WEALTH CARE OVER HEALTHCARE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF CARIBBEAN AMERICANS
(House of Representatives - June 26, 2017)

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[Pages H5169-H5178]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




  WEALTH CARE OVER HEALTHCARE AND CONTRIBUTIONS OF CARIBBEAN AMERICANS

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2017, the gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands (Ms. Plaskett) 
is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the minority leader.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, at this time I rise to take this Special 
Order hour on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  It is with great honor that I rise as coanchor for the next 60 
minutes. We have a chance to speak directly to the American people on 
the issues of great importance to the Congressional Black Caucus, 
Congress, and the constituents we represent, as well as all Americans.
  This evening, myself and coanchor Marc Veasey will discuss two 
topics: wealth care over healthcare and the contributions of Caribbean 
Americans.
  On the matter of healthcare, Senate Republicans have finally released 
their draft version of the House-passed American Health Care Act, and 
it is clear why they kept it behind closed doors all this time. The 
bill is worse than the one that was passed in the House, with deeper 
cuts to Medicaid

[[Page H5170]]

and a ban on Planned Parenthood funding for 1 year.
  Just like the bill that passed the House, this proposal will likely 
strip coverage for millions of Americans and do nothing to address 
affordability. This bill is just as mean and heartless as the one the 
Republicans jammed through the House.
  As bad as it already was, Senate Republicans have made TrumpCare even 
more devastating to Americans on Medicaid, and those include veterans, 
middle class seniors with long-term care needs, vulnerable children, 
and pregnant women. No, it is not just minority Black people who are on 
Medicaid.
  TrumpCare's Medicaid cuts will have an especially severe impact in 
rural America, shutting rural hospitals, an important source of good-
paying jobs. TrumpCare fundamentally means higher health costs, 
millions of hardworking Americans losing healthcare coverage, gutting 
key protections, a crushing age tax, and stealing from Medicare.
  Republicans shut the American people out of writing TrumpCare. And if 
TrumpCare passes, the American people will be shut out of affordable 
healthcare, too. Now, after crafting this monstrosity in secret, the 
GOP wants to rush it to the floor before the American people see the 
damage it will do, abandoning any pretense of respect for the 
democratic process.
  Democrats in Congress and across the country will continue to fight 
with all our strength to protect seniors and hardworking families from 
TrumpCare's assault on their healthcare.
  June, as we know, is Caribbean American Heritage Month, and we will 
later hear from Members of Congress related to that.
  At this time, I yield to the gentleman from Fort Worth, Texas (Mr. 
Veasey), my co-chair, an advocate for his constituents and for all 
Americans. He sits on the Armed Services Committee and is here to 
discuss the effect that this bill will have not only on his 
constituents, but to the people that we care deeply about.
  Mr. VEASEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Plaskett for 
yielding. I really do appreciate the gentlewoman heading up tonight and 
coanchoring and talking about the contributions of Caribbean Americans, 
and also talking about this health-scare bill that is going on right 
now, because it seems to be what everybody is talking about.
  Of course, the CBO score came out today: 22 million Americans will 
lose their insurance, many of them that were able to get insurance for 
the first time under the ACA. So that should be very frightening and 
concerning to us.
  The Senate is supposed to vote on this bill, Mr. Speaker, that will 
have a health-scare effect on so many millions of Americans. It is 
going to be much less affordable and it is going to be a lower-quality 
healthcare. Unlike the Affordable Care Act, which boosted the African-
American insured rate from 79 percent to 88 percent, the Senate 
Republican's healthcare plan will decimate the progress that we have 
made in the African-American community under the ACA.
  Millions of Americans are at risks of losing their insurance, as the 
gentlewoman pointed out earlier when she said that it is not just 
people in the African-American community or the minority community that 
are on Medicaid.
  It is something that affects all Americans and something that should 
be concerning to everyone, particularly when we talk about this opioid 
addiction that I know many people in many of these Republican areas, 
these conservative areas of the country, are hoping that they will be 
able to use Medicaid to be able to deal with that particular issue 
effectively. Because of this Senate Republican healthcare bill, they 
are going to be locked out. They are going to be trying to figure out 
how they are going to get themselves from under that addiction with 
absolutely no help from Medicaid. It is going to be a very sad day for 
them.
  Many of these losses will come as States are forced to phase out 
Medicaid over the coming years. That will hurt the African-American 
population in particular.
  Medicaid expansion under the ACA helped 15 million of the nearly 40 
million African Americans in the U.S. gain healthcare insurance, and 
many of those were for the first time--many of those were for the very 
first time.
  In addition to stripping our most vulnerable of healthcare, Senate 
Republicans want to defund Planned Parenthood and block lifesaving 
preventive care for hundreds of thousands of women in the district that 
I represent and nationwide.
  Let me tell you something about Planned Parenthood. Oftentimes, when 
we start talking about Planned Parenthood, Representative Plaskett, the 
issue revolves around abortion. But let me tell you something: you 
cannot have a serious discussion in this country. You absolutely cannot 
have a serious discussion about social service programs, about 
Medicaid, and trying to reduce those programs unless you have a serious 
discussion about family planning.

                              {time}  1945

  Family planning is something that people don't want to talk about. 
Maybe in some circles, particularly Republican circles, it is a very 
taboo subject, but it is something that needs to be discussed more 
often and we don't talk about enough. We don't talk about it enough 
with our kids, with our families.
  When you do something like defund Planned Parenthood, it is going to 
make that situation even worse. It is going to make people even more 
needy and more in a situation to where they cannot be self-dependent.
  Instead of supporting smart public health initiatives, Republicans in 
the higher Chamber would rather repeal the ACA as another opportunity 
to demonize one of the country's leading reproductive health 
organizations, and that is Planned Parenthood that I talked about 
earlier.
  We need to be doing everything that we can to make sure that 
Americans everywhere can lead a healthier life, but the Senate's cruel 
and heartless bill will cause unnecessary suffering.
  The Affordable Care Act has been a lifeline for many in the Black 
community, and a full repeal will snatch that safety net out from under 
our community. The Black community has a lot to lose under the 
Republican healthcare plan, and we will not take an assault on 
healthcare lying down.
  We have got to fight this thing. We need to fight for every 
grandmother out there. We need to fight for every aunt out there, every 
mother out there, all of our loved ones out there who may be forced to 
make the choice between whether or not they are going to have 
healthcare or whether or not they are going to be able to pay for 
groceries; and that is just not right.
  We need to fight for all the single dads out there who are trying to 
make ends meet, the single moms out there who are trying to make ends 
meet, because we know that, if you take away Medicaid expansion, it is 
going to force individuals like that to have to make some really tough 
choices.
  We need to make sure that we are doing everything we can to make sure 
that we have access to quality healthcare, and that it is not reserved 
for a few of the wealthy in our country. And when you look at the 
Republican bill, Representative Plaskett, that is exactly what it does.
  This is a vehicle that will deliver tax breaks to the very rich and 
will leave individuals like we have been talking about in the Black 
community, and not just in the African-American communities, but in all 
communities out there that are out there working hard, suffering, in a 
situation where they need Medicaid and they need insurance, it is going 
to leave them locked out.
  It is going to be a sad day in America when people who thought that 
they were going to get insurance for the first time, or people who had 
insurance for the first time, they were going to get those wellness 
checkups, they were meeting with their family care physician on a 
regular basis, and they have that stolen from them because of this 
monstrous plan.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for those words. We 
were discussing the Medicaid expansion and the fact that it is going to 
disappear after 2023.
  The other thing that is going to be removed from this bill is the 
Prevention and Public Health Fund which presently has billions of 
dollars that are supportive to the CDC. What is this money used for?

