May 8, 2019
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 under the Democrats’ one-size-fits-all care proposal, Americans will pay more to wait longer for worse care.
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“It is rare to find the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today’s editors all in agreement. But they are all on the same page when it comes to Senator Sanders' radical scheme for a complete takeover of health care in America.
“All three papers say that the Democrats' single-payer plan, a one-size-fits-all plan for America, is a bad idea.
“And remember, it's not just Senator Sanders' plan. Nearly every Senate Democrat who is running for president has supported this extreme proposal, as have 108 members of the House of Representatives.
“The Post, and the Journal and the USA Today editors are citing last week's report by the Congressional Budget Office as raising a number of alarm bells. USA Today calls it a pipe dream.
“The Post charges Senator Sanders with deeply misrepresenting how difficult it would be to adopt single-payer health care for America. They called it costly. They called it complicated, expensive.
“The CBO projects in its report on a single-payer plan that government spending on health care would increase substantially. They go on to say to cover the massive cost of government-run care, the Journal says income taxes would have to at least double. Income taxes, American families, at least double.
“Added to the expense is the shock of banning virtually all private insurance in this country.
“There are 180 million working Americans who receive their health insurance through work. Outlawing private health plans would cause a serious disruption, forcing 180 million Americans, working families, from their employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.
“The Washington Post notes that these employer-provided plans cover most Americans under the age of 65.
“The Journal says that any savings would have to come from where the money is, which is cutting payments to doctors and restricting care. Restricting care. That restricts treatment as well as new technologies.
“Lower reimbursement rates could drive many doctors from practice, shutter many small hospitals, and in my rural communities, in rural states, we are talking about problems in our rural communities all across America. The result would be longer wait times, lower quality of care.
“To quote the Post, ‘no matter what Senator Sanders says, there is no Medicare for All without trade-offs.’
“And mark my words, Medicare for All would soon become Medicare for none.
“Democrats' one-size-fits-all health care plan, a one-size-fits-all health care plan would mean that you would pay more to wait longer for worse care.
“That's what one-size-fits-all health care looks like for Americans, for people all across the country.
“So this single-payer plan means major tax hikes to cover massive costs. It means much longer lines for lower quality care. And it means the elimination of private health insurance for Americans.
“It also means the end of the Medicare program that seniors rely upon and so many depend on, on a daily basis.
“That's where I want to focus some of my remarks today, our seniors' health care needs and why it's so important to protect their Medicare benefits that they have paid into over their entire working lives.
“For seniors today, and there are 60 million of them who rely on the Medicare program, Medicare is nothing less than a medical lifeline.
“And yet, if Democrats impose socialized medicine on the entire country, seniors will quickly find Medicare replaced by a massive new government-run one-size-fits-all program, a system that lowers the quality of care for them and makes it harder to get the care that they need.
“These older Americans have worked hard their entire lives, put in the effort, had each month or each week from their paycheck money deducted that went into paying for Medicare. They have paid into this Medicare system for decades.
“The average for a couple in America has paid in about $160,000 in terms of withdrawals from their paycheck over the course of their working lives. Now, they deserve nothing less than what they paid for, that they paid into.
“For more than 50 years Medicare has helped countless seniors live healthier, more productive lives. Does Medicare face challenges? Absolutely, there's no question about that.
“But still, ending Medicare as we know it would not solve our health care problems. It simply makes them much worse and certainly for the 60 million Americans currently on Medicare.
“I've seen Medicare's value as a doctor, practicing medicine in Wyoming for decades, I saw firsthand how effective Medicare is in helping patients receive the care they need.
“Now as a senator, I talk with seniors back home in Wyoming all of the time, listen to their health care concerns.
“The week before last I was at two different health fairs in Wyoming where people can go for low-cost blood screenings, learn more about diabetes, about stroke, about heart disease, about proper diet, visiting with people in Rawlins, Wyoming, in Mountain View, Wyoming, hundreds of people come out, 1,500 people at the Rawlins health fair.
“People in Wyoming actually know me as a doctor first, and as a senator second. And above all, they count on me to protect their Medicare.
“That's my concern with this one-size-fits-all approach that the Democrats have been proposing because people in Wyoming want to make sure that I keep Medicare strong, keep fighting for them, because the current system allows them to get to the doctor that they need.
“And in Wyoming, where people live far away, the hospitals are few and far between, we know that a program like this is certainly from the CBO Report last week, small hospitals will very likely close.
“You know, almost 90 percent of Medicare patients say they like the program, works well for them. Nearly 90 percent approval.
“Members of the Senate would be astonished and happy with those sort of approval numbers for themselves, but it is a program that is working for them.
“And now what's being proposed by the Democrats is going to absolutely have devastating effects on Medicare and our patients on Medicare.
“We need to do more to lower the cost of care for all Americans, but we need to protect Medicare and put all of these new people on the Medicare program is going to make it that much harder for our seniors who are currently on Medicare.
“Medicare partners with private health insurance to provide seniors to provide better care, it's a program called Medicare advantage.
“There are 22 million Americans, seniors who are on this Medicare Advantage program. Nobody forces them to sign up. They choose it simply because as the name implies, there are advantages to participating in Medicare Advantage in terms of preventive care, in terms of coordinated care.
“These are plans where for our seniors, they look at that and say, you know, that's right for me. It provides value for my money. I enjoy what I get.
“So it's no surprise that since 2010, things came along and Obamacare was passed, the number of seniors in Medicare Advantage has more than doubled because it's a good program for them.
“Nevertheless, all 22 million people currently on Medicare Advantage would lose Medicare Advantage if the Democrats one-size-fits-all approach to health care, which 108 members of the House cosponsored and which the Senate Democrat candidates for president are sponsoring, were to pass.
“But that's what the Democrats are proposing, taking away Medicare Advantage from 22 million Americans.
“In January, I joined a bipartisan group of senators in sending a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services urging support for Medicare Advantage. Ironically, six of the 22 Democrats who signed this letter have now flip-flopped back to this far, extreme left proposal to outlaw private health insurance in America.
“That's what they're running for president on and promoting today.
“Medicare works with private insurers to make seniors' prescription drugs more affordable as well. This program is called Medicare Part D. More than 43 million seniors participate in Part D plans. Again, it's voluntary.
“So how do we know it must be a good program? Because that many people see value in the l program and they have signed up for it.
“Can we improve the prescription drug program? Absolutely. We're working right now to lower prescription drug costs.
“We've already eliminated the gag order, where pharmacists can't talk to patients. We've done the right thing there.
“So why are the far-left Democrats attempting to destroy private health plans? I mean, it's astonishing. Why do they want to end Medicare as we know it? Why do they want to turn Medicare for our seniors into Medicare for none?
“Well, free health care may make for a catchy campaign slogan, it is unfair to deceive the American people, especially our seniors.
“To quote the editor of the Wall Street Journal, voters should know Sanders is promising miracles when what he'll deliver is poorer care for everyone.
“So here we have it, the Congressional Budget Office comes out with its study about what the impacts will be. The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, all of them say this is not right for America.
“Let's be clear, all Americans will pay a high price for Democrats' one-size-fits-all government-run health care scheme.
“And I actually think seniors May suffer the most. But it is clear to me, that with a one-size-fits-all health care plan, people will pay more to wait longer for worse care.”