Wednesday, July 11, 2012

WATCH: Rep. Ron Barber On Floor This A.M. Opposing Repeal Of Affordable Care Act (UPDATED w/ Transcript)

(UPDATED with transcript, provided by Barber's office - thanks)

Here is video of new Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD8) speaking on the House floor this morning.  He plans to vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare today, and called the vote a "charade".  He also ticked off several things that should be improved, including ensuring Medicare pays the same for prescription drugs as the VA.

Here's the transcript of the speech (from Barber's office - thanks, Mark!) and the news release from his office, below the jump:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today as the member who has most recently faced an electorate.

I have heard loud and clear that the people of Southern Arizona elected me for the very same reason the people of any other district elected their Representatives. To stand up for them.  To fight to make their lives better.

I wasn’t here to vote on this legislation when it was passed, but I appreciate its benefits and that we must work to improve it.

I rise today to speak against its repeal.

We should be here, having a robust conversation about how to make this law better. We should be discussing how to ensure that Medicare doesn't pay more for prescription drugs than the Veterans Administration. We should be debating how to keep rising health insurance costs from hurting small businesses.

We should be looking for ways to create jobs. Ways to strengthen our middle class. Ways to bolster our economy.

We should challenge each other to rise above partisan bickering to GET SOMETHING DONE.

Instead, this bill sends a message to American families that this body cares more about political grandstanding than improving their lives. I ask that we put aside this charade and let us do the work we were elected to do.

I yield back.


Congressman says law is not perfect, but benefits must be preserved for Southern Arizonans

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Ron Barber today said he will vote against repeal of the Affordable Care Act, calling the vote political theater. Barber stands by his claims that the law is “far from perfect, but it is a major step forward in providing access to affordable quality health care to all Americans.”

“There are changes that must be made to the Affordable Care Act,” Barber said. “But this law provides health coverage for tens of thousands of children, adults and seniors in Southern Arizona. It lowers the cost of prescription drugs for seniors and protects coverage for children with serious illnesses. We must not throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

The House today will vote on legislation that would repeal the health care law – a vote that comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld most provisions of the 2010 legislation. Even if the repeal passes the House, it stands little chance of passage in the Senate and would face a certain presidential veto.

“This vote is a distraction from the real problems Arizonans in my district face every day,” Barber said. “Congress should be focused on creating jobs for this country. We’ve debated this issue for years and it is time to get to work to improve our economy.”

Before casting his vote, Barber spoke on the floor of the House against repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Video of his remarks is here.

In voting against the repeal, Barber voted to protect coverage and benefits for thousands of individuals in Southern Arizona. Because of the Affordable Care Act, in his district:

·        6,200 young people now have health insurance through their parents’ policies up to age 26.
·        10,900 seniors received prescription drug benefits worth $6.1 million – an average discount of $560 per senior.
·        102,000 seniors received Medicare preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.
·        33,000 children and 130,000 adults now have health insurance that covers preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.
·        450 small businesses received tax credits to help maintain or expand health care coverage for their employees.
·        $9.4 million in public health grants have been awarded to community health centers, hospitals, doctors and other providers to improve care.
·        And more than 8,000 children who have pre-existing medical conditions now have health insurance.

Barber acknowledged that the Affordable Care Act needs revisions and improvements. He said he will work to modify the act to:

·                Protect small businesses, individuals and families from increased premium costs
·                Focus on paying for prevention and outcome-based healthcare
·                Lower the price of prescription drugs
·                Ensure there are no cuts to Medicare

“The Affordable Care Act is flawed, but a major step forward in providing access to affordable and quality health care to all Americans,” Barber said. “My constituents want Congress to move forward with improvements to the law, not move backward with political games.

“I will not vote for legislation that puts insurance companies back in charge of American’s health care or that increases costs and cuts benefits for seniors on Medicare,” Barber added. “Repealing the Affordable Care Act would do all of that – while increasing the deficit.

“That is unacceptable.”

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