EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE PROTECTION ACT OF 2014; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 129
(House of Representatives - September 10, 2014)

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[Pages H7413-H7420]
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              EMPLOYEE HEALTH CARE PROTECTION ACT OF 2014

  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 717, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 3522) to authorize health insurance issuers to continue 
to offer for sale current group health insurance coverage in 
satisfaction of the minimum essential health insurance coverage 
requirement, and for other purposes, and ask for its immediate 
consideration in the House.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Simpson). Pursuant to House Resolution 
717, the amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the text 
of Rules Committee Print 113-56, modified by the amendment printed in 
House Report 113-584, is adopted. The bill, as amended, is considered 
read.
  The text of the bill, as amended, is as follows:

                               H.R. 3522

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Employee Health Care 
     Protection Act of 2014''.

     SEC. 2. IF YOU LIKE YOUR GROUP HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN, YOU CAN 
                   KEEP IT.

       (a) In General.--Notwithstanding any provision of the 
     Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (including any 
     amendment made by such Act or by the Health Care and 
     Education Reconciliation Act of 2010), a health insurance 
     issuer that has in effect health insurance coverage in the 
     group market on any date during 2013 may after such date 
     offer such coverage for sale through December 31, 2018, in 
     such market outside of an Exchange established under section 
     1311 or 1321 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 18031, 18041). A group 
     health plan shall not be treated as not complying with the 
     requirements of such Act (or the amendments made by such 
     Acts) insofar as it provides health benefits through health 
     insurance coverage that is permitted under the previous 
     sentence.
       (b) Treatment as Grandfathered Health Plan in Satisfaction 
     of Minimum Essential Coverage.--Health insurance coverage 
     described in subsection (a) shall be treated as a 
     grandfathered health plan for purposes of the amendment made 
     by section 1501(b) of the Patient Protection and Affordable 
     Care Act.
       (c) Construction.--Nothing in this section shall be 
     construed as affecting the authority of States with respect 
     to the regulation of health insurance coverage in the group 
     market.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Pitts) 
and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Pallone) each will control 30 
minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania.


                             General Leave

  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and to 
include extraneous material on H.R. 3522.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Pennsylvania?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3522, the Employee 
Health Care Protection Act of 2014, sponsored by my good friend and 
colleague and important member of the Health Subcommittee, Dr. Bill 
Cassidy of Louisiana.
  This bill is a necessary tool for America's workers that will allow 
for health insurance coverage in the small group market during the 2013 
calendar

[[Page H7414]]

year to be continued to be offered through calendar year 2018. In other 
words, if you like your group health insurance plan, you can keep it.
  It has been over 4 years since the Affordable Care Act was enacted, 
and we are still hearing from constituents, small business owners, and 
employees who are continuing to struggle with the adverse effects of 
this law.
  Here is what Roger from Columbia, Pennsylvania, wrote to me last 
year:

       I am the third generation family owner of a business. We 
     have 32 employees and have been providing health insurance 
     for our employees and their families for over 25 years. This 
     week, we received a renewal notice from our current provider, 
     which is a 40 to 50 percent higher premium than our current 
     contract, with less overall benefit coverage. If we choose to 
     renew early, before the ACA takes effect, our premiums will 
     increase 11.4 percent. Our President told us that the ACA 
     would decrease health insurance costs.

  My constituents--businesses, as well as individuals--have bitterly 
conveyed to me the myriad of concerns they face.
  Eastern Lancaster County School District announced it would 
``outsource'' about 100 of its support staff workers to private 
companies to avoid possible penalties under ObamaCare.
  In Allegheny 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 they have 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.
  Here is what Tom and Rosemarie had to say from Lititz, Pennsylvania:
  I have been crunching numbers to prepare for ObamaCare, and this is 
what I face: close my doors December 31, 2014 . . . or . . . pay 
$40,000 a year to insure my employees or ``pay'' a fine of $2,000 per 
employee per year over the first 30, at the price of $166 per month per 
employee over the first 30. So now, the 10 that have insurance, as well 
as my husband and I, will no longer be insured because the penalty is 
more affordable than to cover . . . this is ridiculous. I am outraged.
  Mr. Speaker, we can do better than this. We can enact patient-
centered free market reforms, where private insurers engage in robust 
competition and create the same kind of market-based inducements to 
reduce prices and improve services that occurs in most other parts of 
the American economy.
  We can start by enacting H.R. 3522. I urge my colleagues to support 
this important legislation. American workers who like their health care 
plan should be able to keep it, just like President Obama and the 
supporters of the Affordable Care Act promised.
  I reserve the balance of my time.

