News Releases

  • Print

June 26, 2018

Barrasso: Association Health Plans Offer Exit from Obamacare

“We’re offering real solutions to improve health care in this country. We’re giving families more freedom and more flexibility to choose what works for them, not what Washington dictates.”

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about how association health care plans will give Americans the option of purchasing less expensive insurance that is free from Obamacare’s intrusive and burdensome regulations.

Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:

“When I’m back home in Wyoming – as I am every weekend – people often tell me about how they’ve suffered under the health care law known as Obamacare.

“I’ve been able to give them some very good news recently about things Republicans in Congress and this administration have done to help people get out of the Obamacare problems they’ve been having and escape some of the problems caused by the law.

“What I’ve been able to tell people at home in Wyoming is now we have scrapped the law’s terribly unpopular individual mandate.

“We’ve done that successfully this past year so that people aren’t forced to buy insurance that may not be right for them or their families –and certainly much more than they’d like to pay.

“That individual mandate is part of the law that said every American had to have insurance that Washington dictated – even if it wasn’t the right choice for them and their family.

“I’ve told people about the work that we’ve been doing to expand people’s options to use what are called short-term, limited duration health plans.

“These are less expensive health plans. They are free from the expensive, intrusive, burdensome regulations that Obamacare has placed on the insurance they are forced to buy.

“Thanks to President Trump, I’m now able to point to the latest thing Republicans have done to help millions of Americans get the care they need, from a doctor they choose, at a lower cost.

“Last week, the Department of Labor expanded the availability of what had been known as association health plans.

“This Wall Street Journal editorial called: ‘Exit from Obamacare’ is the best example of it. The idea is very simple.

“Large employers can offer their workers a variety of good health insurance plans.

“They can do it because they have the negotiating leverage that comes with a large group of employees.

“Small businesses – people who work for themselves – they don’t have that same ability, same leverage.

“Their workers are often stuck looking for expensive coverage.

“So an association health plan lets these groups and this group of individuals band together and negotiate as if they were one big business.

“Maybe it’s all the Lyft drivers, or Uber drivers or independent truck drivers working in a state or working across state lines all joining together.

“Or the small businesses that are members of a city’s chamber of commerce.

“These businesses can now join together to offer the same opportunities for coverage that the health care law reserved only for people who work with big businesses.

“It’s a way for small businesses and their workers to escape the Obamacare marketplace that has failed so many people across the country.

“According to one estimate, Americans who sign up for one of these association health plans could save close to $10,000 a year on their premiums compared to the individual Obamacare market.

“The plans would come with the same protections people get if they do work for large companies.

“They have the same protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

“They have all the same protections against losing coverage if someone in the family gets sick.

“They’ll have the same protections for people who want to cover their adult children up to 26 years of age.

“They’ll have the same bans on lifetime limits for how much the insurance will pay.

“Where I live, in Wyoming, most of the businesses we have are small businesses.

“They’re the small shop owners – ice cream stores, florists on the corner.

“They just think of themselves as businesses in our state and businesses in our communities – businesses that our families rely on and go to and shop at regularly.

“These are people who want to be able to do right by their workers – and they want to offer a lot of the same benefits that bigger companies have.

“This new move by the Trump administration gives them a chance to do that, specifically when it comes to health insurance and benefits for their employees.

“Republican policies have been so successful at creating a thriving and growing economy, that we now have more job openings in America than we actually have people looking for work – that’s how strong this economic recovery has become.

“Small businesses really do need to be able to offer these better health benefits in order to compete for workers.

“At the same time, people who buy their own insurance have seen prices more than double under Obamacare.

“When Democrats wrote the health care law, and passed it straight party line votes, they actually targeted small businesses and forced them to pay more.

“So Republicans are leveling the playing field.

“Under this new plan, this exit from Obamacare, it’s been estimated by the Congressional Budget Office that four million Americans will sign up for this new option.

“That’s how popular this is going to be.

“For people that don’t have insurance right now because they can’t afford it, they’re saying that 400,000 Americans who currently don’t have insurance will be able to get insurance because it will now be affordable for them.

“So they’ll finally have a chance to get the high-quality insurance that they couldn’t afford under the mandates of Obamacare.

“This isn’t something that anyone is going to be required to sign up for.

“People can decide for themselves if one of these association health plans is the best option for them, the best option for their workers, for their families.

“They’ll choose one of these plans only if they decide it gives them better coverage and better value.

“Democrats don’t seem to like the fact that Americans will have this kind of choice.

“Washington Democrats like to talk about the benefits of union workers being able to get together to negotiate for things like better health care.

“But the same Democrats here in the Senate, oppose this new action by the Trump administration that just lets workers get together to negotiate for better, more affordable health care coverage.

“The only difference here is that Republicans want to give this opportunity to people who are self-employed or who work for small businesses.

“It does seem to be that Democrats want to reserve that right only for the union members, the big unions that fund Democrat campaigns for reelection.

“There’s nothing in the new association health plans that tries to lure young or healthy people away from Obamacare plans.

“There’s nothing that requires people or businesses to participate.

“It just provides millions of Americans with a choice: Obamacare or an association health plan.

“Republicans are for opportunities and options.

“Democrats seem to be more for mandates and restrictions.

“I think the American people prefer, in this land of opportunity, prefer options.

“Democrats are going to go out on the campaign trail and claim that what we’ve done now with these association health plans ‘sabotages’ Obamacare. Don’t believe it.

“If the only way Obamacare can survive is to force millions of hard-working Americans to pay too much for their health insurance, then Obamacare is the problem.

“Democrats don’t seem to want to admit that.

“They also don’t really want to change any of the things that are broken in the American health care system.

“They want it to stay broken – so they can push the plan for what we’ve heard some of the Democrats call ‘single-payer’ health plan.

“That’s a completely government-run health care system where all of the bills are paid by the taxpayers.

“It has become the liberal litmus test for the Democrats – and you’re going to be hear a lot more of them talking about that over the weeks and months ahead.

“I just don’t believe that that’s what the American people want. What they want is an exit from Obamacare into much more affordable insurance, something that works for them, something where they have an opportunity to make their own choices and have the flexibility to evaluate what is best for them and their families.

“We’re offering real solutions to improve health care in this country.

“We’re giving families more freedom and more flexibility to choose what works for them, not what Washington dictates.”