[[Page H5171]]

  This money is used for preventative block grants that go to all 
places, like my district, the Virgin Islands, that deal with chronic 
conditions such as heart disease and hypertension, provide maternal and 
child care, support public laboratories and research, and maintain 
vital statistics. Those moneys would be gone if this bill passes.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to Mr. Scott, my esteemed colleague from 
Richmond and Hampton Roads in Virginia, who is the ranking member of 
the Education and the Workforce Committee, to talk about the issues and 
how he sees this is important, not only to his constituents, but to 
America as well.
  I thank the gentleman for being here this evening and giving us his 
thoughts.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman, and I 
have to point out that, after redistricting last year, I no longer 
represent the Richmond area.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, it is their loss.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. And I certainly miss my friends from Richmond.
  Ms. PLASKETT. I know the gentleman is still working for them though.
  Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. I certainly am.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentlewoman for yielding, and want to 
point out that, as we discuss healthcare, we have to notice that the 
Republicans are using a very flawed reasoning to try to sell TrumpCare 
to the American public.
  They say: ``We have a bill, and if you don't like the status quo, 
therefore, you have to support the bill.''
  And if you ask: ``Well, what's in the bill?'' They say: ``Well, you 
have to do something.''
  ``What's in your bill?''
  ``I don't like the Affordable Care Act.''
  ``What's in your bill?''
  ``The present law is called ObamaCare.''
  There is no discussion about what the bill actually does or whether 
or not it improves the status quo and how the bill will affect American 
families every day.
  But we do know something, based on the CBO report, and that is that 
TrumpCare is significantly worse than the current policy on every 
level.
  They complain about costs. Costs will go up under this bill. And the 
only way anybody saves money on premiums is because the policies won't 
cover as much of the costs. That is because they will cover a lower 
percentage of the costs, and they will cover fewer benefits.
  This was confirmed today by the CBO, which said that 22 million fewer 
people will have health and coverage under this plan; and the policies 
that people buy will cover a lot less than they cover now.
  Mr. Speaker, at some point, we have to recognize fundamental 
principles of arithmetic. If you give massive tax cuts to the 
wealthiest Americans and corporations, as TrumpCare is proposing, you 
will have less money to help those who actually need money to afford 
insurance.
  Less money means fewer people covered by Medicaid, fewer people 
receiving subsidies to help them buy their insurance, and policies that 
cover a smaller portion of the costs.
  According to the CBO, TrumpCare will have a severe impact on rural 
America, threatening the services covered by rural hospitals which, in 
many areas, are the biggest employers in the area.
  CBO also points out that the hardest hit will be those with 
preexisting conditions, low-income Americans, and seniors. But even 
those making $100,000, around $100,000, will also be hurt.
  Mr. Speaker, why is the Senate even considering this bill? Who 
benefits? Maybe it is just those wealthy Americans who will get a huge 
tax cut as people lose their insurance.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman so much for those 
thoughts and reflections that we should have about this bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Houston, Texas (Ms. 
Jackson Lee). She has been an advocate for Americans, has spoken, and 
done so eloquently, related to her work on the Judiciary Committee, as 
well as Homeland Security, and I am eager to hear what the gentlewoman 
has to say about healthcare. And as well, of course, as a fellow 
Caribbean American, I would wish her and her family a Happy Caribbean 
American Heritage Month, which was, of course, offered by our 
colleague, Barbara Lee, in 2005.
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman who represents 
the U.S. Virgin Islands for her constant leadership and consistently 
allowing us to come to the floor to speak to our colleagues and, 
hopefully, the American people on important topics.
  I can't think of a topic more important than this one that really 
represents, when I say this one, the question of healthcare for 
Americans.
  Might I say that the healthcare statement or framework was issued 
about 12 noon on Thursday. As you well know, we worked through Friday, 
and I left about 12 noon, landed in Houston, and went directly to the 
Legacy Community Health clinic on Lyons Avenue in Fifth Ward, Texas. 
That was a federally qualified health clinic that was able to be 
constructed in the neighborhood of Barbara Jordan and Mickey Leland by 
the Affordable Care Act and to bring healthcare to senior citizens 
living across the street access, easy access to healthcare.
  There was 40, 50, 60, 70 people who came. We walked down the street 
to ask that this President and the Senators leave our healthcare alone. 
But more importantly, the disabled community came. I want to personally 
thank them.
  There were children, there were pastors, there were doctors, there 
were good people there, but there was the blind, there was the deaf 
community, there were people in wheelchairs, and they cried. And one of 
them said: Please don't take my Medicaid healthcare away; and please 
allow me to continue to live independently, because I have at least the 
healthcare.
  Of course, the Senate did not listen. The President today said that 
he hopes that the Affordable Care Act will crash and burn. And we know 
that polls are showing that they increasingly think their healthcare 
will get worse. But polls are showing that 51 percent of Americans 
believe and support the Affordable Care Act.
  I want to spend the remaining moments of my life here on the floor--
not my life, but my time on the floor. I hope to the Lord that it is 
not the remaining time of my life, but I am so overwhelmed by this 
bill, I know that some people will lose their lives.
  So I am going to include in the Record an article entitled ``Center 
for American Progress Coverage Losses Under the Senate Health Care Bill 
Could Result in 18,100 to 27,700 Additional Deaths in 2026.''

         [From the Center for American Progress, June 22, 2017]

   Coverage Losses Under the Senate Health Care Bill Could Result in 
               18,100 to 27,700 Additional Deaths in 2026

                       (By Ann Crawford-Roberts)

       One Republican member of Congress, defending the GOP health 
     care plan--the American Health Care Act (AHCA)--suggested 
     that concerns that the loss of health care coverage leads to 
     death are overblown. However, the scientific literature on 
     the effects of insurance coverage on mortality shows that the 
     coverage losses from the AHCA would result in tens of 
     thousands of deaths.
       The secret Senate bill was finally released today, and it 
     is broadly similar to what passed in the House: It ends 
     Medicaid expansion and makes further deep cuts to the 
     program; eliminates the individual mandate; and reduces 
     funding that helps low-income Americans afford health 
     coverage. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not yet 
     released its score of the Senate bill, although it is 
     expected to do so early next week.
       The CBO, however, has released a score of the House's 
     version of the AHCA, which is largely similar to the Senate 
     bill. The score projected that, by 2026, 23 million more 
     Americans would be uninsured under the House bill compared to 
     the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, this is what we are confronting. These 
are not numbers that anyone would print just to create hysteria. These 
are truthful numbers.
  Now, let me answer the question. The critics keep saying that we are 
crumbling. I said to you the President said: crash and burn. That is 
not the case, that insurers appear to be fleeing the Affordable Care 
Act's health insurance exchanges or State-based, online marketplaces 
where people can buy individual health insurance.
  The fact that one-third of counties are projected to have just one 
insurer

[[Page H5172]]

on their ObamaCare exchanges this year has been a popular talking point 
among Republicans, including President Trump, trying to gain or gin up 
support to replace the Affordable Care Act.
  The stat was echoed in a recent editorial by Tom Price. Though some 
insurers are still deciding whether to participate in ObamaCare 
exchange, the complaint about lackluster insurer participation is 
valid.
  In recent weeks alone, Aetna pulled out, leaving its participation in 
ObamaCare limited. But the real issue is that we have been strangling 
these insurance companies.
  They leave out that the insurers might be less likely to exit if more 
States had expanded Medicaid under ObamaCare.
  Mr. Speaker, I include this article in the Record, ``Why So Many 
Insurers Are Leaving ObamaCare.''

