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Congresswoman Waters Opposes Republican Attempt to Defund Health Care Reform

February 18, 2011
Press Release

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) entered the following statement into the Congressional Record today in opposition to amendment 267 offered by Rep. Steve King of Iowa (R), which would defund the Affordable Care Act passed in the last Congress. The amendment is part of H.R. 1 - Fiscal Year Continuing Appropriations Act for FY2011:

"I rise to oppose the King amendment.

Repealing or de-funding health care reform is part of the Republicans' No Jobs Agenda.  The Affordable Care Act will create jobs.  One study says that repealing the law will put in jeopardy the 250,000 to 400,000 new jobs this law will create each year.

More importantly, de-funding the Affordable Care Act will jeopardize the many benefits this law provides to the American people.

1. The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

2. Starting this year, the Affordable Care Act provides seniors in the "donut hole" a 50 percent discount on brand-name prescription drugs.

3. Also starting this year, small businesses may qualify for a tax credit that covers up to 35 percent of the cost of providing health insurance to their workers. 

4. The Affordable Care Act provides $11 billion for community health centers, which serve low-income and uninsured families in my district and throughout the country. 

5. The Affordable Care Act provides $15 billion for wellness and prevention activities, such as cancer screenings and child immunizations.

6. The Affordable Care Act provides funding to train additional primary care doctors and nurses, who will be able to serve patients in underserved parts of the country, like Los Angeles County.

7. Most importantly, the Affordable Care Act guarantees all Americans access to affordable health insurance that covers essential medical benefits and that cannot be taken away when they get sick and need it most.

De-funding the Affordable Care Act will impact all Americans, but especially harm the least of these – women, children, people of color, the poor, the homeless – people who often lack a voice and whom I have championed during my four decades in public service.  People of color are disproportionately impacted by a lack of access to health insurance.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health, 20% of African-Americans were uninsured in the United States in 2007, and 32% of the Hispanic population was uninsured. 

Quality health care must be available for all Americans regardless of race, level of income, gender, or the existence of a pre-existing condition.  That's why the Affordable Care Act specifically addresses health disparities and protects the rights of people with pre-existing conditions, and that's we must fully fund the Affordable Care Act.

I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment."