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Apr 30 2014

Barrasso: Obamacare is Shrinking Americans’ Paychecks

President Obama says the debate is over. He says Democrats who voted for this...should forcefully defend and be proud. How can you, Mr. President, forcefully defend these smaller paychecks?

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 forcing teachers, seasonal workers, firefighters and other Americans to work fewer hours and accept smaller paychecks.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“I come today to the floor, because the American people have just received more horrible news about our economy.

“The Commerce Department reported this morning that our economy grew at the smallest rate in three years. The expected, the exact number is 0.1%, much, much worse than expected.

“To be specific, investment in business equipment declined, residential home construction declined, U.S. exports fell sharply, and companies increased inventories at a much slower rate.

“Now, I'd like to read to you what some of the economists have said about this.

“Dan North, a chief economist, said ‘We've been living in sub 3% land, and people have gotten used to that as the new normal, but it's not. It's anemic.’

“To make things worse, ‘The Financial Times’ is reporting this morning that China is poised to pass the United States as the world's leading economic power this year.

“The American people deserve better than this. And they shouldn't have to accept that anemic growth as the new normal. They deserve growth, good jobs, better opportunities and that's not what they're finding from the Obama economy.

“Instead, the president continues to push an agenda that makes it harder for Americans to find good jobs and to bring home bigger paychecks.

“So today I'd like to talk about like to talk about how the health care law specifically is slowing growth and how it is making American paychecks smaller.

“I met earlier today with business leaders from Wyoming. They're here from Casper, from Cheyenne, from Jackson. And I heard input from them regarding how the health care law has impacted their businesses, how its impacted our state in Wyoming, and how its impacted our economy—not just in Wyoming but nationwide.

“So it's interesting, Mr. President, to watch the White House and the president specifically spike the ball claiming that 8 million people signed up for health insurance through the government exchanges.

“At the same time, President Obama has declared that the national debate about his health care law is ‘Over.’ Well the meaning of the numbers is highly questionable, and the administration's victory lap is premature. In fact, the Obamacare debate is far from over.

“So I come to the floor today, to talk about additional side effects of the Obama health care law. And I'm going to continue to do this week after week, because the side effects on the American people, on the American economy, on health care in this country continue to be very damaging.

“Today I want to talk about smaller paychecks as one of the Obamacare side effects. So to just point out, the debate is not over the for the millions of Americans who are experiencing the negative side effects of the president's health care law, voted on by Democrats and not by Republicans.

“Now, one of the worst of these side effects is smaller paychecks that many families are for example because specifically of the mandates of the health care law. It's happening all around the country.

“So let me tell you what's happening as reported by the ‘New Hampshire Union Leader.’ This is just one example. The article is talking about small businesses that have found that paper work and costs related to the law are threatening the economic platforms on which their companies are built.

“It quoted a man who runs a ski area saying that the law could mean that he has to open later in the season and close earlier in the season. That's because people on his payroll for 120 consecutive days or longer have to be offered health insurance under the Democrats' health law.

“So mother nature might say there's plenty of snow. The skiers and snowboarders are ready to go. The resort wants to open, restaurants are ready to serve people, hotels are ready to host people, but Obamacare says the resort can't open without facing enormous costs for Washington-mandated insurance.

“It’s hurting people working at the ski resorts, it is hurting people in businesses in those communities. So who pays for the negative side effects? Well, it's the seasonal workers who will now be limited to fewer than 120 days of work at ski facilities like this one in New Hampshire. They'll work fewer days, smaller paychecks because of the health care law.

“The ‘New Hampshire Union Leader’ summed it up this way, they said, ‘As snowboarders say, ‘Bummer.’

“But it’s not just the seasonal workers who are being hurt. This article talks about the ski resorts in Colorado also being hurt.

“Even in North Carolina, state agencies, state government agencies are starting to get very worried about how to deal with the health law's mandates. The law says employers, including state and local governments, have to cover people who work 30 hours a week or more. That's who the law considers full-time workers.

“Now, when I talk to business leaders from Wyoming, most people think of full-time workers as 40 hours. Not President Obama, he's a 30-hour man.

“So according to a story from WTVD in Raleigh, state agencies are looking at cutting the hours of part-time workers to keep them under that 30-hour limit. The North Carolina Agriculture Department has about 250 part-time employees who are now working more than 30 hours. And the North Carolina Department of Transportation has almost 600 people in the same situation.

“So North Carolina is going to have to look very closely at what to do with those people and that can mean smaller paychecks. The local governments are having to make these same decisions because of the health care law.

“WITN, another station in Greenville, North Carolina did a story last month about how schools are cutting the hours that substitute teachers can work. Same 30-hour Obama workweek limit again.

“The health care law wasn't about substitute teachers, but they're the ones feeling the negative side effects, and they're the ones seeing smaller paychecks.

“The story quoted a teacher in Pitt County, North Carolina, who said she got a letter from the school district there telling her she wouldn't be able to work as much. Substitute teachers are now limited to three days a week. Why? Because of the expensive mandates of Obamacare.

“She told the TV station, she said, ‘I'm willing to work, I’m able to work, I want to work. Now they're telling me I can only work for so long.’

“This teacher is one of 200 in her North Carolina school district who are going to be limited to actually in North Carolina, 21 hours of week. She is wondering how she is going to make ends meet with 21 hours a week. That is a side effect of the health care law, and it means smaller paychecks for substitute teachers.

“President Obama says the debate is over. Well, is it over for teachers in North Carolina who are seeing their time cut to under 30 hours a week? Is it over in ski resort communities in New Hampshire and in Colorado?

“Look what's going on in Iowa. An article just last week in ‘The Autumnal Courier’ said that a local school district was cutting the hours all of all para-educators from 37 hours per week to 29. Those extra hours may not mean much to Democrats on the floor of the Senate or the House members who voted for this health care law, but they're a real big deal for a lot of families that are struggling in the Obama economy.

“In Colorado, the ‘Aspen Daily News’ reported last month that adjunct professors at the Colorado Mountain College are going to have the same limit of 29 hours a week.

“This school has 112 full-time faculty, but it's got 600 part-time professors. Some of them just want to teach a class here or there to make extra money, but some of them are trying to string together enough hours to support themselves, to support their families and they are getting hammered by the president's health care law that every Democrat in this body voted for.

“It's happening all over the country. I heard stories today. New Hampshire, North Carolina, Colorado.

“Here's a final example. In a borough in Alaska, they announced earlier this year that it's putting a cap on the hours of firefighters and emergency medical technicians.

“According to one technician some stations are limiting people to just 24 hours a week. So we see teachers, firefighters, professors, seasonal workers—all hurt by the side effects of the Obama health care law and they’re all getting hit with smaller paychecks. Nothing they’ve asked for. They want to work, they're ready to work, they’re willing to work.

“We have a weak economy, an anemic economy. And the president and Democrats don't seem to care. They don't seem to care. They think that the debate is over.

“President Obama says the debate is over. He says Democrats who voted for this said, you know, should forcefully defend and be proud.

“How can you, Mr. President, forcefully defend these smaller paychecks? How can you be proud of these smaller paychecks because of your law and what you've had Democrats vote for?

“In North Carolina, Alaska when you hear these stories, New Hampshire, one after another after another. Colorado. Well, it’s not over for Americans like those who are continuing to get hit in their wallets.

“People in New Hampshire, North Carolina, Iowa, Colorado, Alaska, all over the rest of the country.

“And it's not over for Republicans who will continue to stand up for those Americans and keep pushing for commonsense reform that will actually help people get the care and what they wanted all along, which was better access to quality, affordable health care.”
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Apr 09 2014

Barrasso: Obama Administration’s High Taxes and Bad Policies Have Held Back Our Economic Recovery

Tax day, April 15th, coming next week, will be another opportunity for Americans to reflect on how much of their money Washington has been taking from them and what they've gotten in return.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about the upcoming tax day and how Americans will have the opportunity to reflect on how Washington continues to spend so much of their hard-earned tax dollars. Barrasso points out that the Obama Administration’s policies have burdened more Americans with higher taxes and made it harder for them to find good jobs.  
Excerpts of his remarks:

“This week President Obama has been holding what to me appear to be made-for-TV events to talk about the economy. 

“He's talked about the policies that he wants Congress to enact, policies that he says will finally get America's economy going again. 

“Well, President Obama has been in the White House now for more than five years, so I think it's fair to ask, what has this administration, the Obama Administration, been doing for the economy for the past five years? 

“We know that the recession actually ended almost five years ago. Since then, our economy has not bounced back the way it should have or the way it typically does after a deep recession. 

