May 17, 2017
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor on how Americans have seen their health care costs skyrocket under Obamacare.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Republicans have been warning for years about the grave damage that Obamacare has done to the American health care system.
“We’ve pointed out how the health care law’s regulations are destabilizing the health insurance industry.
“We’ve warned that the Obamacare markets are unstable.
“We’ve talked about the death spiral that has already doomed Obamacare.
“It seems like every day we get more proof that the collapse is well under way.
“Last week the insurance company Aetna announced that it was exiting the individual Obamacare markets entirely.
“CNN did a story about this last Wednesday.
“The headline said, ‘Aetna to Obamacare: We’re Outta Here.’
“It’s interesting because Aetna is a company who was one of the cheerleaders for Obamacare early on.
“They jumped in and said that they were very involved and wanted to make this work. Here they are pulling out, saying that it’s failed.
“Humana has already said that it was quitting the exchanges, not just one place but everywhere.
“In the past month or so, we’ve seen big companies drop out of the markets in Virginia and in Iowa.
“There’s now just one company left selling in the exchanges for Nebraska and for Delaware.
“There’s just one company selling in Alaska, and in Missouri – in Alabama and in Oklahoma – in South Carolina and in my home state of Wyoming.
“For people living in all of these states there is a monopoly for who they get to buy their insurance from under the Obamacare markets.
“That’s not a marketplace, it is a monopoly.
“The Associated Press looked at all of these companies that are dropping out.
“It now found that 40 percent of America – four out of ten counties in America – will have just one company selling insurance in the Obamacare exchanges for next year.
“Four out of every ten counties in America.
“That’s what you get with an Obamacare exchange.
“How is that supposed to bring down prices?
“Other companies have been saying how much they’ll need to charge if they’re going to stick around for one more year under Obamacare.
“It looks like we’ll have another year of incredible price increases.
“In Maryland, insurance companies are demanding average premium increases of anywhere between 18 and 59 percent.
“In Connecticut, they’re asking for 15 to 33 percent more next year.
“Democrats are desperate to blame the collapse of Obamacare on President Trump.
“My question to the Democrats is this – what about all of the companies that dropped out of the marketplaces last year?
“What about the double-digit price increases that Americans were paying year after year under Obamacare?
“The premium for the average benchmark plan in the exchanges went up 25 percent at the start of this year.
“Are Democrats going to try to blame that on someone else?
“In March, the Kaiser Family Foundation reported the results of a poll on health care in America.
“In this poll, four out of ten Americans—adults that is—with insurance under Obamacare said that they have trouble affording their deductible.
“Three out of every ten with insurance under Obamacare said that they have problems paying their medical bills.
“One in four Americans with insurance under Obamacare said that the costs have forced them to put off health care that they needed – or skip it entirely.
“These people are suffering because of President Obama and the Democrats and what they passed.
“These Americans are struggling because of the flawed policies and regulations of the Obamacare law that Democrats in Washington wrote.
“Republicans are saying what we’ve said all along.
“Health care reform should be about helping people get the care that they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower cost.
“We need to do something to rescue the people who are being crushed under this collapsing Obamacare system.
“That’s why Republicans are the ones talking about solving the problems that have been caused by Obamacare.
“The House of Representatives passed a bill that includes some important things that could help stabilize the markets.
“It includes things to stop these double digit premium hikes that have been occurring every year.
“Here in the Senate, we’ve already started mapping out the ideas.
“We’re going to continue offering our ideas, and we’re going to continue debating them.
“And I want to invite Democrats in the Senate to come down to the floor and offer their ideas as well.
“It doesn't have to be a partisan fight. It shouldn't be a partisan fight that drags on for months and months and months.
“We need to find solutions for the American people who are suffering under President Obama's health care law.
“So for all the Democrats who are now just trying to redirect the blame away from themselves, the problems that they caused, trying to pass the buck, we're trying to pass a bill.
“And I can tell from listening at home in Wyoming where I'll be again this weekend and was last weekend, people know who caused the problems of Obamacare.
“The American people are looking for solutions. They don't care who offers it. They want solutions and I think if we can get a bipartisan solution, all the better.
“So I invite the Democrats to come to the floor to give us their best ideas.”