                                         House of Representatives,


                                  Committee on Ways and Means,

                               Washington, DC, September 10, 2014.
     Hon. Fred Upton, Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Upton: I am writing concerning H.R. 3522, the 
     ``Employee Health Care Protection Act,'' which is scheduled 
     for floor consideration today.
       As you know, the Committee on Ways and Means has 
     jurisdiction over the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Section 
     5000A of the Internal Revenue Code requires individuals to 
     maintain minimum essential coverage or pay a penalty. Section 
     2(b) of H.R. 3522, both as reported out of your Committee and 
     Rules Committee Print 113-56, modifies which health care 
     plans would meet the requirement of minimum essential 
     coverage. However, in order to expedite this legislation for 
     floor consideration, the Committee will forgo action on this 
     bill. This is being done with the understanding that it does 
     not in any way prejudice the Committee with respect to the 
     appointment of conferees or its jurisdictional prerogatives 
     on this or similar legislation.
       I would appreciate your response to this letter, confirming 
     this understanding with respect to H.R. 3522, and would ask 
     that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be 
     included in the Congressional Record during floor 
     consideration.
           Sincerely,
                                                        Dave Camp,
     Chairman.
                                  ____

         House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and 
           Commerce,
                               Washington, DC, September 10, 2014.
     Hon. Dave Camp, Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means,
     Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman Camp: Thank you for your letter regarding 
     H.R. 3522, the ``Employee Health Care Protection Act of 
     2013.'' As you noted, there are provisions of the bill that 
     fall within the Committee on Ways and Means' Rule X 
     jurisdiction.
       I appreciate your willingness to forgo action on H.R. 3522, 
     and I agree that your decision does not in any way prejudice 
     the Committee on Ways and Means with respect to the 
     appointment of conferees or its jurisdictional prerogatives 
     on this or similar legislation.
       I will include a copy of your letter and this response in 
     the Congressional Record during consideration of H.R. 3522 on 
     the House floor.
           Sincerely,
                                                       Fred Upton,
                                                         Chairman.

  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill is nothing more than another political attack 
on the Affordable Care Act. In fact, I think this bill serves as House 
Republicans' 53rd vote to repeal or undermine the health care law.
  If enacted, this bill would allow insurance companies to discriminate 
against small businesses if they have an older workforce, more women in 
their workforce, or if any of their employees or their children have 
preexisting health conditions. The impact is taking away from millions 
of workers key protections and puts insurance companies back in charge 
of their health care.
  Even worse, I believe, it gives insurance companies the best of both 
worlds: millions of new customers through the ACA, but the ability to 
continue to cherry-pick employers with young, healthy workforces.
  In fact, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the 
bill would have serious adverse effects on premiums, causing them to 
rise substantially for many small firms, and the CBO agrees. This bill 
causes serious harm.
  Republicans are claiming that this is just another effort to help 
people keep the coverage they have, but let's be clear, if your 
insurance starts covering your child to the age of 26, you are not 
losing your old coverage, your coverage is simply getting better.
  If your insurance starts covering preventive services like annual 
physicals and vaccinations and cancer screenings for free, that is not 
losing your old coverage, that is your coverage getting better. There 
is no evidence employers are dropping coverage en masse.
  So Republicans are left to claim people are losing their coverage 
when their coverage is actually getting better. This is again the 
Republicans misleading the public.
  Mr. Speaker, when the ACA passed, employers and health insurers had 
the option to grandfather their coverage. They could keep that coverage 
the same, and it would not have to comply with the new ACA reforms. 
They could even raise premiums and cost-sharing and still stay 
grandfathered.
  For plans that did not grandfather, a host of important new consumer 
protections went into place before 2014. For example, plans had to 
limit their profits and overhead to 20 percent of the premiums they 
collect. If they failed to meet this standard, they must pay rebates to 
their customers. As a result, small businesses have saved a total of 
$2.5 billion on their premiums since 2011.
  Mr. Speaker, in November 2013, the President announced that 
individuals and small businesses who are not yet ready to transition 
into the new, more fair, secure health coverage guaranteed by the ACA 
could remain in their existing plans for another year.
  In March of this year, the President extended that policy, so that 
individuals and small businesses could keep their plans into 2016, but 
this bill goes much further and allows these plans to be sold to new 
customers.
  So we are not talking about people keeping their plans. We are 
talking about selling old lousy plans, discriminatory plans, to new 
customers.
  Since the ACA was passed, we have added key new benefits and 
protections to employer coverage, but at the same time, we have added 
10 million jobs, we have helped 10 million people get health coverage, 
we have seen premiums rise at historically low levels, and we have 
extended the life of the Medicare trust fund by 13 years.
  This is amazing progress, and we should not turn back. That is what 
the Republicans would have us do with this

[[Page H7415]]

other repeal of the Affordable Care Act: turn us back to the old days 
where the insurance companies reigned, where discriminatory practices 
reigned, and where preexisting conditions were a basis for not getting 
coverage.
  I urge Members to vote ``no.'' This should not be.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Tennessee (Mrs. Blackburn), the vice chair of the 
Energy and Commerce Committee.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Pitts for his diligence 
on this effort and on behalf of the American people to allow them the 
choice and the options that they are seeking in their health care.
  My colleague is concerned that we are looking at repeals and that we 
are looking at replacements and we are looking at allowing choice and 
options for Americans. We are going to continue to do that because what 
we have found, Mr. Speaker, what we have found is that premiums are 
rising.

