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John B.
Republican WY

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  • Obamacare

    by Senator John Barrasso

    Posted on 2015-06-09

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    BARRASSO. Mr. President, this morning President Obama will be speaking at a meeting of the Catholic Health Association of the United States.

    Now, the White House says the President will talk about his health care law. The President has already been spending a lot of time talking about the law. At the G7 summit in Germany this past weekend, the President was asked about the law and what he said is: ``The thing is working.'' He said: ``We haven't had a conversation about the horrors of ObamaCare because none of them have come to pass.'' The President must be kidding himself.

    This morning, when he talks to this Catholic health care group, President Obama should stop his denial and he should confess the truth. If he gives another rosy speech about the impact of this terrible law, he will be, once again, intentionally and deliberately misleading the people in his audience.

    The President should not stand on the stage today and pretend his law is helping more people than it hurts. He should not stand on that stage today and pretend he hasn't heard that his law is causing premiums to skyrocket. He should not stand on that stage today and pretend he has kept his promises about this law. He should not stand on that stage today without admitting his law has cut into the take-home pay of millions of hard-working Americans.

    What the President should do is talk about how his health care law has hurt nonprofit hospitals like the Catholic hospitals across the country. That was the subject of a Wall Street Journal article just last Wednesday with the headline: ``Hospitals Expected More of a Boost From Health Law.'' Now, remember, President Obama said his health care law was going to help hospitals. He said it would help hospitals because uninsured people wouldn't be coming into the emergency room needing free care anymore.

    Well, that hasn't happened. Even more people are going to the emergency room today. According to the Wall Street Journal, nonprofit hospitals have seen a huge increase in Medicaid patients--and Medicaid pays only about half of the cost of caring for patients.

    The article gives an example of a group of nonprofit hospitals near St. Louis. It has lost about $5 million as a result of President Obama's Medicaid expansion. That is a big hit for a nonprofit hospital to take. It directly affects hospitals' ability to continue providing high-quality care.

    If President Obama is honest today, I would say he needs to explain to this Catholic health care group why his health care law has not lived up to expectations. Is he going to explain why his law is hurting their ability to provide care? It is not only hospitals that are being hurt by ObamaCare, millions of people across the country are seeing the news that their insurance premiums might soar by 20 percent, 30 percent or even more next year.

    In North Carolina, Blue Cross Blue Shield says it needs to raise premiums by 26 percent. In Minnesota, Blue Cross wants to raise rates by 54 percent. President Obama spent part of his childhood in Hawaii. One insurance company there is planning to raise premiums by 49 percent.

    Will the President explain to this group today why premiums are skyrocketing? I will tell you why they are skyrocketing. It is because of the cost of all the Washington-mandated services that came from ObamaCare. Another reason costs are going up is all the bureaucracy that came with the health care law.

    There was an article in The Hill newspaper May 27 with the headline: ``Overhead costs exploding under ObamaCare, study finds.'' The article says: Five years after the passage of ObamaCare, there is one expense that's still causing sticker shock across the health care industry: overhead costs.

    It continues: The administrative costs for healthcare plans are expected to explode by more than a quarter trillion dollars over the next decade, according to a new study.

    This is $270 billion ``over and above what would have been expected had the health care law not been enacted.'' That is what this study found.

    Under the health care law, Washington has been spending billions of taxpayer dollars on health care: $1 out of every $4 is going to overhead--not to treat sick or injured people, not to help or prevent disease, no, to overhead. It is the President's law. It is incredible. This money isn't being used to help one sick child, to provide medicine for a single individual, it is overhead.

    As one of the study's authors put it, the money ``is just going to bureaucracy.'' According to this study, this works out to $1,375 per newly insured person per year under Obama's health care law. Now, of course, people's premiums are going through the roof. The health care law created or raised 20 different taxes.

    Maybe President Obama today should explain why $1 out of every $4 that Washington spends on health care should go to bureaucracy instead of caring for patients. The President's health care law is hurting hard-working American families who are going to have to pay premiums of 40 to 50 percent more next year. It is hurting the hospitals that are supposed to provide [[Page S3894]] the actual health care to those patients. It is wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on overhead and bureaucracy instead of caring for sick people.

    ObamaCare is an expensive disaster. Now, that is not just my opinion. A new poll came out the other day from CNN. It found only 11 percent, only one in nine Americans say the law is a success. President Obama says the law is working. Well, only one in nine agree with him. In another poll, just 39 percent of people support the law. That is down 10 percentage points in 1 year.

    You ask: Why is it? Well, because people look at it and say it is a bad deal for them personally.

    The President made promises, and he has broken them. He said: If you like your coverage, you can keep your coverage.

    Millions lost their coverage. He said the cost of insurance premiums would drop by $2,500 per year.

    Costs have exploded, the cost of the premiums, the cost of the copays, the cost of the deductibles, and many people who have this expensive new insurance cannot get care. Coverage does not equal care. That is why this health care law is more unpopular now than ever before.

    Sometime this month the Supreme Court could make an important decision about the health care law. The Court is set to rule on whether some of the billions of taxpayer dollars that President Obama has been spending were even supposed to be spent under the law. This decision could affect more than 6 million Americans. So you would assume the White House is prepared for the decision. You would assume the White House would have a plan.

    Well, does the White House have a plan for these 6 million Americans who are worried about how they will pay for their expensive, new ObamaCare plans with all of its mandates? Not according to the President.

    In Germany yesterday, the President refused repeatedly--refused--to talk about a plan B. The closest he came was to say, ``Congress could fix this whole thing with a one-sentence provision.'' That is not a real solution. People see their premiums going up, and they are very concerned.

    President Obama owes America a serious answer. Republicans aren't interested in a one-sentence fix unless that sentence is: ObamaCare is repealed.

    We want to protect the American people from this complicated, confusing, and costly health care law.

    If the Court rules against the President, then Republicans will be ready to sit down with Democrats to get some things right. That means stopping ObamaCare's broken promises and its harmful mandates.

    Republicans will offer a plan, and we will work with the President to give people back the freedom, the freedom to make health care choices that work for them and for their families. It will be up to the President and Democrats in Congress whether they want to join us or if they want to continue with their partisan fight and their delusions that this law is popular and working. I hope they will work with us on the reforms the American people need, want, and deserve.

    I yield the floor.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from West Virginia.


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