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“Families ought to be able to make decisions about what they want to buy and what works for them –not the government. I believe if people don’t want to buy the Obamacare insurance, they shouldn’t have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS.”

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on how under the Senate tax relief plan, people would no longer have to pay a tax penalty if they don’t want, or can’t afford, expensive health insurance.

Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“This week we’re debating the Republican tax relief plan. There’s a lot to like in this legislation.

“It gives tax cuts to hard-working American families. It makes taxes simpler, and fairer.

“It makes American businesses more competitive around the world. It makes our economy stronger here at home.

“Well that’s all good news for our country – and for the American people.

“There’s other good news in this legislation, and it’s something I continued to hear about at home over the Thanksgiving recess in Wyoming, is that it wipes out the Obamacare insurance mandate tax.

“This is the tax penalty that the Obama health care law forced on the American people.

“Under the Republican plan, people would no longer have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS if they didn’t want the Democrats’ expensive health insurance – or if they just couldn’t afford it.

“We’ve seen health insurance premiums skyrocket over the past few years in this country, and it’s because of the way Democrats wrote the health care law.

“The costs as well as the deductibles are so high that many people find that even if they have paid for the expensive insurance, the deductible is so high, that they still can’t afford to get the care they need.

“The law says that no matter how expensive the insurance gets, or how unusable it is for that individual, people by law, still have to buy it or pay a tax.

“Families ought to be able to make decisions about what they want to buy and what works for them –not the government.

“I believe if people don’t want to buy the Obamacare insurance, they shouldn’t have to pay a tax penalty to the IRS.

“A single woman would have to pay a tax of either $695 or two-and-a-half percent of her income, whichever is higher.

“If it’s a couple, the tax could be double that.

“If it’s a family with kids, they pay additional tax for each of the children.

“A majority of Americans say that they don't even have enough savings today to cover a $500 emergency expense if one came up.

“So who actually pays?

“Of these over 16,000 people in Wyoming who paid the penalty –these are hardworking men and women.

“Across the country, we see over six million people who were hit with this extra tax.

“The Obamacare insurance mandate tax is a direct tax on the working people of this country.

“I think it’s not right. The Republican Party members of the Senate think it’s not right.

“Washington should not make people pay higher taxes just because they can’t afford expensive Obamacare insurance.

“People shouldn’t be forced to buy a product that’s not the right choice for them and their family.

“The Congressional Budget Office says that if we get rid of the insurance mandate tax, 13 million people will eventually decide not to have insurance.

“These people don’t view it as a good benefit for them.

“They don’t view it as worth the money.

“Republicans want to give all of these people a tax cut.

“Democrats want to make sure that people still have to pay the tax penalty.

“There’s a lot that I want to change about how America’s health care system works.

“I want to repeal the entire health care law that Democrats wrote a few years ago.

“I haven’t given up on trying to get that done – because we need to make health care better in this country.

“In Wyoming, we’re down to just one insurer willing to sell these policies. And that’s happening more and more around the country.

“That’s left many people at the breaking point.

“I got an email from one man in Sheridan Wyoming.

“He talked about the fact that his monthly premiums are going up by more than $700 a month next year.

“That’s for two adults, no children, and a deductible of $6,000.

“He and his wife are stuck in a position where they’ll have to pay more than $2,400 a month for insurance – or pay an extra tax.

“Another woman, from Park County Wyoming, wrote to me that her family had to switch insurance plans a couple of years ago. The coverage they had before was canceled.

“This lady writes about the incredible increase in the costs. She said, ‘what are we supposed to do?’

“I’ve heard from all corners of the state of Wyoming, what are they supposed to do?

“I don’t believe that these people should face a choice between paying sky-high insurance premiums or a sky-high tax penalty to the IRS.

“The people of Wyoming, people around the country, they want to buy insurance that’s affordable, that works for them and fits the needs of them and their families.

“They just don’t want to be forced to buy the insurance that Washington tells them they have to buy.

“People want the coverage that they need, so they can go to the doctor that they want at lower costs.

“I wanted to point out also, that the cost of the insurance isn’t the only problem that we’re looking at right now.

“There are other parts of the health care law that may actually be harming patients.

“As a physician, I receive multiple medical journals, and there was a new study out. And the conclusion of Journal of the American Medical Association, their cardiology journal, that looked at Medicare patients who are hospitalized with heart failure.

“There’s a program in the health care law that started to penalize hospitals if that Medicare patient was readmitted to the hospital within 30 days after they had been released from the hospital.

“There are a number of reasons that may happen, but the goal was to penalize hospitals, and the laudable goal was to give patients better treatment.

“But that’s not what happened.

“This is the problem, the Democrats wrote this into the law—and then with the regulations that came out—they did this in a way that really had no evidence that this policy would actually help patients and save money at the same time.

“It turns out, and this is a study in the American Medical Association, a well-respected journal, their cardiology journal, that say the death rate actually went up after hospitals faced this new requirement.

“The study was over 400 hospitals, 110,000 patients and the study found that an extra 5,400 people are dying every year – just among heart failure patients because of the way the federal government has chosen to penalize hospitals around the country when patients are re-admitted.

“The Wall Street Journal had an editorial about it last week.

“They concluded that if you were doing a drug trial, on a drug that you were working on inventing to improve the lives of people, and they had the same results like this with 5,400 people dying, they would have shut it down long ago.’

“There is a deadly, unintended consequence here of the Obama health care law.

“The insurance mandate tax was supposed to keep premiums from rising, premiums have gone up anyway.

“Another unintended consequence of the law.

“We should repeal the entire law.

“Until we can do that, we should do what we can to help the American people who are struggling to deal with this expensive insurance, and what I believe is an unfair tax and fine that they must pay if they don’t buy the insurance because they can’t afford it, because it’s not a good deal for them, or it doesn’t work for them or their family.

“It took away people’s choice, and force them to buy expensive insurance that wasn't right for them.

“It’s time for the insurance mandate to go away.

“We know it’s a bad idea.

“We need to give people relief from this terrible tax.

“The people of Wyoming – and the people of this country – simply can’t afford to wait any longer. It is time to repeal the mandate of the health care law.”