people with pre-existing conditions can get insurance at the standard rate. small businesses can cover their employees through the affordable care act at the average cost whether or not anybody in the small business has cancer or diabetes. women are not paying more than
men. instead of millions of people losing their insurance every year, 20 million more people have insurance. in addition to that, families now enjoy strong consumer protections. the full name of the affordable care act is the patient protection and affordable care act. now there are no caps what an insurance pays and they can't cancel your policy for anything other than nonpayment. preventive services such as cancer screenings, are available at no -- with no co-pay or deductible. those up to 26 can stay on their parents' policies and the doughnut hole is being closed. now, the a.c.a. didn't cure every problem but it went a long way by giving americans economic security. it could have gone further if within the past seven years republicans would have been willing to work with democrats to build on the progress instead of forcing over 60 votes to repeal all the parts of the affordable care act. and if we do anything now, we ought to improve the situation,
not make it worse. the republican plan makes things worse. the c.b.o. analysis concluded that 24 million fewer people will have insurance and most of those that get insurance in the future will be paying more for policies that don't deliver as much. for seniors, particularly, the cost will skyrocket, and in fact predictions are the rates will go -- the prediction that the rates will go down in the future are the result of the conclusion that so few seniors will be able to buy insurance that they will no longer be in the insurance pool. the insurance pool will be younger and therefore the costs will go down, but that's only because seniors won't be able to afford the insurance. therefore, the insurance pool will be younger and cheaper for those that can actually afford it, but that's not a good thing for seniors that need the insurance and can't afford it. so today we're considering another failed policy. this plan has been studied for years and it's concluded it's a bad idea.
under the affordable care act, essentially everybody pays average. if you change that arithmetic so some can pay a little less, then arith me particular matters. everybody -- arithmetic matters. everybody is going to pay a little more. in the association plans, quite frankly, i'll admit they will always work for the few that can get into them and that's because if you can draw out your own group, if they are healthier than average and can pay less they'll pay less. and the association will work. but if you pull out a group and it turns out they are a little sicker than average and the bids come in above average, then the association will dissolve and everybody will go back into the insurance pool. so if you can pull out a group -- pool out a group they will always pay less until somebody gets sick and then everybody jumps into the insurance pool. the higher cost groups will be left behind. the lower cost groups will segment out. and then the rates for -- the rates will go down for a few
and up for everybody else. this is exactly why the american academy of actuaries have said expanding association plans, quote, could result in unintended consequences such as market segmentation that could threaten viability and make it more difficult for high cost groups and individuals to obtain coverage. one of the problems -- one of the other problems is lack of regulation. if a group is allowed to circumvent state regulations, that policy may be cheaper because the policy is not as good. there are a lot of ways you can safe money. you can pool out a group of just young men and save on maternity benefits. that would be cheaper for them but more expensive for everybody else. and what happens when a new spouse needs coverage and tries to get it as an optional benefit? they won't be able to afford it. workers and businesses -- business owners are likely to get fewer benefits under the association approach and will be disadvantaged compared to those in the regular pool
getting comprehensive benefits. this is exactly why consumers union has stated the legislation is likely to provide minimal and nonuniformed benefits. now, mr. speaker, this bill will make it easier to set up these kinds of associations and let them avoid state regulation which could require solvency -- nice solvency requirements and consumer protections. the protections in this bill are not sufficient to protect consumers and most states would require stronger capital requirements than the bill requires. so much like the republican replacement bill, this bill goes in the wrong direction, so i urge my colleagues to vote no and reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves his time. the chair will receive a message. the messenger: mr. speaker, a message from the president of the united states. the secretary: mr. speaker. the speaker pro tempore: mr. secretary. the secretary: i am directed by the president of the united states to deliver to the house of representatives a message in writing.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield six minutes to the wonderful gentleman from texas, sam johnson, the author of the bill. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. chairman. i thank the gentlewoman for yielding. i'd like to start off by thanking chairwoman foxx and chairman walberg for their strong support of my bill. the small business health fairness act. mr. speaker, the legislation before us today is on an issue that has long been near and dear to my heart, association health plans. association health plans would allow small businesses to join together and provide health care coverage just like large
corporations and unions do today. association health plans are also a central part of replacing obamacare with commonsense solutions. you know, obamacare has been an absolute disaster. my constituents in collin county, texas, have shared with me their negative experiences with it since it became law nearly seven years ago. one of the groups hardest hit by obamacare are small usinesses, the backbone of our economy. since 2008, over 1/3 of businesses with fewer than 10 employees have dropped insurance, and you know that's just wrong. because obamacare is failing, we need to repeal it, replace it with better solutions for the american people.