“The Obama Administration has spent a lot of money on failed ideas like the so-called stimulus package. Since the recession ended, Washington has racked up more than $6 trillion worth of additional debt and it's not gotten us nearly the kind of growth that we should have added as a result of this spending. 

“Now the President has come out with a budget in which he's asked for tax increases of over $1.7 trillion, nearly $2 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade. Taxes are already too high. 

“When I go home and talk to my constituents, as I would think most members of this body hear from their folks at home, taxes are already too high. 

“So Americans are now preparing to file their taxes. Income tax day is coming April 15th. And as Americans prepare to file their taxes, they're getting a reminder of just how much of their hard-earned money Washington is taking from them. 

“Next Tuesday, April 15th, the deadline for most of us to fill out the forms and send everything off to the Internal Revenue Service, the IRS. 

“Well according to the Tax Foundation, Americans will spend more on taxes this year than they spend on food, clothing, and housing combined. 

“So we now know how much President Obama is spending, but what kind of effect have his policies been having on our American economy? 

“Well, we know that the economy is still not producing the number of jobs we need for a real recovery. 

“We know if we want to look for the reasons why that seems to be the case, we could talk about the 2 million jobs that Democrats are blocking with the restrictive energy policies. 

“We could talk about the minimum-wage bill that Democrats are pushing right now. The Congressional Budget Office says that that would reduce employment in the United States by half a million jobs. They say maybe as many as a million jobs. 

“Yet the Majority Leader comes here and says it's the best thing you can do for the economy. 

“But probably the largest, the most harmful thing the administration has done with regard not just to the economy but other factors, including the lives of the American public, is the President's health care law. 

“This law is hitting people across the country, folks who are seeing their premiums go up, who are losing access to their doctor, who are getting cancellation notices from their insurance companies, and it's also having an effect on our economy. 

“We had today our usual Wyoming Wednesday where people from around the state of Wyoming, who come to Washington and meet with their two senators from Wyoming, talking to people in the communities and what I heard about was another horror story related to the President's health care law. 

“A family that had insurance that worked for them, worked for them for a long time, fit their budget, fit their needs as a family, but of course it was canceled as a result of the President's health care law, and the mandates where the President believes he has a better idea what works for their family than they know in terms of their family.

“They have a couple young children and a husband and wife, and they lost their insurance. They tried and tried again to get reinsured through the exchanges. It took them months. They finally went with paper forms to apply. 

“The stories go on and on, and it's horrible to listen to what American families have had to go through as a result of the President's health care law. 

“This is a family that was hurt as a result of the President's health care law in terms of what they're paying for insurance, in terms of the deductibles that are now in place, and in terms of not being able to go to the doctor of their choice. So we have the effect on the family and the effect on the economy. 

“Now, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the health care law is going to lead to 2.5 million fewer people working over the next decade. That’s not my numbers, those are the Congressional Budget office numbers. 

“Because of the warped incentives that are built into this law, some people will have to choose between working more and getting higher wages or working less so they can collect government subsidies. 

“Now, remember Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House on the Democratic side in the House when this law was jammed through and down the throats of the American people, there she was saying, first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it. 

“I actually read the whole thing and it continues to astonish me how few members of this body, and the body across the way, actually read it but just took her for her word. 

“But now what we're seeing these unintended consequences continue to show up. Well, even some Democrats have had to admit as much about this issue of people having to choose between working more and getting higher wages or choosing to work less so they can collect greater government subsidies. 

“One liberal columnist in ‘The Washington Post’ put it this way back in February,  he wrote that the Obama health care law is a ‘drag on economic growth.’ 

“Now, we see that drag on economic growth as more people decide government handouts are more attractive than working more and paying higher taxes. 

“The president wants higher taxes but he sets into place a health care law that discourages the work and the additional income because the government subsidies get greater if you work less and have lower income. 

“So, that’s one way that the president’s health care law has been harmful, there is another way it has been harmful as well. 

“Remember, this law requires employers to pay for insurance for anyone working 30 hours per week or more. That's considered a full-time job, 30 hours a week or more.

“There's bipartisan legislation in an effort to try to actually overturn that, get that back to the 40-hour week, which is what most Americans think of as a full-time job. 

“But how do people have to respond to the health care law that's out there? What are towns doing with their town budgets? What are counties doing in states all across the country? What are school districts doing? 

“We see what they're doing and they're talking about it. Towns, communities, counties, school districts, universities, they're cutting back on the hours of their part-time bus drivers, librarians, coaches, and other middle-class workers, cutting back to get them below 30 hours a week so they don't fall into the mandates of the President's expensive health care law. 

“Now, what does that mean? It means it hurts people's take home pay. If someone is working 32, 33 hours a week and finds that their hours have been cut to 29, regardless of what the Majority Leader wants to do with minimum wage, their paycheck is going to get smaller. 

“Smaller because of the health care law. Smaller because of policies that Democrats have voted for, many of whom never read it in the first place. 

“So is this just a Republican versus a Democrat idea? Not necessarily, because a group of labor union leaders who supported the law initially, they have said that this health care law will ‘Destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.’ 

“The House of Representatives voted last week to do something about it. They passed in a bipartisan vote, a bill that would change the definition of full-time work from 30 hours to 40 hours. 

“Senator Susan Collins introduced a bill to do the same thing here in the Senate. So what's happened with it? 

“Well, the Democrat Majority Leader isn't allowing a vote on that bill. This is a commonsense way to reverse some of the harm the President's health care law is doing to hardworking Americans, how it's impacting their take-home pay, how they're seeing smaller paychecks, impacting their quality of life. 

“But the Senate Majority Leader has blocked the vote. 

“So the health care laws hurt patients, hurts health care providers and is hurting the economy. 

“And it's interesting, because the President said all he wanted to insure the people that didn't have insurance. So we have an exchange, we’ve turned the whole health care system upside-down, we’ve impacted one-sixth of the economy, and the whole purpose to get people who didn't have insurance and get them insured. 

“So what does the ‘Wall Street Journal’ say about it today in the headline talking about the new statistics and the Rand study? ‘Most who bought policies through the new exchanges already had insurance.’ 

“They weren't uninsured. These people had insurance already. Many lost their insurance because of the President's health care law, but yet we've turned upside-down one-sixth of the economy in an effort to help some but have hurt so many in the process and that is one of the fundamental flaws and problems of a health care law where the President promised if you like your coverage, you could keep it; if you liked your doctor, you could deep; and we have millions of people's whose coverage was canceled, we have many, many people who can't keep their doctor, can't go to their hospitals, seeing higher premiums, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, more pain because of what the President and the Democrats have forced through the Congress, forced through the House, forced through the Senate. 

“The American people wanted to change the health care system in this country and they knew what they wanted. They wanted the care that they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. 

“They didn't get that in this health care law. Many Americans have seen their costs go up, their initial out-of-pocket costs to buy the insurance on the exchange. 

“They have seen their co-pays go up. They have seen their deductibles go up. And they can't keep the doctor of their choice. 

“So they know what they wanted and this is not what they wanted but it's what they have gotten instead. 

“People understand that. That's why this health care law is still so very unpopular across the country. 

“Now, people see how bad this health care law is in terms of their own lives, how bad it is for the American economy. 

“They see how five years of this administration and the policies have held back our economic recovery. 

“Tax day, April 15th, coming next week, will be another opportunity for Americans to reflect on how much of their money Washington has been taking from them and what they've gotten in return. 

“And I would just say, as they reflect upon that, they will continue to say they're not getting value for their money. 

“Polling shows that people, and I hear this at home in Wyoming, for every dollar they send to the government, they think they're getting less than 50 cents on the dollar in value. 

“They don't like it because it means when the government takes more, they have less to spend. 

“The government is deciding where the money is spent, not families, and its families that want to make decisions for themselves about their freedoms, about their health care, about the financial choices they want, they need and work best for them.”

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Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about his new report with fellow doctor, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Their report “Prognosis: Outlook Not So Good,” provides an update on their three previous reports about the health care law.  The new report details the senators’ predictions that they made about the law and the reality today.  

Excerpts of his remarks:

“Yesterday President Obama held an event at the White House to talk about his health care law. The President said ‘the debate over repealing this law is over,’ he said ‘the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.’

“Of course, last October President Obama said that his health care law was ‘the law of the land.’ Then he went ahead and changed or delayed the law more than 20 times after that—on his own, without coming to Congress.

“If it's the law of the land, how does he get to change the law of the land 20 times?

“Back on March 6, President Obama said that the Democrats' health care law he said ‘is working the way it should.’

Obamacare Continues to Hurt Families in Wyoming

“If the law is working the way it should, why do people in Wyoming keep telling me how bad the law is for them personally?

