Obamacare Has Continued To Hurt The People We Represent
‘I want to repeat what I said yesterday. A discussion draft will be made public tomorrow. Every member of the Senate will have it, and it will be posted online for everyone to review. For the past seven years, Obamacare has continued to hurt the people we represent. For the past seven years, Republicans have offered ideas for a better way forward. And soon, we will finally have the chance to turn the page on this failing law.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding the Senate Republicans’ commitment to rescuing the American people hurt by Obamacare:
“In the many years since Obamacare was imposed on the American people, it has continued to hurt the people we represent — over, and over, and over again. Higher costs. Fewer choices. Pain and heartbreak for the middle class. We’ve watched Obamacare unravel before our very eyes with each passing year. Now it teeters on the edge of collapse, and we face a choice — allow the unsustainable Obamacare status quo to continue hurting more Americans, or take action to finally move forward.
“Early on, Democrats made it clear that they did not want to work with us toward that goal in a serious or bipartisan way. I regret that. But we have a responsibility to move forward. And we are. As I’ve said, our entire Conference has been active and engaged on how to move beyond the failures of Obamacare for quite some time now, and we’re focused on the following: Stabilizing insurance markets, which are collapsing under Obamacare; Improving the affordability of health insurance, which keeps getting more expensive under Obamacare; Freeing Americans from Obamacare’s mandates, which force them to buy insurance they don’t want; Strengthening Medicaid for those who need it most; And preserving access to care for patients with pre-existing conditions.
“We believe we can do better than the Obamacare status quo — and we fully intend to do so. We’ve all received the calls, letters, and emails from our constituents who have been hurt by this failed health law. We all know the pain it has caused in our home states. Take my home state of Kentucky, for example. Under Obamacare, insurance markets are collapsing in Kentucky, just as they’re collapsing across the country — we want to stabilize them. Kentucky was once held up as an Obamacare success story. But Obamacare made a mess of health care markets in my home state, just like it has made a mess of markets across the nation.
“Too many families in Kentucky who liked their insurance plans or their doctors soon found they weren’t able to keep them. When families are kicked off their plan, they must find a new insurer, often at a higher price. When families must change doctors, they often lose a bond of trust they developed with a physician who’s familiar with their medical history. And when insurers flee the exchanges, it leaves families with fewer options for their health care. In fact, Kentuckians in nearly half of our counties now have only one option on the Obamacare exchanges — and, as we all know, one option isn’t really an option at all.
“A woman from Lexington, Kentucky contacted my office about her difficulty finding a plan on the exchanges. ‘I live in one of the three largest cities in our state, and I had two options for insurance this year,’ she wrote. The limited networks on both of those two plans, ’[eliminated] a huge number of providers in Fayette County.’ In addition to the limited access to care, on these plans she said, ’The lowest deductible option was $10,000.’ For this Kentuckian, and for so many others, Obamacare has failed. We must do better — better for Kentuckians, and better for families across the country. That’s why we have to act.
“Under Obamacare, health care costs are skyrocketing in Kentucky, just as they’re skyrocketing across the country — we want to improve affordability. Too many Kentuckians have learned firsthand that the so-called Affordable Care Act has really been anything but affordable. Premiums and deductibles continue to climb higher as Obamacare takes a larger bite out of Kentuckians’ budgets. A recent Health and Human Services report showed that Obamacare premiums in Kentucky have spiked by an average of 75% since 2013, when the law was fully implemented.
“Now, this year alone, Obamacare premiums shot up by as much as 47%. After years of being frustrated by Obamacare, a small business owner from Lancaster, Kentucky said she, quote, ’decided it was utter nonsense to buy insurance that covered nothing.’ Although she pays a large sum every month, her plan, ’covers no office visits, no prescription coverage, [and] has a $6,000 deductible.’ In her estimate, ‘[i]t is useless.’
“The rising costs of Obamacare add a burden that many in my state just cannot bear. I have received heartbreaking letters from Kentuckians, like one family faced with this dilemma: pay for health insurance, or put food on the table. As Obamacare collapses, these families are stuck dealing with the consequences. Increasing costs have become the status quo under Obamacare, and it’s completely unsustainable — unsustainable for Kentuckians, and unsustainable for families across the country. That’s why we have to act.
“Under Obamacare, Kentuckians are being forced to buy insurance plans they don’t want, just as Americans are being similarly forced to do so across the country — we want to free them from that mandate. The American people have been clear that they don’t like the mandate that compels individuals to purchase unaffordable Obamacare plans or pay a penalty. When you combine those who pay the fine and those who received a waiver, it adds up to millions of Americans who decided that they didn’t want or simply couldn’t afford Obamacare.
“Listen to this story of a single mom from Berea, Kentucky, who recently wrote my office. She is a full-time student trying to make ends meet. When she began searching for a plan on the Obamacare exchanges, she saw a startling picture: high premiums and a staggering deductible. ‘At this rate,’ she wrote, ’I would honestly be better not to take health insurance at all and hope for the best.’
“‘Americans like myself need something better.’ Some families, instead of bracing for another double-digit increase next year, are considering not buying health insurance at all. Because of the Obamacare mandate, they are forced to buy insurance they just can’t afford. The elimination of the mandate will restore to Americans the freedom to choose the health care plans that are right for them, instead of being forced to purchase something that may not meet their needs. The American people, just like this Kentucky mom, deserve a better health care system than Obamacare.
“The Senate Republican Conference is focused on addressing the issues I mentioned, as we also work toward strengthening Medicaid and preserving access to care for patients with preexisting conditions. The Kentuckians’ stories I’ve read this morning are just a sample of the pain felt by so many across my state, just as Americans from states across the country continue to share similar concerns with their Senators.
“Obamacare’s years-long legacy of soaring prices, shrinking choices, and total failure will continue to get worse unless we act. The Obamacare status quo is unsustainable, it’s hurting Americans, and it will continue to do so unless we act. The American people are demanding relief, and we intend to deliver it to them. That’s why Senate Republicans are continuing to work toward smarter health care solutions that will finally allow us to move beyond this failed law.
“I want to repeat what I said yesterday. A discussion draft will be made public tomorrow. Every member of the Senate will have it, and it will be posted online for everyone to review. For the past seven years, Obamacare has continued to hurt the people we represent. For the past seven years, Republicans have offered ideas for a better way forward. And soon, we will finally have the chance to turn the page on this failing law.”
Related Issues: Health Care, Obamacare