                              {time}  1615

  In my State, they are going to go up another 18 to 20 percent this 
year. We have an insurance product in the marketplace that many of our 
constituents tell us is too expensive to afford. 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. We are hearing 
from our hospitals that they are seeing their emergency rooms crowded.
  So yes, indeed, I rise in strong support of H.R. 3522, the Employee 
Health Care Protection Act. It is the right thing to do. If you like 
your health care plan, under this bill you would be able to keep your 
health care plan. We would be helping the President to fulfill a 
promise that he broke. Let's get back on track and let's fulfill that 
promise.
  This is what the American people want right now, by the 
administration's own admission. These aren't my numbers. It is the 
administration's number. Up to 80 percent of the small business health 
plans would not make the ObamaCare cut because they are not government-
compliant. The operative word here is they are not government-
compliant. The government is forcing people into a plan that they don't 
want, don't like, and can't afford. This is the administration 
admitting this. They are taking away options and choice in the 
marketplace.
  We have heard from small business owners all across our district who 
are struggling to find ways to provide health insurance to their 
employees and still manage to stay in business. What they are looking 
for is a way to provide jobs and increase wages. ObamaCare is making it 
more and more difficult.
  We have heard from our constituents about how their insurance 
premiums and their copayments are escalating and the complaints they 
have from employees because they don't like the ObamaCare plans. We 
have heard that they do not understand why they are forced into 
purchasing government-compliant insurance which does not meet their 
needs.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentlewoman an additional 1 
minute.
  Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3522, the Employee Health Care 
Protection Act, will provide some relief to the small business 
community by allowing them to maintain their current health insurance 
plans. If you like the health insurance plan that you have, you would 
be able to keep it. It is fulfilling a promise. It is what small 
business employers want. It is what the American people want.
  I urge passage of this legislation.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Washington (Mr. McDermott), the ranking member of the Ways and Means 
Health Subcommittee.
  (Mr. McDERMOTT asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks.)
  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to ask a very simple 
question: When will the Republicans accept their share of 
responsibility in guaranteeing the health security of all Americans?
  The bill under consideration today, H.R. 3522, is really nothing more 
than a senseless, heartless, 53rd vote by the Republicans to eviscerate 
the Affordable Care Act.
  Where the ACA is a historic leap forward in health security for 
millions of Americans, this bill is a shameless stumble backward to the 
days when insurance companies could exploit the American people with 
impunity.
  Where the ACA promotes women's health and security, this bill allows 
health companies to charge more to women for their coverage than they 
do for men.
  Where the ACA ends the reprehensible practice of price-gouging 
Americans with preexisting conditions, this legislation allows insurers 
selling small business health plans to charge more for coverage for 
those with preexisting conditions.
  This legislation would also allow insurers to impose annual limits on 
coverage, meaning that health security will run out for many Americans 
when they get sick--a tragic state of affairs that often results in 
folks going bankrupt in the face of a pile of unpaid medical bills.
  This legislation sends us back to a dark day when too many American 
families had to choose between a roof over their head and food on the 
table or paying their health care bills.
  The ACA was passed into law to protect hardworking Americans, in 
part, by making bad, exploitative health insurance plans a thing of the 
past. The fact that they are wanting to add more people to it is really 
reprehensible. This legislation allows insurers to sell the same bad 
business plans that they had before to more people until 2018.
  The Republicans have been in charge here and haven't proposed any 
alternative whatsoever. This legislation jeopardizes the health 
security of American families by rolling back vital insurance 
protections made law by the ACA.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask again: When will the Republicans act on behalf of 
the health security of the American people? When will they stop having 
these PR campaign events just before we are going home so they can send 
out press releases and say they have done something, when they have 
done absolutely nothing except try to remove the ACA? When will they 
care about the people?
  Sadly, not today.
  This bill is an embarrassment and demands a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the 
gentleman from Louisiana, Dr. Bill Cassidy, a valued member of the 
Health Subcommittee and prime sponsor of the legislation.
  Mr. CASSIDY. Mr. Speaker, 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.
  I am amused my colleagues across the aisle seem to think the American 
worker doesn't know what is best for herself, her family, or her 
business. It just amazes me they have so little regard for the average 
American. They feel like they must tell the average American what is 
best for them. They cannot make their own decisions.
  Frankly, I am disappointed that this legislation is even necessary. 
President Obama and congressional supporters of ObamaCare made 
unequivocal promises dozens of times that Americans can keep their plan 
if they wished. Yet, last year, millions of Americans found their 
health care canceled because it did not comply with ``Washington knows 
best, you don't'' rules set forth in ObamaCare.
  Ninety-three thousand Louisianans lost their health care in the 
individual market, and thousands more in the group market are in danger 
of losing their plans unless we pass this bill.
  The President apologized to Americans who lost their coverage, saying 
that he is ``sorry that they are finding themselves in this situation 
based on assurances they got from me.'' If the President were truly 
sorry, he would call Senator Reid and tell him to pass this bill and 
provide relief from ObamaCare to the millions of Americans who relied 
on a false promise. He would then work with this body to repeal and 
replace ObamaCare with market-based solutions that give the power

[[Page H7416]]

to the patient, not the Washington bureaucrat.

