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Engel Remarks on Health Care Legislation at Health Subcommittee Mark-Up

Engel Remarks on Health Care Legislation at Health Subcommittee Mark-Up

Washington, D.C.–Congressman Eliot L. Engel made the following remarks at yesterday’s Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee bill mark-up:

“Madam Chairwoman Eshoo, today marks a new day for the House of Representatives, as this subcommittee markup begins the process of undoing the damage, undermining, sabotage and outright undoing of the Affordable Care Act. The past 9 years has seen an unprecedented effort by the President and my GOP colleagues to wage an all-out assault on the ACA. Today, we begin to reverse some of that damage.

“It is somewhat ironic this mark-up is being held just days after the Trump Administration weighed into the latest attack on the ACA in the 5th Circuit, calling for the law to be struck down.  Let us all be clear, if their efforts are successful in the courts, protection for pre-existing conditions will be eliminated. While many of my colleagues spoke, during the last election, of their new found support for protecting coverage for pre-existing conditions, this lawsuit would once again strike that coverage.

“The Trump Administration has waged an all-out assault on the ACA from day one. Trying to get the law repealed -- failing by only one vote in the Senate -- curbing advertisements to encourage people to sign up, restricting navigators designed to assist people to obtain coverage, and running to the courts to strike down the law. This is nothing more than a concerted and determined effort to end the Affordable Care Act.

“Today, we begin an effort to repair some of the damage already inflicted on the ACA. While the ACA isn’t perfect, like all major legislation, there is a need for tweaks and improvements. Instead, we have witnessed no effort to improve, only to destroy.

“My constituents are benefiting from the ACA, as New York has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the nation. Our goal should be to continue lowering the number of uninsured, not adding to it.

“I am also pleased this subcommittee markup is beginning to address the high cost of prescription drugs. For too long, our constituents have been held hostage by pharmaceutical companies willing to charge exorbitant prices for life saving medications. This is achieved by a horrendous provision in the 2003 Prescription Drug legislation barring negotiation for drug prices by the federal government. That provision locks in whatever price the pharmaceutic company can extort, while consumers and federal government continue to be gouged.  Today, we begin the road to fairness, equity and sanity.

“I look forward to supporting the bills we have under consideration.”