one of these solutions is my association health plan. what my bill does is simply allows small businesses to join together through trade or professional organizations. as we all know, the basic rule of insurance is the bigger the risk pool the lower the cost. furthermore, my bill allows small businesses to join together across state lines. my bill would also free small businesses from costly and burdensome state and federal requirements. this isn't anything different from what large employers and unions already do. my bill is simply about leveling the playing field for small businesses and their hardworking employees. this bill also has wide support from the business community,
including the u.s. chamber of commerce, the national federation of independent business, the national retail federation and the international franchise association. not everyone knows this but i was a small business owner myself between my time in the air force and coming to congress. in fact, i established a home building business in north texas from scratch. so i can understand where small businesses are coming from. for example, bob gibbons and his wife own a commercial real estate business in my hometown of plano, texas. they've had a tough time obtaining good, affordable health insurance, a problem that has gotten worse since obamacare. bob sums up this entire issue pretty well in two sentences and i quote him, why should someone's status as an employee
give them preferential right to decent group health coverage? entrepreneurs are penalized when they start a small business because they can't get comparable coverage. bob's experience underscores the entire point behind small business health fairness act. mr. speaker, i'd like to submit bob's letter for the record along with letters from the cities of frisco, richardson and anna, in my district. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. johnson: thank you. and by allowing small businesses to band together, they can purchase more affordable health insurance for their employees, so let's get this commonsense plan passed. let's help those who power our economy be able to get the health care they want, need and deserve for themselves and their workers. i urge all my colleagues to vote in favor of h.r. 1101, and
i thank you and yield back the balance of my time. . the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina reserves her time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentleman from new york, mr. espaillat. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman virginia tech. mr. espaillat: thank you, mr. speaker. ranking member mr. scott for yielding. i rise today in opposition to h.r. 1101, the small business fairness act. mr. chairman, the concept of association health plans hhps is nothing new. versions of this bill have been around for many years. they don't work. currently h.p.s. are regulated by the states. ensuring the ability to protect consumers. h.r. 1101, however, would yank association health plans from the realm of the state oversight by federally certifying them and holding them to few if any regulatory
requirements. this would strip the states of the ability and fidelity to regulate beneficiary protections that exist to protect their citizens. federally certifying ahps will allow selective choice of which benefits are provided and which persons can enroll. this is a complete and total disservice to all individuals and citizens in a state's health insurance market. association health plans currently exist and operate in new york state. serving many thousands of beneficiaries and avail new yorkers' protections, benefits guarantees, and avenues for appeal through the department of financial services. this bill does nothing, nothing to offer guarantee affirmative coverage. it will permit pre-existing conditions as a legitimate reason to exclude individuals. it has no minimum threshold for anything resembling the special
health benefits and it fails to offer a requirement for the actuarial value of insurance products to cover total health costs. what then remains is not a health plan. in fact, what remain is strikingly similar to what the american health care act purports to offer millions of americans. less coverage for those enrolled and more expense for those who are too sick, too old, and too poor to be approached by an a.h.p. a.h.p.'s will lead to higher costs for individuals who are sicker and will dilute the risk pool of entire states leading to higher premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. where the american health care act will be unilaterally hurt all americans, h.r. 1101 will do -- accomplish the same harm directed at the sickest and most underserved in a more traditional manner. mr. chairman, i offer an amendment to this bill which was germane yet not made in
order. my amendment would have protect the rights of the states to regulate association health plans to include regulation of benefits, consumer protections, and restrictions. the goal of my amendment was to ensure that all states and their constituents have the same security and protections that my constituents have benefited from over the past seven years. consumer protections against surprise billing and adverse selection. provider protection for prompt claim payment and pre-authorization. protection for local and regional insurers so that large national insurance companies cannot cherry pick the good risk. i certainly believe and i hope that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle support a program integrity in protecting our constituents. which is why -- what my amendment would have made clear. lastly, i would like to be clear that i am supportive of increasing access to health care that is competitive and --
comprehensive and affordable for all americans. the bill before us does not do that. the american health care act certainly does not do that. i urge my colleagues to strongly oppose this bill of health care. thank you i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves his time. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. now yield two minutes to the chairman of the health employment, labor, and pensions you subcommittee, mr. walberg from michigan. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. walberg: i thank the gentlelady and thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in support of h.r. 1101, the small business health fairness act. a bill that will help people in michigan and across the country by expanding affordable coverage for workers and their families. i want to thank our colleague, representative sam johnson, for introducing this legislation and i really enjoyed hearing
sam and his comments talk about this being common sense. sam johnson defines common sense and patriotism. he has tirelessly championed this bill for years and it is a privilege to join him in pushing for these positive reforms. mr. speaker, health care in this country has become simply unaffordable for far too many small businesses and working families. the patient protection and affordable care act has proved to be an utter failure for most people in the united states. it is snowballing out of control and rolling over working families and small businesses. 95% of small businesses have reported increased health insurance costs over the past five years. and a 2015 study by the national federation of independent businesses found that the cost of health insurance is the principal reason that small businesses do not offer coverage. as a result, since 2008, 36% of
small businesses with fewer than 10 employees have stopped offering health care coverage to their employees. it's not that they don't want to offer health care benefits. the truth of the matter is that small businesses have been hit especially hard by the government takeover of health care. under obamacare, working families i speak to in my district are paying more for less and finding they have fewer options for coverage. h.r. 1101 is a key part of the third phase of our efforts to reform our health care system so it works for all americans. it aims to increase the negotiating power of small businesses so they can bring down health insurance costs for their employees. right now small businesses are often on an unequal playing field with larger companies and unions. because they have few employees, small businesses have limited bargaining power when it comes to negotiating for lower insurance costs for
their workers. this bill levels the playing field for small businesses. allowing them to band together -- 30 more seconds? ms. foxx: i yield the gentleman 15 seconds. mr. walberg: thank you. to band together through association health plans and negotiate the best deals to provide health care at a lower cost. it also represents an important step forward, purchasing health insurance across state lines. today's vote is an immediate first step to help job creators provide affordable health care options to their employees and a transition toward a patient centered health care system. i urge my colleagues to support this legislation. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i yield four minutes to the gentleman from connecticut, mr. court nifment the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. courtney: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you to the ranking member for your leadership this afternoon.
