November 30, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the future of Obamacare. Barrasso outlines how Republicans plan to dismantle Obamacare and replace it with patient-centered care.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“The American people have placed their faith now in Republicans – and we intend to earn that trust. We’ll do it through both executive and legislative action with regard to the health care law.
“First, President Trump will have a great opportunity to start making things better for the American people by changing some of the regulations that are a huge part of the health care law.
“Now remember, this health care law was 2,700 pages long. And within those 2,700 pages, there’s more than 1,800 places where the law gives the secretary of Health and Human Services the power to write different rules, and different regulations, and different requirements to try to spell out what the 2,700 page law says.
“The Obama administration absolutely abused that power – and the administration added more than 40,000 pages of regulations, of red tape that were never actually in the law itself.
“In the Trump administration, there’s going to be a new secretary of Health and Human Services.
“He is a physician, an orthopedic surgeon, once confirmed, who will, I believe, be able to reinterpret and then reapply the law in ways that actually help American families instead of so many ways that hurt American families, because the interpretation in the past favored big government over people.
“This includes applying the law to make it easier for businesses to provide insurance to people who work for them.
“It means giving power back to the states to come up with ideas that work for all of the citizens.
“Republicans want to make sure the power goes back to where it belongs, with the people, the families, the states, that’s where it belongs.
“This executive action can start pretty quickly – and it can be a bridge to the important work that then Congress is going to have to do.
“We’re going to work very hard here in the Senate, and in the House, to undo some of the damage, significant amounts of the damage that Obamacare has caused.
“It means repealing the health care law and wiping the slate clean.
“Obamacare can’t be fixed by tinkering with it here and there. Not with another attempted bailout of the insurance companies, which the president has continued to promote. The solution isn’t to add more government on top of what we already have.
“The health care law began collapsing a long time ago – and Republicans are now ready to clear away the rubble.
“Then we’ll write a new law, multiple, step-by-step process, a law that reforms America’s broken health insurance system. One that puts American families in control of their health care. A law that is simpler, fairer, more effective, and more accountable.
“We’ve seen the mistakes that the Democrats have made with the health care law.
“We’ve seen that every state is different – so we’re going to be looking to push as much authority out of Washington and back to the states.
“We’ve seen that too many mandates and regulations drive up costs—and they drive up the costs without improving the quality of care.
“We’ve seen that when Washington writes bad laws, the unintended consequences are severe. These are all things that Republicans have said since the very beginning.
“The failure of Obamacare has proven that Republicans were right. The election has proven that the American people want a new approach.
“American families don’t want us to tinker with Obamacare – they just want affordable health care.
“So I want to make a couple of things clear. First of all, nobody is talking about taking people off of insurance without a replacement plan in place. We all understand that there needs to be a transition over time.
“People have already been hurt too much when they lost their insurance and when their rates went up because of Obamacare and the mandates, and the government saying they know better than families across the country.
“So we’ll be working to make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone.
“That’s why we’re including transition period in a repeal bill that Congress passed last year and sent to the president’s desk.
“Our goal is to do no harm.
“Second, as we write a new health care law, we’ll be looking to make it real reform that is actually centered on patients.
“Now, we can increase the use of health savings accounts. This will give more people the chance to actually control how they spend their own money on their health care.
“We can support innovative insurance plans that pay for prescription drugs that work the best for patients – not just the ones preferred by insurance companies.
“We’ll be talking about ideas, ways to protect people with pre-existing conditions, and letting young people stay on their parents’ insurance.
“These are important parts of the health care law.
“So Republicans are going to consider any ideas—any ideas that can help us to give people what they wanted all along: access to the care they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower costs.
“Democrats promised that they would listen to other people’s ideas, and then they went behind a closed door in an office back there, and they wrote the law ignoring all of the suggestions by Republicans, and without any Republican support at all.
“We’re not going to make that same mistake. We will be looking for Democrats’ help, we will be looking for Democrats to work with. We will be listening to Democrats’ ideas, and we will be working very hard to win Democrat votes for any new law.
“Reforming health care in this country is not going to be easy. It’s not something that we’re doing for the purpose of scoring political points, or to discredit President Obama.
“It is something that we must do, to protect American families and their health, as well as their health care.”