  I urge all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to vote for this 
bill. The Employer Health Care Protection Act allows American families 
to save money on health care, increases access to affordable health 
care choices, and will raise wages for workers. On top of that, it will 
decrease the deficit by $1.25 billion over the next 10 years. It is a 
commonsense bill that provides relief to millions of Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, let's keep the promise to middle class workers and 
ensure that, if they like their health care plan, they can keep it.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Illinois (Ms. Schakowsky).
  Ms. SCHAKOWSKY. Mr. Speaker, H.R. 3522 marks the 53rd vote to repeal 
or undermine ObamaCare. But worse, it means taking away guaranteed 
benefits for the consumers that you seem to be so concerned about.
  Does anyone really believe that Americans want insurance companies to 
be able to deny them coverage or charge them more due to a preexisting 
condition? Do they want insurance companies to be able to refuse to pay 
for their lifesaving treatments because they have hit an annual limit? 
Do they want insurance companies to be able to not cover maternity 
services for pregnant women, as so many plans did?
  I believe we can all agree the answer is ``no.'' That is why we have 
to reject H.R. 3522 and all other efforts to repeal or undermine the 
consumer protections of ObamaCare. Americans simply can't afford it. 
They can't afford to have insurance companies back in charge of their 
health care.
  This isn't about consumer choice. This is about turning over 
decisions to insurance companies that want to cut the benefits.
  I want to end my remarks by just mentioning one story of why the 
Affordable Care Act is so important to constituents. This is from John. 
He says:

       I wanted to share with you the good news that by accessing 
     health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act, my 
     little business, a law firm, was able to avoid a substantial 
     premium increase and, in fact, obtain the same full coverage 
     at reduced deductibles and copayments and add dental care for 
     thousands a month less than our old premiums costs, which we 
     had just been advised was to be raised approximately 14 
     percent. I have been practicing law for over 37 years and 
     have always felt a responsibility to provide full health care 
     benefits for all my employees, including clerks and staff, 
     paying the total premium for all participants. My firm 
     expanded at one point to include my then-partner, seven 
     associate lawyers, and multiple staff, though we are now 
     downsized to three lawyers and two office staff that we now 
     are able to provide insurance for. Thanks for your efforts. 
     Thanks for the Affordable Care Act.

  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Georgia, Dr. Gingrey, another valued member of the 
Health Subcommittee.
  Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 
3522, the Employee Health Care Protection Act.
  I would like to begin with the words President Obama first said to 
the American Medical Association in June of 2009 before any committee 
in Congress held a markup of what later became the Affordable Care Act. 
He said to that group of physicians, and repeated on many occasions 
after that:

       If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep 
     your health care plan, period. No one will take it away from 
     you, no matter what.

  Unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, like many assurances that were delivered 
to the American people about the President's health care law, this has 
been nothing more than an empty promise. Since the enactment of the 
Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, millions have been notified their 
insurance plans have been canceled.
  I commend Chairman Pitts of the Health Subcommittee of Energy and 
Commerce for holding numerous hearings to examine this very issue. That 
is precisely why we need to pass H.R. 3522. Mr. Speaker, this 
commonsense legislation would simply allow health insurance companies 
to continue to offer group coverage that was in effect in 2013.
  I commend our physician colleague from Louisiana, Dr. Cassidy, for 
his leadership on this legislation.
  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.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask all of my colleagues to support this important 
legislation.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this is frustrating to me because, again, we have just 
another effort to repeal or undermine the Affordable Care Act when we 
should all be working to implement the Affordable Care Act. Just to 
show what a waste of time, if you will, that this debate is today, I 
wanted to read a statement of President Obama's policy that was issued 
today with regard to this legislation. It says:

       The administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 
     3522 because it threatens the health care security of 
     hardworking middle class families. The Nation is experiencing 
     the lowest rate of health care price inflation in nearly 50 
     years, and exceptionally slow growth in other measures of 
     health costs, which have combined to dramatically slow the 
     growth of small business premiums.

                              {time}  1630

       With health care costs rising at low rates and choices for 
     small businesses improving through the Health Insurance 
     Marketplace, this bill would be a major step backwards.
       H.R. 3522 would roll back the progress made because of the 
     Affordable Care Act and would allow insurers to deploy 
     practices such as charging businesses more when a worker has 
     a preexisting condition, or when it has more workers who are 
     women than men. The bill would allow insurers to go back to 
     capping the amount of care that enrollees receive, or to 
     excluding coverage of proven preventative care. The 
     administration supports policies that allow people to keep 
     the health plans that they have. Its transition policies 
     allow States and issuers to do just that. But policies that 
     reverse the progress made to extend quality, affordable 
     coverage to millions of uninsured, hardworking middle class 
     families are not the solution. Rather than refighting old 
     political battles to sabotage the health care law, the 
     Congress should work with the administration to improve the 
     law and move forward.
       If the President were presented with this bill, he would 
     veto it.

  So, again, this is just a waste of time. We have so many other things 
that we need to work on in this House before we adjourn, particularly 
jobs and the economy. Instead, we are trying to repeal, again, the same 
legislation that actually has created more jobs and kept health care 
costs low, and it is just, again, a complete waste of time.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis) another member of the Health 
Subcommittee.
  Mr. BILIRAKIS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for his leadership 
on this piece of legislation, also the sponsor, Dr. Cassidy, for his 
leadership on this particular piece of legislation.
  I rise today in support of the Employee Health Care Protection Act.
  When the President said, ``If you like your plan, you can keep it,'' 
that was deemed PolitiFact's Lie of the Year.
  Then, millions of Americans across the country in the individual 
market received cancelation notices. They felt the impacts of the 
broken promises of the President's health care law.
  Now the specter of cancelations looms again. Up to 50 million people 
who get health care through their employers could have their plans 
canceled or disrupted because of rules and regulations in the 
President's health care law. That is 1 in 6 Americans, Mr. Speaker.
  If one of my constituents wants to keep their plan, they should be 
able to. Support this bill, and make the President keep his promise to 
the American people.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Members are reminded not to engage in 
personalities toward the President of the United States.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I continue to reserve the balance of my 
time.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, at this time I am pleased to yield 2 minutes 
to the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. Ellmers), another member 
of the Health Subcommittee.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Chairman Pitts for his leadership, 
and my colleague, Bill Cassidy, for this wonderful bill, H.R. 3522.
  This bill is very simple. It will allow people to keep the health 
insurance