again, as someone who was a small employer for 27 years and provided health benefits for my staff, i am acutely aware of the challenges in the small business market which long predate passage of the affordable care act and which is still something that we can do better in terms of helping folks deal with this issue which, again, is so important because small businesses are the job creators in the american economy. what i want to point out is that this legislation, in my opinion, is just a complete misfire. first of all remind everyone there are over 670 association health plans existing in america today. the notion that the affordable care act somehow is smothering or stifling association health plans is just factually false. there are many that are in business providing coverage as has been said by some of the prior speakers for people, and
like industries like restaurants, etc., so again, we're not talking about existential threat out there about association health plans today. the guts of this bill is really -- it's quite extraordinary coming from, again, the republican party. is to preempt state governments from having any say over the solvency and the benefit design of plans that are op -- operate under association health plans. back in the 1990's, there was a spate of problems with association health plans going belly up because, again, there was no state insurance solvency standards to make sure there were funds setaside to pay the bills of people who were employed in the businesses that these plans were set up to serve. so as a result, congress acted. we basically said that the federal government was doing a lousy job in terms of protecting patients and we gave states the ability through their state insurance departments to make sure that
certain solvency standards were met and as said earlier, they were not going to be able to cherry pick the healthiest and leave the rest for other segments of the health insurance industry. so as a result of the fact that we made this change, again, the state -- the state insurance commissioners all across america, republican states and democratic states, have weighed in. they sent a letter on february 28. pleading with congress not to do this. not to pass this bill which eliminates their ability to protect the citizens of their states. so this bill is actually an anti-states rights bill because it's basically saying the federal government is going to wipe out, step in and wipe out the way in which these plans operate and leave, again, a race to the bottom, lowest threshold of protections for patients, and that's considered health care reform or somehow advancing the ball in temples helping small businesses. there are many-in terms of
helping small businesses. there are many ways to do that. there is not some new idea we're debating. this has been back and forth over the years, the 1990's and early000s, it predates the affordable care act by decades. it's an old chestnut being thrown out on the floor in the name of some idea to sound like we're doing something for small businesses. under the affordable care act we set up a 50% tax credit for businesses that qualify for it to make health insurance affordable. i did two town halls back in my district. a plumber from the next town over who, again, took advantage of that 50% took credit. he saved thousands of dollars in terms of providing health benefits for his small business. we can expand that tax credit to get a wider universe of small businesses. that's what we should be doing. we should be building on what is successful. again, not watering down existing patient protection, consumer protection laws that ensure that plans are going to
have funds to pay the bills when people get sick or go to hospital. and certainly not to be able to cherry pick what benefits are considered essential or no. we should not be allowing health plans to decide we're not going to cover maternity, or we're not going to cover -- 30 seconds. mr. scott: an additional minute. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. courtney: thank you. that they can pick and choose what essential benefits, that again the rest of the universe of businesses have to provide now under the affordable care act. which are, again, based on sound medical research. not political decisions or not just the whims of people running health plans like association health plans. again, this is the wrong approach. this is, again, turning the clock backwards. it's not going to provide any protections. and it certainly is not responding to some exy tension threat to association health plans. 672 are in operation today. let's help them with programs like tax credits. let's not just sort of turn
that whole sector of the health insurance marketplace into the wild west because it's patients who are going to lose, our citizens are going to lose. we can do better as a cofpblgt i strongly urge a no vote on this measure. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia reserves his time. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i now would like to yield two minutes to our distinguished colleague, member of the committee, and the chair of the veterans' affairs committee -- veterans' affairs committee, dr. phil row oftown trnings two minutes. mr. roe: thank you, mr. speaker. i rise today in strong support of h.r. 1101, the small business health fairness act, sponsored by my good friend and true american hero, sam johnson. i encourage all of my colleagues to do the same. this bill is an important tool to help empower small businesses to offer more affordable health care options to their employees.
mr. speaker, as a former small business owner myself, i know that most small business owners want to do the right thing and offer health insurance to their employees. we did so in my practice. but many of these businesses are struggling with the cost and complexity of offering health insurance to their employees. obamacare has exacerbated this problem for small businesses. thousands of jobs and thousands of small businesses have closed. we have a better way. we will pass the american health care act which will replace obamacare with free market reforms but there's much more that can be done. perhaps the only thing that's prevented obamacare from causing even more damage than erisa employer sponsored health insurance. we believe small businesses deserve the same protections than large businesses do and that's why we're passing this legislation today. the small business health care fairness act takes positive
stweps towards creating a more -- steps towards creating a more competitive marketplace. mr. speaker, why would anybody care if association health plans got together and allowed me to purchase insurance across a state line? i have community in my district that the state line on one side of the street is bristol, virginia, on the other side is bristol, tennessee. why would it matter? why couldn't i purchase that insurance across the state line if it helped my employees and lower cost? and by the way, mr. speaker, the affordable care act is working so well for consumers that 18 out of 23 of the co-ops went broke leaving hundreds of thousands of people to search for insurance coverage. for the past eight years, house republicans engage in administration and encourage him to work with us to implement a more patient-centered health care system. but instead of working with us on a common goal, they've laird on additional cost -- layered on additional costs for small
businesses. i want my colleagues to support h.r. 1101 and with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina reserves her time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: mr. speaker, could you advise us how much time is available on both sides? the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from virginia has 14 1/2 minutes. and the gentlelady from north carolina is 16 3/4 minutes. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. scott: and, mr. speaker, i just want to point out a few letters we have received, one from the diabetes association, which includes in part the association has serious concerns that a.h.p.'s could lead to a two-tiered market in which a.h.p.'s offer inadequate coverage to healthy groups only while others provide consumers protections but at increasingly higher premiums.
