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September 16, 2014

Barrasso: Devastating Obamacare Side Effects Continue to Hurt Americans

“I hear it from school district workers, from folks who have had their hours cut, who are having to get by with less pay because if they have their hours cut, their take-home pay goes down.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) outlined how the President’s health care law is leading to higher premiums, less access to care and lower take-home pay for people across the country.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“I come to the floor today, as Republicans have come to the floor week after week, ever since the president's health care law was passed.

“Now, I have many concerns about the way this health care law is impacting families in my home state of Wyoming as well as families all across the country.

“In one state after another, people are feeling the devastating side effects of the health care law.

“President Obama says Democrats who voted for the health care law should, as he said ‘forcefully defend and be proud of the law.’

“I heard earlier today that Kaiser Family Foundation – and their report being quoted – what they said is that premiums have gone up on average $3,500 from 2009 for family workplace coverage, plus the deductibles are higher.

“So premiums are up $3,500 since 2009 for family workplace coverage and the deductibles are higher, higher money paid out of pocket.

“The President of the United States said they would go down by $2,500 per family.

“Nancy Pelosi said they would go down for everyone. She was Speaker of the House. She was the one who said, first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it.

“Americans have found out what's in it, and they don't like it. People do not like what they see with the president's health care law. It continues to be very unpopular.

“So I ask, is the president really proud that families all across the country are suffering because of his health care law and the many dangerous side effects that they're now having to live with?

“Let's look around the country a little bit and see what the new headlines are bringing – and there are new headlines every day.

“In Virginia, a television station in Charlottesville, WVIR they reported on what's happening there.

“Last Wednesday they had a report that said nearly a quarter million Virginians will have to change their insurance plans this fall.

“The president said, if you like what you have, you can keep it. Not in Virginia. A quarter of a million Virginians will have to change their insurance plans this fall.

“It's because the plans don't include all of a very long list of things that Washington mandates say have to be offered.

“So, even if people have an insurance plan that worked well for their family, that met their needs, the president and Democrats in this body say, sorry, You can't keep it.

“The president said if you like your plan, you can keep it. What happened there?

“At least 27 Democrats stood on the floor of the United States Senate and said, if you like what you have, you can keep it. If you like your plan, they said, you can keep your plan. What happened? Was this intentionally to deceive the American people?

“Why are nearly a quarter of a million Virginians then losing their insurance plan?

“The head of the Virginia association of health plans says it's simple. He told the TV station, he said, ‘we're not allowed to offer those plans anymore.’

“The president said they could. Now these people are being told by the law they're not allowed to even offer the plans to people who want to buy them. It works for them.

“Are the Democrats in the Senate willing to forcefully defend the fact that 250,000 people in Virginia will have to buy new plans that they don't want, don't need, many can't afford? With all of these additional things that Washington says have to be included.

“To me, that's a very expensive and unnecessary side effect of the president's health care law.
“But it’s not just your health care plan. People are concerned about keeping their doctors keeping their hospitals that they go to in their own communities.

“Let's take a look at what happened in Connecticut in a report that came out, Hartford Courant: ‘Five Connecticut hospitals could leave Anthem's Network on October 1.’

“What about the people that go to those hospitals that get their health care coverage that way? What are those people supposed to do?

“The president said, if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. If you like your hospital, you can keep your hospital. What about those people, insured this way, may be losing their hospital come October 1?

“Here's another side effect of the law that's hitting middle-class Americans in their wallet. It’s the part of the law that says the workweek is no longer 40 hours. Now it's just 30 hours. That's what the law says.

“People who are working part-time, have had their hours cut to below 30 hours, and they’re getting lower take-home pay.

“Now I hear about this in Wyoming, I hear it from school district workers, from folks who have had their hours cut, who are having to get by with less pay because if they have their hours cut, their take-home pay goes down. It’s another destructive side effect of this health care law.

“It’s not just Wyoming, it's happening all around the country.

“Now in Louisiana last week there was a report by KNOE Television in Monroe, that was last Thursday. It said, 400 employees within Lincoln parish schools are getting their hours cut in half. 400 workers, one school district, Louisiana, half the hours, half the pay.

“The School Board – where did they put the blame? They put it directly on the president’s health care law.

“They said they can't afford the Washington-mandated health insurance for all of their workers so they're cutting back on the hours for substitute teachers, cutting the hours for cafeteria workers, cutting the hours for custodians, for power professionals who work with the kids.

“Is that what the president envisioned? Is that what the president means when he says forcefully defend and be proud? Cutting back things for our children in our schools, is that the president’s solution for health care? Making it harder for kids to get an education, making it harder for teachers to teach.

“One custodian told the station that it's depressing knowing his pay is about to be cut. He said, ‘it's rough the way it is, why make it harder to survive?’

“That's my question to the president of the United States and to senators who come on the floor to talk about the health care law. Why make it harder to survive? Why, Mr. President?

“You said that people should forcefully defend and be proud of this law. Are you proud of that, Mr. President? That's what I need to know. That's what the American public wants to know.

“Is the president proud that these people are getting their hours cut in half specifically because of his law and school districts are pointing to that as the cause? Is the president proud he's making it harder for Americans to survive?

“Now, some people aren't just getting their hours cut. They can't get hired in the first place because of the health care law.

“That’s what one business owner said in an op-ed for The Charlotte Observer newspaper in Charlotte, North Carolina. The op-ed ran September 10th and was titled ‘How Obamacare Jams a Stick in My Company's Wheels.’

“Rodney Pitts who runs the Southern Elevator Company in North Carolina says that he wants to hire more elevator mechanics for his business, but he hasn't been able to hire anyone this year. Why? Well, he says that the main reason is because of the costs associated with the health care law and all of the requirements of the health care law.

“He says, ‘thousands of businesses in Charlotte and in North Carolina are in the same holding pattern. So people all across the country who want to work, won't get that opportunity because businesses can't afford to take on all the extra costs of the president's health care law.’

“That's an extremely destructive side effect of the law. It's hurting American families. This health care law is hurting our economy. Every democrat in the Senate voted for this health care law. Every one.

“Where are the Democrats willing to forcefully defend these alarming side effects of this health care law? Is the president ready to go to North Carolina and talk to this business owner? Is the president going to say that he's proud that his health care law is keeping the businesses from hiring more people in North Carolina and all across the country?

“This isn't the kind of health care reform the American people needed. It's not the kind of health care reform the American people wanted.

“People didn't want a law that forced them to get rid of the insurance that they had and liked and worked for them and for their families. They didn't want a law that forced their local schools to cut the hours of custodians and part-time teachers, cafeteria workers, people who look after their children.

“That's not how you help people in a community. These are the tragic side effects of the president's health care law.

“Republicans are going to continue to talk about patient-centered reforms, reforms that get patients and people all across the country the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost.

“We're going to talk about restoring people's freedom. Freedom to buy health insurance that works for them, for their families, because they know what works best for them. Not President Obama.

“We're going to talk about giving people choices, not Washington mandates. Republicans are going to keep offering real solutions for better health care without all of these intrusive and intolerable side effects.”