Health Care Reformby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2013-12-16
McCONNELL. Mr. President, I thank my friend from Alabama for his
kind words, and I commend him for the great job he has been doing in
outlining the issues before us, not to mention the particular nominee
he was speaking about.
A few weeks ago the Obama administration essentially declared that it had met its goals for fixing the ObamaCare Web site. With the Web site fixed, they led us to assume that ObamaCare was ``fixed'' as well, but that was never true. As I have been saying all along, the problems are much bigger than a Web site.
Even the administration's claims about the Web site have been exaggerated. Recent news reports suggest that many Americans who thought they had enrolled on the exchanges will find that they do not, in fact, have coverage on January 1, largely as a result of lingering problems with the site.
An even larger problem lies with the coverage options folks are actually finding if they manage to make it through the Web site. For folks patient enough to successfully navigate through healthcare.gov, many are finding that ObamaCare offers higher premiums, higher costs, or higher deductibles--sometimes all three--in exchange for coverage that is in many cases inferior to what they had before: fewer choices, restricted hospital networks, losing doctors our constituents know and trust. That is what many are getting in exchange for higher costs and skyrocketing premiums, even after the President promised ObamaCare would ``cut costs and make coverage more affordable for families and for small businesses.'' Despite the President's serial pledges to the contrary, the government's own studies on this issue now indicate that ObamaCare will actually increase the cost of health care in America by more than $620 billion. ObamaCare will actually increase the cost of health care in America by more than $620 billion.
As one California woman recently put it, for her, ObamaCare has meant being forced into lower coverage for more money. Many Kentuckians feel exactly the same way.
Giselle Martino is a constituent of mine from Prospect, KY. Here is what she recently wrote to me after losing her coverage: I paid a very high premium to have a major medical plan. I am now forced into the exchange for a lesser plan with more exclusions and higher deductibles. I will most likely never reach those deductibles. How does this help me? I am basically paying into the plan for the others. If I must pay for my higher tier heart drugs anyway, why should I bother with the health plan? What a disappointment this administration has caused.
Higher costs and less care, that is what ObamaCare means for Giselle Martino.
ObamaCare has been a disappointment for Mike Conn from Prestonsburg too. Here is what he had to say about this law: A policy that has similar coverage to what we had would cost us around $1,100 a month. [That] is a 100-percent increase for me and my wife. I was informed by the individual that was helping me find coverage that it was because we live in eastern Kentucky.
Mike says his plan is no longer available in that part of the State, and now he is evidently facing a 100-percent increase in cost because of where he lives--a 100-percent increase in cost because of where he lives. It is not fair.
Mike and Giselle both have every right to be upset. But that is the reality of ObamaCare for too many Kentuckians, a State where 280,000 people have already lost the coverage they had because of this law. It is a reality facing millions of Americans across our country. When the White House was asked today whether they were confident that the millions of Americans with canceled policies would be able to sign up for new insurance before January 1, they couldn't give a straight answer.
That is why we Republicans are going to maintain our focus where it belongs--on the people we represent and on the issues that truly matter to them because our constituents understand that ObamaCare is about so much more than a Web site. The administration needs to start understanding that too. Fixing a few lines of code isn't going to help people keep the plans they like, plans that work for their families. It isn't going to help our constituents afford the law's exorbitant premiums and deductibles. It isn't going to help our constituents cope with fewer choices and lower quality of care. These are the things that actually matter to the middle class.
The administration and its allies in Congress can talk until they are hoarse about a Web site or about nominees or about whatever else they think they can say to distract Americans from the failures of this law, but that isn't going to work.
To the millions of Americans suffering under ObamaCare, people should know that Republicans are on their side. We are going to keep fighting for true health reform that lowers costs, for reform that promotes choice and a better quality of care, and we are going to keep fighting against the idea that government knows better than our constituents when it comes to their families' health care. That is what our constituents expect of us, I know that is what Kentuckians expect, and that is just what Republicans are going to continue to do.
Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Massachusetts.