for these reasons we urge you to oppose the h.r. 1101. we also received a letter, mr. speaker, from the national association of insurance commissioners. they said in their letter that the legislation, as written, would eliminate allstate consumer protections and sol -- all is it state consumer protections and solvency standard for which they pay their monthly premiums. these protections at the very core of a state regulatory system that's protected consumers from -- for 150 years. history has demonstrated that a.h.p.-type entities have done more harm than good to small businesses. mr. speaker, we also received a letter from the main street alliance which said in short, h.r. 1101 would result in higher premiums and poorer coverage for the most vulnerable small business owners who would destabilize the small group market and would lead small business
owners and employees to assume unnecessary financial risks. we also heard from the consumer union -- consumers union. consumers union has long raised the inadequacies of a.h.p.'s and urges congress to reject them as likely to fragment the insurance pool -- is likely to fragment the insurance risk pool and provide minimal, nonuniformed benefits exempt from state benefit mandates. and we also heard from the coalition of consumer groups, providers and labor unions which said this bill will just move backward to a two-tiered system that makes it harder to purchase comprehensible, affordable coverage for all but a minority of small businesses. mr. speaker, i'd ask unanimous consent that these letters be accepted for the record. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from north
carolina. ms. foxx: thank you very much, mr. speaker. i now yield 1 1/2 minutes to the distinguished chairman of the small business committee, mr. chabot from ohio. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. chabot: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank the gentlelady from north carolina for her leadership on this issue, and i rise to voice my strong support for h.r. 1101, the small business health fairness act. i thank my colleagues from ways and means and from the education and work force committee for getting this great idea onto paper and moving this bill forward today. as chairman of the house small business committee, i'm always very appreciative to see members from across this body find solutions for small businesses, and that's exactly what this bill is. for virtually any one of us in this chamber, it can be said that hundreds of thousands of our constituents depend on small businesses for their livelihoods. they've been looking to those same small businesses for options as obamacare has done
the opposite of what it was supposed to do and it's diminished choices for workers. by allowing small businesses to join together through association health plans, the small business health fairness act will give small business employees at least as many choices as those who happen to work for larger companies. association health plans have long been a solution suggested by small businesses who share their views with me and other members of the small business committee, and this bill puts that idea finally into action. mr. speaker, in our current state of affairs, there are fewer and fewer health care options available for hardworking americans. this bill addresses that problem for our hardest hit small businesses and communities. while we begin the hard work of making health care not only affordable but worth buying at all, this bill is an important step in giving americans the certainty and choices that they want. i would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill and i yield
back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina reserves. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from georgia and a member of our committee, mr. allen. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. allen: thank you, mr. speaker. thank you, chairwoman, for your leadership on this important bill. today i rise in support of h.r. 1101, the small business health fairness act. since 2008, the number of small businesses offering health insurance to its employees has dwindled nearly 36%. the culprit, well, obamacare. the american people deserve choice. i have lived this reality. i owned and operated a small business for over 40 years back home in georgia. i know how obamacare premium increases hurt and in some cases affected a business'
ability to provide health care for its employees. i believe the greatest gift god gave me as a small business owner was the ability to give others a good job along with the dignity and respect they deserve, to provide for their family, their community, their church and, yes, this nation. all hardworking americans, small business owners should be able to give their employees these same opportunities. for this reason i am a strong supporter of the small business health fairness act, legislation which will allow small businesses to band together and purchase health care for workers and their families at a lower cost. folks, this is innovation. this is what the small business community does. small businesses are the backbone of america. i will fight for their strength and their survival, and i yield back the remainder of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady from north carolina reserves. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i
reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i now yield two minutes to the distinguished gentleman from michigan and a member of the committee, mr. mitchell. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. mitchell: i thank the gentlewoman from north carolina for yielding. mr. speaker, i rise in support of the small business health fairness act. we have all talked a lot about our plan to repeal and replace obamacare. this legislation is a key component of our rescue mission for health care in america. small businesses have been hit particularly hard by obamacare's mandates, skyrocketing costs and limited choices. small business owners, many who want to provide health care for their employees, have told me they are struggling to do so because of obamacare. this legislation would level the playing field for small businesses by allowing them to band together to increase bargaining power to lower costs. it would expand affordable coverage for families trying to secure health insurance through
their employer and lower costs for small businesses with limited resources. in addition, this bill includes strong protections for patients with pre-existing conditions, a top priority of mine and many of my colleagues. as we work for health care reform in america. today we are acting on the promises to deliver relief from obamacare. we are returning power where it belongs, choice where it belongs, to patients and doctors, not washington. i urge you to support the small business health fairness act. thank you and i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: mr. speaker, the bad idea in this plan has been exposed in one of the letters i mentioned. i said a lot of consumer groups -- i just want to name the groups that signed the letter. the american nurses association, the alliance for retired americans, the american cancer society, cancer action network, the american diabetes
association, the american federation of state, county and municipal employees, the association of reproductive health professionals, center for mental health law, community catalyst, consumers union, families u.s.a., international union, united automobile, aerospace, implement workers of america, u.a.w., national council of la raza. the national education association, national partnership for women and families. national women's health network, raising women's voices for the health care we need and the services employees international union all oppose this legislation. and i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield two minutes to the distinguished member from minnesota, mr. lewis, a member