                   [From The Atlantic, May 11, 2017]

               Why So Many Insurers Are Leaving Obamacare


    HOW REJECTING MEDICAID AND OTHER GOVERNMENT DECISIONS HAVE HURT 
                           INSURANCE MARKETS

       One of the most common reasons critics of Obamacare say the 
     law is ``collapsing'' is that insurers appear to be fleeing 
     the Affordable Care Act's health-insurance exchanges, or the 
     state-based, online marketplaces where people can buy 
     individual health-insurance policies.
       The fact that one-third of counties are projected to have 
     just one insurer on their Obamacare exchanges this year has 
     been a popular talking point among Republicans--including 
     President Trump--trying to gin up support for their 
     replacement bill, the American Health Care Act.
       The stat was echoed in a recent editorial by Health and 
     Human Services Secretary Tom Price, in which he portrayed 
     Obamacare as a house that's on fire and ``many of our fellow 
     Americans are trapped inside.''
       Though some insurers are still deciding whether to 
     participate in the Obamacare exchanges, the complaint about 
     lackluster insurer participation is valid. In recent weeks 
     alone, Aetna pulled out of Virginia's Obamacare exchange, 
     leaving its participation in Obamacare this year limited to 
     just four states. Medica, the last insurer remaining in most 
     of Iowa, threatened to stop selling individual plans. And 
     after Humana pulled out of Tennessee in February, leaving 
     40,000 people with no insurance option, BlueCross BlueShield 
     reluctantly stepped in on Tuesday, but only if certain 
     conditions are met. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation 
     analysis, 31 percent of counties will have just one insurer 
     this year, up from just 7 percent last year.
       There is one thing Republicans usually leave out of their 
     indictment of Obamacare, though: Insurers might have been 
     less likely to exit if more states had expanded Medicaid 
     under Obamacare.
       The Affordable Care Act was written with the idea that 
     states would expand Medicaid, the insurance program for the 
     poor, to cover people earning up to 138 percent of the 
     federal poverty level, or $16,400 for a single adult. But a 
     2012 Supreme Court case made that expansion optional, and so 
     far 19 states have rejected the expansion. People earning 
     below 100 percent of the federal poverty level, or about 
     $12,000 annually, in those states aren't eligible for 
     subsidies to buy private insurance on the Obamacare exchanges 
     or, in most cases, for Medicaid. They fall in an insurance 
     no-man's land, the ``coverage gap.''
       People earning between 100 and 138 percent of the poverty 
     level in those Medicaid-rejection states, however, do qualify 
     for subsidies to buy insurance on the Obamacare exchanges. 
     Many of them enrolled in Obamacare, and they make up about 40 
     percent of the Obamacare enrollment population in the non-
     expansion states, compared to 6 percent in the expansion 
     states.
       The catch is, poor people tend to be sicker than rich 
     people are. And having so many poor, sick people in their 
     Obamacare marketplaces might have made it more expensive for 
     insurers to operate in the non-expansion states.
       In Alabama, for instance, Blue Cross Blue Shield is the 
     only insurer participating in the exchange in 2017, and it's 
     spending $1.20 for every $1 it collects in premiums--an 
     unsustainable ratio, as insurance writer and analyst Louise 
     Norris points out.
       So, then, what happened in states that did expand Medicaid 
     but nonetheless have very fragile insurance markets? Iowa, 
     for example, expanded Medicaid, but it has had so many 
     insurers pull out of its exchange that there might be no 
     Obamacare plans on offer this year. In Iowa and several other 
     Medicaid-expansion states, a different Obamacare-related 
     choice might have contributed to the high cost of insuring 
     their Obamacare enrollees.
       Before Obamacare, insurers could reject customers they 
     thought would be too sick and too expensive. After Obamacare 
     was passed, about 35 states continued to allow the sale of 
     non-Obamacare-compliant plans. (The states that didn't allow 
     this tended to be more liberal--New York, Vermont, and the 
     like.) Therefore, the people on these so-called 
     ``grandmothered'' plans were likely to be healthier than 
     average, since they had to pass the healthiness test that 
     insurers were formerly allowed to use to screen their 
     customers. These plans can also raise peoples' rates as they 
     get sick--something that's not allowed under Obamacare. Many 
     healthy people in the grandmother states were, in a sense, 
     kept out of the Obamacare marketplaces, only joining 
     Obamacare if and when they get sick. Thus, the grandmothered 
     plans might have made the Obamacare pool sicker in those 
     states.
       According to a 2016 KFF analysis, states that both did not 
     expand Medicaid and allowed the grandmothered plans had an 
     average ``risk score'' that was 8 percent higher than those 
     that that did expand Medicaid and did not allow the 
     grandmothered plans. The Kaiser researchers caution that 
     there could be other hidden demographic factors at play, but 
     write that the study ``does suggest that state policy 
     decisions may have had a noticeable effect on risk pools.''
       Karen Pollitz, a KFF senior fellow, gave an example of how 
     this worked in Iowa, via email:
       In Iowa, most of the Wellmark (BCBS) market share continues 
     to be in non-compliant plans (the grandmothered/grandfathered 
     pre-ACA plans), so Wellmark cherry picks its own market 
     share. Over three years, news reports show Wellmark lost $90 
     million on ACA compliant plans, with one enrollee accounting 
     for $18 million in claims for one year alone. So for 2018 
     Wellmark will not only leave the marketplace, it will stop 
     offering all ACA compliant plans, keeping in force just their 
     pre-ACA policies.
       Today, of course, insurers have even more to worry about, 
     like whether the Trump administration will continue to make 
     payments called cost-sharing reductions to defray medical 
     costs for low-income people on Obamacare. House Republicans 
     successfully sued the Obama administration in 2014 to stop 
     the payments, and the Trump administration could simply drop 
     the appeal. In that case, insurers participating in Obamacare 
     would be on the hook for billions of dollars in medical 
     expenses. (The House health-care bill would eliminate the 
     payments as well.)
       As Cori Uccello, senior health fellow at the American 
     Academy of Actuaries, put it to NBC News, ``Insurers need to 
     know if they are going to get paid.''
       What's more, some insurers are skeptical that the Trump 
     administration will enforce Obamacare's individual mandate, 
     so they are raising their rates as a precaution.
       And of course, with the Senate currently debating its own 
     version of the Obamacare repeal bill, the entire future of 
     Obamacare is uncertain. Indeed, ``uncertainty'' comes up a 
     lot in stories about insurers leaving Obamacare.
       At this rate, Republicans might live to see the Obamacare 
     ``death spiral'' they have long been prophesying. But 
     insurance markets don't just collapse on their own. Decisions 
     by states, Congress, and the Trump administration can--and 
     have--given them a hefty nudge.