[[Page H7417]]

they had before ObamaCare took it away, their choice.
  Eighty percent of those people in this country are women who have 
made those choices in health care, and this would put it back in place.
  President Obama infamously stated, as my colleague before me stated, 
``If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor, 
period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep 
your health care plan, period.''
  However, many plans offered prior to the ACA were not compliant with 
the numerous requirements this law required. As a result, millions of 
Americans were no longer able to purchase their old plans.
  One of many of the business owners who provide health care coverage 
for their employees right there in my district, Mr. Steve Lozinsky, who 
runs 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 off 31 of 
them because of the ObamaCare mandate.
  Mr. Speaker, it is because of employers like Steve Lozinsky, who take 
care of their employees, who consider them family and want to do the 
right thing, it is because of them, and every American and every family 
in this country, that we need to pass H.R. 3522.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill represents a direct assault on the health 
security of American families. The bill would allow insurance companies 
in their small business health plans to charge more for women's 
coverage, meaning workers in small businesses with more women than men 
have to pay more.
  It would charge more for coverage for those with preexisting 
conditions, meaning workers in small businesses that have more people 
with preexisting conditions have to pay more. And these small 
businesses would face higher premiums and would continue to see their 
premiums spike year to year if an employee had an accident or got 
diagnosed with cancer.
  Under the legislation, insurers group plans' could also impose annual 
limits on coverage, meaning that insurers could cease to provide any 
coverage after an individual's care reached a certain overall cost and 
impose extensive waiting periods before an employer could enroll in 
coverage.
  Now, if the Republicans were serious about helping America's small 
businesses, they would be bringing up, instead, a bill to expand access 
to the ACA's small business health care tax credit, as actually 
proposed by the Obama administration.
  The President has proposed allowing small businesses with up to 50 
workers, rather than the current 25, to qualify for the credit, and 
adopting a more generous phaseout schedule.
  Furthermore, instead of strengthening the small business tax credit, 
Republicans have actually voted to repeal the tax credit three times.
  Republicans are completely misrepresenting what this bill does, 
calling the bill's section 2 ``If you like your group health insurance 
plan, you can keep it.''
  Well, first of all, the bill does not require that insurers keep 
selling these group policies. Insurers discontinue policies every year, 
and there is nothing in this bill that prevents them from doing so.
  But more important, the bill goes well beyond the issue of people 
keeping plans they have now. Instead, it allows insurers to sell group 
plans that do not include ACA consumer protection to new customers 
through 2018.
  Once again, the Republicans are misrepresenting what this bill does, 
and they are simply trying to repeal or undermine the ACA, which has 
been so successful in expanding insurance coverage, keeping down costs, 
and eliminating discriminatory practices.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire on the time remaining for both 
sides?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Pennsylvania has 13\1/2\ 
minutes remaining. The gentleman from New Jersey has 16 minutes 
remaining.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, congressional Democrats constantly say that the ACA is 
not a perfect bill, and that they want to make changes. If they are 
sincere about that statement, they should join us in supporting H.R. 
3522, a bill that received bipartisan support at Energy and Commerce to 
protect American workers who will lose their plan under the Affordable 
Care Act.
  Thirty-nine Democrats joined us last year and voted for a similar 
bill to let Americans keep their plan in the individual market. We 
should work together to provide that very same protection to the tens 
of millions of American workers who depend on employer-sponsored health 
coverage.
  Last fall, millions of Americans all across the country had their 
health plans canceled, despite repeated promises from the President and 
his allies in Congress that if you liked your health care plan, you 
would be able to keep it. And so, in the fall of 2013, health plan 
cancelations were concentrated in the individual market.
  Sadly, millions of Americans with employer-sponsored coverage, group 
plans, will also face plan cancelations because of the Affordable Care 
Act. And some experts have testified before the Energy and Commerce 
Committee that approximately 50 million young American workers with 
fully insured coverage face plan cancelations or disruptions because of 
ACA requirements and regulations.
  Forbes warned last year, and I will quote: ``Starting in October 
2014, many employees of small businesses will start getting the same 
notices that are now being mailed to individuals, informing that their 
existing health plans are also being canceled.''
  Well, Mr. Speaker, Americans rightly feel misled by the President, by 
congressional Democrats. Their false assurance that Americans could 
keep their health care plan was recognized as the 2013 ``Lie of the 
Year.''
  So, we have this legislation before us this year to apply to the 
group plans. As long as they were in existence in 2013, they could be 
available today. And I urge Members to support the legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
California (Mr. Waxman), the ranking member of the Energy and Commerce 
Committee.
  Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this bill. It is bad 
for consumers. It is bad for small businesses. The only beneficiaries 
of this bill are the health insurance companies that want to sell bad 
policies, charge higher premiums for women, for children with 
preexisting conditions, and who want to put limits on health care 
coverage when people need it the most.
  I want to take a minute to go back to the time before the Affordable 
Care Act and remind my colleagues why we passed that health care reform 
in the first place.
  Before the ACA, consumers were seeing health insurance premiums rise 
by double-digits each year. Not anymore.
  This morning, the Kaiser Family Foundation released a new report on 
small employer premiums. The report found that since the passage of the 
Affordable Care Act, premium increases for small business coverage have 
slowed considerably. This past year, premiums barely budged.
  Before the ACA, there was no requirement for how much of your premium 
dollars go to an insurance company, how much of that had to actually go 
for your health care. Your premiums could be used to pay for exorbitant 
executive salaries, lavish conferences, and other expenditures that had 
nothing to do with the health coverage for the insured.
  Now, consumers are saving billions of dollars from this new 
requirement that insurers actually spend premium dollars to provide 
health care.
  Before the ACA, parents could find that they had no coverage at all 
for a child's preexisting conditions, even something as common as 
asthma. Today, all parents are guaranteed the peace of mind that their 
insurance will cover their children's medical needs.
  Before the ACA, an individual struggling with cancer could find that 
the insurance plan would impose annual coverage limits and simply stop 
paying for care. Today, this is no longer the case.