of our committee. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. lewis: i thank the gentlewoman from north carolina for her leadership here and on the committee as well. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 1101, the small business health fairness act. it is amazing as a freshman in this body to watch this debate over what we're trying to do on this side when we know what has already transpired, what's been done. the affordable care act was going to lower our premiums $2,500. that's what the president said. but they went up by $4,800. in my home state of minnesota we've seen back-to-back increases of 65% and 70%. we got 1,000 counties in this country with just one insurer. the exchanges are imploding as young, healthy people can't afford the premiums, they drop out and the pools only have the older and the sicker. we have job lock where people trying to start a small business can't get the same tax advantages or purchasing power as those in big companies. so what to do? we're going to stabilize the
insurance markets through choice and competition and that's what h.r. 1101 does. it lowers premiums. it enlarges pools. we do that. we must do that to save the health insurance markets and health care in america. that's the agenda of 1101. that's the agenda what we're trying to do in global health care reform. so today as we debate how to fix health care in america, let us not forget the status quo and the debacle it is. so i stand and i urge my colleagues to support this bill, and i further urge my colleagues to finish the job over what we are starting on real health care reform and i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves her time. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker. mr. speaker, i just wanted to quote from another letter that we received from blue cross blue shield association. they say that we have serious
concerns that h.r. 1101 would create preferential rules that would allow an a.h.p. to be entirely exempt from state regulation by being self-insured or follow the rules of a single state -- follow the rules of a single state nationwide. research clearly shows that creating special rules for a.h.p.'s and exempting them from state regulation would lead to major problems, including increased insolvency risks, increase costs for older and sicker workers and therefore they have -- they're also in opposition of this legislation. i'd like this letter entered into the record, unanimous consent. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. scott: i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i'd like to inquire of my colleague from virginia if he is prepared to close. we have no further speakers, and if he has no further speakers, we are prepared to close. mr. scott: thank you, mr. speaker.
i'm prepared to close and would i yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. scott: mr. speaker, association plans will help the fortunate few who can get in so long as the members of that association remain healthier than average. but everybody else will pay more. furthermore, these plans, when they are formed under the bill, will evade important state regulations that could improve solvency and provide important consumer protections. . his is not up like the philosophy replace bill where 24 million fewer people will have insurance, the rest will pay more and get less. while millionaires philosophy replace benefit are huge tax cuts. and this the fortunate few benefit to the expense of everybody else. i would hope we would defeat the legislation and yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentlelady from north carolina. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i
may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. foxx: mr. speaker, some of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have spent a lot of their time extolling obamacare and indicating that we should just stay with what we have. but we all know that obamacare is failing. republicans are on a rescue mission. we truly do have a better way. as other of my colleagues have ated, we will be passing the american health care act tomorrow. this is a part -- what we're doing here with this bill is something we could not include in that legislation that will round out what it is we want to do with keeping our promise in what we promised last year in our program called a better way. but let me just talk a little bit about the failures of
obamacare. as my colleagues have said, all the promises were broken if you wanted to keep your doctor, you could keep your doctor. if you wanted to keep your health care plan, you could keep your health care plan. those promises were the most obvious ones that went away. the cost of health care would be going down. and none of that happened. mr. speaker, in addition to that, there is a 25% average increase in premiums this year for millions of americans trapped in obamacare, health care dot gov, changes. nearly one third of u.s. counties have only one insurer offering exchange plans. 4.7 million americans were kicked off their health care plans by obamacare. $1 trillion -- there was $1 trillion in new taxes. mostly falling on families and job creators.
18 failed obamacare owe ops out which - co-ops out of 23 my colleague from tennessee so eloquently pointed out. these were established as an alternate to the public option. those health care co-ops collapsed, costing taxpayers nearly $1.9 billion and forcing patients to find new insurance. $53 billion in new regulations 176,800,000 e than hours of paperwork. obamacare regulations are driving up health care premiums and costing small business employees at least $19 billion annually. as i said in the hearing that we had on this bill, the democrats want a coercive system. republicans want a system based on freedom.
today we have an opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of hardworking men and women who are employed by small business. we have an opportunity to deliver much needed relief to small business owners who are trying to do the right thing and provide high quality health care coverage for their employees. this legislation represents a truly positive reform that will help lower health care costs for working families and put small businesses on a fair and level playing field. small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and there is no reason why they should be at a disadvantage when it comes to finding an affordable health care plan. they should be treated in the same fashion as larger businesses and have the ability to craft health care plans that meet the needs of their employees. if we want to encourage small businesses to offer health care at a lower cost to workers, this is one commonsense step we can make.
again i want to thank our colleague, congressman sam johnson, a true patriot and servant of this country for his long-time support of this legislation. i urge my colleagues to vote yes on h.r. 1101. the small business health fairness act, which will help more americans access high quality affordable health care. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. all time for debate on the bill bill has expired. -- the bill has expired. for what purpose does the gentlelady from washington state seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1, printed in house report number 115-51. offered by miss hearlt -- miss ms. herrera beutler of washington. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to house resolution 210, the gentlewoman from washington, miss ms. herrera beutler, and a member opposed,
each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from washington. miss ms. herrera beutler: thank you, mr. speaker. i want to thank chairwoman fox and the education and work force committee for their work on this important bill that will benefit small businesses and the families who work for them. my amendment to the small business health fairness act provides straightforward clarification to ensure that existing a.h.p.'s can continue to operate and provide high quality, affordable care to as many people as possible. this amendment safeguards association health plans that have been successfully operating under state and federal law, many of them for decades. we'll be making certain that they would be -- would not insad vertently be disadvantaged by a few federal legislation or regulation or vulnerable to efforts to restrict access and limit choices. why do we need this amendment? because i fear what happened in my state will happen in others where the insurance commissioner attempted to reject 42 out of about 60 association health plans.
