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Roy B.
Republican MO

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  • Nomination of Landya B. McCafferty to Be United States District Judge for the District of New Hampshire

    by Senator Roy Blunt

    Posted on 2013-12-11

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    BLUNT. Mr. President, I wish to speak about where we are right now. We are moving toward confirming a number of individuals with the majority deciding that the majority could do that by themselves. Apparently, they had the right to change the rules, which I guess means there really are no rules and the majority can change the rules any day they want.

    What we are seeing now with the health care implementation is what happens, frankly, when one side decides they don't want to make any effort necessary to get even one other person from the other side to agree with them on moving forward with something as big as the health care legislation. That should have been an example to us, but apparently the example was the example that they, the majority, can do whatever the majority wants to do.

    Let me share for a few minutes some of the things I am hearing in our office from people who are contacting us to tell us the problems they are having that they didn't anticipate.

    This is a letter from Pam from Chesterfield, MO. She says: My husband and I have always played by the rules and carried insurance. I had no idea we were going to have to change plans and go to the exchange, but our provider apparently doesn't want to have individual plans any longer because it is too costly to figure out the complexities that would apply to individual plans.

    Then Pam says: At least for now, my husband and I are not getting health insurance, and I guess we have to hope for the best. What a mess, she says. So much for playing by the rules. I never expected the two of us to be uninsured. But, now, she thinks that is what is likely to happen.

    Jennifer, a college student from St. Louis said that she initially supported the Affordable Care Act. She worked part-time at a Home Goods store where she had what she thought were great health benefits--or at least the health benefits she wanted--and where she could work as many hours as she wanted. But, she says, because of the health care plan, her employer reduced the maximum number of hours she could work to 24 hours.

    So, she says: My name is Jennifer, a hard-working student from St. Louis, MO, and I would like to share my emerging problems. At first I was supportive of the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act. Insurance for everyone--that sounds so appealing, but now that it has affected my life in a negative way, I am not so sure I can be supportive anymore. I have worked for my employer for almost 3 years while going to school. It has been an excellent place to work until now, and now not only do I not have the health care benefits I had before, but I am not able to work as much as I was able to work before.

    Carla and her husband are farmers from Oreck, MO. They farm full- time; neither of them is employed off the farm. They have two sons, one just graduated from college and just went to work; another is a junior in college. They have one full-time employee on the farm. Her family provides their own insurance. In order for them to have insurance they have had a health savings account through Humana. Their deductible is $10,000, and they still pay a little over $500 a month or $6,057 a year for their family insurance. But she tells me beginning January 1, 2014, their deductible goes to $12,600. Their premium goes to $11,422, an 89- percent increase in a family that provides their own insurance. By the way, they provide insurance with dollars they earned and they pay taxes on, so we can add another premium to that and find out how this family, that has done all they could to have insurance for their family, now has an 89-percent increase in their insurance and a deductible they hope they never use. But if they do, it is a big problem if they use that deductible. The deductible is going to be over $12,000.

    If a family is paying $11,000 for premiums and then they develop health care needs, they pay another $12,000 before their insurance helps them, that is $23,000 a year before their insurance benefits them in any way for a family that had insurance coverage that, until right now, they thought was working for them while doing all they could to have it.

    Catherine from Springfield, MO, says a few weeks ago she was informed she was going to lose her health coverage because of the President's health care plan. She has been concerned that she might not be able to sign up because the Web site wasn't working. Whether the insurance costs more or not wasn't as big of a concern to her as having insurance. She says: The nightmare that is ObamaCare is going to affect us in a major way, and the stress of what is coming is affecting many people. Not only are we losing health insurance plans we liked, and possibly the doctors we trust, but the new coverage is not as good and it costs us more. This is--to paraphrase the Vice President, ``a big deal'', she says.

    Ken writes: Dear Senator Blunt. I am writing to inform you of my recent experience with health insurance and the ACA. My wife and I make a decent income but are far from wealthy. On September 30 I received a notice that due to the ACA, my employer- sponsored health insurance plan would no longer be available. Yesterday--after worrying about this since September 30, apparently--yesterday, he continues--I discovered that my employer was able to renegotiate an early renewal and our monthly premium will only increase by 12.5 percent. However-- by the way, 12.5 percent is a pretty good increase by my books except the ones that compare what is happening right now. However, he continues, I have been made aware that next year my plan premiums will increase by a minimum of 39 percent.

    So it increased 12.5 percent this year, and they have already notified this family that their increase will be a minimum of 39 percent next year, and his deductible, according to him, will double. So reading his letter further, he says: So I guess I will not be able to keep my insurance and my costs will not decrease as the President said they would.

    Carol from Republic, MO, says her monthly premiums have gone from $600 [[Page S8719]] to $800, and the part-time jobs she and her husband both had at the local community college have actually gone down because they are not able to teach as much as they were able to teach before, because the community college has decided they can't let any of their part-time faculty work more than 30 hours. So their income went down, their expenses went up, in both cases because of the President's decisions on health care and the legislative decisions on health care in both cases. We know this has impacted the workplace, part-time workers, people holding their workforce down so they wouldn't be covered, holding their worker hours down so they wouldn't have to pay the penalty if they didn't offer insurance or offer the insurance for the first time at levels they hadn't had before.

    Now we are also seeing--not only did the hours of work go down, but the cost of health insurance goes up. Surely, we can come up with a better plan than that.

    Christian from St. Peter's, MO, just learned that his wife's employer will start excluding him from their family coverage and that he now has to receive insurance in some different way. It looks like he is going to be able to do that with his employer for $1,300 more per year. This is actually the best story I have told so far--only $1,300 that this family used to have to spend for something else, and they are now spending for health care. He says: I am not sure who ObamaCare benefits, but it sure isn't my family.

    These stories are just examples of some of the things we are hearing.

    Last weekend I noticed that one of the architects of the President's health care bill, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, on Fox News to Chris Wallace, said that what the President really should have said--and this is his exact quote: ``If you want to pay more for your insurance company that covers your doctor, you can do that.'' I don't know what he is looking at, and some may be able to find their doctor for more money, but in our State some of the health care providers aren't on the exchange.

    I read the other day that more than half of the hospitals in New Hampshire aren't on the exchange. So if your doctor happened to work for more than half of the hospitals in New Hampshire, there is no amount of money you can pay on the exchange and keep your doctor, because your doctor is no longer available through the way that you are told by the health care act that you can get insurance as an individual.

    The President promised that. He said: My plan begins by covering every American. If you already like your health insurance, the only thing that will change for you under this part is the amount of money you will spend on premiums, and that will be less.

    I think we are going to quickly see not only are people losing insurance, but for most people the premiums are not going to be less and the deductibles are going to be higher, not lower.

    This is going to be a story that is going to affect American families as nothing the Federal Government has done in a long time, and maybe nothing the Federal Government has done ever.

    If you truly want to impact the lives of families, impact their health care. Somebody told me one time: When everybody in your family is well, you have lots of problems. When somebody in your family is sick, you have one problem.

    We are dealing with the one focusing problem for American families: their access to health care that they can afford with decisions they like.

    I yield back.


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