[[Page H7418]]

  Before the ACA, small businesses had few choices and no leverage with 
insurance companies. The ACA put consumers and small businesses back in 
charge, and it did so in a way that is cutting health cost growth and 
providing coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans.
  So what do we have on the other side of the aisle from the 
Republicans? Sour grapes.
  We took a Republican idea, implemented by their very own Presidential 
candidate in Massachusetts, and we took that idea and made it work for 
the whole country, made it work for families, made it work better than 
even the most optimistic supporters had expected.
  And Republicans are mad. So rather than work to implement the law, 
they have been working to thwart it. Sour grapes.
  This bill is just another example of that mentality. It would not 
help small businesses. To the contrary. Small businesses that wish to 
grandfather and keep their old coverage already have that opportunity.
  This bill would let insurance companies sell non-ACA-compliant 
policies to any business, policies that do not protect against benefit 
limits, rate hikes, discrimination against women or against children 
with preexisting conditions.

                              {time}  1645

  The bill would allow insurance companies to cherry-pick, offering low 
rates for inadequate, bare bones policies for some groups and then 
discriminate against, charging higher prices or offering weaker 
coverage for others.
  Mr. Speaker, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities yesterday 
released a new analysis of the bill and what it would mean. The 
analysis concluded that it would ``likely cause premiums to rise 
substantially for many small businesses and undercut health reform's 
small group market reforms and consumer protections.''
  So I am opposed to this bill. It is not about helping businesses. It 
is not about helping families. This bill puts insurance companies back 
in charge, and it returns the insurance market to the days when they 
could discriminate with impunity. I am not for that, and I hope my 
colleagues are not for that. I urge a ``no'' vote.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  The President not only made a promise that, if you liked your doctor 
you could keep your doctor, he said, if you liked your health care 
plan, you could keep your health care plan no matter what--period. He 
also promised reductions in premiums of $2,500 per family.
  Americans are not seeing the $2,500 reduction in premiums that the 
President promised under the ACA. Instead, Americans are seeing higher 
premiums and deductibles under the President's health care law. Some of 
the premium increases are outrageous, and the deductibles--I don't know 
how a family could save the $10,000 to $15,000 for their deductibles 
that some of them are telling us they are going to have. In fact, the 
administration's own actuaries have confirmed that premiums are going 
up under the ACA. Earlier this year, actuaries from CMS estimated that 
65 percent of small businesses will see premium increases under the 
Affordable Care Act. Middle class Americans working for these 11 
million small businesses will see higher premiums, meaning less take-
home pay for working Americans.
  The American people want real health care reform, but the ACA is 
making things worse. The President's health care law has led to 
canceled health care plans, fewer choices, higher premiums, and higher 
deductibles for middle class families. Ultimately, the law needs to be 
replaced with better solutions that lower costs and provide better 
health care choices.
  However, let's be clear about what H.R. 3522 actually does. The bill 
does not repeal the ACA. We have heard the mantra of how many 50-some 
votes there have been to repeal. Instead, this bill simply lets 
American workers keep their health care plans, and it expands coverage 
options.
  Congressional Democrats constantly say that they want to change the 
parts of the ACA that don't work. If they are sincere about that 
pledge, they should join us in supporting H.R. 3522. This is a 
bipartisan bill to protect American workers who will lose their plans 
under the health care law. As I said last year when we had a similar 
bill for the individual market cancelations, 39 Democrats joined us and 
voted for that bill to let Americans keep their plans in the individual 
market.
  Congress should work together to provide the same protection to the 
millions of American workers with group coverage, and that is what the 
Employee Health Care Protection Act does. Families, not Washington, 
should decide if they want to keep their health care plans.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York (Mr. Engel).
  Mr. ENGEL. I thank my friend from New Jersey for yielding to me.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this bill.
  My friend on the other side of the aisle said that this doesn't 
repeal the Affordable Care Act, but in reality, it does. This is the 
53rd time. When I was a little boy, I went to PS 53 in the Bronx. I 
feel we have now reached that level of 53, with no end in sight, and I 
really wish that both sides of the aisle could put their heads together 
and keep what we like and fix what we don't like.
  All of the major bills that have ever been put into effect, be it 
Medicare, be it Medicaid, be it the civil rights bills of the 1960s, 
had to be tweaked because, when you have an omnibus bill, you really 
don't know what its effect is going to be until you roll it out and you 
see, and then you make changes. I mean, that happens with every major 
bill. The problem is that most of our friends on the other side of the 
aisle hated the law and never really wanted it to succeed. So, if you 
don't want it to succeed and if you throw roadblocks in its path and if 
you have a situation in which Republican Governors are refusing to 
expand it, you will have failure because, if you don't want to work 
with something and if you don't want to make it better, it won't get 
better. In my home State, where we embrace it, it has worked. It hasn't 
worked in every single instance but in a vast majority of instances. 
Again, we should change what doesn't work and keep what works.
  In New York, this year's insurance rates, on average, were--and here 
is another 53--53 percent lower than the rates in 2013 for comparable 
coverage. Our exchange, New York State of Health, has already announced 
next year's rates, which will continue to be more than 50 percent lower 
than they were before our insurance exchange was established.
  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research & 
Educational Trust's annual Employer Health Benefits Survey, individuals 
obtaining health insurance from their employers are generally facing 
``similar premium contributions and cost-sharing requirements in 2014 
as they did in 2013.'' Furthermore, we know that these individuals are 
often benefiting from more quality, comprehensive coverage.
  Mr. Speaker, I don't want to return to the bad old days when 
insurance companies where permitted to discriminate against small 
businesses that employed large numbers of women, older individuals, or 
those with preexisting conditions. I don't want to return to the bad 
old days when you couldn't keep your child on your premium until that 
child was 26 years old, as you can under the Affordable Care Act.
  I urge all of my colleagues to vote against this legislation, and I 
urge my friends on the other side of the aisle to really sit down with 
us. Let's put our heads together, and let's once and for all help fix 
this bill. There are a lot of good features in it. We should expand on 
those. The things that we think need to change we should change, but, 
please, let's not ever vote to repeal again. We don't need to have a 
54th time. Enough is enough.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I am prepared to close, so I continue to 
reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. PALLONE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume 
in order to close the debate.
  The frustrating thing for me and for so many of us on the Democratic 
side of the aisle is that we know how successful the Affordable Care 
Act has been, and yet the Republicans continue