his office interpreted obamacare as giving him mandate as justification for attempting to eliminate virtually all of these popular plans. by adopting my amendment it make it crystal clear in the underbill this won't be tolerated and support both existing and future association health plans. talk to one of the nearly 400,000 individuals in my home state of washington who get their care from an association plan, as you will find out why so many washington businesses renew their plans every year. we have a robust a.h.p. market that has become essential to providing cost-effective choices to small employers thanks to legislation, bipartisan legislation enacted in the mid 1990's. in the case of one association plan operating in my state, roughly 40% of participating small employers did not previously offer health overage. 234 his letter knee which i ask be included in the record, the u.s. chamber indicated it shares my interest in making
sure that state-based association health plans that currently exist are able to continue operating in accordance with existing state and federal law. my amendment is also supported by the association of washington businesses. i'm confident that the underlying legislation before us today will improve the ability of small businesses to access affordable, high quality health coverage in every state across the contry. however, first this body should as clearly as possible ensure that those states are -- who already have a successfully operating association health plans are not disrupted. which is what my amendment would do. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment and i thank the chairwoman for her work on this. mr. chairman, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia rise? mr. scott: i ask unanimous consent to be able to claim the time in opposition although i am not in opposition to the amendment. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentleman virginia tech. mr. scott: i appreciate the
inen-- the gentleman is recognized. r. scott: i appreciate the intent of the amendment which allows health association plans currently in existence to tune tin operate under existing state and federal law. giving states the ability to regulate the association plans is very important and that's why i oppose the underlying bill. the amendment also points out another interesting fact and that is associations currently exist under current law. in the underlying bill simply unraffles most of the direction that is apply to them and this would maintain state regulations. we know that this bill creates winners and losers. the winners are those who are young and healthy enough to be invited into an association. the losers and small businesses that employers were older, sickerer or just have more costly health bills. there is no guarantee plans under this legislation will have the standard level of benefits or consumer protections. that's yim' disappointed that the majority failed to rule any democratic amendments submitted to the rules committee in order
although each and every one was germane. the gentleman from new york, a mefment committee, offered an amendment that would have protect the ability of the states to regulate any association health plan, including regulation related to benefits, consumer protections, and rating restrictions. representative torres from california offered an amendment to ensure the -- that association plans cover 10 essential health benefits under the patient protection and affordable care act. the amendment -- one amendment was offered by representatives susan davis of california and suzanne bonamici of oregon, would have required association plans to provide for women's health benefits, including maternity care. representatives bonamici, davis, and wilson also offered an amendment to prevent this legislation from taking effect if it would lead to increased premiums for older workers. these older workers will not be able to get into the
associations because they would increase average costs of the association and the point of the associations to get away from high costs like older americans. so these older people will be left out of the pool with other older and sicker workers where they will necessarily be paying more. it's simple arithmetic. this amendment -- their amendment would have been particularly important because we know that the republican replacement plan contains an age tax that will severely disadvantage older populations. none of the democratic amendments although germane were allowed under the rule and that does not seem to be any earnest attempt to look to try to correct shortcomings of the bill. so while do i not intend to oppose this amendment, i do not think the amendment is enough improvement to the bill, nor does it change the underlying fact that the legislation does not adequately protect small businesses, workers, and their families. nor does it help those left behind who are not invited into
the association who will necessarily be paying more. mr. speaker, those on the other side want to go on a rescue mission, they ought to improve hings not make things worse. for most americans this will make things work. tomorrow 24 million americans will be left out while many others will be paying more for less. while millionaires get huge tax cuts. that is not an improvement. mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman reserves. miss ms. herrera beutler. -- miss ms. herrera beutler. the jail is recognized. ms. herrera beutler: we just don't believe one size fits all. when it comes to health coverage, we need to make sure there are many different options for families and individuals and businesses. we're clarifying a technical -- basically a technical change here that allows continued existing plans to operate. who can be opposed to existing
plans operating and offering for options and more plans which is what republicans are doing right now. we're fighting to make sure that the families and people we represent have those options and their choice that is they can keep their doctor, that their health premiums will come down, that they can get a plan through their work or maybe they will be able to get in the individual market and self-insure. options because one size does not fit all. which is why this bill is crucial. that's why my amendment to this bill makes it bert. and that's why we're going to move forward and make sure more americans have access to care not just on paper but care that gets them into the doctor. that gets them the care they need whether it's a specialist or primary care doc. with that i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: mr. speaker, i do not oppose the gentlelady's amendment. i would point out that when one size fits all, everybody can benefit, but when you start picking and choosing winners and losers, some will benefit and many others will lose.
under this bill a fortunate few to get an association plan will benefit. everybody else loses. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman yields back his time. all time has expired. pursuant to the rule, the previous question is ordered on the bill as amended and on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from washington, ms. herrera beutler. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from washington. so many as are in favor say aye, those opposed, no. the aye vs. it. the amendment is agreed . -- agreed to. the question is on engrossment and third reading of the bill. so many as are in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the aye vs. t third reading. the clerk: a bill to amend title 1 to improve access and choice for entrepreneurs with small businesses with respect to medical care for their employees.
