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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about President Obama's decision to delay another major piece of his health care law:
Excerpts of his remarks:
“And today I come to say it's been clear for a long time, that the health care law is not working. It has been obvious from the beginning that this law would not work out the way the Democrats had promised the American people that it would work out.
“The Obama Administration has been desperate to talk about anything but the failure of the health care law. And they've been desperate to hide some of the biggest problems of the law.
“The President has unilaterally made one change after another, sometimes with in my opinion no legal authority to do so, and tried to do this in a way that perhaps nobody would even notice.
“Late yesterday, the Administration leaked word that it would delay again the law's unpopular employer mandate. It was the second time the Obama Administration has changed the health care law in just a few days.
“Yesterday ‘The Washington Post’ reported on modifications from over the weekend, actually this is Saturday – ‘Administration to allow some changes to health care plans’.
“That article says the Administration has quietly reworked rules and computer code for Healthcare.gov to try to stem an outpouring of discontent, an outpouring of discontent, by Americans who have discovered that the health plans that they bought didn't include their old doctors or allow them to add new babies or spouses.
“So the Administration then sent out a 14-page memo to insurance companies with changes to how its website works and new rules for how people can buy coverage. ‘The Washington Post’ article goes on to say the changes reflect recent work still underway to improve the computer system for the marketplace, as well as fresh thinking about the needs of people who are buying coverage.
“Fresh thinking about the needs of people who are buying coverage? Did the Administration not think of these people before they wrote all of these things?
“I know a lot of folks who work for the Administration have gone from college to graduate or law school and right into some cubicle, on the Administration’s payroll. Do they have no clue about how the real world works?
“It's worse than that. On Super Bowl Sunday, President Obama sat down for an interview and he was asked about the failure of his health care website, Healthcare.gov. This is what he said. He said ‘It got fixed within a month and a half and it was up and running’, he said and ‘now it's working the way it's supposed to.’
“I don't think many people around the country who have gone onto this website even today believe it's working the way it's supposed to. I mean the President was with Bill Clinton in September-- the Clinton forum-- and President Obama said easier to use than Amazon. ‘Cheaper to buy than your cell phone bill.’
“I assume the President actually believed that. I assume the President believes it's working the way it's supposed to today. But I think that's the reason the President’s poll numbers are so low because the American people say the President is out of touch with what the American people are seeing in their own homes and in their own communities and the President in the White House has very little realization of what's happening in America.
“So according to the President, Healthcare.gov is now working the way it's supposed to work. Well if that's true, why did we learn a week later there are another 14 pages of rule changes and changes to the website—did the President not have a clue they were even coming?
“Back in December the press gave President Obama the lie of the year for his statement of if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Well when the President said his website is working the way it's supposed to, either he continues to be in denial or he's got another entry for this year's lie of the year.
“Now, on Sunday, Bob Schieffer on ‘Face the Nation’ asked about the latest rules changes. Those are the rules changes that were before Sunday, not the ones that came out just yesterday. I mean the President has changed the rules now over two dozen times. Bob Schieffer said things just seem in every day and every way to be more confused.
“This is Bob Schieffer, who for years as the face of ‘Face the Nation’ has become a trusted person that people turn to and, as he says, in a reasonable way, things just seem every day and every way to be more confused. He then asked is there any hope of getting it straightened out. That's what Bob Schieffer asked; is there any hope of getting it straightened out?
“Well the Majority Party Whip was on the show. The Democrat Senator was on the show and instead of answering the question, he avoided it. He tried to change the subject and he repeated an old Democrat talking point.
“This time that Senator claimed that ‘10 million Americans have health insurance today,’ he says,‘who would not have had it’.
“The Washington Post’ fact checker said the statement was so wrong they said it deserved four Pinocchio’s, the most you can get.
“The Washington Post’ called the Democrat Senator's claim ‘Simply ridiculous.’ The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the American people signing up under the Obama health care law already had health insurance. So they're actually not getting new insurance or newly insured because of the law.
“These are people that got cancellation letters and then said I need to get insurance so then they went to the website to buy something, often much more expensive, requiring higher co-pays, higher deductibles.
“The law forced them to lose the coverage they had and the coverage that actually had worked for them. Many people are paying far more now than they were for worse coverage and it isn't the right fit for their families.
“They're often paying for insurance they're not going to use, don't want, more than they'd ever need, and paying more than they ever intended. That's what I hear when I talk to people in Wyoming, I was in Wyoming in Cheyenne and Casper this past weekend, that's what I hear at home.
“The Administration doesn’t want to talk about that. Democrats in Washington don't want to talk about it at all. Democrats want to avoid the tough questions about how the law has failed; they rely on denial and deception.
“The website still isn't working in spite of what the President may have said on Super Bowl Sunday. The law isn't working.
“The answer to the question is no, there is no hope of getting it straightened out. The website problems that we have seen are just the tip of the iceberg.
“People are paying higher premiums, coverage’s are canceled, people can't keep their doctor, fraud and identity theft are going to continue to be a plague of this health care website, and people are paying higher co-pays and deductibles.
“This is reported interestingly enough that in California with the so-called navigators, the people who are the certified navigators, over 40 of them are convicted criminals. 40 convicted criminals were hired and certified, certified, to be navigators in California in spite of the fact that people are being asked to give personal information, health information, financial information, to these navigators.
“So it is no surprise that we're going to continue to see issues of fraud and identity theft come up.
“Another interesting thing that we learned recently, was the Congressional Budget Office came out with its new estimates about the health care law and its effect on parts of the economy, and on jobs.
“It also talked about the number of people who don't have insurance. It said in the year 2024, ten years from now, there will be 31 million Americans who will be uninsured.
“And it reminds me of the speech that the President gave—the speech the President gave in 2009. He came to Congress; he wanted to talk about health care reform. He talked about why it was so urgent that the Congress pass health care reform. He said there are now more than 30 million Americans citizens who cannot get coverage.
“So 2009, the President says 30 million Americans can't get coverage. Congressional Budget Office just comes out and says 10 years in the future, 15 years after the President gives his speech, 31 million Americans, no insurance.
“And yet we will have spent trillions of dollars and yet it won't fix so big of a problem that we know we need to deal with—health care in America, and this present law, this enormous law, this 2,700 page law has completely failed to deal with the reason the President said we had to deal with this in 2009.
“Now how is that a victory for uninsured Americans? How can the President say this law has succeeded? How is it a sign that the health care law is working in the way it's supposed to work?
“Now on top of that middle-class people all across the country are paying more because of the health care law. Their premiums have gone up, their deductibles have gone up, their co-payments have gone up.
“Millions of hardworking Americans have had their insurance policies canceled because of the law. And the Administration is still working on the website in spite of what the President may say about it.
“The website isn't working, the health care law clearly is not working, it's not working the way he promised, and it's not working the way the American people need health care to work for them in this country.
“It's time for the Administration to just stop sneaking out these changes under the cover of darkness in blog posts. Why doesn't he come and tell the American people what he's going to do?
“It's time for Democrats to stop the four Pinocchio talking points. It’s time for folks to be honest about the failings of the health care law.
“It's time to eliminate this terrible health care law and replace it with real reform that gives people better access to quality, affordable health care, the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs.”