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Pallone Slams Republican Fiscal Hypocrisy on Rules Change

Jan 3, 2017
Press Release
“The party that claims to be fiscally responsible is now looking to change the rules of the House so that it can be fiscally reckless”

Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (D-NJ) remarks as prepared for delivery during House Floor debate on H. Res. 5 are enclosed below.  H. Res. 5 will establish the rules for the House of Representatives in the 115th Congress.  The rules package creates a special exemption from points of order for legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which will allow Congressional Republicans to add $3 trillion to the national deficit without paying for it:

Mr. Speaker, today we are seeing just how far House Republicans are willing to go to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The party that claims to be fiscally responsible is now looking to change the rules of the House so that it can be fiscally reckless in its dangerous assault on the Affordable Care Act.   

The Republican Rules package would continue points of order against considering legislation that would increase direct spending by $5 billion dollars or more except when it comes to their ACA repeal bill.  If House Republicans firmly believe in their ACA repeal plan, they should be willing to defend the plan against a point of order. House Republicans know that repealing the ACA will increase direct spending and the deficit by $3 trillion dollars, and this cynical rules proposal shows that Republicans want to hide the true costs of their repeal plans from the American people.

We are simply not going to allow that to happen. Repealing the ACA would take heath care away from about 30 million people and it would increase health care costs for everyone else.  Premium growth for Americans in employer-sponsored insurance plans has slowed since the ACA became law.  If the ACA had not been enacted and average growth remained the same, job-based premiums would be a projected $3,600 higher today.  Insurance coverage for all Americans is also better because of important consumer protections included in the law, like prohibitions on annual and life time limits and no discrimination for pre-existing conditions.

Repeal will also harm hospitals.  The hospital industry has warned that repealing the ACA could cost hospitals $165 billion and trigger a quote "unprecedented public health crisis."  Since the ACA was enacted, uncompensated care costs have declined for hospitals by approximately 21 percent.  These costs cripple hospitals and are passed on to others in the form of higher prices.

Repeal would also harm the 55 million seniors and people with disabilities enrolled in Medicare.  In addition to ensuring free preventive services for Medicare beneficiaries and closing the prescription drug donut hole, the ACA lengthened the solvency of the Medicare trust fund by 11 years.  Reforms in the ACA helped slow the rate of health care cost growth in Medicare, which means Medicare seniors pay less today than they would have if the ACA weren’t enacted.  Medicare spending was $473 billion less from 2009-2014 compared with spending if pre-ACA cost growth trends had continued.  Repeal would reverse these gains and shift costs to seniors who simply cannot afford it.

Mr. Speaker, Republicans say they are fiscally responsible, and that government spending is out of control, but today they will vote to add $3 trillion dollars to the deficit with their ACA repeal bill.  Their assault is not logical, it’s ideological.  And I urge all Members to vote against this GOP hypocrisy.