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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

ACA Coverage Matters for Chicago

Jan 4, 2017

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) spoke on the House Floor about the importance of preserving the Affordable Care Act for Chicagoans and Americans that rely on the healthcare law for quality, affordable care.

Below is a video and transcript of the speech.

Mr. Speaker: I rise today to share the story of Mary and her son, two of my constituents from the Lakeview community of Chicago.

Mary wrote to me on her son’s behalf, expressing their deep appreciation for the Affordable Care Act and what the law has meant for their family.

In 2001, Mary’s son was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease, called Addison’s Disease.

Addison’s Disease occurs when your body produces insufficient amounts of certain hormones produced by your adrenal glands.

When left untreated, Addison’s Disease can be life threatening.

At the time of his diagnosis, Mary’s son was fully insured through his employer.

Then, in 2011, Mary’s son left his employer to pursue the American dream of entrepreneurship and start a small business of his own.

Leaving his employer to bravely chase the American Dream meant leaving behind his insurance coverage, too.

He did not anticipate being denied coverage due to his “pre-existing condition.”

Up to this point, because of treatment covered by his insurance plan, he’d been able to work, to provide for himself and to live independently. 

He got his new business off the ground, he went uninsured and as a result, encountered several crises with his health.

He avoided going to the doctor due to high costs and eventually ended up in the emergency room.

As we all know, preventable emergency visits are a major contributor to the overall high healthcare costs that harm the entire system.

Thanks to President Obama and Congress passing the Affordable Care Act, Mary’s son was finally able to obtain affordable care when the health insurance through the marketplace when it opened in 2013.

Mary wrote to me to share her son’s story. He is one of tens of millions of Americans who have directly benefited from the ACA’s improvements to coverage, consumer protections, costs, and quality.

Today, Mary is fearful of what the repeal of ACA will mean for her son.

Unfortunately, despite having 7 years to produce an alternative, the majority has failed to offer a true replacement.

And what about the parts of the ACA that share bipartisan popularity?

My colleagues on the other side of the aisle and  the President Elect insist they will craft a plan that maintains popular parts of the law, while rejecting the less popular components.

Of course, that sounds great, but there’s one real problem: they’ve offered absolutely no way to pay for any of it.  

In reality, repeal and replace is more simply repeal…and go back to before.

Tearing down a house, a much needed house, before a new one is built.

Back to a time when 47 million Americans—nearly 18% of the population—were uninsured.

Mary’s son, and countless others like him cannot afford to go back in time.

Repealing ACA will leave over 20 million Americans, including her son, without affordable health insurance, effectively disrupting their care and potentially putting their lives at risk.

To remind us all of the high stakes riding on the ACA repeal, Mary wrote, saying:

“As a former Republican and now an Independent voter, I am speaking from my heart. The 2016 election result has me truly frightened for the health of my son and for my husband and me.”

Repealing the Affordable Care Act will create a chaotic uncertainty that will put lives in real danger.

We all share in the responsibility to protect the healthcare for all Americans.

Empty rhetoric of repealing ACA is dangerous, but when transformed into real legislative action, it can be catastrophic for the constituents that have elected us to serve and represent them in this body.

On behalf of Mary’s son and other Americans in districts across the country, I urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to abandon their efforts to strip health care from those who need it, and instead work with us to make our country a healthier place for all.