WASHINGTON — Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) on July 10 spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives in opposition to Republican efforts to repeal the health care law, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which was ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court.

In her remarks, Matsui highlighted how the ACA helped Paula Villescaz, a legislative staffer to Assemblymember Dr. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento), receive and afford the care she needed to overcome a rare, life-threatening cancer.

The GOP-controlled House passed the repeal, but the Democrat-controlled Senate defeated a similar measure last year.

Rep. Doris Matsui on the House floor.

Following is the text of Matsui’s speech:

“I rise today in strong opposition to the rule and the underlying legislation. This bill marks the Republicans’ 31st attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, even though the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled it constitutional.

“Unfortunately, instead of focusing on job creation, here we are again. The underlying legislation exemplifies the majority’s continuous drumbeat to abolish the ACA, fearful that Americans may have a chance to fully realize its tremendous benefits.

“Instead, the majority has only offered vague phrases and empty rhetoric, such as ‘patient-centered health care.’ while repeatedly attempting to repeal legislation that would expand access to care for millions of Americans.

“Clearly, their idea of ‘patient-centered health care’ refers only to those patients who can afford skyrocketing health insurance rates and do not have any pre-existing conditions. What is the point of ‘patient-centered health care’ when only a portion of the public can access the care?

“The underlying legislation before us today would deny my constituents and the American people the consumer protections for which they have been asking for years. This legislation would increase costs to families, small business owners, and seniors across the board. It would allow insurance companies to deny coverage to Americans with pre-existing conditions, drop coverage when people get sick, reinstitute lifetime limits on coverage, and charge people more based merely on gender.

“The ACA has already created long-lasting benefits for many of my constituents, including Paula, who in March of 2010 was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare children’s bone cancer, and given a 15 percent chance of survival. Initially, she was lucky to have health insurance.

“But at an average of $60,000 per chemotherapy treatment, she quickly approached her lifetime benefits cap. These are not burdens anyone can or should have to bear. Because of the ACA she remained covered, and was able to complete her full treatment plan. And, in the future, because of the law, Paula will not have to fear being denied coverage due to this pre-existing condition.

“It is time we move forward, and focus our efforts on job creation. I urge my colleagues to vote down this rule and vote against the underlying legislation.”

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