McConnell: Obamacare is a Failing Partisan Law

‘These are the realities of Obamacare for Middle Class Americans across our country. Democrats can deny it. Democrats can say this is all some “messaging” problem. Democrats can pretend that “Obamacare has been terrific for this country,” as the Democratic Leader tried to convince us last week.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today on how Obamacare is hurting people across the country:


Days before Obamacare passed the Senate, in 2009, the Senior Senator from New York predicted that Americans would come around “soon” on the unpopular bill his party was trying to force through.

“The reason people are negative is not the substance of the bill,” he mused, “but the fears that the opponents have laid out. When those fears don't materialize, and people see the good in the bill, the numbers are going to go up.” 

Today, years later, one need only read the headlines to see just how wrong that prediction was. 

·      “One-third of US won't have a choice between Obamacare plans in 2017”…

·      “Frustration mounts over Obamacare co-op failures”…

·      “Insurers propose massive increase in individual health insurance rates”…

·      And, as my constituents read just recently, “Get ready to pay more for health insurance in Kentucky”…

These headlines tell the story of a failing partisan law and its continuing assault on the Middle Class. When Republicans warned of predictable consequences like these, Democrats waved off our concerns and forced their partisan law through anyway — with the Middle Class forced to bear the consequences ever since.

It’s time Democrats started finally listening. That’s why, last week, Senators came to the floor to share the heartbreaking stories of how Obamacare continues to hurt their constituents and impact their states. 

Senator Capito called Obamacare “nothing short of devastating” in her home state of West Virginia. “…Working families,” she said, “are being faced with sky-rocketing premiums, copays, and deductibles.”

Senator Isakson warned that “[t]he numbers do not lie” in Georgia. “Obamacare,” he said, “is forcing insurance carriers to leave the market, eliminating competition and choice, all… while placing the burden of higher costs on the backs of working taxpayers in this country.”

 And Senator McCain explained how “…Americans have been hit by broken promise after broken promise and met with higher costs, fewer choices, and poor quality of care,” noting that his home state of Arizona “has become ground zero for the collapse of Obamacare.” 

Just last month, the Obama Administration told Americans not to worry about rising costs because they could “shop around to find the best plan” and save money on health insurance. 

But many Americans in places like Ohio are “going to be severely restricted” when it comes to choosing an insurer next year, as the state’s director of insurance pointed out. In fact, 19 of Ohio’s counties are set to have just a single insurer in the exchange and another 28 counties will only have two options. 

Restrictions like these mean families could lose access to the doctors they know and trust…face higher premiums and more out-of-pocket expenses…and have even fewer options to shop around for more affordable coverage or plans to meet their families’ changing needs. 

One self-employed Ohioan summarized the pinch facing so many across the country:

“They fine you if you don’t have insurance, and then they take your options away.” 

That’s what she said after learning she’d lose her plan. Her frustration is one felt across Ohio and across America.

More than 2 million people could be forced to find a new plan next year. A majority of the nation’s counties are expected to have only one or two insurers offering plans in the exchange. And eight entire states are expected to have only a single insurer in the exchange to choose from.

That’s because, just last night, we learned that Connecticut would likely become the latest state with only a single insurer on the exchange next year. 

We learned something else last night too.

One of the few remaining Obamacare co-ops will not offer plans in New Jersey next year.

This is part of a broader trend we’ve seen across the country, with Obamacare co-ops shuttering and forcing Americans to find new coverage as a result. 

Just look at what happened in New Hampshire. 

The Granite State’s co-op was, in the words of New Hampshire Public Radio, “the exact type of business that was supposed make the individual insurance market more competitive,” under Obamacare. But the co-op recently announced that it would close down operations in the state anyway. That’s forcing thousands to find another plan, and it’s forcing taxpayers to foot the bill. Here’s what one New Hampshire editorial had to say after the announcement:

“The entire Obamacare scheme was set up on faulty premises…You can’t force people to buy health insurance they don’t want, subsidize mediocre insurance plans people can’t afford, and still claim to hold down rising medical expenses."

“The program,” the paper continued, “is destroying itself.”

But collapsing co-ops and withdrawing insurers aren’t the only signs that Obamacare is “destroying itself.” 

Just look at my home state of Kentucky, where premiums could rise by distressing rates — in some cases as high as 47 percent. 

It’s no wonder my office continues to hear from people who are desperate for relief from this law. 

Like one Louisville mom who said her family’s health care costs will consume nearly a fifth of their budget this year. 

“This health care law has been far from affordable for my family,” she said. “Every year we extensively research for the least expensive coverage we can find. Nevertheless, our premiums continue to skyrocket... Our out of pocket expenses have greatly increased as well…

“No, we didn’t have junk insurance before Obamacare,” she continued, “but I’m rather certain that what we have now IS junk insurance…I wish someone would explain to us how a hard working middle class family paying this much for health insurance became a loser under Obamacare…” 

And here’s another letter from a Lexington father of three and small businessman who’s provided insurance to his employees at no cost for decades because, he says, it’s “the right thing to do.” Now he worries how he’ll be able to afford that next year with his small business facing substantial increases when it comes to healthcare expenses. 

“At these rates, we will likely be forced to consider alternatives including foregoing insurance altogether or pushing at least some of the additional cost onto our employees…

This is thanks to, as he put it, “the cynically named Affordable Care Act.” 

These are the realities of Obamacare for Middle Class Americans across our country. 

Democrats can deny it. Democrats can say this is all some “messaging” problem. Democrats can pretend that “Obamacare has been terrific for this country,” as the Democratic Leader tried to convince us last week. 

Or they can accept that, many years after Obamacare’s passage, the opposite of Senator Schumer’s prediction is proving true — and it’s anything but “terrific.” The reason Americans are negative about Obamacare is precisely because of its substance. Unfortunately, their fears have materialized. Obamacare’s shrinking choices and higher costs present a stark contradiction to what its champions promised. 

Democrats gave us plenty of soaring oratory in 2009, but we’re finding that sleepless nights, unpaid bills, and broken promises are actually becoming the hallmarks of this partisan law.

It’s time for Democrats to stop denying reality, stop ignoring the concerns of our country, and stop pretending that Obamacare’s failures can be solved by doubling-down on Obamacare with a government-run plan. It’s time for Democrats to finally work with us to build a bridge away from Obamacare and toward real care for our country.  

Because, as one local Kentucky op-ed asked, "If the ACA is failing so completely in delivering on its promises, why keep it? Why throw good money after bad?"

Related Issues: Obamacare, Health Care, Senate Democrats