HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius joined a small group of House Democrats and administration officials Wednesday morning to emphasize that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is good for American families and businesses, just before House members began their second and last day of debate on whether to repeal the law.
Administration officials tout reform-law benefits
Speaking briefly at a news conference that preceded a House Democratic caucus meeting, Sebelius highlighted an HHS report that said up to 129 million Americans with pre-existing medical conditions could lose coverage if the law is repealed. She also said that by 2014, the law will allow an average family of four to save about $6,000 when they look to buy healthcare coverage. “It isn't symbolic to those families,” Sebelius said, referring to the politics surrounding the repeal bill, which some have said is a symbolic move from Republicans who campaigned that they would work to overturn the Affordable Care Act.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the law is good for the nation’s rural population, where patients in rural communities were spending 39% of the total cost out of their own pockets before the Affordable Care Act. And Karen Mills, administrator of the Small Business Administration, said small businesses are already benefiting from the law, especially as they prepare their taxes and are eligible for the tax credits the act provides. Mills shared an e-mail message she received Tuesday night from the owner of Rostov's Coffee & Tea in Richmond, Va., who said she calculated how her business will benefit from the small business tax credit and that she does not want to see the law overturned.
“The last thing we should be doing today or any day is casting a vote to put insurance companies in the driver's seat,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said at the briefing. Schultz also shared some comments she received from Patricia Maisch, the woman who has become famous for her role in containing a gunman in the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson, Ariz. that has left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in serious condition and six others dead. According to Wasserman Schultz, Maisch had attended to the event to tell Giffords that she and her husband are small business owners who support the Affordable Care Act because they believe it will allow them to provide insurance for their employees' families.
Wasserman Schultz also said the Republican use of the term “job-killing” act is factually incorrect. Of the 1.1 million new jobs created last year in the private sector, she said, 200,000 of those were in healthcare.
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