Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi, Former California Insurance Commissioner, Fights for American Consumers by Standing Up Against GOP Rule Designed to Increase Insurance Industry Profits

January 7, 2011
Press Release


"Repeal this bill, and you're going to find more Americans dying," Congressman
Garamendi said
on the House floor today. Roughly 32,000 Americans
annually would die if the Patients’ Bill of Rights is repealed.

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Walnut Creek, CA), California’s Insurance Commissioner for eight years, today stood against House Republican efforts to allow the House to vote to repeal the Patients’ Bill of Rights next Wednesday. The rule passed by a 236-181 vote.

"Today I fought to save the Patients’ Bill of Rights and protect patients and consumers from the greed of insurance companies. Unfortunately, the House Republican majority voted to set up a vote next week that will force seniors to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for prescription drugs, to allow insurance companies to kick you off your insurance when you get sick, and to deprive you of needed preventative screenings recommended by your doctor," said Congressman Garamendi, a former health care advisor to President Bill Clinton.

"My Republican colleagues are prepared to deny you the same health coverage Members of Congress already enjoy," Garamendi added. "They signaled today that they consider giveaways to their insurance CEO friends more important than your access to lifesaving medical procedures."

Garamendi served as California’s first elected Insurance Commissioner, from 1991-1995 and again from 2003-2007. In the early 1990s, Garamendi proposed a health care framework that would have covered almost every Californian. Garamendi’s legislation served as a key inspiration to President Clinton’s health care proposal.

According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, repealing the Patients’ Bill of Rights would add $230 billion to the deficit by 2021.

In California, if House Republicans have their way:

  • 196,000 young adults would lose their insurance coverage;
  • More than 18.8 million residents of California with private insurance coverage would suddenly find themselves vulnerable again to having lifetime limits placed on how much insurance companies will spend on their health care;
  • Nearly 4.5 million seniors in California who have Medicare coverage would be forced to pay a co-pay to receive important preventive services, like mammograms and colonoscopies; and
  • Insurance companies would once again be allowed cut off someone’s coverage unexpectedly when they are in an accident or become sick because of a simple mistake on an application. This would leave 2,705,000 people in California at risk of losing their insurance at the moment they need it most, as one of the worst abuses of the insurance industry would become legal again.

Repealing the Patients’ Bill of Rights would hurt all Americans and put the insurance companies back in control of your health care. American consumers are harmed when House Republicans propose:

  • Repealing the ban on discrimination by health insurers based on pre-existing conditions;
  • Repealing the ban that prohibits health insurance companies from rescind coverage when you get sick;
  • Repealing tax credits for small businesses and American families;
  • Repealing policies that lower costs and expand services for seniors;
  • Repealing policies that let young adults stay on their parents’ health care plans; and
  • Repealing the ban on annual and lifetime limits on covered benefits.