Clyburn Floor Statement on Historic Health Insurance Reform Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC-House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn today delivered remarks on the floor of the House of Representatives in favor of H.R. 4872, Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, landmark legislation that enacts the toughest insurance reforms in history, reduces the cost of health care for millions of American families and businesses, including those who have health insurance, cuts waste, expands benefits and strengthens the solvency of Medicare and is one of the biggest deficit reduction bills in history.

“Mr. Speaker, we have come to a defining moment in our nation’s history. Tonight I’m thinking about the woman who called into a talk radio program that I appeared on last August. She called in to take issue with the gentleman who had just called in earlier to say that he did not support our efforts to reform the health care system because he liked the insurance he had. The caller shared her experience of having been dropped from coverage by an insurance company she thought she liked, just as she started her second treatment for breast cancer. She said to the gentleman, that maybe he liked the insurance he had because he had never tried to use it.

“With these reforms, dropping people from coverage when they are diagnosed with catastrophic illnesses would no longer be allowed and denying insurance to children with diabetes and other pre-existing conditions will end immediately. These reforms will allow children to remain on their parents’ insurance policies until their 26th birthday. This bill will immediately begin closing the doughnut hole for prescription medications for seniors and eliminate burdensome co-pays or deductibles for their preventive care.

“Despite deafening protests from the other side, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the reforms included in this bill will reduce our deficit by $143 billion in the first 10 years and $1.2 trillion in the second 10 years. This bill will also create jobs, 400,000 good-paying jobs, reliable jobs, for every year and for small businesses. Small businesses will get a tax break on their health care premiums that will free up money for them to hire 80,000 more employees.

“Mr. Speaker, we have debated this issue for several generations. The time has come to act. This is the Civil Rights Act of the 21st Century. Tonight, we will take a significant step to move our country forward. I yield back the balance of my time.”