June 25, 2014 -
Highlights Obamacare’s harmful impact on Minnesota jobs, workers and health care.
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) previewed President Obama’s speech on the economy that he is scheduled to deliver in Minnesota on Thursday. Barrasso specifically highlights the harmful impact the President’s health care law is having on Minnesota jobs, workers and health care.
Excerpts of his remarks:
“I concur with the distinguished senator from Texas, the concerns that we have and that we share about the lives of people all across the country, their ability to earn a living. And tomorrow President Obama is planning to travel to Minnesota.
“As I come to the floor, the President is making the preparations because the President said he will spend a day in the shoes of a woman who had written him a letter about the economic challenges that she faces.
“Well I hope the President takes the time to actually talk with other people as well and spend a day in their shoes as well. Because I think there are a lot of people in Minnesota who would like to ask the President about his health care law and about some of the damaging side effects of the law.
“The Mankato Times had a story called ‘Minnesota schools to lose more than $200 million because of Obamacare.’ A state representative is quoted as saying that wasteful spending on the health care law has left many taxpayers outraged because they'll soon be making a significant impact on Minnesota schools, on the students in the state of Minnesota.
“Will the President address that? According to documents released by Minnesota's Management and Budget Office, over the next three years the total unfunded costs associated with the health care law compliance will cost school districts statewide at least $207 million. As the state representative said, this is troubling news for our schools.
“$200 million that school districts won't be able to use to hire more teachers, to improve their educational programs, an unneeded expense that he says does absolutely nothing for our students. As the state rep says in Minnesota, it is pretty sad when schools are forced to prioritize Obamacare compliance over the education of our children.
“Now the President says of the health care law, he says forcibly defend and be proud. Is that something the President is going to forcefully depend and be proud of?
“Take a look at the side effects of the health care law, so many side effects of the health care law. One of the side effects that we have been talking about is the medical device tax that Democrats included in this law. It is a destructive tax and it is hitting the people along the ground in Minnesota where the President is going to be tomorrow.
“This destructive tax impacts the livelihood of individuals. These are the people who make things like pacemakers, artificial joints, ultra sound equipment. It is a tax the President asked for, demanded, wanted as part of the health care law and that every Democrat senator in this chamber voted for, including the two Democrat senators from Minnesota where the President will be tomorrow.
“It adds up to $3 billion a year. Companies will have to make up for that lost revenue. They're going to do it through higher prices on other individuals, moving some of their construction and their distribution overseas.
“Is that what the President wanted in his health care law? Will he forcefully defend and be proud of that?
“According to a survey by an industry trade group who are the folks who actually make these medical devices, that is exactly what's happening. Device manufacturers have had to cut 14 thousand jobs because of the tax last year. They say they didn't hire another 19,000 that they planned to hire.
“That's a total of 33,000 American jobs lost because of the taxes in the President's health care law. There are more than 350 medical device firms in Minnesota, companies in Minnesota that employ people on the ground in Minnesota, citizens want to be hardworking individuals supporting more than 30,000 jobs in Minnesota since the health care law passed, the medical device industry has lost more than 1,000 of those jobs in Minnesota, where the President will be tomorrow.
“Is the President ready to stand with those individuals about the devastating side effects of his health care law?
“One of the biggest device makers in the state is called Medtronics. They just announced they are moving their headquarters to Ireland. Now, that’s not only because of the President’s health care law—not every job lost in the industry is due solely to this one tax.
“But this Obama Administration's burdensome tax policies and this terrible health care law side effects are impacting people all around the country, and specifically in this area in Minnesota.
“One of the side effects is fewer jobs for American families. The President has said that Democrats who voted for the law should forcefully defend and be proud of it. I hope someone in Minnesota will get the chance to ask the President tomorrow if he's proud of the thousands of jobs his health care law is costing the hardworking men and women who make these medical devices in this state of Minnesota.
“I hope the President will spend a day in the shoes of someone who lost their job as a medical device maker.
“You know, for a lot of people in Minnesota and around the country, they are also worried about another devastating side effect of the health care law and that's the impact on their paychecks.
