Roby Debates Constitutionality of Health Care Law
U.S. Representative Martha Roby participated in Special Orders on the House floor to debate her opposition to the President’s health care law. In the current 112th Congress, Rep. Roby has voted 27 times to repeal the President’s health care law, block its individual provisions, or defund its programs.
House Members took up the debate nearing the Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care law. The Supreme Court concluded oral arguments in March 28, 2012. The court is expected to make its decision public this month in a written opinion.
Rep. Roby’s full remarks from the debate are below:
“I thank the Gentlelady from Tennessee for your leadership tonight on this most important and timely subject.
“And to the Gentleman from Georgia, I appreciate all of your remarks because I do believe that we have shown through our campaign promises that we were going to put forth legislation that’s not just common sense but that all Americans have the ability to digest and understand in a way that gives them the ability to provide feedback to us as members of Congress as to what makes sense and what they are for and what they are not for.
“The three day rule that we implemented certainly has provided us with an opportunity to give our constituents time to learn so that we are not finding ourselves in the same situation as they were in the previous Congress with this massive health care law. And I’m proud to say that one of our first votes in Congress was to repeal this law in its entirety.
“Most of us can agree that this law has very little to do with the common sense health care reform, but translates into substantial costs – well over $500 billion that must be paid by hard working, tax-paying Americans.
“I would think that if this room was filled with colleagues from this side of the aisle and the other that what we could all nod and agree upon is that we need health care in this country that is more accessible and more affordable. We just have different ways of getting there.
“Over the course of the 112th Congress, all of my colleagues and I have cast over 27 votes to repeal or defund this current law. Soon, the Supreme Court is going to hand down a landmark decision regarding the constitutionality of this very law we that are discussing here tonight. Of course, this, like all of your districts, will affect my home district in Alabama.
“Regardless of the Supreme Court’s decision, I believe many of the problems that we have with health care in this country will continue to be present and have a significant impact on small business in this country.
“Despite rhetoric, we have a responsibility in this majority to maintain our focus on jobs and the economy because that is what Americans are concerned about.
“Today, I asked my constituents from the Second District of Alabama to share with me on Facebook their concerns surrounding Obamacare. So I just want to quote a few of my constituents. ‘ObamaCare violates the Constitution and the rights of the American People,’ ‘ObamaCare is not the Answer,’ ‘A board of laymen should not decide what treatment I can get. This is between me and my Dr. Not some committee without any medical experience.’
“One of their largest fears is IPAB, the Independent Payment Advisory Board—labeled by critics, the death panel. Under current law, this 15 member Board will be empowered to find cost savings in Medicare by rationing health care services to senior citizens. Like the President’s czars, this Board will be handpicked by the President, and will not be accountable to the American people or any person that they elected to the Congress to represent them.
“One Montgomery, Alabama, physician who provides care to Medicare recipients, claims that cuts in payments to doctors will be devastating to his ability just to stay in business. And we’ve heard testimony on just how difficult it would be to then recruit family practitioners and internal medicine doctors into the community. IPAB’s recommendations to reduce health care costs will unfairly and disproportionately fall on physicians just like him, since the law prohibits any reductions in payments to hospitals and hospices until 2020.
“So many doctors in Alabama are already faced with the painful decision of staying in business or not seeing Medicare patients. All because of Obamacare. Not because of decisions that this Republican majority in this House have made.
“Not only will IPAB have a devastating effect on businesses, it will have a disastrous affect and negative consequences on a patient’s access to care.
“Another concern of my constituents is the employer mandated health insurance provision. The Obama Administration is encouraging employers to retain and expand health care coverage to their employees by 2014. My question is this—how can a business owner retain insurance coverage if it forces him into bankruptcy?
“This is what all of us hear when we travel throughout our districts during district work weeks. This is the number one concern of uncertainty provided by this law.
“I recently heard from another constituent who owns independent grocery stores throughout Alabama, employing over 500 workers. This means 500 families are making a living from this business. And when he is required by law to provide all of his employees with health insurance, his grocery stores will go bankrupt, causing significant layoffs to his employees.
“And when a kumquat producer from a southern state is threatened to go out of business, this is evidence that we have left no stone unturned when it comes to the loss of jobs.
“On a national perspective, the employer mandated health insurance provision could cause the elimination of 1.6 million jobs, with 66 percent of those coming from small businesses alone. Who wins in this situation? No one.
“Even thriving businesses that are able to sustain the heavy financial burden of this law are not hiring and growing their workforce due to the uncertainty.
“As we continue forward during this 112th Congress, we must remain committed to reforming health care without the threat of new taxes and regulations that burden small businesses and the American people.
“Congress must be aggressive, but responsible, in making these reforms as we stay focused on making America strong and prosperous for future generations.
“I look forward to working with all of you here tonight. And to the Gentlelady from Tennessee, thank you for your leadership. It could not come at a more important time. We need to continue this discussion.
“Again, I cannot emphasize enough that the uncertainty surrounding this law is stifling job creation. As we are accused day after day of not presenting jobs bills, this is it. This is the number one jobs bill. When we repeal this law we will lift the heavy hand of government and we believe, and I know, that the private sector, with that certainty, will once again begin hiring those people who desperately need jobs all over this country.
“Thank you so much and I yield back.”