“Just the other day I heard from a woman in Rawlins, Wyoming, she wrote ‘my husband has been self-employed as a small truck driving company servicing the oil and gas fields in Wyoming for over 13 years.’ She said ‘we have always purchased individual health care coverage for our family of five. We currently pay $906 for that coverage.’

“She says ‘the lowest price ACA Bronze plan will increase our premium to $1,359 a month, an increase of $452 per month, an amount we cannot currently absorb. She goes on to say this is not affordable. She asks why is President Obama doing this to us?’ 

“That's a good question. Why are Democrats here in Washington doing this to families like this woman's family in Wyoming? Why does President Obama think his law is working the way it should?

“Well, the Senate Democrat Majority Leader, Senator Reid, has said here on the floor of the Senate back on February 26 that the law is going great. The Majority Leader said despite all the good news, there's plenty of horror stories being told.

“He went on to say and I will quote, ‘all are untrue, but they're being told all over America.’ The Majority Leader added that all of the stories were ‘made up from whole cloth.’ He said ‘lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.’

“Why does Senator Reid think this woman in Rawlins, Wyoming is making up a story out of whole cloth?

“Remember, the President also said that if you like your insurance, you can keep it. He said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. He said people's health care costs were going to be $2,500 lower by now. So the President has said a lot of things that turned out not to be accurate.

“Now the President says that his health care law is here to stay. Given the President's history, I think it's fair to get a second opinion.

New Coburn-Barrasso Report on Consequences of Obamacare

“As a doctor who has practiced medicine for 25 years, taken care of families in Wyoming, I come to the floor to tell you I bring my medical experience along with my colleague's experience, Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma.

“He and I have put together a report that looks at some of the promises that the Democrats have made about the law and some of the things Republicans have said about it.

“Now, the report is called ‘Prognosis.’ What we have done is come out with a report going through three different previous reports that as doctors we put out watching the health care law as it has been developing.

“Each of the reports, one called Bad Medicine, one called Grim Diagnosis, and one called Warning: Side Effects, were released between 2010 and 2012.

“We grade ourselves now on how the predictions that we made over the last four years have turned out.

Prediction One: Americans Would Lose Their Insurance Plans

“First prediction we made, report number one, Bad Medicine, we warned millions of Americans could lose their health insurance plans.

“Headlines all across the country show that over five million Americans did, in fact, get letters that they lost their health insurance plan. Health insurance they liked, worked for them, something that they chose, and they lost them because the President said it wasn't good enough.

“He said he knew more about what they needed for themselves and their family than they did. So we predicted that four years ago, millions would lose their health insurance plans, and millions did.

Prediction Two: Obamacare Mandates Would Increase Insurance Costs

“Now, we warned that the law's new mandates would increase health costs and obviously increase the cost of insurance. Well, that original diagnosis is confirmed as well.

“As the letter I just read from the family in Rawlins, Wyoming, families all across Wyoming and all across the country are seeing incredible increases in the cost of their insurance, they're paying more, in their opinions they are getting worse insurance, the President said better, I say worse, because they're having to pay for lots of things they don't ever need, they don't want, they will never use, but yet the President says he knows better than they do about what kind of insurance they need and what's best for them and their family. They're also being faced with higher co-pays, higher deductibles, higher out-of-pocket costs.

Prediction: Short-Term Fixes Threaten Seniors’ Long-Term Access to Care

“We warned additionally that short-term fixes threatened seniors' long-term access to care. That is actually exactly what happened.

“The health care law took $500 billion off of the Medicare program to take care of our seniors, not to strengthen Medicare, not to help our seniors, but to start a whole new government program for other people.

“And for those 14 million Americans on Medicare Advantage, a program for which there are advantages, preventive care, coordinated care, things that one would want, well, that's been dramatically hurt by the President's decision to take money away from the very popular Medicare Advantage plan.

Prediction: Patients with Preexisting Conditions Will Still Face Restrictions

“We warned that patients with preexisting conditions will still face care restrictions. I listened to the President's speech, I read editorials written by colleagues on the other side of the aisle as recently as last week that said people with preexisting conditions are all being protected. That's not true, madam President.

“We know of patients who have had to, because of their condition, leave the state in which they live to get specialty care in other states.

“And when they have lost their insurance and have bought insurance through the plans of their state, children with cystic fibrosis seeking specialty care in Boston are excluded from doing that under the plans because they bought the insurance in the state in which they live and the insurance that they got did not cover any out-of-state physicians.

“So children have been hurt by the President's health care law and we can identify those victims, those young victims of the President's health care law.

“We warned that the individual mandate will fail with the IRS as an enforcer. The IRS even admits they don't have a whole mechanism put together to make sure that the mandate to fine Americans for not buying a government-approved product would be collected by the IRS.

Prediction: IRS Taxes Would Harm Small Businesses

“And we warned that new IRS taxes would harm small businesses. Again, that initial diagnosis is now confirmed.

“Small businesses are impacted all across the country by additional expenses and costs making it much harder for them to provide insurance to their workers.

“Many looking at this and saying, you know, it might just be cheaper to pay the fine than to do what we would like to do and have done in the past, which is provide insurance that worked for those employers and their employees, but perhaps doesn't meet the President's recommendations of what many people say is much more insurance than they will ever need, want, use, or can afford.

“The second report that we came out with a number of years ago is called ‘Grim Diagnosis.’ And in that we went through a number of reports after the initial report on Bad Medicine. Grim Diagnosis provided warnings that the employer mandate would lower incomes and result in hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost.

“We're still watching that one very carefully because we do know that with the employer mandate there have been stories of businesses with 50 employees saying we're going to have to get below 50, not going to hire more people, got to get below that number.

“The President's working to maybe make that a higher number, but no matter where that number line is drawn, people are finding that from a business standpoint, there are advantages of being below a certain number of employees, and then not having to comply with the expensive mandates of the law.

Prediction: Risky Insurance Scheme Will Cost Taxpayers

“We warned that the law included a risky insurance scheme that would cost taxpayers dearly. That original diagnosis is confirmed as well. With something called the Class Act.

“And folks that looked at it carefully on both sides of the aisle called it a Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme that would never work, could not be afforded. They said it was something that Bernie Madoff would even be proud of yet the Democrats forced it into the health care law in spite of warnings against.

“And then our final report was called ‘Warning: Side Effects.’ That was released in 2012 and we started talking about the side effects of the health care law.

Prediction: Obamacare Includes Expensive Tax Hikes

“We warned that the law includes hundreds of billions of dollars of tax hikes. Well, that has been confirmed when all one has to do is looking at the list of new taxes brought on by the health care law.

“It goes on and on and on with one new tax after another, and these are taxes on real people that get passed on to others if they're applied to a business, and totaling a trillion dollars in gross tax increases over the next ten years. A trillion dollars from 2013 to 2022.

“We warn the new insurance cooperatives would waste taxpayer dollars, and that's exactly what this report confirms, and it goes state by state where we see significant wasting of money as reported in ‘The Washington Post’ and in ‘USA Today.’

“We warn the medical device tax would stifle innovation, and that original diagnosis has been confirmed as well.

“So I come to the floor today, the day after the President held his mission accomplished speech at the White House, to tell you that the prognosis for this health care law continues to be grim, that the points that we have made throughout continue to be true and the people all across the country are experiencing it day to day. 

“They're experiencing it in their lives. They're experiencing it when they try to continue health insurance that works for their family. They are paying more out of pocket. Their premiums are higher. They may not be able to keep the doctor that they had and liked. They may not be able to go to the hospital that they have gone to.

“I mean, it's just interesting that in the state of New Hampshire where there are 28 hospitals, 10 of them are excluded. Ten of the 28 hospitals in the state of New Hampshire are excluded from the insurance being offered on that state's exchange to be sold in that state.

“Even the doctor who is the chief of staff of one of those hospitals, well, she is not, or her insurance does not permit her to go to the hospital where she is the chief of staff. Is this what the Democrats had in mind when they passed this health care law?

“People paying more in premiums, people losing their doctors, not having access to the hospitals in their community, higher co-pay, higher deductibles. That's what the American people are facing.

“So I think it's time for the President of the United States to acknowledge the pain that his health care law has caused people across the country, and I know he watches the polls, and the polls continue to show that for every one person who says they may have been helped by the health care law, there are more than two people who say they have been harmed.

“People knew that we needed health care reform in this country, and they knew the reason. People knew what they wanted. They wanted the care that they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower costs. 

“And this health care law has failed to deliver to the American people what they wanted, what they asked for and instead are trying to deal day to day with something that the Democrats in this  Senate and in the House, shoved down the throats of the American people.”

