Congressman Kevin McCarthy spoke on the floor in favor of the American Health Care Act Thursday after the House passed a bill to repeal Obamacare in a 217-213 vote.
His full remarks are below:
“I thank the gentlelady for yielding. But more importantly, I thank Congresswoman Diane Black (TN-06) for more than four decades as a nurse, for caring for the sick. I know her passion for the unborn and for her work on this legislation.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, Americans are a practical people. We know that we can have fair health care that helps those who need it without trapping everyone in a government-run system dreamed up by Washington central-planners.
“Now, contrary to our freedom, Obamacare forced the American people to purchase insurance. Contrary to our well-being, Obamacare imposed taxes we cannot bear. Contrary to what is responsible and right, Obamacare made Medicaid unsustainable for the people most in need. And contrary to common sense, Obamacare regulations continue to drive up the cost of insurance beyond what people can afford.
“You want to know how Obamacare is working? Just read this week’s papers. Now let me take you all the way back to yesterday. This is the headline: ‘Medica, the last insurer selling individual policies in most of Iowa, likely to exit.’ So now, 94 of the 99 counties will have no insurer in Iowa—94 of the 99 counties in Iowa will have no insurer. Here’s another headline from yesterday: ‘Aetna will exit Obamacare markets in Virginia in 2018.’
Humana left the Obamacare exchanges. Blue Cross left Nebraska. United Healthcare left all but a handful of markets this year. You see, Mr. Speaker, we have roughly 3,000 counties in all of America. One-third—1,022—only have one provider. Soon, more counties will have none.
“So, you know what doesn’t cover pre-existing conditions? A health care system that doesn’t have coverage. No options means no coverage. That’s the road Obamacare is leading us down, and doing nothing leaves too many Americans out in the cold. And Mr. Speaker, we will not stand for that.
“We tried the Obamacare way. It is failing remarkably, and the American people are demanding a change. Now we have the chance to do something great. We can have care without control, stability without centralization, and support without mandates. We have the chance to listen to the American people and repeal and replace Obamacare.
“The American Health Care Act will repeal the individual and employer mandates.
It will repeal Obamacare taxes.
It will repeal Obamacare rules.
It will repeal Obamacare’s subsidies.
And it will do what is right by stopping taxpayer funding for abortion providers and by refocusing Medicaid on those who most need it.
“And we replace all of that that with a system that protects those with pre-existing conditions. Mr. Speaker, I heard a lot about this bill, and this bill is not 2,000 pages. It’s less than 130. But, Mr. Speaker, I’ve heard things on this floor that are not true. So let me state it one more time: we will replace it with a system that protects pre-existing conditions and then reduce premiums through the tried and true process of fair competition.
“And as the price of insurance decreases, we give those who still can’t quite afford it a step up through tax credits and expanded Health Savings Accounts. This is fundamental and structural reform.
“Now, Mr. Speaker, since I have had the honor to stand on this floor and serve in this House, this body has done many good things. We have stood time and again for what was best for our country. Struggling against other branches for so long, many times that required us to dig in our heels and stop something terrible. It’s good to stop bad things from happening. But it’s great to make good things happen. Finally, after years of waiting, we have the chance to do something good today.
“This bill is not perfect. No bill could be. The question is not why it can’t be made perfect. The question is, do we retreat, or do we act? Do we take this great leap to repeal and replace Obamacare, extend a hand to our fellow citizens most in need, and break free from Washington control? Or do we continue to wait for the day that is already here in the hope for a better day that may never come?
“We were not sent here to wait. We are called to action. This is our opportunity. Mr. Speaker, I do not want to read another day of headlines of more people going without insurance. Without insurance is without pre-existing conditions, without coverage. Today, we’ll do something good. That’s why today, we will act.
“I yield back.”