Barrasso: Obamacare is Still Hurting Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor highlighting how Americans are seeing their health care costs increase and their access to care decrease under Obamacare.

“People are paying outrageously high premiums, co-pays and deductibles – and they’re left with insurance coverage that may not cover their care.” – Sen. John Barrasso


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Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks

“Mr. President, it seems like every day Americans are hearing more and more news about how badly Obamacare is failing.

“Some of the latest headlines have had to do with just how expensive health insurance will be next year under the president’s health care law.

“The price increases that are being reported are truly staggering.

“Insurance companies are planning to raise rates by 20 percent, 30 percent, even 40 percent on some of their plans and they say it’s because of the health care law.

“The New York Times had an article on this a couple of weeks ago.

“It quoted one health advocate in the state of Oregon saying specifically that some people ‘may start wondering if insurance is affordable, or if it’s worth the money.’

“A lot of Americans have been wondering if the entire health care law is actually worth the money.

“Now, some Democrats have said that these outrageous price increases won’t affect everyone.

“Well, they sure affect a lot of people.

“You know, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle say that the increases won’t be as large as they’re going to be if you’re willing to switch plans every year, or if you accept less access to doctors, or even less access to medications.

“Well, that argument makes the same mistake that President Obama made from the beginning with his health care law – it confuses coverage with actual care.

“In Connecticut, some insurance companies say they’ve come up with ways to slow down the increase in their premiums – what they’re doing is they’re actually cutting access to care.

“One company decided that it could save some money by reducing the use of ‘specialty drugs.’

“So some people who have this insurance may not be getting the drugs that they used to get.

“Another company in Connecticut decided that it could charge a little less by limiting the number of doctors that patients could see.

“Instead of raising rates by 12.5 percent next year like it planned, they said the company now says that it can get by with just raising prices by 11.5 percent.

“That’s the kind of situation that hard-working families are facing: higher premiums, less access to care.

“These narrow networks of hospitals and doctors aren’t just hurting people in Connecticut – they’re turning up in Obamacare plans across the country.

“There was a study that came out this month. It found that plans offered through Obamacare insurance exchanges across the country cover 34 percent fewer doctors than the average plan sold outside the exchange.

“It’s even worse for some specialists.

“According to the report, exchange plans include 42 percent fewer oncology and cardiac specialists.

“Well, that’s cancer doctors. That’s heart doctors.

“So if you’ve got cancer, or you’ve got a heart condition, there is a much lower chance that your doctor is covered by your Obamacare insurance.

“People are paying outrageously high premiums, co-pays and deductibles – and they’re left with insurance coverage that may not cover their care.

“So, a lot of people have decided that they just can’t afford the Affordable Care Act.

“They would rather pay a tax penalty to the IRS than spend hard-earned money on this limited, and expensive, Obamacare insurance.

“According to the IRS, last year 7.5 million hard-working taxpayers paid that tax penalty.

“That’s one out of every 17 taxpayers.

“Another 12 million people couldn’t afford Obamacare insurance, or didn’t want it – and they filed a form saying that they shouldn’t have to pay the penalty at all because it was unaffordable.

“There were only six million people who signed up for Obamacare exchange plans last year – and almost 20 million people rejected Obamacare, because it was too expensive, or it wasn’t right for them and their families.

“President Obama has said repeatedly that the health care law is, he said, working even better than he expected.

“Is this what he’s talking about? Even better than he expected.

“More Americans are rejecting Obamacare than are signing up for it on the federal exchange.

“Is that better than the president expected?

“Does President Obama think that his federal insurance exchange is working better than he expected?

“There were headlines about this recently as well – and how Washington has failed to protect taxpayer dollars.

“The Government Accountability Office set up a test of – you know the president’s website, the one that failed so miserably. What they did is they created 12 fraudulent applications in order to see if they could actually get health insurance subsidies using fraudulent applications.

“Eleven of these 12 phony applications were approved last year.

“Now, here we are a year later, it turns out that the Washington bureaucrats – you can’t believe it – renewed, renewed these policies, renewed  the tax-payer funded subsidies for all 11 of these phony applicants.

“Some of them even got higher subsidies this year than they did last year.

“So, what’s the Government Accountability Office say about it?

“The chief investigator looked at it and he said, ‘There still appears to be no system in place to catch missing or fabricated documentation.’

“It’s incredible, and it’s disturbing and it’s no surprise that taxpayers are offended.

“Finally, Mr. President, we’re also seeing more news about one of the new taxes that Democrats included in their health care law.

“There was a headline in the New York Times last Wednesday: ‘Concern Grows on Health Tax.’ ‘Concern Grows on Health Tax,’ Wednesday, July 22, first page of the business section. ‘Concern Grows on Health Tax.’

“Now, this is about the new 40 percent tax on so-called Cadillac health insurance plans. These are the plans that employers offer to their workers.

“These are plans that Washington says are too generous.

“The article tells the story of Kurt Gallow, who works at a paper mill in Longview, Washington.

“But the story of Kurt is also about his wife, Brenda. She has diabetes.

“The article says that Kurt and Brenda ‘are worrying about his company’s proposed new health care plan, which would require workers to pay as much as $6,000 toward their families’ medical bills.’

“Now, that’s a huge amount of money for anyone, but it’s a huge amount of money for some of these very hard-working families.

“Now, these are changes that their employer has to make because of the president’s health care law.

“This isn’t an Obamacare plan – this isn’t something they’re buying through the exchange. These are people who get their insurance through work.

“Now, President Obama said that if you get your insurance through your job, ‘nothing in this plan will require you or your employer to change the coverage or the doctor you have.’

“Well, millions of Americans across the country are finding out that was just one more expensive, broken promise made by the president.

“Obamacare continues to be a complicated and costly mess.

“Republicans have offered good ideas about how to lower health care costs, how to improve access and how to help Americans lead healthier lives.

“We all have ideas that will get rid of some of the ridiculous Washington-imposed mandates that are driving up costs, that are forcing so many Americans to go without insurance and certainly without care.

“Six years ago the American people were unhappy with health care in this country.

They didn’t think that the solution was higher prices, less access to care and higher taxes as well.

“The American people are not satisfied with these constant headlines about all of the problems with Obamacare.

“Congress should not be satisfied with the current state of health care in this country either – or with the disastrous side effects of the president’s health care law.

“It is time for the president to admit that the health care law is causing pain and problems all across the country.

“It’s time to try again – to give people the care they need, from a doctor they choose, at a lower cost.”