 

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Mar 13 2014

Barrasso Previews President Obama’s WebMD Interview

It's a little bit ironic that the President will be doing this interview because under his health care law, before we know it, Healthcare.Gov is going to be linking directly to WebMD."

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) previewed President Obama’s interview with WebMD scheduled to take place on Friday. Barrasso points out how Americans will likely start spending more time on websites like WebMD since Obamacare is making it harder for them to see a health care provider.
Excerpts of his remarks:

“Tomorrow, President Obama is scheduled to sit down for an interview with a health care website called WebMD. The President is going to take questions about his health care law and he is going to try one more time to convince people across the country that his health care law hasn't really been a complete disaster.

“It's a little bit ironic that the President will be doing this interview because under his health care law, before we know it, Healthcare.Gov is going to be linking directly to WebMD.

“People are going to have to spend a lot more time on websites like that one because the President's health care law is going to make it tougher for many of them to see a real health care provider.

“America's facing a looming shortage of doctors, of nurses, of physicians assistants.

“When President Obama and Democrats were ramming Obamacare through this Congress, they focused on hiring IRS Agents, agents to force Americans to buy expensive coverage, instead of training more doctors and more nurses to deliver care to patients.

“Now, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, we're looking at a shortage of 90,000 physicians by the end of this decade. About half of those, family physicians, primary care providers, and about half of them specialists.

“We see the same numbers if not even higher shortages in terms of nurses. You know, there is an old proverb, physician heal thyself. Well, apparently the slogan of Obamacare is going to be patient heal thyself.

“The old doctor-patient relationship is going to be gone. Medicine as we know it is going to continue to change.

“Even when you can get time with your doctor, you know, there is going to be a lot more of that time spent with the doctor looking not at you but at a computer screen because of the law. And that's because of the burdensome new rules, the recordkeeping requirements under the law.

“As more people try to get appointments with fewer doctors, some Americans are going to start seeing actual rationing of care.

“Here's how one economist described it in a blog pest for ‘The New York Times’—talked about the health care law on limits of payments to providers and doctors.

“He wrote, if patients are lucky, the demand for doctors will be low enough that the limits will not matter, but if the new law results in a significant net increase in physician demand, the payment limits will help remind us of, as they say, soviet-era limits on the price of bread with queues and black markets to follow.

“Now, we know that the President's website back this fall was a complete failure. Four days before it was unveiled, the President said oh it’s going to be easier to use than Amazon, the rates will be cheaper than your cell phone bill, you’ll be able to keep your doctor.

“But again, the website was just the tip of the iceberg. People are seeing higher premiums, and it's interesting, Mr. President, as I was putting this together and looking about what remarks I would make, I hadn't even seen this morning's newspaper today, ‘Wall Street Journal,’ Thursday, March 13, Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, says higher premiums likely in 2015, higher premiums.

“What did the President promise? He said premiums would go down by $2500 a family. The website is just the tip of the iceberg, people seeing higher premiums now, and now our Secretary of Health and Human Services says higher premiums again in 2015.

“People have gotten notices of cancellation, over five million of those across the country. Many people can’t keep their doctor. We're worried about fraud and identity theft that’s been reported as a result of the problems with the website and ongoing. And then of course hire co-pays, higher deductibles, more money out of patients' pockets.

“Well, there was a new report out last week that brings this additionally to the fore in terms of concerns that people are having, and it's even from people that supported the health care law originally.

“There was a report out last week by a major labor union talking about how bad this health care law is hurting its members. Now, to put this into perspective, Mr. President, this is a labor union that actually supported then-senator Obama and endorsed him when he was running for President a number of years ago.

“And they supported the health care law. And now it's come out with, this union has come out with a report that says the law's unintended consequence will hit the average hardworking American where it hurts—in the wallet.

“You actually go through this report called ‘The Irony of Obamacare Making Inequality Worse,’ just to read from this, it says ‘The ACA threatens the middle class with higher premiums, loss of hours and a shift to part-time work and less comprehensive coverage.’

“It goes on with examples of various individuals who were members of this labor union whose lives are being hurt by the President's health care law.

“One, a woman from the home state of the Majority Leader talks about her job as a housekeeper and how the website, if she tries to buy the Obama health care program, she says ‘the website says she would have to pay $8,057 a year more to keep the insurance she has now. And this is $3.87 per hour pay cut for her.’ She said ‘we work hard for our insurance. Why should we have to take a cut in pay for it?’

“That's not what the President promised so it is not a surprise that the unions who endorsed the President and supported the law are unhappy with what they're seeing as the true results of the health care law.

“Now, the Democrat Majority Leader said that all the horror stories about the health care law are untrue. Is he also saying these union leaders and the people who have been made reference to in the union report, that they're lying?

“Is that what the Majority Leader is saying? Is that what the Leader is saying? Is that what he's saying about a woman from his own home state?

“According to the media reports, the union said the law will inevitably lead to the destruction of the health care plans we were promised we could keep.

“And people remember the President's promises. They remember what the President said. Everybody knows that the press has called the President's statement about if you like what you have, you can keep it, called it the lie of the year.

“More than five million Americans got cancellation letters from their insurance companies. It's turned out to be so embarrassing that President Obama had to delay the rules that caused it. It's continued to be a big problem, so the administration is delaying the rule again. Not until just after the 2014 election, but with the potential of going beyond the 2016 election as well.

“When President Obama sits down to talk with WebMD on Friday I hope that they ask him about all these delays and the changes that he's making to the law. I hope they ask him about whether he believes it is really working the way it should because that’s what he said last week.

“I hope they ask him about how his health care law is going to reduce the time people get to spend with their doctors if they can even keep their doctors. I hope they ask him about some of the ways that the law is hurting Americans and America.

“I hope the President answers that he is finally ready to make some of these delays permanent to start over again, to work in a bipartisan way to try to help patients get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. That's what health care reform is supposed to be about in the first place.

“I think the President needs to come clean with the American people, tell them about what a disaster his health care law has become, how it has impacted their lives, how few people have actually been able to sign up or have been able to but have found that the cost is too high for them to sign up, and admit to the American people that when they talk about some of these numbers of sign signups many of those are people who got cancellation notices, they’re not newly insured individuals.

“The study out last week shows that only about one in four people that has actually signed up on the website didn't have insurance before.

“So the people this was intended to help, they're not being helped. Many people are being harmed.

“So it’s time to work together, Mr. President, to help patients get the care that they need from the doctor that they choose at lower cost.”

###

Feb 11 2014

Barrasso Delivers Remarks on Latest Obamacare Delay

“The President has unilaterally made one change after another, sometimes with in my opinion no legal authority to do so, and tried to do this in a way that perhaps nobody would even notice.”

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about President Obama's decision to delay another major piece of his health care law:
Excerpts of his remarks:

“And today I come to say it's been clear for a long time, that the health care law is not working. It has been obvious from the beginning that this law would not work out the way the Democrats had promised the American people that it would work out.

“The Obama Administration has been desperate to talk about anything but the failure of the health care law. And they've been desperate to hide some of the biggest problems of the law.

“The President has unilaterally made one change after another, sometimes with in my opinion no legal authority to do so, and tried to do this in a way that perhaps nobody would even notice.

“Late yesterday, the Administration leaked word that it would delay again the law's unpopular employer mandate. It was the second time the Obama Administration has changed the health care law in just a few days.

“Yesterday ‘The Washington Post’ reported on modifications from over the weekend, actually this is Saturday – ‘Administration to allow some changes to health care plans’.

“That article says the Administration has quietly reworked rules and computer code for Healthcare.gov to try to stem an outpouring of discontent, an outpouring of discontent, by Americans who have discovered that the health plans that they bought didn't include their old doctors or allow them to add new babies or spouses.

“So the Administration then sent out a 14-page memo to insurance companies with changes to how its website works and new rules for how people can buy coverage. ‘The Washington Post’ article goes on to say the changes reflect recent work still underway to improve the computer system for the marketplace, as well as fresh thinking about the needs of people who are buying coverage.

“Fresh thinking about the needs of people who are buying coverage? Did the Administration not think of these people before they wrote all of these things?

“I know a lot of folks who work for the Administration have gone from college to graduate or law school and right into some cubicle, on the Administration’s payroll. Do they have no clue about how the real world works?

“It's worse than that. On Super Bowl Sunday, President Obama sat down for an interview and he was asked about the failure of his health care website, Healthcare.gov. This is what he said. He said ‘It got fixed within a month and a half and it was up and running’, he said and ‘now it's working the way it's supposed to.’

“I don't think many people around the country who have gone onto this website even today believe it's working the way it's supposed to. I mean the President was with Bill Clinton in September-- the Clinton forum-- and President Obama said easier to use than Amazon. ‘Cheaper to buy than your cell phone bill.’