the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from new hampshire seek recognition? >> i have a motion to recommit at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: is the gentlelady opposed to the bill? >> in its current form. the clerk: ms. shea-porter moves to recommit the bill with instructions to report the same back to the house with the following amendment, page 15 after line 22, insert the following, six, substance abuse disorder treatment. ms. shea-porter: i move to dispense with the reading. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. ms. shea-porter: this is the final amendment to the bill which will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. if adopted the bill will proceed to final passage as amended. i rise today on behalf of the
families and communities across the nation that are confronting a public health threat of our time, heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids crisis. this motion would ensure that must cover substance abuse disorder treatment including opoids. under current law we require insurers to cover this treatment. before the affordable care act, many insurers either didn't cover treatment at all or imposed onerous requirements that blocked people from getting needed care. h.r. 1101 would roll back that guarantee and allow association health plans to return to that skimpy coverage that left people in dire straits. there is a narrow window of opportunity after an overdose for someone to commit to treatment and these are the moments when being able to make a single phone call to make all
the difference. this week's debate about health care is extremely important. will we decide to work together to improve the american people's access to quality health care or kick 24 million people off their plans? we need to speak up on behalf of those whose lives have been turned around because they can now access health care. as i talked to families, medical professionals and law enforcement, i hear stories that highlight the dramatic impact that improved access to coverage has had and making treatment a real option for people. this week, we see that basic coverage is under serious threat. experts estimate that repealing the affordable care act coverage provisions would cause about 2.8 million americans to lose some or all of their coverage. and the quality of that coverage is also at risk. thanks to the affordable care act, insurance must now cover
treatment for behavioral health and substance abuse disorder just the same as it would cover any other medical services. this means they must cover treatment with comparable cost sharing, no more surprises like higher co-pays or pre-authorization payments. badly needed facilities are opening because plans now cover these services. i visited a recovery home for pregnant mothers and they were able to open the doors only because it could rely on medicaid expansion. legislation like h.r. 1101 would cause fewer people to have this coverage meaning fewer facilities can open and treat. my home state of new hampshire is on the front lines of the heroin, fentanyl and prescription opioids crisis. our communities are struggling and helping people to get treatment is turning the tides.
i met people who couldn't be in a recovery facility without med said expansion. i could say to my constituents in new hampshire and constituents across this nation, we hear you. we know your sons and daughters, nieces and nevada fuse, neighbors and friends are struggling. we believe all americans should have good health insurance they could count on. we aren't going to throw the rug out from under people. i urge my colleagues to support this motion which would not delay passage of the underlying bill. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back. for what purpose does gentlelady from north carolina rise? ms. foxx: i rise to claim time in opposition. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady is recognized for five minutes. ms. foxx: thank you, mr. speaker. this motion is nothing more than a last-ditch attempt to defeat a commonsense bill that will expand access to affordable
health care coverage. this motion represents the same failed approach to health care we have experienced in recent years. we have seen what happens when the federal government dictates the kind of health insurance individuals can and cannot buy. health care costs skyrocket and patients have fewer choices. while our democrat colleagues offer a motion that doubles down on the failed approach to health care, my republican colleagues are offering the american people a better way. the small business health fairness act is about empowering individuals, families and small business owners so more americans have access to affordable health care coverage. by rejecting this motion and supporting the underlying bill, we can take an important step in keeping our promise to deliver free market patient-centered health care solutions. i urge my colleagues to vote no on the motion to recommit and yes on the small business health fairness act. i yield back.
the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back her time. without objection, the previous question is ordered on the motion to recommit. the question is on the motion. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the noes have it. ms. shea-porter: i ask for the yeas and nays. the speaker pro tempore: the yeas and nays are requested. those favoring a vote by the yeas and nays will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, the yeas and nays are ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. by electronic device. pursuant to clause 8 and clause 9 of rule 20, this 15-minute to the motion to recommit will be followed by five-minute votes on passage on the bill if ordered and motion to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1238. this is a 15-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute,
the motion is not adopted. the question is on passage of the bill. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. the ayes have it. the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid -- the gentleman from virginia. mr. scott: i ask for a recorded vote. the speaker pro tempore: a recorded vote is requested. those favoring a recorded vote will rise. a sufficient number having arisen, a recorded vote is ordered. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: the yeas are 236, the nays are 175, the bill is passed and without objection, the motion to reconsider is laid upon the table. the unfinished business is the vote on the motion of the the gentleman from new york, mr. donovan, to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 1238 on which the the yeas and nays are ordered. the clerk will report the title of the bill. the clerk: union calendar number 32, a bill to amend the homeland security act of 2002 to make the assistant secretary of homeland security for health affairs responsible for coordinating the efforts of the department of homeland security related to food, agriculture and vet defense against trim and for
other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: the question is will the house suspend the rules and pass the bill. members will record their votes by electronic device. this is a five-minute vote. [captioning made possible by the national captioning institute, inc., in cooperation with the united states house of representatives. any use of the closed-captioned coverage of the house proceedings for political or commercial purposes is expressly prohibited by the u.s. house of representatives.]
the speaker pro tempore: on this vote, the yeas are 406, the nays are 6. 2/3 being in the affirmative, the rules are suspended, the bill is passed, and without objection the motion to reconsider is laid on the table. for what purpose does the gentleman from arkansas seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent that when the house adjourns today, it adnourn to convene at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. -- it adjourn to convene at 9:00 a.m. tomorrow. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, so ordered.