“Smaller paychecks that a lot of families are getting specifically because of the health care law. Yesterday there was an article in ‘The Washington Post,’ page 2, Tuesday, June 24, ‘Businesses gear up for employer mandate.’ Sub headline: ‘Some cut workers' hours. Others struggle with costs and logistics.’
“Well, what happens if you cut hours? What happens if you're struggling with costs? Who's impacted by that? Obviously the families of the individuals who are working in those businesses.
“The article says that employers around the country have been cutting their workers' hours back to part-time status. Now, part-time in the health care law is defined as 30 hours a week.
“Most people think of a 40-hour workweek. No, not President Obama. He has a whole different view of what a full-time job is.
“But how they had to cut back to part time status in order to avoid paying for the expensive health care mandates required by the law. The article in ‘The Washington Post’ yesterday adds that seasonal employees and low wage workers, such as adjunct professors, cafeteria staffers, they have been especially hard hit.
“And it is happening in Minnesota and the President is going to be there tomorrow and he's going to say I want to walk a day with this woman and see what her life is like. He can hand select somebody who makes it look like his policies might be working.
“But there are people in Minnesota who are being harmed by the President's policies.
“In Fairbolt, Minnesota, the city has to cut hours of workers because it can't afford to pay for their insurance.
“The city of Mankato had to do the same thing cutting back most of their part-time workers to 29 hours a week to keep under the limits set by the health care law.
“In Hastings, Minnesota, the school has to limit how much their classroom aides, their food service, their transportation employees can work.
“The same thing is happening in towns and counties and businesses all over the state of Minnesota where the President will be tomorrow. They are cutting back hours, reducing the size of their paychecks. Why? Because of the health care law.
“Is the President going to spend a day in the shoes of someone who has had their hours cut back because of the health care law? Is he going to forcefully defend his law to those people when he's in Minnesota tomorrow?
“Are the two senators from Minnesota who voted for the health care law ready to forcefully defend the smaller paychecks that these people are getting?
“This isn't just happening in Minnesota. It's happening all around the country. It's not bad enough that these people are getting hit by a second time by another very expensive side effect of the health care law.
“So, smaller paychecks, now what they're seeing is higher premiums that they have to pay.
“According to a new study, people in Minnesota are paying a lot more for health insurance. Why? Because of the health care law.
“For an average 64-year-old woman in Minnesota, her premiums would have been $273 a month in 2013 before the mandates in the Obama health care law kicked in. But in 2014 buying insurance through an Obamacare exchange her premiums jumped to over $400 a month. She's paying $1,500 more this year than she did last year because of the President's health care law.
“Who's going to forcefully defend that? Who's going to come and be proud on the floor of the Senate and speak with great pride about what they have done to this woman and the effect of this health care law on her life?
“For a 27-year-old man, he would have paid an average of $95 a month in 2013. Under the Obama health care law he's now paying $140 a month, an extra $540 this year compared to last year.
“Can the senators who voted for this law be proud of these kinds of premium increases?
“The American people wanted reform that gave them access to quality, affordable care. What they're getting through President Obama, higher premiums, higher co-pays, higher deductibles.
“Republicans have offered solutions for patient centered health care, things like increasing the ability of small businesses to get together and negotiate better rates, expanding health savings accounts, allowing people to buy health insurance that works for them and their families because they know what's best for them.
“They don't need the government and President Obama to tell them that he knows better what they need in their lives than they know what they need in their lives.
“Republicans have offered ideas that would give people the care they need from a doctor they choose at a lower cost.
“The President may not want to talk about any of these things tomorrow in Minnesota and all the ways his health care law is hurting people in Minnesota and around the country. Hurting education, hurting jobs, hurting the economy and hurting the pocketbooks of the men and women around the country.
“But Republicans are going to keep coming to the floor, keep talking about the burdensome side effects, the expensive side effects and in some ways irreversible and sometimes fatal side effects as a result of this health care law and we will continue to offer real solutions for better health care without the terrible side effects that the American public continues to face as a result of the President's health care law.”