“I assume the President actually believed that. I assume the President believes it's working the way it's supposed to today. But I think that's the reason the President’s poll numbers are so low because the American people say the President is out of touch with what the American people are seeing in their own homes and in their own communities and the President in the White House has very little realization of what's happening in America.

“So according to the President, Healthcare.gov is now working the way it's supposed to work. Well if that's true, why did we learn a week later there are another 14 pages of rule changes and changes to the website—did the President not have a clue they were even coming?

“Back in December the press gave President Obama the lie of the year for his statement of if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Well when the President said his website is working the way it's supposed to, either he continues to be in denial or he's got another entry for this year's lie of the year.

“Now, on Sunday, Bob Schieffer on ‘Face the Nation’ asked about the latest rules changes. Those are the rules changes that were before Sunday, not the ones that came out just yesterday. I mean the President has changed the rules now over two dozen times. Bob Schieffer said things just seem in every day and every way to be more confused.

“This is Bob Schieffer, who for years as the face of ‘Face the Nation’ has become a trusted person that people turn to and, as he says, in a reasonable way, things just seem every day and every way to be more confused. He then asked is there any hope of getting it straightened out. That's what Bob Schieffer asked; is there any hope of getting it straightened out?

“Well the Majority Party Whip was on the show. The Democrat Senator was on the show and instead of answering the question, he avoided it. He tried to change the subject and he repeated an old Democrat talking point.

“This time that Senator claimed that ‘10 million Americans have health insurance today,’ he says,‘who would not have had it’.

“The Washington Post’ fact checker said the statement was so wrong they said it deserved four Pinocchio’s, the most you can get.

“The Washington Post’ called the Democrat Senator's claim ‘Simply ridiculous.’ The reality is that the overwhelming majority of the American people signing up under the Obama health care law already had health insurance. So they're actually not getting new insurance or newly insured because of the law.

“These are people that got cancellation letters and then said I need to get insurance so then they went to the website to buy something, often much more expensive, requiring higher co-pays, higher deductibles.

“The law forced them to lose the coverage they had and the coverage that actually had worked for them. Many people are paying far more now than they were for worse coverage and it isn't the right fit for their families.

“They're often paying for insurance they're not going to use, don't want, more than they'd ever need, and paying more than they ever intended. That's what I hear when I talk to people in Wyoming, I was in Wyoming in Cheyenne and Casper this past weekend, that's what I hear at home.

“The Administration doesn’t want to talk about that. Democrats in Washington don't want to talk about it at all. Democrats want to avoid the tough questions about how the law has failed; they rely on denial and deception.

“The website still isn't working in spite of what the President may have said on Super Bowl Sunday. The law isn't working.

“The answer to the question is no, there is no hope of getting it straightened out. The website problems that we have seen are just the tip of the iceberg.

“People are paying higher premiums, coverage’s are canceled, people can't keep their doctor, fraud and identity theft are going to continue to be a plague of this health care website, and people are paying higher co-pays and deductibles.

“This is reported interestingly enough that in California with the so-called navigators, the people who are the certified navigators, over 40 of them are convicted criminals. 40 convicted criminals were hired and certified, certified, to be navigators in California in spite of the fact that people are being asked to give personal information, health information, financial information, to these navigators.

“So it is no surprise that we're going to continue to see issues of fraud and identity theft come up.

“Another interesting thing that we learned recently, was the Congressional Budget Office came out with its new estimates about the health care law and its effect on parts of the economy, and on jobs.

“It also talked about the number of people who don't have insurance. It said in the year 2024, ten years from now, there will be 31 million Americans who will be uninsured.

“And it reminds me of the speech that the President gave—the speech the President gave in 2009. He came to Congress; he wanted to talk about health care reform. He talked about why it was so urgent that the Congress pass health care reform. He said there are now more than 30 million Americans citizens who cannot get coverage.

“So 2009, the President says 30 million Americans can't get coverage. Congressional Budget Office just comes out and says 10 years in the future, 15 years after the President gives his speech, 31 million Americans, no insurance.

“And yet we will have spent trillions of dollars and yet it won't fix so big of a problem that we know we need to deal with—health care in America, and this present law, this enormous law, this 2,700 page law has completely failed to deal with the reason the President said we had to deal with this in 2009.

“Now how is that a victory for uninsured Americans? How can the President say this law has succeeded? How is it a sign that the health care law is working in the way it's supposed to work?

“Now on top of that middle-class people all across the country are paying more because of the health care law. Their premiums have gone up, their deductibles have gone up, their co-payments have gone up.

“Millions of hardworking Americans have had their insurance policies canceled because of the law. And the Administration is still working on the website in spite of what the President may say about it.

“The website isn't working, the health care law clearly is not working, it's not working the way he promised, and it's not working the way the American people need health care to work for them in this country.

“It's time for the Administration to just stop sneaking out these changes under the cover of darkness in blog posts. Why doesn't he come and tell the American people what he's going to do?

“It's time for Democrats to stop the four Pinocchio talking points. It’s time for folks to be honest about the failings of the health care law.

“It's time to eliminate this terrible health care law and replace it with real reform that gives people better access to quality, affordable health care, the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs.”

###

Feb 06 2014

Barrasso: Obamacare Website Definitely Doesn’t Work “The Way It’s Supposed To”

“Now we're seeing people's personal information put at risk, and we're seeing the damage the law is doing to the labor force. President Obama says it's working just the way it's supposed to. That's what he says. The President is wrong.”

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about how despite President Obama’s rosy reviews, Healthcare.gov is still not “working the way it’s supposed to.” Barrasso points out that recent breaches in security have left Americans’ private information vulnerable to fraud and hackers.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“This past Sunday before the Super Bowl, President Obama sat down for an interview. The President was asked about the failure of his Healthcare.gov website.

“He talked how there are always glitches with technologies but then he said this about the website. He said it got fixed within a month and a half, he said it was up and running and then he said now it's working the way it's supposed to.

“According to the President of the United States Healthcare.gov is now working the way it's supposed to.

“The President of the United States is in denial. This is an incredible statement that he has made.

“I find it especially hard to believe when I looked at ‘The Washington Post’ the next morning, on Monday, the day after the President's interview where he said that it's working the way it's supposed to, and you look at that headline on the front page of ‘The Washington Post’ on Monday, ‘Health Site Can't Handle Appeals. Thousands of requests for fixes filed but unprocessed.’

“Filed but unprocessed—is that what the President of the United States means when he says now it's working the way it's supposed to? Is the President oblivious to what is happening in this country with his signature piece of legislation?

“According to this article, tens of thousands of people who discovered the Healthcare.gov made mistakes. That's what they discovered, the website made mistakes as they were signing up for a health care plan and they were confronting a new roadblock, that government cannot yet fix the errors.

“Well, the President may think he's perfect but there are a lot of errors with his website and to say that it is working the way it's supposed to, to me cites presidential denial. 22,000 people, the article says. Is that what President Obama means when the website is working the way it's supposed to?

“One woman quoted in the article, I'm talking about the front page of ‘The Washington Post,’ above the fold. One woman quoted in the article says that because of a mistake by the website she's paying $100 a month more than she should, her deductible is $4,000 too high. She said she needed the insurance and now she's stuck.

“Well, was that what President Obama thought this website was supposed to do?

“Was it supposed to overcharge this woman a hundred dollars a month, set her deductible too high by $4,000? Was it supposed to prevent her from appealing that mistake?

“Here's another headline that ran on Monday, the day after the President's interview. It was in the ‘Anchorage Daily News in Alaska.’ It says ‘Enroll Alaska mistakenly releases hundreds of email addresses.’

“Alaska is one of the states that hasn't done their own exchange. They're part of the federal exchange. It uses Healthcare.gov. The article says Enroll Alaska mistakenly released over 300 email addresses Monday afternoon when an employee sent out a mass message about a Healthcare.gov glitch without masking its’ recipients.

“So, number one, there was a glitch, they went to tell people about the glitch—remember, the President says it's working the way it's supposed to. So there was a glitch, they sent out an email explaining the glitch and they end up releasing all of the people's personal email addresses when they're trying to point out to the incompetence of the website in the first place.

“Is that the way President Obama thinks that things are supposed to work with his website?

“This is the kind of security issue that many of us have been worried about from the beginning.

“People have to provide a lot of their personal information to this website. Financial information, health information, social security number, demographic information, and there's just not enough assurance that the information is being properly protected.

“So this time they sent out people's email addresses, maybe next time they'll send out people's social security numbers, their health information, their financial information, or other personal information.

