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House Votes to Protect American Workers’ Health Care Choices


09.11.14

Committee Members Share Stories from Constituents Who Face Cancelled Plans and Higher Costs


WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today advanced H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act, legislation authored by Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA). This bill would allow plans available on the group market in 2013 to continue to be offered through 2018, protecting workers from looming plan cancellations. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that this bill would lower the deficit by $1.25 billion, provide more health plan options with lower premiums, and raise wages for American workers.” The measure passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 247-167.   

Energy and Commerce Committee members took to the House floor to voice their support and share stories from their districts.  

Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “Tom Harmon and the trusted workers at American Waste in Union, MI are seeing their health care premiums more than double. Sadly, their deductible is much higher to boot – forcing them to deal with higher health care costs. Rather than make life easier, Washington, through the president’s health care law, has made life more expensive for Tom and the working families of American Waste in southwest Michigan.” 

Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA) added, “My constituents, businesses as well as individuals, have bitterly conveyed to me the myriad of concerns they face. Eastern Lancaster School District announced it would outsource about 100 of its support staff workers to private companies to avoid possible penalties under Obamacare. In Alleghany County, Pennsylvania, the community college decided to cut hours for 400 adjunct faculty and other employees so it wouldn’t have to pay $6 million in Obamacare-related fees. From Auntie Anne’s franchises, I have been told that they put their growth plans on hold, hiring has been pushed off, and they may no longer be able to afford to provide employee insurance coverage. In 2012, they experienced a 19 percent increase in insurance premiums and a 30 percent increase in 2013.”

H.R. 3522’s author, committee member Rep. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) explained, “This legislation is about keeping a promise and doing right by the American people. The Employee Health Care Protection Act is a bipartisan bill that allows American workers, if they choose, to keep their employer sponsored health care plan that they depend upon for health care security. … Frankly I am disappointed this legislation is even necessary.”

Full Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spoke to the law’s many #brokenpromises. “What we have found is that premiums are rising. In my state they are going to go up another 18 to 20 percent. We are seeing narrowed networks. People have an insurance card, but guess what? They don’t have access to the queue. They can’t see the doctor.”

Rep. Phil Gingery, M.D. (R-GA) added, “If the president will not keep his promise to the American people that if you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan, then we need to do it for him. H.R. 3522 accomplishes that goal.”

Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) noted, “Up to 50 million people who get health care through their employers could have their plans cancelled or disrupted because of rules and regulations in the president’s health care law – that is one in six Americans. If one of my constituents wants to keep their plan, they should be able to.”

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC) shared the story of her constituent, Steve Lozinsky. “One of many of the businesses that provide health care coverage for their employees right there in my district, Mr. Steve Lozinsky, who runs a small Sparkle and Shine Cleaning Service in Apex, North Carolina, called me just the other day concerned about this issue. Steve has about 240 employees and he will be forced to lay of 31 of them because of the Obamacare mandate.”

As Upton explained, “America’s workers and families know their health care needs better than Members of Congress or officials at the Department of Health and Human Services. This bill empowers Americans with more choices – the same choices they were promised. If Americans liked their health care plan, they should be able to keep it. Period. End of story.”

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Subcommittees
Health (113th Congress)
Press Release