“We should protect people who want health insurance, but who don’t want Obamacare health insurance. We should give people the freedom and the flexibility to make those decisions for themselves. We should give them more opportunities to escape from the disastrous, destructive, and extremely expensive Obamacare markets.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on legislation he introduced today to give Americans an escape hatch to get out of Obamacare.
The Improving Choices in Health Care Coverage Act expands access to short-term, limited-duration health plans. These less-expensive health plans are free from Obamacare’s burdensome mandates, and are an important option for many Americans priced out of Obamacare.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Over the next couple of weeks, Congress is going to need to finalize government appropriations for the remainder of this year.
“Among the things that some people are talking about is including money for a couple of Obamacare programs.
“One of them is money for the so-called ‘cost-sharing reduction payments.’
“Funding for these payments was never appropriated by Congress.
“The Obama administration paid the insurance companies anyway.
“President Trump stopped these illegal payments last October.
“Now some people in Congress are talking about funding them again.
“We all know that Obamacare has been a disaster for millions and millions of families all across the country.
“For the people who live in states that use the federal healthcare.gov exchange, average premiums have doubled since the law took effect.
“Wyoming is one of those states.
“According to Gallup, the number of uninsured people actually increased last year by three million.
“Many people are finding that they just can’t afford to have Obamacare insurance.
“It’s especially hard for hard-working families who don’t qualify for subsidies under the health care law.
“So we know that there’s a problem, and we know that we have to do something to help people who are struggling in Obamacare markets.
“If people are going to discuss using this government spending law to spend more money on this collapsing Obamacare markets, there are other things we should be discussing as well.
“We should discuss finding a real solution to rising health care costs – one that doesn’t just continue the unworkable, unaffordable, unfair system that Obamacare created.
“We should discuss actually giving people more freedom, more flexibility to choose a health care plan that is right for them.
“I’m introducing a bill today to do just that.
“My legislation will build on a step that President Trump and the Trump administration took last month.
“The administration reversed a last-minute Obama era policy that had all but killed short-term health plans.
“These are less expensive health plans that are free from the expensive, intrusive, and burdensome regulations that Obamacare placed on other insurance.
“So there are a much more affordable option for many Americans who have been priced out of Obamacare.
“President Trump is on the right path with this new rule.
“He’s giving people back an option – so that they can decide for themselves if it’s a right choice for them or not.
“I think we should go a step further and that’s why I’m introducing this legislation.
“We should go a step further in the omnibus spending bill.
“We should make this more affordable choice permanent.
“Making it permanent protects people.
“It protects peoples so that a future administration doesn’t do what President Obama did, and try to wipe out choices for Americans.
“This legislation I’m introducing today, gives people a choice to have these plans for a full 364 days a year.
“It also makes sure that people can then renew these plans if they want to.
“That protects them from being dropped if they’re sick.
“Remember, that was one of the biggest promises of the Obamacare time that was broken.
“President Obama said, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan.
“Almost immediately, people found out that wasn’t true at all. In fact, it was called, by some of the press, the lie of the year.
“In 2013 alone, there were 4.7 million Americans who got letters from their insurance companies telling them that their insurance plan had been cancelled.
“Under my proposal, people with these short-term plans wouldn’t have to worry about getting a cancellation letter.
“They would be protected from their insurance company – and they would be protected from Washington, D.C.
“States are much better suited than Washington to regulate their insurance markets in ways that work best for the citizens of their state.
“These simple changes in my legislation will help give people back the freedom that Obamacare took away.
“We can essentially give people an escape hatch to get out of the Obamacare plan entirely.
“We can give them the freedom to choose the coverage that works for them—works best for their families.
“That’s the right way to bring down health care costs for Americans – give them options, give them freedom, not make them buy a one-size-fits-all government plan.
“People living in more than half of America’s counties have only one choice of insurer in their Obamacare exchange.
“It’s not a choice. They don’t have options, it’s a monopoly.
“The left-leaning Urban Institute estimates that 4.2 million Americans would enroll in short-term plans next year if we just let them keep their plan as long as a year.
“Just the one change could make a difference in the lives of four million Americans.
“My legislation does just that, and it has other benefits as well.
“I think it would be an attractive option for many more Americans.
“A lot of Democrats in Washington don’t want to talk about options.
“They know Obamacare markets are collapsing. They know costs are soaring out of control.
“They know that middle class families are being squeezed the hardest by these rising Obamacare premiums.
“Their answer, we’ve heard it on the floor of the Senate, is to try to push everyone in America into a single, government-run insurance plan that looks a lot like Medicaid.
“That’s exactly the opposite of what we should be doing and what I am proposing today.
“What the Democrats are proposing are more of the same failed idea that has caused Americans so many problems under Obamacare—government control.
“If there’s going to be talk of propping up the Obamacare market during the omnibus spending bill, then we should also be talking about helping people get out of the Obamacare markets.
“We should protect people who want health insurance, but who don’t want Obamacare health insurance.
“They know what works best for them and their families and we should trust the American people to know what is best for them and their families.
“We should give people the freedom and the flexibility to make those decisions for themselves.
“We should give them more opportunities to escape from the disastrous, destructive, and extremely expensive Obamacare markets.”