Remarks On House Republicans’ 37th Vote To Repeal Obamacare

 “Albert Einstein defined insanity as, ‘doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.’ If that’s true, the House Republicans have truly lost their minds.”

“This political kabuki has tied up the floor of the House of Representatives for weeks, and cost the American taxpayers $52.4 million… enough to restore funding for 19 million meals for homebound seniors or 6,900 children dropped from the Head Start program.”

“Obamacare was the most significant step toward ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare for every American since Medicare. But Republicans would erase those gains, and force millions of American families to once again rely on expensive emergency room care – or go without care at all.”

Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the 37th attempt by House Republicans to repeal Obamacare. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

Albert Einstein defined insanity as, “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” If that’s true, the House Republicans have truly lost their minds.

This week, the House of Representatives will vote for the 37th time to repeal landmark health care reform bill known as Obamacare

After last year’s election, Speaker Boehner conceded that Obamacare is here to stay. This is what he said: “It’s pretty clear that the President was reelected, [and] Obamacare is the law of the land.” But just in case, the House will waste this week on yet another dead-end repeal vote. Perhaps Republicans think the 37th time is the charm.

Tea Party extremists bullied the Speaker into holding yet another vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and roll back benefits for tens of millions of Americans. This is what the Speaker said last week: “We’ve got 70 new members who have not had an opportunity to vote on the president’s health care law… Frankly, they’ve been asking for an opportunity to vote on it.”

This political kabuki has tied up the floor of the House of Representatives for weeks, and cost the American taxpayers $52.4 million and counting, according to figures compiled by CBS News. That $52.4 million is enough to restore funding for 19 million meals for homebound seniors or 6,900 children dropped from the Head Start program.

But while the vote may be political theater, it does have one benefit: the American people will know where the freshman class of House Republicans stands. Do they stand with millions of Americans who are already benefiting from Obamacare? Or do they stand with insurance companies that would like nothing better than to once again deny coverage to sick children, impose lifetime caps on care and discriminate against those with preexisting conditions?

Since President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, insurance companies can no longer put profits ahead of people. Insurance companies can no longer discriminate against children with preexisting conditions.  They can no longer raise your rates for no reason.  They can no longer drop your coverage if you get sick.

But this week – for the 37th time – House Republicans will try to change all that. Here are a few of the other benefits already in effect that House Republicans would eliminate.

In Nevada alone, tens of thousands of seniors have saved tens of millions of dollars on medicines because the Affordable Care Act closed the gap in prescription drug coverage. That means millions of seniors have more money in their pockets for food, gas and the electric bill.

More than 3 million young people – including 33,000 young Nevadans – have benefited from a provision in the law that allows children to stay on their parents’ health plans until they are 26 years old. That means no young person will have to worry about getting sick while looking for a job that offers insurance.

And, hundreds of thousands of businesses that already offer their employees health insurance are getting tax credits for doing the right thing. That means small business owners can spend their capital on growing their firms, instead of on growing insurance premiums.

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies can no longer set arbitrary lifetime caps on benefits, putting millions of Americans one car accident or heart attack away from bankruptcy. Today children can no longer be denied insurance because they are born with a disease or a disability, a protection that will soon extend to all Americans. And soon being a woman will no longer be considered a pre-existing condition.

In a few months, 129 million Americans with preexisting conditions such as high blood pressure or epilepsy can rest assured they’ll have access to affordable insurance and life-saving care – regardless of how much money they make. And soon, 25 million more Americans who cannot afford health insurance will have access to reasonably priced coverage and quality care.

But if Republicans get their way, all those benefits – and more – will disappear.

Obamacare was the most significant step toward ensuring access to quality, affordable healthcare for every American since Medicare. But Republicans would erase those gains, and force millions of American families to once again rely on expensive emergency room care – or go without care at all.

Fortunately, Republicans’ latest repeal effort – their latest exercise in insanity, as described by Albert Einstein – is doomed to fail like all the others.

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