  Ms. JACKSON LEE. And the answer, of course, is a litany of ways that 
the Republicans have extinguished the very essence of it.
  But I just want to close by bringing to the attention of my 
colleagues Ryan Smith. He has a mental health generalized anxiety 
disorder. He has got a beautiful picture with, it looks like, his mom 
and him. And it says: Without the ACA, I would not have been able to 
move and find a new job.
  He has generalized anxiety disorder. He is a young man with a job who 
worked for the Michigan House of Representatives, and he was diagnosed 
in 2013. Because of the Affordable Care Act, he keeps his job.
  Then we have, how TrumpCare will kill me before cystic fibrosis. I am 
34 years old. If I was a Canadian, there would be a good chance I would 
live for 17 more years, but, in the Americas of Donald Trump and Paul 
Ryan, that is not going to happen.
  At 2, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. And this individual 
indicates: I got married. I hope one day to have children. But without 
the Affordable Care Act, they too may lose their lives.
  ObamaCare saved my life. What now? This was a gentleman, lying in bed 
with my dog, recovering from the most recent surgery, when the news 
alert went off on my iPhone after midnight. Breaking news: the Senate 
has just taken a major step toward repealing the Affordable Care Act. 
Fear, that is what I and millions of Americans felt.
  This is a breast cancer survivor, and she is worried about being able 
to survive.
  So there are many stories like this, and there are stories of the 
disabled and senior citizens who may be thrown out of nursing homes and 
children who are very sick who may, because of a preexisting disease, 
not have insurance.
  I am glad to be with you on the floor, and I think I will end by 
saying, my commitment is to see that this never

[[Page H5173]]

happens to the American people; that whatever the shenanigans and 
negotiating that are going on in the Senate--and I respect the other 
body, but whatever is going on to pass a bill that may kill people, or 
cause people to lose their lives under the medical system, or, in fact, 
throw people off of insurance, I believe we have a moral obligation to 
stand in the gap and stand against this.
  I really would lift up my hand to my friends, Senators and others, I 
lift my hand. Let us sit down to the negotiating table together, and 
let us save lives.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise to join my colleague in strong opposition to the 
issue of repealing, revising, and replacing the Affordable Care Act 
presented by the Republicans.
  Tonight, after seven years of claiming to have a workable replacement 
for the Affordable Care Act, the Senate, just as House Republicans 
before them, showed their hand; and it is empty.
  Senate Republicans have finally released their draft version of the 
House-passed American Health Care Act and it is clear why they kept it 
behind closed doors all this time.
  Today, the Congressional Budget Office and the staff of the Joint 
Committee on Taxation (JCT) completed their estimate of the direct 
spending and revenue effects of the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 
2017, which is the Senate amendment in the nature of a substitute to 
H.R. 1628.
  The Senate bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured 
by 22 million in 2026 relative to the number under current law, 
slightly fewer than the increase in the number of uninsured estimated 
for the House-passed legislation.
  By 2026, an estimated 49 million people would be uninsured, compared 
with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.
  Senate Trumpcare is yet another plan that promotes Wealth Care--if 
you are billionaire or a millionaire you will become wealthier.
  If you are part of the middle class or the working poor your economic 
you will become less well-off due to higher health insurance cost or 
out of pocket health care expenses.
  Earlier today, they were making changes to address the growing chorus 
of objections to their ill-conceived attempt to end Obamacare for more 
than 20 million Americans
  The change they proposed could be described as a post-script that 
people should try to keep health insurance coverage while they strip 
away the assistance that makes health insurance a right that is 
affordable and accessible to all Americans.
  The reality of keeping health insurance under the Republican proposal 
would be nearly impossible for the very sick who are receiving coverage 
under Medicaid.
  The added difficulty for the chronically ill is that their 
preexisting condition may mean higher premiums that the Republican plan 
will not help them cover through subsidies or the removal of 
prohibitions that insurance companies cannot discriminate against them.
  If you or your loved one depends on Medicaid you will be worse off 
because the insurance market may allow you to purchase insurance, but 
there is no subsidies to help you purchase plans, and no control over 
how high a premium might become.
  The Senate bill is worse than the one that passed the House, with 
deeper cuts to Medicaid and a ban on Planned Parenthood funding for one 
year.
  Just like the bill that passed the House, this proposal would likely 
strip coverage from millions of Americans and do nothing to address 
affordability, all while providing a windfall to corporations and the 
richest of the rich.
  Both healthcare bills are immoral bill and I call on Republicans to 
abandon their efforts to repeal and replace the law of the land at the 
expense of the most vulnerable Americans.
  The President promised to a plan to provide health insurance for 
everybody.
  But that promise has not been kept.
  The legislation unveiled by House and Senate Republicans would kick 
millions of Americans off their health coverage and force millions to 
pay more for less.
  This plan is a prescription for misery and spells disaster for hard-
working families struggling to make ends meet in the face of spiraling 
health care costs.
  The Affordable Care Act was always about real people who have real 
lives that are impacted by not having access to affordable and 
accessible health insurance.
   Those caught up in the Opioid addiction rely on Medicaid for 
healthcare treatment for withdrawal special medical care centers.
  The Senate and House Republican bills would eliminate Medicaid 
coverage for tens of thousands of Opioid addicts who are seeking help.
  The Affordable Care Act has established healthcare as a right and not 
just something that the privileged can afford.
  This repeal charade must end.
  Republicans have had seven years to show they have a better way to 
cover millions of Americans but we have learned at last that they have 
none.
  Republicans will be held accountable for whatever happens to our 
health care system under their watch, especially the destabilizing 
uncertainty their efforts have already engendered.
  With America finally on the move thanks to the expansion of coverage 
through the Affordable Care Act, the Republican plan to repeal and 
replace the ACA threatens to turn the clock back by making America sick 
again.
  Statistics Texas
  Should the Republicans be successful in repealing the Affordable Care 
Act people living in the State of Texas will be harmed: 1,874,000 
individuals in the state who have gained coverage since the ACA was 
implemented could lose their coverage if the ACA is entirely or 
partially repealed.
  1,092,650 individuals stand to lose their coverage if the Republican 
Congress dismantles the exchanges.
  913,177 individuals who received financial assistance to purchase 
health insurance in 2016, received an average of $271 per person, would 
be at risk of having coverage become unaffordable if the Republican 
Congress eliminates the premium tax credits.
  1,107,000 individuals in the state could have insurance if the State 
of Texas would accept the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. 
These individuals will not be able to gain coverage if the Republican 
Congress eliminates the Medicaid expansion.
  508,000 kids who have gained coverage since the ACA was implemented 
are also at risk of having their coverage rolled back.
  205,000 young adults in the state who are able to stay on a parent's 
health insurance plan thanks to the ACA now stand to lose coverage if 
the Republican Congress eliminates the requirement that insurers allow 
children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26.
  646,415 individuals in the state who received cost-sharing reductions 
to lower out-of-pocket costs such as deductibles, co-pays, and 
coinsurance are now at risk of having healthcare become unaffordable if 
the Republican Congress eliminates cost-sharing reductions.
   10,278,005 individuals in the state who now have private health 
insurance that covers preventive services without any co-pays, 
coinsurance, or deductibles stand to lose this avenue of access to 
affordable healthcare if the Republican Congress eliminates ACA 
provisions requiring health insurers to cover important preventive 
services without cost-sharing.
  Women in the state who can now purchase insurance for the same price 
as men are at risk of being charged more for insurance if the 
Republican Congress eliminates the ACA's ban on gender rating in the 
individual and small group markets. Before the ACA, women paid up to 
56% more than men for their health insurance.
  Roughly 4,536,000 individuals in the state who have pre-existing 
health conditions are at risk of having their coverage rescinded, being 
denied coverage, or being charged significantly more for coverage if 
the Republican Congress eliminates the ACA's ban on pre-existing 
conditions.
  346,750 seniors who have saved an average of $1,057 each as a result 
of closing the Medicare prescription drug ``donut hole'' gap in 
coverage stand to lose this critical help going forward.
  1,746,043 seniors who have received free preventive care services 
thanks to ACA provisions requiring coverage of annual wellness visits 
and eliminating cost-sharing for many recommended preventive services 
covered by Medicare Part B, such as cancer screenings, are at risk of 
losing access to these services if congressional Republicans go forward 
with their plan to repeal the ACA.
  National Statistics 2013-2016
  There were over 41 million uninsured persons in the United States in 
2013, and by 2015 that number had declined to a little over 28 million 
because of the tremendous success of the Affordable Care Act.
  In March 2016, HHS reported that due to the Affordable Care Act, 20 
million Americans have gained health care coverage.
  In 2016, Medicaid's share of total U.S. health care spending amounted 
to 17 percent. The program is funded by both federal and state 
government. In 2016, there were 72.2 million people enrolled in 
Medicaid.
  Since 2012 the number of people receiving healthcare through Medicaid 
grow by 24.6 million.
  The number of children enrolled in Medicaid coverage is 43%.
  As more families were able to purchase health care insurance through 
exchanges the number of children receiving health insurance through 
Medicaid decreased from 50% in 2011 to 43% in 2016 because their 
families' health plan provided them with coverage.
  The 2016 HHS report said that 6.1 million uninsured young adults ages 
19 to 25 have gained health insurance coverage because

