Washington, DC--Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) voted against the latest House Republican repeal of the landmark Affordable Care Act.  This was the 31st time since the Republicans took over the House, and comes less than two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.  Rep. Engel is a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, and a longtime supporter of the Affordable Care Act.  (To view his comments from the House floor -

“The obsession my Republican colleagues have with repealing the Affordable Care Act would be humorous if it was not such an obstacle to getting things done in Washington.  The American people wanted reform to the health care system.  Congress passed, and the President signed into law, such a reform.  The Republicans sued and urged judicial action – they got the action, just not with the results they wanted.  They refuse to accept the Court’s ruling and continue to waste the people’s time by scheduling repeal votes destined to die in the Senate.   

“Ironically, the centerpiece of the law – which is the target of their ire – is a Republican idea.  Newt Gingrich and the Heritage Foundation developed the concept of the individual mandate to combat the Clinton health care reform plan, and then-Governor Mitt Romney implemented it in Massachusetts.  Interesting how a few short years later they now call their own concept Socialism.  They have been banging the drum since taking over the House in 2011, trying to repeal and replace the law.  They have surely voted often enough on repeal, but they have not presented a credible replacement plan.  In reality, their replacement plan is to return to the old failed system –eliminating the health care coverage for millions, putting patients with pre-existing conditions at risk, re-opening the dreaded Medicare prescription drug donut hole, taking health coverage away from young adults, and allowing insurers to be an obstacle between patients and physicians.  Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers can no longer charge women more than men for identical policies, and insurers must spend at least 80% of consumers’ premiums on health care or give rebates to their customers.  The first rebates are due to be mailed by August 1, with an estimated $1.1 billion being returned to taxpayers. 

“Republicans are blinded by their opposition to anything the President proposes, and they need to open their eyes in order to see how this law will benefit millions of Americans.  Until they do, we’ll be stuck voting on more attempts at repeal, and no attempts at job creation, comprehensive immigration reform or badly needed improvements to our education system.”