AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WORKS IN MAINE; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 39
(House of Representatives - March 07, 2017)

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[Pages H1541-H1542]
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  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
Maine (Ms. Pingree) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. PINGREE. Mr. Speaker, the Affordable Care Act has saved thousands 
of Mainers from losing their lives or going bankrupt simply because 
they got sick. Quality of care has improved through preventative care, 
without cost sharing for consumers. Overall costs have been lowered.
  Republicans have had 7 years to come up with an alternative 
healthcare plan that preserves the progress we have made under the 
Affordable Care Act--one that would not take us back to a time when 
many without employer-sponsored insurance or a clean bill of health 
could get coverage.
  But after all this time, they have come up with a plan that will cost 
older Americans up to five times more than younger enrollees; will 
charge the uninsured 30 percent more to buy coverage; and it will 
defund, not defend, Planned Parenthood; cut Medicaid significantly; and 
still has no price tag.
  We owe it to Americans to have an open debate on this proposal, and I 
expect my Republican colleagues not to forget the millions of Americans 
for whom the Affordable Care Act has been a lifesaver.
  In January, I asked my constituents to share their Affordable Care 
Act stories. Within a few days, more than a thousand stories were 
submitted. Some shared their ongoing challenges. I agree there are 
opportunities to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and make it 
affordable, but the overwhelming number of people shared compelling 
stories of how the Affordable Care Act has improved their lives.
  I am honored to share a few of those powerful stories today, and I 
hope my Republican colleagues are listening.
  Eleanor from Belfast, Maine, said:
  ``I am a 63-year-old small-business owner who has health insurance 
for the first time in my adult life since passage of the Affordable 
Care Act. The same is true for my partner of 17 years. She was 
diagnosed with breast cancer this year and has recently undergone a 
mastectomy with follow-up care. After her diagnosis, I went for my 
first-ever mammogram.''
  The Republican plan puts these preventive services at risk.
  Matthew from Brunswick, Maine, said:
  ``Five years ago, I left a comfortable job with good benefits to 
start my own business. Those first years were tough on my family. My 
wife and I were able to put our children on Maine's Dirigo Health, but 
we had to do without. . . . Today, through God's grace, hard work, and 
the support of my wife; my business is prospering. Food assistance is a 
thing of the past and we're actually contributing more in taxes now 
than we ever did before. We still have to watch what we spend but we're 
breathing a lot easier. Each year that I've made more money our subsidy 
has gone down, and that's just as it should be. That subsidy still 
matters though. If the ACA were eliminated today and I had to buy 
health insurance on the open market I'd be paying an extra $4,800 a 
year. That's real money.''
  Under the Republican plan, small-business owners like Matthew may not 
be able to afford care for their family.
  Ret, a 9/11 first responder from Rockland, Maine, said:
  `` . . . The ACA means that as a self-employed resident of the state 
of Maine, I can actually acquire coverage with a pre-existing 
condition. After working search and rescue/recovery at Ground Zero in 
2001, I developed a lung condition necessitating costly medication. 
Before the ACA, I was terrified of losing my job and losing health care 
because of my pre-existing condition.''
  Under the Republican plan, those with preexisting conditions, like 
our 9/11 first responders, may not get affordable coverage.
  Elisabeth from Phippsburg, Maine, said:
  ``In 2014 . . . my husband died from early-onset Alzheimer's. I was 
50 when

[[Page H1542]]

my husband was diagnosed. Eventually I left the workforce to care for 
him . . . and, of course, lost my employer-provided health insurance at 
the same time. The ACA has provided me with options ever since then; 
options that I never had before its passage. In 2014 I had three joints 
replaced; life changing surgeries that restored my active lifestyle and 
removed chronic pain from my life. These were only possible because I 
was able to access health insurance as an individual, at a reasonable 
  The Republican plan for increasing costs for older Americans 
threatens people just like Elisabeth.
  These stories matter. These lives matter. We must all keep them in 
mind as we look to change the Affordable Care Act.