“Now, that's not even talking about the lack of security on the website, and whether hackers can break in and steal information. This is just human error, carelessness and what people connected to the site are sending out by mistake.

“It's a very real concern. For the President to not take this seriously—and I believe he doesn't take it seriously. I believe he has his head in the sand on all of this—he's dug in on this law. For the President to not take this seriously and say that everything is going the way it's supposed to, that is a very real problem with the man in the White House.

“Now, that's just the website. That's what the President was talking about in that interview. What else about the health care law is working the way it's supposed to?

“Is it the millions of people who will be dropping out of the labor force because of the law? On Tuesday morning the Congressional Budget Office said that's exactly what's going to happen.

“Here's how the paper has reported it. ‘The New York Times’: ‘Health Care Law Projected to Cut the Labor Force.’

“The Wall Street Journal’: ‘Health Law to Cut Into Labor Force’.

“Here's how ‘The Hill’ put it: ‘Obamacare will cost 2.5 million workers by 2024’.

“Is that the way the Obama Administration thinks its health care law is supposed to work? Well, they're actually saying yes, that it is. Jason Furman, the President's top economist said the health care law is helping labor markets, helping businesses, it's helping jobs.

“Helping labor markets? Because of the failed policies of the Obama Administration we have the lowest labor force participation rate in 35 years.

“People have given up looking for work. The administration should be doing all that it can to increase the labor force participation, not celebrating that its health care law is going to push that number even lower.

“Middle-class Americans all across this country have seen their insurance premiums go up significantly because of the health care law's costly mandates. They've seen their deductibles go up. Millions of hardworking Americans have had their insurance policies canceled. Why? Because of the law.

“Now we're seeing people's personal information put at risk, and we're seeing the damage the law is doing to the labor force.

“President Obama says it's working just the way it's supposed to. That's what he says. The President is wrong.

“The website is not working and his health care law isn't working. It's not working for the American people. The website is just the tip of the iceberg.

“People are finding they can't keep their insurance even if they like it, front page story today, ‘Wall Street Journal,’ harder to keep your doctor even if you want to keep your doctor, in spite of the President's promise.

“We have millions who have their policies canceled. Others are losing their doctors. We've seen premium costs go up. We've seen deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses go up. And the issue of security fraud.

“The website is a problem, the website failures is just the tip of the iceberg.

“It's time to get rid of this terrible health care law, replace it with real reform before it does any additional damage to America's labor force and to the American people.”

###

Dec 18 2013

Barrasso: Americans Deserve to Know Obamacare Premiums Before They Vote

Barrasso outlines new legislation that would require Obama Administration to open Obamacare enrollment and disclose premium increases to Americans before 2014 election

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the White House continues to try to do anything to hide the cost of the President’s health care law on the American people. Barrasso also outlined the “Premium Disclosure Act” that he introduced today with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) to give Americans the transparency they deserve when making important health care decisions for their families.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“With the end of the year rapidly approaching, Americans are gathering with family, with friends to celebrate the holidays, to count their blessings, but from what I heard last weekend in Wyoming and on a telephone town hall meeting Monday night, very few people are thankful for the President's health care law.

“I met yesterday with a Wyoming Insurance Commissioner. Fewer than a 1,000 people have been able to sign up, but thousands and thousands have had their insurance canceled under the law.

“So many more people are suffering because of the law than are people that are potentially able to benefit. To me, this law, forced down the throats of the American people, supported unanimously by the Democrats in this body, it's continuing to disrupt people’s lives and to cause them very real harm.

“After a year of false starts and failures, what we've seen, we’ve seen the President's health care law is nothing more than a collection of deception, delays, and disappointments.

“If you just look at the headlines, the biggest disappointment was the launch of the Healthcare.Gov web site in October. It’s a total disaster, but I will tell you, it really is just the tip of the iceberg.

“The web site failures are what people have seen across the country, and that's the most visible, and it has obviously been the cause of concerns and jokes on by the late-night comedians.

“But the real damage is going to start on January 1st.

“People are finding out they can't keep their doctor. We're seeing that with seniors on Medicare. We're seeing that with children who are going for cancer care.

“We're finding people having a harder time finding a doctor, even having to make choices as they go to the web site to say, well, do I want to keep my doctor or do I want to keep the hospital that I go to, or I do want to keep the drug coverage I have and many people are finding they can't find any plan that will let them keep everything that they have now, in spite of the President's promise.

“We're hearing more and more stories about fraud and identity theft across the across the country related to the health care web site, including a Senate staff member who was signing up and that asked for his bank number and pin number, and he called the help line.

“He had to wait a long period of time to get through, as the experience has been for many Americans. They said, no, no, that's not the regular web site. That must be some kind of a scam trying to fraudulently take your information.

“And of course there are higher co-pays and deductibles that people are seeing the average deductible is now over $5,000 for people in bronze plans. So that's what's continuing to happen with this health care law.

“So October was just about the web site. January is going to be about real people, their lives and their ability to get affordable, quality care from the doctors that they know and doctors they trust.

“The Obama Administration made a lot of promises about this law. The Administration has known for months—I believe, even for years—the Administration has known that many of the promises just were not true.

“They knew that people would lose their doctors, and they knew that millions of people would lose their health insurance plans. But instead of leveling with the American people, the White House chose to mislead them. It continues to mislead them today on one important issue after another.

“A respected group, Politifact.com has come out with, who their role is they say ‘sorting out the truth in politics’—they've come up with their ‘lie of the year.’

“And their ‘lie of the year" for 2013 they attribute to President Obama who said, ‘if you like your health care plan, you can keep it.’

“The lie of the year to the American people, which is no surprise then that the President's approval ratings continue to plummet.

“Now I look at what a decision made by this Administration very recently, a decision to delay next year's open enrollment season until after the midterm elections. To me, this is a blatant political move, a blatant political move, and they snuck out the announcement just days before Thanksgiving. So what kind of announcement is the Administration going to try to sneak out now just before Christmas?

“The enrollment period for insurance coverage in 2015 was set to begin October 15, 2014 and then end in December. Now it won't begin until November 15th.

“Well why in the world would they need to delay it for a month? Enrollment in a government health insurance exchange has been a disaster, but the Administration says it's fixed all the problems.

“So why do they want to delay it for a month? What's the difference between October 15th and November 15th?

“Well, I believe it's because the Administration is in a panic mode and it will do anything he can to hide the cost of the health care law on the American people—hide the skyrocketing costs.

“What they’ve done is, they've moved it from a couple of weeks before the election to a couple of weeks after Election Day 2014.

“The American people don't need more lies. What they need from their President is for the President to come clean about the terrible effects of the law. The fact is many Americans can't keep their coverage, can't keep their doctor, and they can't afford this law.

“The Associated Press has put out a poll the other day—the headline was: ‘Health law seen as eroding coverage.’ According to the poll, 69% of people say their premiums will be going up. 59% say their deductibles and co-payments will be increasing.

“People can't afford those kind of price increases—this whole redistribution of assets and wealth of the American people.

“People were told that they are health care costs were going to go down by this President. Instead they're seeing it's going up.

“The Obama Administration doesn't want people learning about their next increases right before the 2014 election, so they're trying to hide the truth.

“That's why today Senator Alexander, Senator Enzi, and I plan to introduce a bill to give the American people the transparency that they deserve when they're making important health care decisions for their families.

“We're calling this bill, ‘The Premium Disclosure Act,’ and it will do a couple of important things.

“First, our bill sets the exchange's opening date of October 15th, 2014 in statute so that Democrats can't change it to meet their political goals around an election.

“Second, the bill says that the Obama Administration has to make premiums and cost-sharing requirements public 30 days before the open enrollment begins, so people will have this important information in mid-September making it easier for families to budget and to plan.

“The Department of Health and Human Services has previously said it didn't have this authority and that's why they said we need to wait until October 1st to find out what premiums would be this year. Well, this bill would specifically give the Administration the authority so they’ll have no more excuses for hiding health insurance cost increases from the American people.

“Americans wanted a very few simple things from health care reform. They wanted better access to care. Washington Democrats gave them less access.

“They wanted lower costs but Washington Democrats gave them higher costs.

“They wanted help. Washington Democrats have caused them harm.

“This bill will help add some transparency and shed light on things that the Obama Administration doesn't want the American people to see.

“The President's health care law has been a failure, can't be fixed just by delaying one more part or by sending out the spin doctors one more time or by having one more press conference.

“I hope that when we return after the New Year that President Obama and Democrats in Congress will be ready to sit down with Republicans to talk about real bipartisan solutions that puts patients and families first.”