[[Page H5174]]

they could remain on a parent's health plan due to the Affordable Care 
Act.
  Black and Hispanic Insurance Rates
  Gains in coverage because of the Affordable Care Act were strong 
across all racial and ethnic groups between October 2013 and early 
2016.
  The uninsured rate among Black non-Hispanics dropped by more than 50 
percent (from 22.4 to 10 percent); corresponding to about 3 million 
adults gaining coverage.
  The uninsured rate among Hispanics dropped by more than 25 percent 
(from 41.8 to 30.5 percent), corresponding to about 4 million Hispanic 
adults gaining coverage.
  The greatest demographic that benefited from the Affordable Care Act 
were White non-Hispanics whose uninsurance rate declined by more than 
50 percent (from 14.3 to 7.0 percent), corresponding to about 8.9 
million adults gaining coverage.
  History of Universal Healthcare in the United States
  In 1949, Harry Truman became the first sitting President to propose 
universal healthcare for all Americans as part of the ``Fair Deal.''
  On March 23, 2010, with the stroke of President Obama's pen, the 
American people received this part of the ``Fair Deal.''
  The Affordable Care Act has been affirmed to be law by every means 
provided by our nation's constitution: On March 21, 2010, it passed the 
House and was sent to the President.
  On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act 
into law.
  On June 28, 2012, the United States Supreme Court in National 
Federation of Independent Businesses v. Sebelius ruled that it was 
constitutional.
  During the 2012 Presidential Election the Affordable Care Act was a 
central issue. President Obama was soundly reelected with 51.1 percent 
of the vote and 62% of the Electoral votes (332-206).
  In 2014, the Affordable Care Act provisions banned insurance 
companies from:
  Discriminating against anyone with a pre-existing condition.
  Charging higher rates based on gender or health status.
  Enforcing lifetime dollar limits.
  Enforcing annual dollar limits on health benefits.
  The Affordable Care Act means:
  Over 19 million Americans now have health insurance.
  105 million Americans have no life time limits on health insurance
  Nearly 134 million people with pre-existing conditions have coverage.
  6.6 million young-adults up to age 26 can stay on their parents' 
health insurance plans.
  5 million Seniors in the `donut hole' have saved billions on their 
prescription drugs.
  3.2 million Seniors have access to free annual wellness visits under 
Medicare, and
  360,000 Small Businesses are using the Health Care Tax Credit to help 
them provide health insurance to their workers.
  [Statistics on Texas and the Affordable Care Act]
  1.7 million Texas have health insurance because of the Affordable 
Care Act.
  7 million Texans no longer have lifetime limits on their healthcare 
insurance.
  300,731 young adults can remain on their parents' health insurance 
until age 26.
  10 million Texans have insurance although they have pre-existing 
conditions that would have prevented them from getting coverage before 
the Affordable Care Act became law.
  346,750 seniors are no longer in the prescription drug donut hole, 
which means they are no sudden large out of pocket expenses to get the 
medicine they need.

                              {time}  2000

  Ms. PLASKETT. I thank the gentlewoman so much for that information, 
for much of the testimonies that you have given for the record.


                             General Leave

  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and 
include any extraneous material on the subject of this Special Order.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Gaetz). Is there objection to the 
request of the gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands?
  There was no objection.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, at this time, it gives me great pleasure 
to yield to Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who not only represents 
California in the area of Berkeley as well as Oakland, but is also 
someone who is a real progressive fighter for the American people, 
cares passionately about healthcare.
  But on this evening when we are also talking about Caribbean American 
Heritage Month, I have to tell you that, in June of 2005, the House 
unanimously adopted H. Con. Res. 71, which was sponsored and ushered 
through by Congresswoman Barbara Lee with other Members, which was 
recognizing the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants 
in the history and culture of the United States. On February 14, 2006, 
the resolution similarly passed the Senate, culminating a 2-year 
bipartisan, bicameral effort that was issued by President George Bush 
on June 6, 2006.
  Since the declaration, the White House has issued annual 
proclamations recognizing June as Caribbean American Heritage Month, 
and it gives those of us of Caribbean-American heritage great honor and 
a real opportunity to extol and let other Americans know about the 
contributions, the issues that are important to us.
  I thank Congresswoman Lee for bringing that forward and for ushering 
that through. It is really, I feel, quite often that we get subsumed, 
that the experiences of Caribbean Americans often get glossed over, and 
I want to thank her for affording us the opportunity to have this month 
to be able to talk among ourselves and among other Americans about the 
things that we have done.
  I yield to the gentlewoman from California to discuss healthcare as 
well as Caribbean American Heritage Month.
  Ms. LEE. I want to thank Congresswoman Plaskett for hosting this 
Special Order and for her kind words, but also for her commitment to 
providing healthcare for all Americans, for her leadership in the 
Caribbean Caucus, for her dedicated constituent representation of her 
constituents in her district, and also being the epitome of why 
Caribbean American Heritage Month is so important. There are so many 
Caribbean Americans throughout our country who have contributed so much 
to the fabric of our society, and so I am really proud to be with her 
tonight.
  And thank you for signing H. Con. Res. 71 because that was during the 
days of the bipartisanship spirit. If a Barbara Lee and a George Bush 
could work together, then that says something.
  Ms. PLASKETT. It says a lot for what we can accomplish.
  Ms. LEE. What we can accomplish, but also about the brilliance and 
the importance of the Caribbean-American community.
  Let me just mention Dr. Claire Nelson, who is the founder and 
president of the Institute of Caribbean Studies, because, for over a 
decade, just in terms of history, we worked closely together to 
recognize the many individual contributions of Caribbean Americans and 
to make Caribbean American Heritage Month a reality. So I must today 
salute her for her tremendous leadership.
  Our Nation has been so fortunate to benefit from countless 
individuals of Caribbean descent, including my personal mentor and 
friend, the late Honorable Shirley Chisholm, whose district now is so 
ably represented by our colleague of Jamaican descent, Congresswoman 
Yvette Clarke.
  Now, Shirley Chisholm was a woman of Bajan and Guyanese descent who 
never forgot her roots in the Caribbean. She was the first African-
American woman elected to Congress, the first woman and the first 
African American to run for President. She was truly a trailblazer, and 
she convinced me that I needed to actually register to vote.
  Throughout her career, Shirley was an advocate and a fighter. She 
fought for working families, the poor, and our most vulnerable: 
children and seniors. She believed that everyone should have the 
basics: food, housing, a decent job, good wages, and healthcare--again, 
regardless of their background. And let me tell you, I know that she 
would have been appalled by this Senate health bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed, and, to be quite honest, I am 
terrified about the Republican's heartless bill to rip healthcare away 
from 22 million Americans. Now, next year, 15 million Americans will 
lose their healthcare, and believe you me, these are not just 
Democrats, these are not only African Americans, but these are also 
Republicans and people who voted for Trump.
  The bill, currently--this bill--was hatched by 13 male Republicans in 
back rooms and basements. They hid it

