WASHINGTON — The top Republican on the Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Mike Kelly (R-PA) delivered the following opening statement at a Subcommittee hearing.
CLICK HERE to watch the hearing.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Thank you for holding this hearing today, Mr. Chairman.
“First and foremost, this is a very tough time. My thoughts and prayers go out to anyone who has lost a family member or loved one from this virus.
“And during this time, the cost of health care is on the minds of many Americans, so I appreciate the opportunity to discuss these issues today.
“Our health care system is far from perfect.
“But, with a hearing like this, I’m also reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a country with access to the most innovative health care on the planet.
“Everyone here knows that we don’t always agree on the best way to approach this issue. Though I hope we can use this hearing to put things in perspective and correct some of the myths about American health care we have been hearing out on the campaign trail.
“Today I’d like to talk about two things:
“First, I want to talk about some successful health care policy developments we’ve achieved over the past few years.
“And second, I want to correct the record on some of the rhetoric we’ve been hearing about American health care. A lot of this rhetoric seems designed to scare the American people in advance of an election, and I think that effort has been both unfortunate and misleading.
“The idea that this Administration has ‘sabotaged’ our health care system is absolutely false. So today I want to talk about what has actually been happening in our system.
“As I sit here today, we have made positive progress on stabilizing the ACA’s exchanges: Insurance premiums are down, coverage choices are up, and enrollment is stable.
“In addition, this Administration has made many strides towards bringing more affordable health care options to Americans who may not want, need, or be able to afford the ACA’s coverage.
“I’m pleased that we have Chris Pope here with us today. He can speak further to some of these successes including the restoration of short-term health plans and major enhancements to Health Reimbursement Accounts.
“These crucial reforms have provided options to families—letting them choose what is best for them.
“Let’s also remember that by getting rid of the individual mandate, we’ve saved lower and middle-class taxpayers at least $695 each year.
“Democrats have been trying to block these efforts, using scare-tactics to stop the progress of this Administration.
“What tactics? Well, like saying that Republicans would eliminate coverage for folks with pre-existing conditions, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
“On protecting pre-existing conditions, Democrats won’t take yes for an answer.
“Remember, the first legislation offered by Republicans in the new Congress said no one should be charged more or denied coverage based on their pre-existing condition. Democrats rejected that effort. Apparently to try to preserve it as an election issue.
“So any suggestion that Republicans won’t fight to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions is just wrong.
“Meanwhile, instead of working together on bipartisan efforts to improve our health care system, 118 House Democrats have cosponsored Medicare for All. This new and enormous program would destroy our current health care system, starting with repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
“Sadly, many Democrats simply want an unpopular and partisan government takeover of health care when we should be working together to lower costs and increase coverage options.
“Their one-size-fits-all approach is wrong—their plans will take choice away from hard working Americans in my district who like their current health insurance.
“The Affordable Care Act is ten years old. Much of that law has changed in the last ten years—on a bipartisan basis. Yet Democrats keep looking to the past rather than working together to improve the future for the American people.
“But we can build on recent successes in health care policy by continuing to bring down premium prices and by increasing coverage choices for all Americans!
“I hope we can stop the fear mongering on this issue and come together in the near future to work on bipartisan reforms that will improve the lives of our constituents.
“Thank you Mr. Chairman, I yield back.”
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