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June 11, 2014 -

Barrasso: Emergency Room Visits Increase Under Obamacare

“When the emergency rooms have more patients, it involves longer wait times for those patients."

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about how the President’s health care law is causing an increase in the number of emergency room visits across the country. Barrasso points out that in 2009, President Obama claimed that “…if everybody’s got coverage, then they’re not going to the emergency room for treatment.”

 Excerpts of his remarks

“I come to the floor today to talk about some of the side effects we have been seeing from the health care law. 

“When President Obama and Democrats in Congress were selling their health care law, they made a lot of promises. One of the big ones was that the health care law would save money. 

“They said it was going to save money because people would be going to see physicians in offices for routine care instead of going to the emergency room.

“President Obama said, and I will quote, he said ‘if everybody's got coverage, then they’re not going to the emergency room for treatment.’ 

“Well, just like promises about keeping your doctor if you like your doctor, about keeping your insurance if you like your insurance, promises that the president made, it turns out that the president's claims about the emergency room care weren't true either. 

“That's, of course, what the ‘Louisville Currier Journal’ said what they have seen in the state of Kentucky. That was the headline just Monday, just a couple of days ago. 

“The headline is ‘More patients flocking to ER's under Obamacare.’ That's not what the president said, but that's the headline. The article says it wasn't supposed to work this way, but since the Affordable Care Act took effect in January, Norton Hospital has seen its packed emergency room become even more crowded, with about 100 more patients a month. 

“A 12% spike in the number of patients at the emergency room at the hospital in Louisville. Like the article said, it wasn't supposed to happen that way. 

“That's why I come to the floor to talk about the side effects of the president's health care law. There are many side effects. They are harmful. They are expensive. Some are irreversible, but they are all related to promises made to the American people by a president who I believe didn't fully understand his law and I know there are many people in this body who voted for it. I understand they never read it in the first place.

“So those are the concerns I have. Those are the concerns I hear at home in Wyoming every week and I heard them this past weekend all around the cowboy state. 

“And this emergency room situation may be just another for the president, another surprising side effect of the health care law. And they are just not seeing this, in Kentucky. 

“According to a survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians, it's happening all across the country. Their survey found that 58% of emergency room doctors say they're seeing more patients since the beginning of the year.

“A doctor in Virginia told ‘The Wall Street Journal’ that the health care law, he said, is going to stretch emergency doctors further, and that has implications on how quickly we can get people through. 

“So when the emergency rooms have more patients, it involves longer wait times for those patients. 

“It just seems that the Democrats who voted for this health care law, many without reading it, were so focused on getting people insurance coverage that they came up with a system that actually makes it harder for people to get care. 

“And it was interesting listening to the president continuing to give these speeches about coverage and ignoring the fact that people were worried about actually getting health care. 

“That's a very dangerous side effect, but it's not the only side effect of the law. There are also incredibly expensive side effects of the health care law. 

“An expensive side effect that a lot of people are starting to hear more about, as the states release information on insurance premiums for next year. Late last Friday, the state of Maryland released their rates. You could tell it was going to be bad news for people in Maryland because they snuck the numbers out late Friday afternoon. It seems that's what happens when bad news comes out. They try to get it out late Friday afternoon. 

“According to ‘The Washington Post,’ the biggest insurance company in Maryland is CareFirst, and this was then Saturday's paper, ‘Washington Post,’ metro section, Saturday, June 7. ‘CareFirst seeks hefty premium increases.’ 

“The article says Maryland's dominant insurance company, CareFirst, is proposing hefty premium increases of 23% to 30%. 23% to 30% for the consumers buying individual plans next year under the health care law. 

“The President of the United States said that the health care law was going to save families $2,500 a year by the end of his first term, so what we're seeing here, metro section, ‘Washington Post’ Saturday, CareFirst seeks hefty premium increases. 

“Maryland's dominant insurance company CareFirst proposing hefty premium increases of 23% to 30% for consumers buying individual plans next year under the federal health care law. That's a very costly side effect of the health care law. 

“Remember the health exchange where people are supposed to buy insurance, this insurance in Maryland, remember it was so broken that they had to start over again. State officials spent $118 million to set up their own exchange. 

“Now they're going to use software from Connecticut's exchange. Nobody got care for that money. That's wasted taxpayer dollars. Nobody got care. 

“Now, Connecticut may have gotten the software right, but people there are going to have to pay more for insurance, too. 

“The Washington Post’ says that the two insurance carriers in Connecticut have proposed rate increases averaging about 12%. That's the average. Some people have smaller increases, but many people will pay much more. 

“President Obama said that Democrats in Congress would forcefully defend the law and be proud of it. That's what he said they should do, forcefully defend and be proud. 

“Are there any Democrats who are ready to come down to the floor and forcefully defend these dangerous side effects of more people going to the emergency room, stretching overworked emergency room doctors even thinner, making for longer waiting times in emergency rooms? 

“Are Democrats going to come to the floor and forcefully defend and be proud of the law when they see expensive side effects like these hefty premium increases in Maryland of 23% to 30%, 12% in Connecticut?

“It didn't have to be this way. Republicans offered ways to reform America's health care system back when we were debating the law, but President Obama and Democrats in Congress didn't want to hear it. 

“We warned about some of these brutal side effects of the health care law that were going to hurt people and we talked about bipartisan ideas that could have helped maintain the access that people had to the doctor they liked. 

“That's what people wanted. They wanted the doctor that they liked. At the same time they wanted care to be more affordable. They wanted access to care, quality care, affordable care. Not empty coverage, which is what the president's provided. And also expensive coverage. 

“We're going to keep talking about things like expanding access to health savings accounts to save money for families as well as for employers. 

“I talked about that when some of us met with the president back in 2010. The president didn't want to listen. It's too bad, but it's not too late. 

“Republicans are going to keep talking about letting consumers letting consumers buy health insurance across state lines to increase competition, to let them shop for things they actually need and want and will work for their family. That could actually help bring down prices, not drive them up like the Democrats' health care law is doing. 

“These are ideas that Republicans have offered from the beginning, ways to give the American people the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs. That's all people wanted in the beginning.  Instead, they got all these harmful, hurtful, expensive side effects. 

“We know what the American people have asked for, we know what they wanted and that's what Republicans are going to continue to try to give them, not the empty promises from President Obama and Democrats who told the American people that the president and the Democrats knew better what they needed or wanted, than what the American people knew worked best for them and their families.”