[[Page H5175]]

for as long as they could because they knew if they held an honest 
debate, they would lose on the merits.
  According to the Congressional Budget Office today, the Senate's bill 
would strip healthcare from 22 million Americans, devastate women's 
health, and weaken protections for those living with preexisting 
conditions, with disabilities. It will increase premiums and reduce 
benefits, and it would also make Americans pay more for less. It would 
end Medicaid as we know it, including long-term care for our seniors.
  What is more, it will harm American families and really will present 
an environment now where it is a matter of life and death for so many 
who don't even need to worry about not having healthcare. They should 
have healthcare because, otherwise, many people who are going to be 
denied under this bill can lose their lives.
  And for what? Why are we doing this, or why are they doing this? It 
is to pay for tax cuts for billionaires and for millionaires and for 
CEOs.
  Mr. Speaker, over the last few months, like all of us, I received 
thousands of letters from constituents in the East Bay who are 
terrified of losing their healthcare. I have heard from people like 
Melissa, a mother in Oakland, whose son Sam was born premature with 
several preexisting conditions.
  Her son received healthcare under the Affordable Care Act. Under the 
Senate healthcare bill, children like Sam will be locked out of the 
care that they desperately need. They are terrified. The bill would 
force American families like Melissa's to choose between groceries and 
healthcare.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill is cruel and, yes, it is mean. It is a massive 
tax cut for billionaires at the expense of families and our most 
vulnerable.
  Now, during the campaign, President Trump asked the question: What 
does the Black community have to lose? Well, for starters, Mr. 
President, I hope you hear us tonight, it is healthcare, given the 
number of African Americans, which Congressman Veasey laid out, who, 
for the first time, now have healthcare.
  In all my years in Congress, I have never seen such a morally 
bankrupt bill. And make no mistake, it is a matter of life and death, 
and the American people deserve better.
  Finally, let me just say this bill is not a healthcare bill. It is a 
tax cut bill for millionaires and billionaires and is known as 
TrumpCare. I don't know how it got that title because it is more like--
and what I call it--``Trump Don't Care'' legislation, and it must be 
rejected.
  Ms. PLASKETT. I thank the gentlewoman for that information and for 
her passionate words.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from Wisconsin (Ms. Moore), 
who is an advocate for people throughout this country, not just 
Wisconsin, and who is a poet along with being a great Congresswoman.
  Ms. MOORE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from the Virgin 
Islands so very, very much for yielding to me.
  I rise today to speak with you, Mr. Speaker, because we have gotten 
so many complaints about the messaging that Democrats have around this 
bill, and I just want to keep the main thing the main thing, and I just 
want to talk to you, Mr. Speaker, very directly.
  We talked a lot about the 22 million, 23 million people who will lose 
their healthcare if we were to repeal and replace so-called ObamaCare. 
But this goes deeper than that.
  This undermines the Medicaid program, a program that will be 52 years 
old on July 30, if it survives. This takes away the eligibility, 
changes eligibility standards; and right now, Mr. Speaker, there are 70 
million people who rely upon Medicaid. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, 
tomorrow it could be you.
  The average age of a Member of the House of Representatives is 57. 
The average age of a Senator is 61. So, I mean, Mr. Speaker, you are 
one stroke away, one heart attack away from becoming disabled. And 
after they wipe out your IRA and your pension and your Social Security 
so they can care for you, long-term care, or allow you to stay home, 
you, too, Mr. Speaker, could end up relying on Medicaid to have a 
decent end-of-life experience or to be able to stay in your home.
  You are one kidney failure away, one car accident away. Even though 
you make $179,000 a year, you don't have enough money, Mr. Speaker, 
were you to have a disabled child that would need extensive care. You 
would depend on the Medicaid program.
  You know, so many people don't care about what is going on here 
because they think it couldn't happen to them, that those 70 million 
people who rely on Medicaid is someone other than them. But, no, Mr. 
Speaker, it is you.
  And even if you don't, God willing, have a stroke or a heart attack, 
you are someone who is going to suffer from the cost shifting so that, 
when 22 million people lose their healthcare, your premiums are going 
to go up. Your deductibles are going to go up. And God forbid that you 
have arthritis or some other preexisting condition, because under this 
bill you will be left at the tender mercies of our insurance companies 
where they can charge five times as much for someone who has aged or 
has a preexisting condition.
  Hospitals in your nice suburban rural area may find themselves being 
shut down because they don't get Medicaid payments, and community 
health centers--not just Planned Parenthood, Mr. Speaker, that you are 
ideologically opposed to, but those community health centers that serve 
rural communities.
  And how cruel could a bill be where 50 percent of the children born 
in this country rely on Medicaid? How cruel could a bill be when 7 
million people with disabilities, represented, you know, by those folks 
who were tossed out of here in their wheelchairs the other day? And we 
will find that after we end the entitlement to Medicaid, we will have 
disabled people and children and people who need skilled nursing care 
fighting with each other because they will have to win the lottery in 
order to be able to access the crumbs that fall from the master's table 
of the States in which they live.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill will have an impact on you. It is not just 
poor people. It is everybody. And I would urge the gentlewoman from the 
Virgin Islands, for us to be mindful of the fact that all Americans, 
every American relies on decent, good healthcare. This is the largest 
healthcare program in our country that is about to be dismantled, and I 
would urge caution and tell everyone, especially you, Mr. Speaker, to 
beware.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have 
remaining.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands has 
25 minutes remaining.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, it is with enormous, not just gratitude, 
but great pride, actually, to yield to someone who, to me, is one of my 
big sisters here, who is the champion in the House, the foundation for 
those of us within the Caribbean Caucus who are Caribbean Americans 
here in the Congress. She represents probably one of the largest 
Caribbean constituencies in the United States, that being part of 
Brooklyn, New York, which I tell everybody is the largest Caribbean 
island in the world.