[[Page H7419]]

to negate the positive aspects of the ACA and seek to undermine it with 
the repeal or with legislation like this that would seriously undermine 
the goals and the success of the Affordable Care Act. I just want to 
point out that, since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in March of 
2010, 9.9 million private sector jobs have been created.

  According to the latest estimates from the CBO, the overall number of 
Americans receiving employer-based coverage is expected to grow from 
156 million in 2014 to 166 million in 2023, and the number of uninsured 
is expected to fall by 26 million Americans. Also, since Massachusetts 
enacted health care reforms that were almost identical to those in the 
ACA, the percentage of employers offering coverage has increased from 
72 percent in 2007 to 77 percent in 2010. Since the ACA was enacted, 
the Nation has seen 4 years of the slowest health care spending growth 
since recordkeeping began in 1960. Slower growth in health care costs 
translates into slower growth of employers' health benefit costs, 
helping businesses and workers save money. Indeed, employers' hourly 
health benefit costs rose just 1 percent after adjusting for inflation 
over the year ending in June 2014, near the bottom of the historical 
range.
  In addition to slowing down the rate of growth of health care 
spending, which is benefiting employers, the Affordable Care Act is 
also producing premium savings for America's small businesses due to 
its 80-20 rule. That rule requires that insurers spend at least 80 
percent of premiums on medical care rather than on CEO pay, profits, 
and administrative costs. If an insurer fails to meet this standard, it 
must pay rebates to its customers. As a result of this rule, according 
to a recently released report, America's small businesses have saved a 
total of $2.5 billion on their premiums since 2011.
  The bottom line, Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, is that the 
Affordable Care Act is delivering on the promise of affordable, 
quality, and dependable health coverage for millions of Americans, but 
that doesn't stop the Republicans. We can't shake their obsession with 
undermining the law, and that is what they are doing again with this 
bill. The vote on this bill will be the 53rd GOP vote to repeal or to 
undermine the ACA, so I urge my colleagues to vote ``no.''
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, at this time, I am pleased to yield such time 
as he may consume to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Upton), the 
chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
  Mr. UPTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Employee 
Health Care Protection Act, a bipartisan bill authored by our 
committee, particularly by Dr. Bill Cassidy as the prime sponsor, to 
protect the health care choices for literally millions of American 
workers.
  Last fall, we learned the harsh reality that the President's oft-
repeated promise that if you liked your health care plan you could keep 
it--you have heard that here today--was simply not true. Many were 
shocked to learn that their individual policies were being canceled 
because of the President's health care law. They didn't like that at 
all.
  Sadly, the wave of canceled plans under the President's broken 
promise has not ended. The very backbone of America's health care 
system, employer-sponsored coverage, provides health care security to 
about 170 million American workers and family members. The President's 
health care law now threatens the health care plans of many of 
America's middle class workers who rely on employer-sponsored coverage. 
Many with employer-sponsored coverage will face the same plan 
cancelations that millions of Americans received with their individual 
policies last fall.
  This legislation provides a thoughtful solution and relief from the 
President's broken promises. The bill before us simply allows America's 
small businesses and workers to choose from health care plans that were 
in effect in 2013. The bill would also allow other small businesses and 
workers to choose from more affordable group health care plans 
available before the President's health care law.
  America's workers and families know their health care needs better 
than do Members of Congress or officials at the Department of HHS. This 
bill empowers Americans with more choices, the same choices that they 
were promised. If Americans like their health care plans, they should 
be able to keep them--period, end of story.
  I am also pleased that, this week, the nonpartisan CBO confirmed that 
this bill would lower the deficit by more than $1 billion, provide more 
health plan options with lower premiums, and, yes, raise wages for 
American workers.
  We have all heard firsthand of the struggles facing middle class 
American families because of the health care law. Tom Harmon, from my 
district, and the trusted workers at American Waste--in a little town 
called Union, Michigan--are seeing their health care premiums more than 
double. Sadly, their deductibles are much higher to boot, forcing them 
to deal with higher health care costs. Rather than make life easier, 
