Press Releases

Burgess: The Affordable Care Act has Proven to be Unaffordable

June 29, 2020
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), a member of the House Rules Committee and Republican Leader of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, delivered the following remarks from the House floor on H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act.

As Prepared for Delivery: 

I rise to speak against H.R. 1425, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Enhancement Act. This is a partisan bill that serves no purpose other than a tenth birthday present to the Affordable Care Act. Since the passage of this law, I have heard from my constituents about the burdensome costs and lackluster quality of these exchange plans. This bill injects an enormous amount of funding into the Affordable Care Act as an attempt to superglue it back together.

H.R. 1425 establishes a new reinsurance program that would cost $10 billion per year for eternity. This reinsurance program does not include longstanding protections that ensure that federal funding cannot be used to pay for abortions. If we want to pass a bipartisan reinsurance policy, I have a bill, H.R. 1510, which includes reinsurance coupled with structural reform of the Affordable Care Act. It gives states more choice on how to repair their markets that have been damaged by the Affordable Care Act, and it’s offset by stopping bad actors from gaming the system. Importantly, it includes Hyde protections and therefore protects life.

H.R. 1425 also punishes states that chose not to expand Medicaid by cutting their federal share of Medicaid funding. States are already struggling to keep up with rising Medicaid costs, and this bill will only hurt them more. 

The Supreme Court case, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, which ruled that threatening states’ Medicaid funding for not expanding is unconstitutional. Sections 204 and 205 of this bill would violate the same principles and coerce states rather than incentivize them to expand Medicaid. This bill will actively damage state Medicaid programs in states like Texas. 

Lastly, this bill uses offsets that would actively harm our nation’s coronavirus response by using offsets from H.R. 3 that would require the government to set drug prices. The Congressional Budget Office analysis found that such policies would lead to substantially fewer new drugs coming to market. What if one of those drugs had been remdesivir? A vote for this bill is a vote against a vaccine or a cure for coronavirus. 

There are policies we could pass today that would help Americans. We could reauthorize community health centers and newborn screening, we could reauthorize the Money Follows the Person program, which allows Medicaid beneficiaries to move out of nursing homes and back into their own homes. Unfortunately, we are wasting our time on a partisan birthday present for the Affordable Care Act. I urge my fellow Members to vote against H.R. 1425.