the chair lays before the house a communication from the speaker's office. the speaker pro tempore: the honorable the speaker, house of representatives, sir, pursuant to section 803-a of the congressional recognition for excellence in arts education act, 2 united states code 203-a, i am pleased to appoint the hn to the bbie dingell board. thank you for your consideration. signed, sincerely, nancy pelosi. the speaker pro tempore: the chair lays before the house a communication from the committee on foreign affairs an ordered printed. the clerk: to the congress of the united states, section 202-d provides for the automatic termination of a national emergency unless within 90 days prior to the date of its declaration, the president publishes in the federal
register and transmits to congress that the emergency is to continue in effect beyond the anniversary date. in accordance with this tradition i have sent to the national register the enclosed notice that the emergency with respect to south sudan is to continue in effect beyond april 3, 2017. the situation in and in relation to south sudan, which has been marked by activities that threaten the peace, security, or stability of south sudan and the surrounding region, including widespread violence and atrossties, human rights abuse, recruitment and use of child soldiers, attacks on peace keepers and humanitarian workers, an obstruction of humanitarian operations continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the united states. for this reason, i have determined that it is necessary to continue the national emergency declared in executive order 13664 with respect to south sudan.
signed, donald j. trump, the white house, march 22, 2017. the speaker pro tempore: the house shall be in order. the chair will now entertain requests for one-minute peeches. for what purpose does the gentleman from minnesota seek recognition? >> i ask unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend. the speaker pro tempore: without objection the gentleman from minnesota is recognized for one minute. >> i want to con garage late the orino girl's basketball team for recently winning the minnesota state championship. after falling short of expectations to win it all this year, the spartans bounced back this year with an impressive 27-4 window, despite many
thinking they missed the window. they were determined to finish the job as they stormed through the playoffs. led by senior terry ander. she made sure to give her teammates the recognition they deserve. they went on to beat wenona in the title game. orin's response to the previous season speaks highly of their character and their program, led by coach lisa glover in her first season with the team. mr. paulsen: these girls show they give their all in everything they do, whether school or team or family. congratulations to the team on the state title. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from ohio seek reck
fission? -- recognition. ms. kaptur: mr. speaker, years from now history books could well describe entrapment of a united states president by a foreign adversary. recently the state department avoided committing rex tillerson to a nato meeting last month with our tried and true allies in europe yet the administration has no problem flying secretary tillerson to moscow to meet with putin in april. this is no april fools joke. since when is the kremlin more important than our nato partners? never. several reports now say trump's former campaign chair, paul manafort, secretly worked for a russian billionaire to advance putin's interests and undermine anti-russian opposition across europe this contradicts assertions by the trump administration and manafort, that he never worked for russian
interests. congress needs to get to the bottom of these sheaity kecks and paul manafort should testify before the committee under oath. russia has unabashedly attempted to disrupt democratic elections and promote propaganda to strengthen its own strategic appliance. how much le raj does putin have over trump and his associates? our great nation can't be their collateral damage. yield back my remaining time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from pennsylvania seek recognition? >> mr. speaker, i request unanimous consent to address the house for one minute and revise and extend my remarks. the speaker pro tempore: without objection, the gentleman is recognize for one minute. -- is recognized for one minute. >> thank you, mr. speaker. mr. thompson: today is brain injury awareness day and i
welcome those in washington to tell their stories. this is near and dear to my heart, i spent 30 years in medical health care and services and this is one of my areas of expertise. i helped form a brain injury support group for the patients and families that i served. the theme for this year's campaign is "not alone." this is a platform for educating the general public about the incidence of brain injury and the needs of people with brain injuries and their families. the campaign also works to destigmatize the injury, empower whose who survive and promote the many types of support that are available. the need to raise awareness is great. more than 3.5 million children and adults sustain an acquired brain injury each year. mr. speaker, everyone recovers at a different pace but the support the patient receives can truly let them know they are not alone in this fight. thank you, mr. speaker, i yield
back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman from florida seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman s recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today in opposition to 24 million americans losing their health insurance. including 60,000 residents in my home of pinellas county, florida. florida is the number one state with affordable care act enrollment. number one. we stand to lose the most with this repeal. but what we are debating this week is far worse than just a repeal. t's how the new bill treats, quote-unquote, the least among us. mr. kris: medicaid, which -- mr.
crist: medicaid, which the poor depend upon would be devastating, leaving 3.5 million children and 720,000 disabled americans without care. there are a lot of people here today in the nation's capital in wheelchairs, trying to make this point to all of us. what could be more cruel than taking away health care for all of them. this is a misguided proposal. we must work together to improve health care, bring down costs, expand access. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. crist: expand access and protect the most vulnerable in our society. ladies and gentlemen, people's lives are on the line with this vote tomorrow. let's do the right thing. reject this bill. thank you, mr. speaker. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentleman
from texas seek recognition? without objection, the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. poe: mr. speaker, florida police officer andrew wittman was murdered, shot in the face while trying to resolve a dispute. his death was preventable, however. the murderer of officer wittman was an illegal immigrant and convicted felon. he did not belong here. he should have been sent back home to his native country, cuba, after he served his sentence. but cuba would not take him back. cuba is one of about 30 countries that refuse to take back their convicted citizens after they are illegal -- after they are legally ordered deported. then unfortunately they are released back on our streets to commit more crimes. these days need to end. no more get out of jail free cards. there must be consequences to these nations that flaunt our lies. my bill, the timely repatriation
act,ry stricts diplomatic visas to countries that deny or delay the pe re-pay tration of a foreign national whose removal has been legally ordered. take your criminals back or lose diplomatic visas. and that's just the way it is. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlelady rom ohio seek recognition? without objection, the gentlewoman is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, i rise today to salute the universal health care action network, ucan, for their energy and advocacy to protect the affordable care act. ms. fudge: i was honored to join ucan in a -- mrs. beatty: i was honored to join ucan in a town hall where we were joined by those eager to organize, you know why? to save health care for more