###

Dec 10 2013

Barrasso: Under Obamacare, Americans Face Higher Costs, Confusion & Lack Confidence in Administration

“The law continues to leave so many Americans struggling, struggling with higher costs, with greater confusion and really with a lot less confidence in the Administration. People all around the country are worrying if the Administration even knows what...

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the health care law has created higher costs, more confusion and less confidence in the Obama Administration.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“With less than two weeks remaining from the deadline for people who need to sign up for health insurance that starts for them to be insured for January 1st, there is a significant amount of anger as well as anxiety across the country.

“The web site where people are supposed to go to buy that insurance has been plagued with problems that everyone in the country seems to know about, and that has caused huge amounts of anxiety.

“I heard about it last week in Wyoming, I hear about it on Capitol Hill with staff members, and I hear it pretty much anywhere I go. What people have been learning is that the problems with the web site is just actually the tip of the iceberg.

“The Obama Administration has been saying that it's been fixed, that the problems with this health law are fine, that everything is good, that a majority of people are having good experiences.

“The law continues to leave so many Americans struggling, struggling with higher costs, with greater confusion and really with a lot less confidence in the Administration. People all around the country are worrying if the Administration even knows what it's doing.

Higher Costs

“People at home in Wyoming –and I went not just around the communities in the state and traveled to a number of different communities, but I also went to my own medical office where I practiced as an orthopedic surgeon at Casper Orthopedics for 24 years and people were telling me how worried they were about the higher costs they’re seeing regarding paying for insurance for next year.

“I got a letter from one man in Cody, Wyoming. He talked about the rates that he's been quoted are going to go up from about $860 a month that he pays now—he has a family of four –to $2,400 a month. $860 to $2,400 a month. He said ‘I'm not sure what planet they think I live on, he said, ‘but there is no way I can spend more than half of my monthly income on insurance.’

“Well, I hear the same thing from people all around Wyoming. People are having the same sticker shock all over the country.

“Now, we know that more than 4.7 million Americans, 32 different states are being told that they can't keep the insurance that they had.

“Well now what they have to do is buy new Washington -approved health coverage that really may not be the right coverage for them and may likely cost more than they were paying before.

“Millions of Americans are going to be forced to use money that in the past was used to pay rent or put their children through school or to invest in their communities or in a business, to help make repairs to the house, and now that money's going to go to pay for higher premiums as well as the incredible high deductibles that people are seeing related to the health care law.

Increased Confusion

“Ten weeks after the web site launched, there is still an awful lot that's broken, including the parts that actually get people the insurance that they think they signed up for.

“A number of my staff have applied, and they believe they have signed up for health insurance—they are not sure. They haven't yet gotten confirmation. I know that Members on Capitol Hill who have staff signing up are experiencing that same thing.

“You know, last month, one of the officials from the Department of Health and Human Services testified in the House of Representatives that as much as 40% of this web site's system still hasn't even been built yet. The web site still has trouble transmitting information to the insurance companies once someone has chosen a plan.

“It still hasn't figured out how to automatically pay the portion of premiums covered by government subsidy. There are still many, many security holes that can be exploited by con artists, by hackers.

“Certain branches of the government have been warning citizens to be cautious when going on the web site because of the concerns about exploitation, people who are trying to use these in a fraudulent way.

“And then you hear the Administration who is bragging. I mean, it's really sad that almost nine weeks after the web site opened, the Administration is now bragging that it only has an error rate of 10% on one important step of the web site.

“This is a President who said that the web site was going to be running like Amazon.Com. He said that three or four days before the web site opened. Now nine weeks later, he's delighted that the error rate is still one out of ten. Does the President actually believe that Amazon would accept a 10% error rate in their customers not being able to finish their purchase?

Lack of Confidence in the Administration

“All of these flaws and failures have led to a dramatic loss, I believe, of confidence by the American people in their government—and according to a new Gallup poll, 52% of Americans are in favor of scaling back the health care law or repealing it entirely.

“People continue to turn against the law for a number of reasons, and it's not the web site. It's the higher premiums, it's the cancelled coverage, it's can't keep their doctor, fraud and identity theft, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, and confusion about what's going to go wrong next because so many things that the President and his Administration have said, have looked into the camera, told the American people would be one way turned out to be something very different.

“There have just been so many changing stories coming out of the White House. The President said if you like your health insurance, you could keep your health insurance. Then he actually said, period, a punctuation mark.

“The President said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

“Well, on Sunday, one of the architects of Obamacare went on Fox News and admitted also that that wasn't true. This is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emmanuel, former Chief of Staff of the White House, a medicine professor.

“What he says is if you like your doctor and you want to keep your doctor, you can pay more for insurance that includes your doctor.

“A lot of places, you can't even buy insurance that will cover that doctor. This isn't at all what the President promised.

“But that's what the President and that's what the Democrats in this body who voted for this health care law have given to the American people.

“You know, just before thanksgiving, the Obama Administration announced that it would have to delay a health insurance exchange that was supposed to let small businesses shop for insurance.

“I remember hearing speeches on this floor about small businesses and being able to find affordable insurance. Well, it turns out once again the Administration knew at least six weeks before that they were going to have to delay the program.

“Did they admit it to the American people? Did they tell the truth? No. They waited. One broken promise after another, one statement after another, the Administration knows is not true.

“So is it a surprise then that the President of the United States is viewed as untruthful by a majority of the people of this country? It's a terrible situation for anyone to put their country in.

“If President Obama really wants to help the American people, he's going to sit down with Republicans and talk about the real issues to reduce costs, to get rid of all of this confusion that he and the Democrats have caused and to restore people's confidence in America as well as in him.

“There's a better way. Republicans agree we need to reform America's health care system. We think that those reforms could have been done without the kind of harm caused by the President's health care law.”

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Nov 20 2013

Barrasso: Obamacare is Hurting Families in Wyoming

Highlights people from Converse and Niobrara Counties in Wyoming who are losing their coverage and seeing their health care costs skyrocket due to Obamacare.

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) shared more personal accounts from folks in Wyoming who are losing their health coverage and seeing their health care costs skyrocket due to the President’s health care law. 

Excerpts of his remarks:

“People all around the country are angry. They're anxious, frustrated, bothered. But mostly I'm hearing anger from people in Wyoming.

“And it's not just the web site. I will tell you the web site is just the tip of the iceberg. People are furious when they get letters of cancellation, when they have coverage cancelled and then they see higher premiums.

“People are finding out all across the country because of the health care law they can't keep their doctor. They're hearing stories about fraud, identity theft, higher co-pays and deductibles.

“I bring to the floor today a couple of letters that I’ve had from people in Wyoming. Last week, Veterans Day, I was in Douglas, Wyoming, for the flag-raising ceremony at the American Legion at 7:00 a.m. talking to folks, some whom had gotten cancellation letters.

“Let me just read to you a letter from a family in Douglas, Wyoming, a small community, Converse County.

“They say ‘we just found out that our current health insurance policy with BlueCross BlueShield of Wyoming, which is a $20,000 deductible for our family, will not be allowed after January 1. Only those under age 30 will be able to have catastrophic plans.’ They say, ‘we work, we ranch, we work very hard. We have been healthy. We can't afford and don't believe a lower deductible makes sense for us.’

“So this is a family, they decided what's best for them as a family. Not what the government told them they had to buy, but what worked for them as a family.

“And so they said what they bought is something that made sense for them. ‘Basically we have had insurance to avoid losing our cows, losing our land if something catastrophic happened to us. Don't know what we'll do if you guys don't get this derailed.’

“So, as someone from the Rocky Mountain West, I will tell you in a community of lots of ranchers and farmers, what they're trying to do is insure against this catastrophic loss.

“They go on and say quick side note, ‘we think most people expect health insurance to cover everyday costs. It wouldn't make sense and it would cost too much to get insurance to cover new tires, oil changes, washer fluid, new batteries, regular upkeep for our vehicles. If we only had insurance for big health issues which is of course what they wanted to do. For big health issues, it wouldn't cost as much for all of us in the end.’

“They go on, ‘Obamacare doesn't deal with any of the issues of why health care in America costs what it does. It truly seems to make it all worse. Thank you for what you do. We know you already understand this. We just thought you should know what we are dealing with.’

“That's a ranch family, Douglas, Wyoming, Converse County.

“And then this past Saturday night I was in Lusk, Wyoming, Niobrara County, and I have an email that I’d like to share with you from Lusk, Wyoming. Again, somebody who had cancelled canceled coverage, higher co-pays—all of the things we’re talking about.

“Just for a second, let me just show you the list of the number of people that have been cancelled. 4.7 million Americans have been, had their health insurance cancelled in 32 states and we don't even have the numbers for a number of other states. This is what people all across the country are seeing.