                              {time}  2015

  Congresswoman Yvette Clarke is a great member on the Committee on 
Energy and Commerce. She is one of the co-chairs of the Congressional 
Caribbean Caucus, and she is a passionate progressive advocate for 
healthcare and for all care for Americans and for those who have been 
forgotten.
  I am so glad and so grateful for the gentlewoman's continued efforts 
to raise the level of awareness on issues related to the Caribbean 
Basin, of Caribbean Americans here in the United States, and the 
African diaspora as a whole, that we are not a monolithic group, that 
we have a richness and a variety within even Americans who are of 
Caribbean descent here in America. And that needs to be celebrated and 
discussed, and the achievements and how we all, as a mosaic, make 
America great by being part of different cultures.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Clarke) 
this evening to discuss healthcare and Caribbean American Heritage 
Month.
  Ms. CLARKE of New York. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from the 
United States Virgin Islands (Ms. Plaskett) for yielding to me.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to my Caribbean-American 
sisters and brothers across this country. For

[[Page H5176]]

hundreds of years, Caribbean Americans have contributed to the 
artistic, legal, literary, diplomatic, business, athletic, and 
medical--you name it, there is not an endeavor where you won't find a 
Caribbean American who helped shape American society.
  Alexander Hamilton grew up in the Leeward Islands of St. Kitts and 
Nevis and went on to found our economic system. Former Attorney General 
Eric Holder, whose family came from Barbados, served honorably as the 
first Black Attorney General. General Colin Powell, whose own parents 
immigrated from Jamaica, became our Nation's first Black chairman of 
the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the first Black Secretary of State.
  Constance Baker Motley, whose parents were from Nevis, drafted the 
complaint in the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education before 
serving as our Nation's first Black female Federal judge.
  Shirley Chisholm, my predecessor and role model, served in Congress 
for seven terms and became the first Black woman to seek a major 
party's nomination for President. Her family was from modern-day Guyana 
and Barbados.
  Who can forget the unmatched contributions of such notable performers 
as Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis, Jr., and even Beyonce?
  Let me add Rihanna. I could go on.
  But by any measure, Caribbean Americans have enriched the United 
States beyond their numbers. They have made the United States better, 
stronger, and more vibrant while serving as a credit to the Caribbean 
region and the United States of America.
  I, myself, am the proud daughter of Jamaican immigrants. My mother, 
Dr. Una Clarke, served as the first Caribbean-born female member of the 
New York City Council. In fact, she was the first foreign-born female 
to serve in the New York City Council.
  For those reasons, I am proud to represent one of the largest 
Caribbean diaspora communities in the Nation and to serve as one of the 
co-chairs of the Congressional Caribbean Caucus.
  However, unfortunately, the Caribbean region stands at a crossroads 
today. Many of the nations face high energy prices, environmental 
degradation, public health challenges, and economic challenges imposed 
by the correspondent banking crisis. Haiti, in particular, has been 
beset by numerous challenges over the past few years through no fault 
of its own.
  I believe that the United States must not be silent in the face of 
those challenges. The Caribbean region is known favorably as the third 
border of the United States. Instead, it should aid our Caribbean 
neighbors to help ensure a vibrant future in the region.
  Indeed, the State Department's recent report to Congress on the U.S.-
Caribbean strategic partnership marked a step in the right direction. 
However, we must continue making strides on the road to full diplomatic 
engagement in accordance with our values and as befitting our friends 
and neighbors in the region.
  I find it quite fascinating that so many other nations around the 
world have found this region in the Western Hemisphere to be partners 
with, and, we, right on its borders, have given it short shrift. When 
you look at the level of investment that China is making in the 
Caribbean region right now, it should give us all pause in the United 
States as we are concerned about the expansion of their influence into 
the Western Hemisphere.
  So, Mr. Speaker, as I speak with pride today, I want to mention the 
name Susan Rice, former Ambassador to the U.N., another proud Caribbean 
American; and Patrick Ewing, formerly of the New York Nicks, another 
proud Caribbean American. The list goes on and on. We have deeply 
benefited from their contributions to our life, enriching society here 
in the United States of America.
  I would be remiss if I left the floor this evening without adding my 
voice to that of my colleagues of the Congressional Black Caucus in 
condemning this horrible healthcare bill that has been put forth in the 
United States Senate. It is a companion to the horrible bill that was 
put forth by United States House of Representatives.
  I am a Christian and I practice my faith regularly. There is 
something said in the Bible about wickedness in high places. I have to 
speak to the wickedness within this bill that we, as a civil society, 
would remove the ability for people to just have human dignity, to have 
life, to be able to see their doctors, to be able to make sure that 
their children are well taken care of, that their parents can live out 
their days in dignity and in as best health as possible is really a 
blot on this Nation.
  We have been through generations of challenges. We have reached a 
point where, in this Nation, we have made a lot of progress in really 
doing our best for our neighbors as we would do for ourselves. This is 
totally a step back.
  Our children are going to ask us where we were when this vicious bill 
was proposed that Americans would be stripped of the ability to access 
healthcare in the United States of America in the 21st century.
  I stand shoulder to shoulder with my colleagues in the Congressional 
Black Caucus to say that we stood on the floor of the House and we 
fought. We fought for human dignity. We fought to make sure that this 
would not be something that would not rest on the mind and the 
conscious of our colleagues, that they would reflect on how they would 
feel if this bill were to impact them personally.
  I find it really ironic that in many of the districts that this 
healthcare bill would impact, our colleagues are basically stripping 
away the well-being of their own constituents--people who voted and 
sent them here. It is truly unfortunate that we value wealth over human 
dignity; that we value giving money to people who haven't even asked 
for it over making sure that we can stop pandemics, that we can 
continue research into cures for those who may be ill, and that we can 
continue to move along the path of preventive health, which is, by far, 
the best way for us to conduct our lives in the United States of 
America. To see emergency rooms, if they remain open, filled with those 
who are uninsured in this day and age is not worthy of who we are as a 
nation.
  So I stand with my colleagues to say that we will fight until the 
last person standing to bring dignity to our Nation--to all people--but 
we fight, in particular, as a Congressional Black Caucus for those who 
have been most victimized and are the most vulnerable amongst us, and 
those are the people of the African-American communities here in the 
United States.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands (Ms. 
Plaskett) for yielding.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I find it very interesting for myself that 
we have Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and the next Member to come up is 
also from New York. Both of them have been Representatives of districts 
that I have lived in and that my family lives in. They represent what I 
think of when I think of my parents who live now in Congressman Meeks' 
district, and my mother who was partly raised in Congresswoman Clarke's 
district. My parents represent most Caribbean Americans who come to 
this country--people who come here with not much, who are willing to 
work hard, who believe that the sacrifice toward education and support 
of their families and helping others to come and find good, stable jobs 
and create middle class is what America is about.
  We have contributed so much, and we can talk about so many of the 
Caribbean Americans who have done amazing things in this country. But 
it is those individuals who we do not talk about--our parents, our 
families--who come to this country, who provided the stability for 
others. It is why we are so concerned about the temporary protective 
status of Haitians--the 50,000 Haitians who are hardworking Haitians in 
this country, who are being sent back, who are now here working hard 
and sending so much money back that is the backbone of the economy of 
Haiti, who we cannot let go back because that country will collapse 
with them, leaving this country, and being good citizens--as much as 
they can be citizens--yearning for the American Dream.
  Mr. Speaker, Mr. Meeks represents Queens, which is one of the 
backbones of Caribbean Americans. He is my parents' Congressman. The 
gentleman has been so good to the people that he represents as well as 
all the American people. The gentleman sits on the Committee on 
Financial Services. He also

[[Page H5177]]

sits as a member on the Foreign Affairs Committee, where he advocates 
and speaks for those individuals who cannot speak for themselves.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from New York (Mr. Meeks).
  Mr. MEEKS. Mr. Speaker, I thank Representative Plaskett for leading 
this Special Order on behalf of the Congressional Black Caucus.
  It is extremely important that we first thank our Caribbean brothers 
and sisters, as my sister Yvette Clarke so eloquently stated, the 
history of so many individuals that have made substantial contributions 
to make this a more perfect union, who, but for their labor and hard 
work, we would not be the country that we are.
  But also as Representative Plaskett has indicated, when I think about 
the average, everyday person who came across to America from the 
Caribbean Islands--the schoolteachers, the plumbers, the lawyers, the 
doctors, the sanitation workers, and the individuals that come even 
just to cut grass--when you think about the contributions, what they 
have committed is those individuals have raised children who become 
Members of Congress, like Stacey Plaskett and Yvette Clarke, who 
continued that tradition of making this a much better place to live for 
all Americans, a shining example of what this great Nation is when it 
is so inclusive.
  Yvette Clarke talked about Alexander Hamilton and the contributions 
that were made from the very beginning. But when you look at that and 
when you think of who we are and the hemisphere that we share--you see, 
the Caribbean Islands are the same hemisphere, and we have to make sure 
that we are together in lockstep. We can never forget that, when 
America catches a cold, many individuals in the Caribbean now get 
pneumonia.
  So as a result of understanding the contributions that they have made 
in this country, and continue to make, we are really one on the same 
continent and we are only as strong as we are together.

