Repeal Obamacareby Representative Peter J. Roskam
Posted on 2016-01-07
ROSKAM. Mr. Speaker, an interesting thing happened when President
Obama was elected in 2008: We basically had a national consensus about
some elements of health care. What I mean by that is, most people
recognized two things about our healthcare system that were flawed.
First, they recognized that it was too expensive; and, second, they
recognized that people with a preexisting condition should be included
and not be excluded from an insurance pool. There was a great deal of
consensus around that, and that is where the opportunity was for the
Obama team to bring the country together around those two core things.
Instead, they did something different. Instead, they went out on a highly partisan path, and that was to create ObamaCare. We were told that the bill had to be passed in order to understand what was in it, and so forth and so on. We are familiar with the false premises and the false claims and the false narratives about it.
Do you remember this? We were told that if you liked your doctor, you got to keep your doctor. If you liked your insurance coverage, you got to keep your insurance coverage. Your insurance policies, the premiums per family were going to drop by over $2,000 a year. None of that turned out to be true. None of it. People lost their coverage. People lost their physicians. Their premiums have gone up.
So now what has happened, there has been this effort, and the effort over the past several years has been met by some mockery from some who have said: Hey, your efforts to repeal ObamaCare, how many times are you going to do it? Do you know how many times we are going to do it? We are going to do it until it gets done. Now it is closer than ever.
I have three constituents that I want to briefly mention to you. One is a fellow that I connected with on the phone last night. His name is Jay. Jay told me that, notwithstanding the false promises of ObamaCare, his insurance premiums for him and his daughter have skyrocketed to the point where the amount of anxiety that he was communicating to me on the phone was palpable. This is not somebody who is just upset about the direction that the country has gone under this false claim of ObamaCare. He is fearful of it, and he is anxious for his future and the future of his daughter.
How about Diane? My other constituent is a 9-year breast cancer survivor who was told, if you like your doctor, you get to keep your doctor, until all of a sudden, her insurance policy, after ObamaCare, kicks her physician out of the group, and she doesn't have access to the doctor that had cared for her and kept her cancer-free for 9 years.
How about the small-business owner who I met with on Monday in Kane County, Illinois, who said: Congressman, we would really like to expand our business; we want to open up a new location. It was a restaurant. If we do it--and we have done the math--it is going to cost us $150,000 a year in ObamaCare payments, and we can't afford to expand.
Here is what we have got to do: We have got to repeal this thing, and we have got to replace it and get back to those two core themes that say, let's deal with the underlying cost drivers in health care that make it more expensive than people can afford--and we can do that--and let's deal with the preexisting condition question. We can do that through high-risk pools and other things that don't cost the trillions of ObamaCare.
Now, there is an interesting thing that has been happening, and that is this: The story of ObamaCare is shifting. You ask, well, how is it shifting? It is shifting in this way: It is shifting because we have been told that there is no way to undo this. There is no way. It is basically orthodoxy in our country. It is an entitlement, which it is, and it is so deeply embedded that it is all a fait accompli. In other words, there is no way to undo this.
For a long time, that appeared to be--although it wasn't true, it appeared to be true because the Senate blocked its passage. Now, as we know, the other body has actually preceded us in this and, through the reconciliation activity, we are now able to avoid the 60-vote threshold. A simple majority of United States Senators can join with a majority of the United States House of Representatives, which I would argue is reflecting a majority of the American public, to say: Get this thing off our backs. Let us flourish. Yeah, we can deal with these things. Yes, health care needs improving, but this thing on our backs is simply smothering us.
So here is the opportunity. This will be on President Obama's desk. Will he veto it? Absolutely. It is the first time it has ever gotten on his desk before. What it says is this: that there is only one office between us and the repeal of ObamaCare. One office is between us and the repeal of ObamaCare, and that office changes next November. So in 11 months, there is every opportunity for us to see its repeal and, ultimately, its replacement.
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