“So I would say let me read this e-mail from Lusk, Wyoming. This is someone who said ‘I have supported the President and the affordable health care act since the beginning.’ He then goes on and he said ‘that all changed on Thursday. All along we have been told if we have insurance and we are satisfied, no changes will be necessary.’ He goes on, ‘this is a misleading statement. I was informed by my company; he said my policy will be cancelled in December. Then they will offer me another policy but with huge changes. My premiums will go up. My deductible will go up. This isn't the same as my current policy. I feel like after decades of paying my own insurance, I'm being penalized.’

“This is somebody that supported the President and the health care law. He said, ‘I won't call it lying, but the President certainly misled a lot of us middle-aged Americans.’ He says, ‘I do have one alternative I'm pursuing. I can buy insurance that doesn't meet the guidelines of the Act. However, I will then be forced to pay a penalty for noncompliance. I can afford my insurance and the penalty. Once again, Americans do not like to be misled from the top led leadership down, it simply helps to solidify the mistrust we have in government. Thank you for your solid leadership.’

“That's why I'm here today on the floor. We need to hear more stories from people around the country. Not just Republicans—Democrats need to hear the stories. I would say tweet us your story at #YourStory.

“Republicans have better ideas about ways we can actually help people can get the care they need from a doctor they choose, at lower cost. This health care law is hurting many, many millions of Americans. We now know the President knew it at the time when he continued to repeat the line which we now know is a misleading line to the American people.

“And very soon we're going to see the line of if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.

“Millions more will be losing their doctor. And there is great damage continuing to be done. We need to start over.”

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Nov 13 2013

Barrasso on Obamacare Enrollment: Americans Came, Saw, Didn’t Buy

“So far the Obamacare exchanges have only succeeded at crashing people's computers or lightening their wallets. And to make matters worse, for every one person who has selected an Obamacare plan either from state or the federal exchanges, 40 people have..

Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s speech.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the Obama Administration’s low health care exchange enrollment numbers confirm Americans’ low expectations for the failed law. Barrasso specifically points out that for every one person who actually selected coverage under the state or federal Obamacare exchanges, 40 people received cancellation notices.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“It has now been more than six weeks since the Obama Administration launched its health insurance marketplace. This afternoon the Obama Administration finally confirmed how few people have been able to select insurance through the exchange.

“According to the White House, only 106,105 people have selected coverage since October 1st.

“Now this doesn't mean people actually bought their coverage—it just means they selected a plan. Now, for most of these, it was through the state-based exchanges.

“So people may be wondering how the Washington -run exchange did. Only 26,794 people selected a plan through Healthcare.Gov.

“Safe to say if this was a commercial web site, the plug would have been pulled by now.

“They came, they saw, they didn't buy it. Low expectations met with even lower reality. The numbers paint a bleak picture of the confidence that the American people have in the health care law and the faulty web site created to sell it.

“The Administration's goal was for a half a million people, 500,000 Americans to sign up in the month of October. The month of October alone.

“Instead we now know that only a little over 100,000 people have actually signed up. The reason the numbers are so low and so disappointing is that the web site is totally broken and the American people are discovering that the coverage offered on the exchange often costs them more than they can afford and more than they were previously paying.

“So far the Obamacare exchanges have only succeeded at crashing people's computers or lightening their wallets.

“And to make matters worse, for every one person who has selected an Obamacare plan either from state or the federal exchanges, 40 people have received cancellation notices.

“This isn't what the President repeatedly promised and it's not what the American people deserve.

“Enough is enough. It's time to give Americans what they wanted all along, access to quality, affordable health care. It's time to stop this train wreck and ease the damage being done by this terrible law.

“To help make that happen, Senator Graham and I will soon introduce a bill that lets states opt out of some of the health care law's most burdensome provisions.

“Under the State Health Care Choice Act states could opt out of the individual mandate that requires people to buy government approved health insurance or face a tax penalty. They could opt out of the employer mandate that will force businesses to provide government approved health insurance or pay penalties. Under our bill, states could also opt out of the health care law's benefits mandates.

“These are the requirements that health insurance plans provide numerous expensive services that many people may not want, may not need, will never use, can't afford, and do not want to pay for.

“The Obama Administration has already issued hundreds of waivers to businesses and it has delayed the employer mandate by a year. States should have the same opportunity to give relief to their citizens.

“We know the numbers coming out of Wyoming. In Wyoming we see over 3,000 people have received cancellation notices, yet only 85 people have been able to select a plan.

“I was at the Target store in Casper this Saturday. A former patient came up to me, somebody I had operated on. He told me he had received a cancellation notice. A small businessman, he works hard for himself and for his family, and the insurance that he had worked for him, it was something he could afford.

“What he told me is he now has to pay a higher premium and also more out-of-pocket costs in terms of a higher co-pay and higher deductibles and he's frankly just not sure what he's going to do.

“The people I talk to tell me about all of the mandates, the higher costs, the bad side effects of the President's health care law and they tell me that this is not what they wanted in health care reform.

“Got a letter from one woman from Newcastle, Wyoming. She told me that she's losing her insurance plan also.

“The reason she's losing it is it doesn't meet the President's requirements that she have maternity coverage. As she points out, she doesn't need maternity care, she said, because she's had a hysterectomy and she doesn't like Washington telling her that she has to pay twice as much to get a plan that covers it—something doesn't want, will never use, doesn't need, can't afford.

“When it comes to health care and health care coverage, one size does not fit all.

“States should be free to help the citizens of those states to get the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower costs.

“A lot of people in this country don't want all these new mandates, all the burdens and the higher costs.

“All they actually wanted was President Obama to keep the promises to allow them to have what the President promised them, that they could keep the insurance and the doctor that they already had. After all, that's what the President said.

“So we have millions of people getting letters from their insurance company canceling their insurance plans. And as of today I know that number is over 4.2 million.

“Over 42 people cancelled for every 1 that actually got insurance through the exchange.

“And the reason, one of the reasons for all of the insurance plans being canceled in spite of what the President told repeatedly the American people is something called the grandfather regulation that the Obama administration actually wrote.

“The President's own people wrote the regulation so that people can't keep the insurance that they want in spite of the President's repeated promises.

“This was a rule that the Obama administration wrote to force more people off the insurance plans that they had before the law was passed and forced them into new Washington -approved plans.

“Well, three years ago republicans saw that this regulation was going to lead directly to the millions of cancellation letters that have now gone out across the country.

“So my colleague from Wyoming, Senator Enzi, took the lead and he took to the Senate floor to try to stop this destructive rule from the Obama Administration.

“He introduced a bill that would immediately overturn the Administration's restrictive regulations about people keeping their plans.

“Senator Enzi pointed out back then three years ago that the Administration's rule would have caused millions of people to lose their insurance they had and that they liked, and he was right—and the Washington Democrats here on the floor of the United States Senate didn't seem to care.

“Every Democrat member of this body, every Democrat in the United States Senate voted to make sure that the restrictive regulations stayed on the books.

“And because of that vote, now we have over four million Americans looking for new insurance plans that satisfy Obama administration mandates but they've lost their insurance in spite of the President's repeated promises that if they like what they have, they can keep it.

“Many of them, like my friend and former patient who I ran into this past weekend in Casper, many of them are learning that their co-pays and their deductibles will be much higher than the plans that they have lost.

“Once they get those plans, many of them are going to find out that their costs have increased. But not just that, their choice of doctors has shrunk as well. They may not be able to go to their family doctor because he or she won't be covered by their new plan anymore.

“Now last week President Obama finally admitted that he and his Administration weren't, as he said, as clear as we needed to be.

“Not as clear as he needed to be? That is what the President regrets? That he wasn't as clear as he needed to be.

“Millions of people who are losing their doctors, they don't want an apology. They don't want a new government handout. What they want is what they had before this law came into effect. They want President Obama to live up to his promise and to allow them to keep the coverage that they had and they like and that worked for them.

“Even former President Bill Clinton has called for a change. Remember the Obama Administration has called President Clinton the so-called ‘secretary of explaining stuff.’ They had him traveling the country trying to convince people that their health care law was going to work out well for everybody.

“Well now it looks like he's trying to explain to President Obama how badly the President's own health care law has hurt Americans who are losing access to their insurance plans and to their doctors.

“Bill Clinton said just the other day, he said, ‘Even if it takes a change to the law, the President should honor the commitment the federal government made to those people and let them keep what they got.’

“Well, that's exactly right. Not only should President Obama take steps to keep his promise to the American people, he should support Republicans who want to help all Americans who are being harmed by the President and the Democrats' terrible health care law.

“Today's enrollment numbers show what a disaster that law has been, and the President should support the State Health Care Choice Act so that states can serve their citizens and opt out of this terrible law.”

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