McConnell: Obamacare is failing the Middle Class
‘Americans were told that Obamacare would increase choice and competition. The opposite is proving true.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today on the realities that Americans are facing because of Obamacare:
President Obama said something interesting just days before signing his namesake health takeover into law. In explaining the need for Obamacare, he said this:
“[W]hat's happening to your premiums? What's happening to your co-payments? What's happening to your deductible? They're all going up. That's money straight out of your pocket.”
“So,” he said, “the bottom line is this: The status quo on health care is simply unsustainable.”
That was the President’s view on the state of our health care system before Obamacare.
Here’s his view on our health care system six years later.
"Too many Americans still strain to pay for their physician visits and prescriptions, cover their deductibles, or pay their monthly insurance bills; struggle to navigate a complex, sometimes bewildering system; and remain uninsured."
The President wrote that just last month. It sounds an awful lot like what we heard from him years ago, in a pre-Obamacare world.
It throws the reality of his partisan law into stark relief. It’s not only that Obamacare is failing to live up to the many promises invoked to sell it, it’s often making things worse.
Just pick up any paper or turn on the news and you’ll see that more troubling projections are rolling in when it comes to Obamacare.
In fact, each day seems to bring more forecasts of skyrocketing premiums and dwindling choices. It’s a trend hitting Americans across the country. For instance, here’s the headline people in my home state recently awoke to: “Get ready to pay more for health insurance in Kentucky.” The story goes on to warn of Obamacare premium rates that could skyrocket by as high as 47 percent. Nearly 160,000 people are expected to be impacted.
Here’s a letter from a Louisville man who recently contacted my office. “How,” he asked, “are working class Americans, like myself, able to budget for such drastic changes?” “The so-called Affordable Care Act,” he said, “is unaffordable.”
He and other Kentuckians are hardly alone in feeling this way.
Take Illinois, where premiums could soar by as much as 55 percent…
Or Tennessee and Montana, where some rates could skyrocket by more than 60 percent…
Or Minnesota, where premiums could rise by an average of more than 50 percent…
Minnesota’s Democratic Governor said he was “alarmed” by these “drastic increases,” and called them “reason for very serious concerns.”
Even my friend the Democratic Leader referred to Obamacare’s premium increases yesterday as, quote, “huge.”
He was right to mention Obamacare’s “tax increases” too. This partisan law raised taxes that hit the Middle Class after Democrats promised it wouldn’t.
So these “huge” premium increases aren’t the only reason Obamacare is raising costs for the Middle Class. Premiums aren’t the only reason that Americans recently cited health costs as their number one financial concern.
It isn’t hard to see why Americans might be hurting.
Taxes are up.
Co-pays are up.
Deductibles are outpacing wages.
And now, with more and more insurance companies pulling out of the Obamacare state exchanges, Americans are being left with another big problem: fewer coverage options.
The Obama Administration used to promise us that the Obamacare marketplace would “provide more choice and control over health insurance options” and result in “a significant increase in competition and an array of options for consumers everywhere.”
But that’s not the reality for many Americans today.
Obamacare has forced out so many insurers that about one in five Obamacare customers will be forced to find a new insurance company this fall. More than half of the country could have two or fewer insurers to choose from in the exchanges next year, and about a third of all counties in the U.S. — along with seven entire states — are set to have just a single insurer offering plans in their area. That includes one county in Arizona that, until just last night, would have had no options in the exchange at all. I know this is something that Senator McCain has been deeply concerned about and he’s introduced good legislation to address it.
Obamacare co-ops continue to collapse at every turn too, with less than a third expected to offer plans next year. When these co-ops collapse, they can cost taxpayers millions and disrupt coverage for thousands of enrollees. They can force patients to start over on their deductibles mid-year, even find new doctors.
These are the latest reverberating echoes of the president’s most famous broken promise “if you like your health care plan you can keep it.”
Here’s a Kentuckian from Campbellsburg, who wrote to me after losing his insurance.
“I lost my health insurance that I had for many years because of Obamacare. Instead of something affordable, I face the possibility of struggling to purchase an Obama health plan that costs two to three times what I had been paying.” To top it off, he said, the “process of trying to find coverage has been a nightmare.”
And here’s something to keep in mind when Democrats try to spin the American people on Obamacare.
For all of this chaos and pain for Middle Class families, Obamacare still has not even achieved its stated purpose of universal coverage. Not even close. Tens of millions still remain uninsured.
And those who do have insurance are now discovering that simply having health insurance isn’t the same thing as having health coverage.
Take one New Jersey man who’s suffered for years from chronic migraines and needs medication to help alleviate the pain. The moment Obamacare placed him on Medicaid, he lost access to each of his doctors which meant waiting four months to see a new doctor and get a prescription to the medication he needs.
“You have a card saying you have health insurance,” he said, “but if no doctors take it, it's almost like having one of those fake IDs. Your medication is all paid for, but if you can't get the pills, it's worthless.”
According to a Gallup poll released just this morning, many more Americans report that Obamacare has hurt rather than helped their families—and many more Americans say that Obamacare will make their family’s health situation worse rather than better over the long run.
Is it any wonder?
Americans were told that Obamacare would allow them to keep the health plans they liked.
Americans were told that Obamacare would drive down health care premiums by $2,500 per family.
Americans were told that Obamacare would not raise taxes on the Middle Class.
Americans were told that Obamacare would increase choice and competition.
The opposite is proving true.
And remember the promise “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”? It’s been broken too. In fact, the Obama Administration recently erased references to “keeping your doctor” from its website.
These predictable consequences are not just flukes or quirks of Obamacare. They are not just small wrinkles in the system that will work themselves out with time.
They represent fundamental flaws built into this law’s original design.
Republicans warned about Obamacare’s consequences repeatedly from the start.
Democrats mocked us for doing so, and rammed through their partisan law anyway.
I invite Democrats to now consider following the lead of one of the president’s own former health care advisers, who recently penned an op-ed titled “How I was wrong about ObamaCare.”
The problems Democrats caused for the Middle Class aren’t going away until Obamacare does. So if Democrats are serious about helping the Middle Class, they’ll work with us to build a bridge beyond Obamacare to better care. Anything else is just more hollow rhetoric.
Today, six years on, Obamacare is failing the Middle Class — but the president still hasn’t offered a serious solution to fix it.
He’s now trying to convince Americans that the solution to his bloated, unwieldy, and expensive law is to make it more bloated, more unwieldly, and more expensive. In other words, more of the same — just worse.
His preferred presidential candidate says the same thing. So do congressional Democrats.
How can anyone conclude, after reading all these stories about how Obamacare is hurting the Middle Class, that what we need now is more Obamacare in the form of a government-run plan?
Democrats can continue to spin us on how great this law is. They can continue to tell Americans to “get over” this law and its pain for the Middle Class. They can continue to laugh at Americans who lose their plans. They can continue to crow about exploiting, quote, the “stupidity of the American voter” to push this partisan law on the Middle Class.
Or they can work with us to move beyond the failed experiment of Obamacare. They can prove that they are finally willing to put people before ideology.
Because this much is clear.
Obamacare is a direct attack on the Middle Class.
It hurts the very people it was supposedly designed to help.
It raises costs, crushes choice, and is now crashing down all around us.
It simply isn’t working.
To quote what President Obama said six years ago, “the bottom line is this: The status quo on health care is simply unsustainable.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Obamacare, Middle Class