Butterfield’s Statement on Republicans’ Attempt to Disparage the Affordable Care Act during Energy and Commerce Committee Hearing

WASHINGTON, DC — Earlier Thursday, during the Republican-led House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing criticizing the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01) offered the following statement:

“Today’s hearing would be appropriate if my Republican colleagues would have approached it in a constructive way so as to learn about the rollout challenges of Healthcare.gov.  It would be appropriate to work in a bipartisan way to support the administration’s efforts to fix the problems with the website. 

“But the title of today’s hearing – PPACA Implementation Failures: Didn’t Know or Didn’t Disclose – very clearly illustrates my colleagues’ motives and intentions.  I assure my Republican colleagues that their vehement opposition to Obamacare is very well known…It was just 24 days ago that Republicans forced the shutdown of the federal government over their fervent opposition to the law.

“For 16 days, Republicans held the American people, our country’s financial stability, and the world economy hostage in an effort to delay, dismantle, and defund Obamacare.  Their efforts cost the U.S. economy $3.1 billion and cost 120,000 new jobs.

“The administration, members of Congress, and the public all agree there are problems with Healthcare.gov.  Those problems are being addressed right now.  But I must remind my colleagues that Obamacare is not just a website.  It’s a law that has already helped tens of millions of Americans. 

“Young adults can stay on their parents’ insurance until their 26th birthday.  Insurance companies can no longer deny people because of a pre-existing condition and they can’t drop someone from coverage if they get sick.  The law ends caps on yearly and lifetime benefits and requires insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of premiums on patient care and quality improvements.

“But my colleagues don’t talk about the dividends Obamacare is already paying to millions of Americans, instead choosing to focus on the technical glitches with Healthcare.gov. 

“Complaining about a website with design problems that can and are being fixed as we speak is nothing more than a thinly veiled excuse to disparage President Obama and the law that he and many in Congress have championed.

“Obamacare is a good law that benefits the American people.  It will empower Americans to live healthier lives while ultimately saving taxpayers money.  We should not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Let’s work together in a bipartisan way to address aspects of the law that could be improved instead of grandstanding in an effort to score political points.

“I yield back.”