Washington, D.C. – Speaker Nancy Pelosi delivered remarks on the Floor of the House of Representatives in support of H.R. 986, the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, a bill to block the Trump Administration’s dangerous October 2018 guidance that gives states the ability to weaken the Affordable Care Act’s critical protections for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Below are the Speaker’s remarks:
Speaker Pelosi. Thank you very much, Madam Speaker. I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I thank her for her very constructive amendment and for her leadership as a leading member of an outstanding freshmen class. Thank you, Congresswoman Porter, for your exceptional leadership and you, Mr. Pallone, Chairman of the full Committee, thank you for giving us the opportunity to bring to the Floor historic legislation that will make a tremendous difference in the lives of the American people.
Today, with the Protecting Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Act, Democrats are honoring our promises to the American people. As you know, Mr. Chairman, and Congresswoman Porter, our Democratic Majority ran on the promise to protect American families’ quality, affordable health care. We have now voted three times to oppose the GOP health care lawsuit but every time, with every vote, House Republicans reveal their inconsistency and complicity in the Administration’s assault on people with pre-existing conditions and every American’s health care.
It was interesting to listen to the distinguished Ranking Member of the Committee express his views when the fact is, two years ago, House Republicans voted to gut protections for people with pre-existing conditions and take away millions of families’ health care and then threw a party to celebrate. They went down to the White House and celebrated taking away the pre-existing condition benefit.
The American people resoundingly rejected the Republican attack on their health care and financial security, and yet, the GOP powered full steam ahead with their monstrous campaign to sabotage the Affordable Care Act and take away health care.
Just last week, the Administration doubled down on its demands that the courts throw out every protection and benefit provided by the Affordable Care Act. And again, over and over, we have had bills on the Floor to invite the Republicans to join us in rejecting that Republican attack and, overwhelmingly, they have rejected that.
So, today, again, we can celebrate that we are protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions and honoring that promise we made to the American people, as I said.
The bill reverses a dangerous part of the Trump Administration’s reckless sabotage of – sabotage campaign, blocking cynical guidance that invites states – here’s what they do: dismantle protections for people with pre-existing conditions and push families into junk plans that discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions and do not cover essential benefits. In fact, you’re paying for nothing. The Trump guidance puts lives on the line, not only sabotaging the health care law, but the health of millions of Americans who rely on it.
Nearly 30 national groups representing people with pre-existing conditions have spoken out, including the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, American Lung Association, National Alliance on Mental Health, Susan G. Komen and many more.
They write, ‘This dangerous action could take us back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions were openly discriminated against and blatantly denied access to life-saving care.’
These organizations, Ranking Member Walden, they said – just wanted you to hear because you seem to have been distracted – all of these organizations – cancer, diabetes, heart, lung, mental health, all of that – they write that what you’re doing, ‘This dangerous action could take us back to the days when people with pre-existing conditions were openly discriminated against and blatantly denied access to life-saving care.’
We thank all the groups and families, including the sick little children – the Little Lobbyists, for their courage to speak out and show that this is a fight not just about legislation, it’s about lives. Nothing is more eloquent than the stories that they tell and many have told their stories here. They had 10,000 events around the country to stop the Republicans’ sabotage on health care, much of it from people with pre-existing conditions especially children born with pre-existing conditions. This bill that we have today is just the beginning.
In the coming weeks, House Democrats will bring forward more bold legislation to reduce the price of prescription drugs, to empower states to build better exchanges, and to block junk plans and reverse the GOP’s enrollment sabotage.
Senator McConnell says that he’s the grim reaper, he wears that as a badge of honor. He’s the grim reaper. He’s going to kill any House legislation For The People. Saying that he will bury our bills in the senate graveyard, effectively.
That’s really not a very hopeful political agenda, the grim reaper. But I have news for him. Legislation to protect the pre-existing condition benefit and many of the other pieces of this agenda are alive and well among the American people and they will make their voices heard.
The American people want action and the special interest GOP Senate needs to stop standing in their way, Leader McConnell.
I urge a strong vote for the legislation For The People, commend the gentlelady for her very important amendment about – she said being a mom is a pre-existing condition, as the mother of five and – in six years to the day, when I talked to the insurance company about my bad back they said, ‘Why would we even insure you, you’re a poor risk, having had children.’ I said, ‘That’s funny you’d say that, I thought it was a show of strength on my part to have five children and you’re calling that something that would be a barrier to my getting insurance?’
So, I want to emphasize as we approach Mother’s Day how important this particular amendment to help moms and their families is. So, I urge a yes vote on Congresswoman Porter’s important Mother’s Day amendment. I yield back the balance of my time.