Washington, through this President's health care law, has, in fact, 
made life more expensive for Tom and the working families of American 
Waste in southwest Michigan.
  In conclusion, I am proud to say that this bill, H.R. 3522, is a bill 
dedicated to helping workers across the country who are struggling with 
the costs and consequences of the President's health care law. I would 
urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support Dr. Cassidy's 
bill. America's workers deserve the chance to pick the health care 
plans that best suit their needs, not lose them.
  Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues on both sides of 
the aisle to support H.R. 3522.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. TERRY. Mr. Speaker, I speak today in support of Mr. Cassidy's 
bill--the Employee Health Care Protection Act H.R. 3522,
  This bill is very important to ensure employers and their employees 
can keep their plan--a broken promise from President Obama.
  Just last week I was contacted by the Cornerstone Staffing Inc. based 
in Omaha who is currently facing hard decisions in order to be in 
compliance with this disastrous law.
  Cornerstone Staffing is a woman-owned nine-year-old local business 
that will now suffer due to a law that no one read.
  Cornerstone Staffing Inc. has 15 full time employees with a range of 
150 to 450 temporary employees at any given time.
  Previously they didn't offer insurance to all temporary workers but 
had the flexibility to secure coverage for those workers who needed it.
  Now, Cornerstone Staffing Inc. is forced to provide coverage to all 
of their employees--whether they need it or not--which means they can't 
afford to place as many individuals in needed jobs.
  Not only will H.R. 3522 bring some relief to companies and their 
employees but it will also increase government revenue by $400 million. 
This is common sense.
  I urge my colleagues to support this bill and give some relief to 
families across the nation. I am submitting a letter Cornerstone 
Staffing Inc. sent to me regarding their problems with the President's 
health care law.

       Hello Congressman Terry, We have met briefly in the past, 
     actually my company was previously located on the second 
     floor of your office building on Burt Street. I work for 
     Cornerstone Staffing Inc, we are a nine year old, local, 
     woman-owned staffing firm servicing the Omaha metro area.
       I'm very late in the game sending this message but we 
     recently met with representatives from Silverstone Group 
     regarding ACA and how it will affect our company in 2015.1 
     have to be honest, I don't fully understand the requirements 
     or implications but we currently have 15 full-time, internal 
     employees. We also employ temporary/contract employees and 
     depending on the season we could have 150 to 450 contractors 
     working for us at a time. Some might work one week, some 
     might work twelve months and some might work for us 3 times 
     in a year at a variety of our clients with months off between 
     assignments.
       It is my understanding that ``PEO'' (employee leasing 
     services) are exempt from Obamacare. We W-2 all of our 
     contractors (versus 1099) as many are required to be by 
     Nebraska state law. Therefore we have the same obligations to 
     offer a temporary/contract employee healthcare as if they are 
     hired to work in a long-term permanent position.
       We are not against offering benefits to our contract 
     employees, especially if they work more than 90 days on a 
     project. Our concern is that much of our temp/contract 
     workforce is paid $10-$13/hour. If the individuals out of 
     pocket healthcare costs can not exceed 9.5% of their income, 
     we will be forced to pay the majority of their healthcare 
     monthly. In our business, we may only make $2-$3/hour on each 
     of these employees so they might have to work weeks before we 
     make a profit especially after we pay taxes, background 
     checks and payroll expenses. This has the potential to be a 
     huge blow to our company profits and

[[Page H7420]]

     it could have an adverse effect if we are forced to decide if 
     it is even ``worth'' employing someone who is willing to work 
     because the risk is too great on our end.
       ACA is going to put a major strain on our industry. Omaha 
     is home to many staffing firms including several large 
     nationally focused firms. Is there anything more we can be 
     doing to amend or exempt recruiting/staffing agencies from 
     the standard requirements of ACA?
           Thank you for your consideration and any suggestions,

                                                   Brad Jones,

                                     Vice President of Operations,
                                         Cornerstone Staffing Inc.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Pittenger). All time for debate has 
expired.
  Pursuant to House Resolution 717, the previous question is ordered on 
the bill, as amended.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 1(c) of rule XIX, further 
consideration of H.R. 3522 is postponed.

                          ____________________