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 the Democrats’ Medicare for All proposal and how it will drive up costs for Americans and take away choice.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“During the last week, I was home in Wyoming traveling the state, visiting with people, talking with my constituents, listening to what they have to say, and I had a chance to attend a couple health fairs in Rawlins, Wyoming and in Mountain View, Wyoming.
“A health fair is a gathering of the community based on prevention, early dedication of problems as ways to help lower the cost of care. For many years, I was the director of the Wyoming Health Fairs, bringing low cost health screening to the people of Wyoming.
“There are booths from the Heart Association, the Diabetes Association. People learning information about the diseases how they work how they affect their bodies. The Cancer Society, early detection of problems.
“People can get their blood drawn and visit with their providers from the community to go over the blood results. But it’s all aimed at prevention, early detection, early treatment.
“It’s interesting that during that same time, Democrats running for president have been traveling the country talking about health care as well and specifically Senator Sanders, Bernie Sanders, BernieCare, Medicare for All.
“To me, Medicare for All is going to drive up costs for Americans in terms of taxes and it's also going to take away choice, the kind of choice that people look for when I talk with them at Wyoming health fairs.
“Now, I come to you to talk today on the floor about the real problems I see with this so-called Medicare for All, and I come to do it as a doctor who practiced medicine in Wyoming for 25 years, taking care of patients for decades. When I go to health fairs, more people refer to be as Dr. Barrasso than Senator Barrasso.
“I also want to talk as the husband of a breast cancer survivor. My wife Bobbi has had three operations, chemotherapy twice, is now disease free for 15 years, but I know how critically important it is both as a doctor as well as a husband to make sure people with preexisting conditions are protected.
“I also speak as the son of a 96-year-old mother, and she is a motivating force in our lives, and she is a constant reminder to me that we must do everything we can to care for our seniors.
“So as I've been listening to the presidential candidates talk about this Medicare for All proposal, whether it's Senator Harris or Warren or Gillibrand or Booker, all of them back what Senator Sanders has been proposing.
“Well, I'm just not sure most Americans understand what Medicare for All means and what it would mean for them personally. And maybe some of the presidential candidates don't even want people to know what it means.
“Senator Sanders has claimed that Medicare for All is, as he said, quote, ‘a struggle for the soul of who we are as a nation.’
“Let's be clear. Americans are facing a critical choice here, a choice between a big government-run health care system and a system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care that they can choose that is right for them and their families.
“That to me is the choice that we're facing. Because Medicare for All essentially means a complete government takeover of all health care in this country. And central planners in Washington, D.C. would then be in control of the health care for all of us.
“Medicare for All would enroll every American in a government-run health care system. It will take away America's health care choices.
“Senator Harris talks about perhaps a supplemental plan, but the legislation that I've read that's been introduced is crystal clear. Medicare for All outlaws private health insurance plans. The only exception Senator Sanders says is some limited insurance for cosmetic surgery, he says, procedures like nose jobs.
“With about 180 million Americans right now getting insurance through work, currently covered through their employers, people who get insurance through work, they like the insurance that they have through work.
“All of them will lose their coverage under what's proposed under the Medicare for All legislation. All of them will be forced on to this new government program.
“Never mind that 71% of Americans covered through their employer actually say they like their current plan. So with a single payer, Medicare for All proposal that basically says if you like your health care plan, you cannot keep it. Government will take it away and make it illegal.
“Seniors are going to suffer, too. Actually, I think seniors may end up suffering the most.
“I'm talking about people who are already on Medicare because this legislation threatens the 60 million Americans who currently get their health care as part of Medicare. They get their health care today through Medicare.
“Medicare is already expected to run out of money by 2026. It was confirmed by the last month's trustee report.
“But the Democrats' proposal will even outlaw Medicare Advantage, a program that 22 million Americans currently use for their health care.
“It's called Medicare Advantage because there are advantages to being on this program. In terms of preventive care, in terms of coordinated care, there's a reason that people sign up for Medicare Advantage. All 22 million would lose that as well under the Democrats' Medicare for All plan.
“Health care programs benefiting military families and children will also be eliminated. Democrats' plan to abolish service members' Tricare and the Children's Health Insurance Program, all of that goes away under what the Democrats' radical proposal is talking about.
“Perhaps the greatest deception of Medicare for All is the suggestion that government-run health care would be free.
“Let me say to the American people do not be deceived. Do not be deceived. Americans will pay a very high price. Medicare for All has been estimated, a ten-year price tag of over $32 trillion dollars.
“There's only one way to even try to pay for this massive plan, and that's to dramatically raise everyone's income taxes to the point where they may need to double. That's what's being proposed.
“The result will be less freedom, lower quality of care, and longer lines as people have to wait to get to a doctor because Washington will be controlling the doctor/patient medical decisions and mark my words, Washington will ration care. Rationing means delays, and delays means denial of care.
“Government-run health care—it is notorious for producing long lines, long waiting periods, delay in care, even urgently-needed care.
“The government-run system has failed where they tried to put it in place in Vermont, in Senator Sanders' home state. They started it and ended up having to eliminate it. Couldn't afford it, wasn't working, too complicated, and that's in one state.
“We also have the situation of what's going on both in England and in Canada right now with the terms of the costs and the limits of care, the denial of treatment, the delay in treatment.
“I think people watching may have seen the stories as a result of what's happening in England where elderly patients are going blind, in Britain right now. Why would they be going blind? Because the government is rationing cataract surgery. It is the British health care system that’s causing it because of the rationing of care.
“Democrats are basically saying that Obamacare needs to be repealed and replaced because it has failed the American people. Now, the solution that they are offering is not one that I think would make things better but it is one that I think would make things much worse.
“Republicans at the same time are working for meaningful, workable solutions, solutions that lower the cost of prescription drugs, solutions that increase health care choice and transparency, and solutions that expand all Americans' access to affordable care.
“We want to make sure that patients can get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs.
“So instead of proposing higher taxes, which is what the Democrats are proposing, instead of proposing health care rationing, which will come with Medicare for All, Democrats need to begin working with Republicans to improve health care for all Americans.
“And they should start by rejecting BernieCare.”