The U.S. House of Representatives is poised to hold a highly anticipated vote on the Republican health care bill Thursday night — the seventh anniversary of former President Barack Obama signing the Affordable Care Act, commonly called Obamacare — and would rewrite the current health care system.
On Wednesday, Alabama 2nd District U.S. Martha Roby voiced her support for the bill, titled the American Health Care Act (AHCA) on the House floor, and called on her fellow House conservatives to keep their promise to repeal and replace Obamacare.
In a speech, Roby reminded her colleagues of the repeated promises Republicans have made to do away with Obamacare for the last seven years.
“I’ve heard from countless constituents negatively impacted by Obamacare,” Roby said. “And in response, I made a promise – the same promise President Trump and every conservative in Congress has made over and over: give us the majority in the House and Senate, give us a Republican in the White House, and we will repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that work.”
Roby readily acknowledged no bill is perfect, but she said passing the ACHA is the best opportunity for Congressional Republican to deliver on their promises to constituents.
She continued, “Mr. Speaker, I am confident that this bill puts us on a path toward lower costs and better care – and away from government-controlled health insurance. It represents our opportunity to undo the damage of Obamacare and help American families like we said we would. For seven years we have been promising, and this is our chance to deliver.”
If passed, the bill will be taken up by the Senate.
Watch Roby’s floor speech below:
Read the full text of Roby’s remarks as prepared:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Seven years ago this week, in this chamber, the House gave final passage to the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
I wasn’t in Congress then. Many of us weren’t. But for my fellow conservatives here today, that vote seven years ago marked a decision point or a moment of affirmation to answer the call to public service and help chart a better way for this country.
And for seven years we have made the case against Obamacare. As the law has been implemented, that case has largely been made for us. Millions have been forced away from the health care plan and doctor they liked, despite promises to the contrary.
This year alone, in Alabama, health insurance premiums are rising by 58 percent. That’s on top of already steep increases the past two years.
Our average deductible for the supposedly affordable Bronze plan is now six thousand dollars.
I’ve heard from countless constituents negatively impacted by Obamacare. I’ve listened to their stories about how higher costs and fewer choices have made it that much harder to keep their families healthy and make ends meet.
And in response, I made a promise; the same promise President Trump and every conservative in Congress has made over and over: give us the majority in the House and Senate, give us a Republican in the White House, and we will repeal Obamacare and replace it with reforms that work.
So Mr. Speaker, I am pleased that we are finally in a position to deliver on that promise. The voters gave us what we asked of them, and it’s only right that we keep our end of the bargain.
With the American Health Care Act, we begin the process of repealing Obamacare once and for all.
This bill dismantles the taxes, mandates, and entitlement spending that make up the core of Obamacare.
It cuts taxes on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, insurance premiums, and medical devices.
It eliminates the individual and employer mandate penalties that have forced millions into expensive, inadequate plans.
It replaces the Obamacare entitlement with refundable tax credits so that people who don’t receive insurance through work can put their own tax dollars toward a health plan of their choice.
Mr. Speaker, many have asked why our plan to repeal and replace Obamacare is a process. Why is this bill only one step and not the full package?
It’s an understandable question. For the last several years, Americans have been sold the false hope that the government has a magic wand with which it can quickly solve all their problems.
The truth is, of course, that it can’t. It never can. And the only proof you need is Obamacare itself.
That’s why Congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are taking completely a different approach than President Obama and the Democrats used seven years ago.
Instead of claiming “we need to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it,” we have worked in a transparent way. The bill text has been posted online for three weeks. It has gone through three separate committee mark-ups, and will come to the House floor in regular order.
Instead of one giant bill like Obamacare, we are using a more responsible, three-step process. First, we’ll repeal Obamacare with all its taxes, mandates and spending through budget reconciliation. Next, the Trump Administration will use its executive authority to weed out the more intricate Obamacare policies one-by-one to stabilize the market and lower costs. And finally, Congress will move forward with legislation addressing more specific policies, such as allowing individuals to purchase insurance across state lines.
I believe this will ultimately lead to better, more stable health care policy that empowers patients, increases choices, and lowers costs.
Mr. Speaker, no bill is perfect. I’m sure if every member of this body came up with their ideal health reform bill, they’d each be pretty different. It’s supposed to be that way, because we all represent different districts with different needs.
There may well be some changes made here in the House or in the Senate that can make the bill better. That’s part of the process, so I certainly remain open to those.
But, Mr. Speaker, I am confident that this bill puts us on a path toward lower costs and better care – and away from government-controlled health insurance.
It represents our opportunity to undo the damage of Obamacare and help American families like we said we would.
For seven years we have been promising, and this is our chance to deliver.
I urge my colleagues to support the American Health Care Act, send it to the Senate, and get us one step closer to delivering on our promise.