                              {time}  2030

  And so we would have to stop and think of our brothers and sisters 
from the Caribbean and those who are still living there as just places 
that we go visit for tourism and vacation. Yes, we want to make sure 
that we do visit there to strengthen those economies, but we want to 
also make sure that, as a government, as a people, we are also doing 
the appropriate investments there in their infrastructure, because it 
only helps us here in the United States of America.
  We are only as strong as we can be together. E pluribus unum, from 
many one, that is what this Nation is supposed to be, and I think that 
we have come a long way to accomplish it, which brings me to the second 
phase of what I want to talk about this evening, because this is not 
supposed to be a system of the haves versus the have-nots. It should 
not be where we have a reverse Robin Hood syndrome where you are taking 
from the poor to give to the rich. No, that is not the Nation that we 
want this country to be. In fact, people fled from a king who was 
wealthy and didn't care about the poor.
  So here we are now as a nation, when the most important thing to 
anybody is health, because if you don't have health, you don't have 
anything. I don't care whether you are Black or White, whether you come 
from the East or the West or the North or the South--health. The one 
thing that we have in common, everyone, is that we are human beings. 
And one thing that we know for sure, humans' bodies, at times, break 
down.
  So, yes, if you are young and healthy, and, yes, if you are wealthy, 
then maybe this bill that they are looking at on the Senate side is for 
you. But if you are young and healthy today, believe me, tomorrow you 
won't be young if you are lucky.
  And believe me, the human body gets sick. And when that happens, the 
question is: Will you have the ability to access the healthcare that 
you need to keep you healthy?
  Well, under this bill, based upon the American Medical Association, 
hospitals, AARP, you can go to almost any health provider, they will 
tell you that, no. 22 million Americans, as the CBO score showed, would 
lose their access to healthcare, and many of those are in the middle, 
the middle class. They talk about healthcare. We are not just talking 
about healthcare; we are talking about adequate health coverage so that 
when you are sick, you can go to a doctor and receive the care that you 
need and know that you are covered, because my Republican colleagues 
have forgotten where we were before the Affordable Care Act.
  You see, before the Affordable Care Act, more Americans were going 
bankrupt in trying to stay alive, for healthcare. These are middle 
class, hardworking, everyday individuals who thought they had coverage. 
But when they were sick, they went to the doctor, then they found out 
that what they thought they were covered for, they were not, and so 
they had to take out loans and re-mortgage and refinance their homes, 
give up everything that they had to try to stay healthy and alive. We 
don't want to go back there.
  Before the Affordable Care Act, we were not talking about making sure 
that those individuals with preexisting diseases were covered.
  If you listen to my Republican colleagues, they will tell you that 
the Affordable Care Act is the worst thing in the world. But before the 
Affordable Care Act, we weren't talking about children being able to 
stay on their parents' health insurance until they were 27 years old.
  Yes, indeed, before the Affordable Care Act, many seniors saw their 
coverage capped, and, after a certain amount of payout, they had to 
come out of their pockets, which were not deep, and just hang in there 
with their families and suffer and go bankrupt.
  So what we are talking about now is saving the lives of individuals.
  I want to thank my friend and sister from the Virgin Islands for 
leading this for the Congressional Black Caucus, because the camera of 
history is rolling and it is recording, and it will record her and the 
members of the Congressional Black Caucus standing on the right side of 
history.
  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time I have 
left.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman from the Virgin Islands has 
2\1/2\ minutes remaining.
  Ms. PLASKETT. I yield to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Evans), 
and I will close out after that.
  Mr. EVANS. Mr. Speaker, Republicans have said they want a healthcare 
system that cuts costs and covers more Americans, yet their bill does 
no such thing.
  Last week, Republican leadership in the Senate unveiled their draft 
healthcare bill. Their bill makes extreme cuts to the Federal Medicaid 
program and doubles down on the President's vow to repeal the 
Affordable Care Act.
  The nonpartisan CBO came out and said that 22 million Americans stand 
to lose health coverage. Their bill does nothing but further harms the 
communities and threatens the livelihood of neighborhoods nationwide.
  The healthcare debate in our country should be about increasing 
funding, promoting prevention, protecting and enhancing the quality of 
life for each and every person in Philadelphia, the Commonwealth, and 
our Nation.
  What do we have to lose? We have a lot to lose. We are talking about 
the lives of 22 million Americans who stand to lose their healthcare. 
The numbers do not lie. These are our veterans, our seniors, our 
students, and our children.
  We cannot turn a blind eye. The livelihood of our neighborhoods 
depends on our commitment to stop this disastrous bill from becoming 
law. There is a lot at stake, and our neighbors have too much to lose 
if we turn a blind eye.
  We have heard from all of our colleagues tonight that clearly this is 
going in the wrong direction. And we, members of the Congressional 
Black Caucus, stand together to fight this horrible bill.
  One last thing I want to say to my colleague on Caribbean Americans. 
June is Caribbean American Heritage Month, and I think the most of my 
colleague. I have learned a lot from watching her in action. She has 
that spirit and that drive as a Caribbean American. She has helped 
shape and strengthen the fabric of our communities.
  I thank the congresswoman publicly for all that she has done as a 
great Caribbean American in this body.

[[Page H5178]]

  

  Ms. PLASKETT. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Ms. EDDIE BERNICE JOHNSON of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise in 
celebration of Caribbean American Heritage Month. In June 2005, the 
House of Representatives adopted H. Con. Res. 71, recognizing the 
significance of the Caribbean people. In February 2006, the resolution 
passed in the Senate, and was signed by President George W. Bush in 
June 2006.
  Since the declaration, the United States has celebrated June as 
Caribbean American heritage month every June, this year marks the 
twelfth anniversary. Approximately 3 million people in America can 
trace their ancestry to the Caribbean.
  Historically, African-Caribbean migration to the United States can be 
traced back to the 17th century during British colonial slavery. While 
enslaved Africans imported from the Caribbean decreased after revolts 
in the 1700s, Caribbean immigration grew in the mid-1800s. After World 
War II, Caribbean immigration boomed during periods of economic growth. 
Between 1960 and 2009, the number of Caribbean immigrants grew from 
190,000 to 2 million.
  Caribbean Americans have contributed the fabric of our society, 
bringing a unique and vibrant culture to mesh with that of America's. 
Just to name a few, Colin Powell, Eric Holder, Cicely Tyson, and Lenny 
Kravitz are all Caribbean Americans.
  I urge my fellow members of Congress to commemorate this month as 
National Caribbean American Heritage Month.

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