McDermott Statement at the Ways and Means Hearing on ACA Implementation
WASHINGTON, DC –Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) gave the following statement during the Ways and Means Committee hearing on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
*Remarks as Prepared*
“With the way my Republican colleagues have been fretting over the success of the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges, you’d never know they spent $24 billion dollars shutting down our country to get rid of it. Suddenly, they seem desperate to see this bill they hate so much work. It’s like the Annie Hall joke, ‘The exchanges are terrible, and not enough people can enroll!’
“This is one of the biggest reforms our country has ever seen, and we are only four weeks in. Medicare wasn’t built in a day. Part D didn’t roll out without snags along the way. As others have mentioned, many of the Republicans who are now calling for blood over this roll out were begging for patience during the Part D transition.
“The ‘kinks’ of that rollout—a program, by the way, which was far less complicated than creating a completely new federal marketplace that must cater to different generations, incomes, and employment situations—yet those kinks were easily brushed off by many of the GOP alarmists in this room. We waited six months to hold an oversight hearing on Part D. This hearing, four weeks from the start of open enrollment on the ACA, is premature.
“We would have all loved for this launch to be seamless and smooth, but we can’t get so caught up in glitches and technical difficulties that we lose all perspective. Help lines are up and running. People can sign up by mail and in person. Washington has been holding successful mobile sign up events all over the state. We’ve already enrolled over 48,000 Washingtonians in health plans and expanded Medicaid.
“Sure, we have had some glitches but we are also seeing results.
“All that said, our country does have a serious problem getting people access to quality health insurance, but it’s not being caused by websites.
“All the computer programmers in the world aren’t going to be able to help the 180,000 Hoosiers that fall into an affordable insurance coverage gap because Indiana isn’t expanding Medicaid. Of course that’s nothing next to Georgia’s 400,000 or Florida’s 760,000 residents.
“And not to be outdone, Texas boasts 1,046,430 residents who will simply get nothing—no Medicaid and no access to the exchange. That’s over a million Texans: the working poor with multiple minimum wage jobs and hungry kids; Americans who are doing their best just to get by. They could be covered at no cost to themselves, or to the state of Texas. Instead, because the GOP wants to see this President fail, because they’d rather let their constituents go uninsured than compromise, those Texans, and Floridians, and Hoosiers are out of luck.
“Meanwhile, in other red states, Kentucky has enrolled over 26,000 residents through the state exchange or expanded Medicaid. Arkansas, putting even Washington and New York to shame, has enrolled over 56,000 residents in a unique Medicaid expansion program. Here is very red state who has worked hard to partner with the federal government and arrive at a solution that is working for its residents.
“It’s time to start working together here.
“No one on our side thinks this law is perfect, and if we could walk away from the repeal obsession, if we could focus on implementing and improving the ACA, maybe we could make what we have what America wants and needs.”
Watch the full speech: