Obamacare Has Failed the American People

‘History will record Obamacare as a failed partisan experiment, an attack on the American middle class, a lesson to future generations about how not to legislate... We didn’t cause this problem, but we’re now determined to provide relief. We’re determined to live up to our promise to the American people and repeal this failed law.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the failure of Obamacare:

“Obamacare was sold to the American people with a lot of promises and a lot of fanfare.

“Speech after speech. Promise after promise.

“Splashy PR campaigns.

“Quirky YouTube videos.

“But the American people never bought it, and the law never worked out the way it was promised. It opened to big problems and crashing computers on day one. Millions lost their health plans and the doctors they were promised they could keep. Things only got worse from there.

“We’ve all gotten the calls and the letters.

“We’ve all seen the pain in our constituents’ eyes.

“We all know how harmful this failed, partisan experiment has been for those we represent.

“We also understand our united mandate to do something about it.

“The American people have hardly been subtle in their negative of Obamacare. That’s borne out in the polling we’ve seen since the passage of this law 7 years ago. This past November, they again called out to Washington — ‘please help us’ they said, ‘please get rid of this law that’s hurting my family.’

“About 8 in 10 favor changing Obamacare significantly or replacing it altogether.

“My message to the American people is this.

“We hear you. We hear you.

“We will act.

“And it is my sincere hope that Democrats will include themselves in that ‘we.’ I hope they will help us bring relief to the American people today, and better health-care solutions going forward.

“We want their ideas and their input. We value their contributions in the construction of durable, lasting, and effective reforms.

“While I’m not the kind of guy who believes history takes sides, I know some of our Democratic friends do — and by now, they must surely have concluded that the Obamacare-or-nothing crowd cannot be anywhere but the wrong side of it.

“There is no future with that crowd.

“These are the guys who say Obamacare’s innumerable, well-documented, clearly apparent problems are really just a case of bad PR.

“They’ve tried to laugh them off, literally.

“They’ve tried to blame Republicans, blame the media, blame the American people themselves.

“They’ve even taken to denying reality altogether.

“They say Obamacare has been ‘wonderful for America.’ They call its implementation ‘fabulous.’ And, just before the election, President Obama actually said this: ‘The parade of horribles the Republicans have talked about haven't happened.” He really said that, and then went further. ‘None of what they’ve said has happened.’

“Really? Really?

“So costs haven’t gone up then?

“Premiums just skyrocketed by double digit increases, as high as 50 percent in some places.

“Deductibles have risen 10 times faster than inflation, and nearly six times faster than paychecks.

“So, choice hasn’t gone down then?

“Insurers are fleeing the exchanges, with more than half the country poised to soon have no more than one or two insurers to pick from.

“Americans are continuing to lose access to doctors, and hospitals, and health plans they liked and were promised — oh, they were promised — they could keep.

“Obamacare supporters may not like it, but these are simply the realities of this partisan law. 

“You’ll notice they hardly talk about Obamacare lowering costs or expanding choice anymore. They’re down to just one or two talking points now, and even those are slipping away fast. That’s because, as many Americans have unfortunately learned first-hand, having health insurance under Obamacare is hardly the same thing as actually having health care. That’s especially true for many who’ve been forced into Medicaid.

“Just look at my home state as an example.

“Kentucky was once held up as the shining jewel of Obamacare.

“Well, no longer. Obamacare, predictably, has become a mess in Kentucky just as it has across the nation — and that’s proved a bit confounding for some of our friends on the Left.

“The technical rate of the insured ticked up, they say, so why are so many Kentuckians upset?

“Well, when you force Kentuckians into Obamacare plans that many of their doctors won’t accept, what did you think would happen? When you shoehorn folks with modest incomes into plans with ever-growing premiums and deductibles so high they’re afraid to even get sick, what did you expect?

“In fact, across the nation, about four in 10 adults in Obamacare plans aren’t even sure they’d be able to afford care if they really needed it.

“Obamacare isn’t truly solving problems or making our country healthier — it’s a box-checking regime devoid of true compassion or empathy, a green-eyeshade exercise that misses something important: the lives of real people.

“Obamacare is making things worse, and we now have a moral imperative to repeal and replace it — to bring relief to families now.

“I hope every member of this body will consider their role in that process.

“Because the pain Americans are experiencing is deeply personal, the betrayal middle-class families are feeling is clearly palpable, and — unless we do something soon — Americans will continue to lose their health plans. They’ll continue to get stuck with insurance that costs more and offers less. Costs will continue to rise unsustainably. Choices will continue to shrink uncontrollably.

“No amount of Obamacare happy-talk or reality-denial is going to change that.  

“Some will just never accept the facts though.

“They’ll say that we need only tinker around the edges of Obamacare and everything will be fine. 

“Others will try to claim the failure of Obamacare as a mandate for even more Obamacare.

“They’ll claim the solution is actually to move to the kind of fully government-run ‘single payer’ system that already collapsed in one of the most left-wing states in the nation, the same system that 80% of voters just rejected in Colorado. Others will say we need only install a massive new Obamacare 2.0 system, one that's only mostly government-run.

“We heard a lot of this so-called ‘public option’ talk when Democrats thought they were on track to take the Senate and the White House. But it was never a serious solution, just another admission of Obamacare’s failure. And, in the words of one of our Democratic colleagues, it was a distraction too. Of course you can’t fix Obamacare by piling on more Obamacare.

“I’m sure that won’t stop some from trying to convince us otherwise.

“But, even amid the din, traces of reality continue to break through.

“Consider what the Clintons said during the election: Former President Clinton called Obamacare ‘the craziest thing in the world’ and Secretary Clinton said ‘lots of Americans’ have insurance ‘too expensive for them to actually use.’ That was the Democratic candidate for president of the United States. The Democratic Governor of Minnesota said that ‘the Affordable Care Act is no longer affordable for increasing numbers of people.’  So, reality is beginning to break through.

“And, despite his Obamacare pep rally yesterday, even the law’s namesake hasn’t been immune to sporadic admissions of the obvious.

“President Obama recently admitted that Obamacare has ‘real problems,’ has bemoaned the human impact of his law’s ‘premium increases’ and ‘lack of competition and choice,’ and admitted that — 7 years after Obamacare’s passage — ‘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.’

“Pretty well sums it up.

“It’s an indictment as damning as anything Republicans have said.

“It’s something to keep in mind when you hear the predictable attacks from the far left.

“We already know their central contention, that Republicans somehow want to go back to the way things were before Obamacare — which, of course, everyone knows is untrue. It’s an argument that conveniently leaves out the fact that things are now worse for many than they were before Obamacare.

“That’s not all we can expect to hear either.

“Repeal will cause insurers to flee the exchanges, they’ll say — which, news flash, is already happening.

“Repeal will plunge Obamacare into a death spiral, they'll claim — which, they might have missed, is here already…and fast approaching terminal velocity.  The death spiral, right now.

“We long warned that Obamacare would eventually collapse under its own weight. That’s now exactly what’s happening.

“Democrats chose to rip apart our health care system 7 years ago and give us the chaos we’re seeing — and things only continue to get worse unless we act now.

“It’s time to finally bring relief.

“The status quo is simply unsustainable.

“The reality is that, by nearly any measure, Obamacare has failed.

“It didn’t deliver on its core promises.

“It hurt more than it helped.

“And many are finding they can’t even use the insurance they now have.

“History will record Obamacare as a failed partisan experiment, an attack on the American middle class, a lesson to future generations about how not to legislate.

“And let's be clear.

“Obamacare’s failure is the fault of Obamacare and those who forced it on our country.

“Not the American people.

“Not Republicans.

“We didn’t cause this problem, but we’re now determined to provide relief. We’re determined to live up to our promise to the American people and repeal this failed law.

“Starting today, we will begin repairing the damage by passing the legislative tools necessary to repeal Obamacare and begin to transition to more sensible health care solutions.

“We just laid down the Obamacare repeal budget resolution this week. We’ll take it up soon. But repeal is only the first step – it clears the path for a replacement that costs less and works better than what we have now. Once repeal is enacted, there will be a stable transition period to a patient-centered health care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care.

“We plan to take on this challenge in manageable pieces, not with another 2,700-page bill.

“That was one of Obamacare's initial mistakes, and one we do not intend to repeat.

“Some of our friends across the aisle have mused publicly about their role in this process. I hope they’ll work with us. We hardly need another tired slogan from Democratic colleagues — after all, how does that move us ahead? — but we do want their ideas, we do want to work together to improve our health-care system. That’s the best way forward. That’s certainly the way I prefer.

“I hope these Democratic colleagues will join us in taking an important step forward soon, by confirming Tom Price as HHS Secretary and Seema Verma as CMS Administrator. Some of you may remember the ‘Red Tape Tower’ we used to wheel around here. It represented the fact that, while the Obamacare bill may have run about 2,700 pages, its regulations run to tens of thousands of pages. That’s what Price and Verma can get to work on once confirmed, stabilizing the health-care market and bringing relief.

“This isn’t going to be easy.

“It’s going to take time.

“There will be bumps along the way.

“But we’re going to do everything we can to heal the wounds of Obamacare and move forward, toward real care. We’re going to move step by step. And we want the widest possible coalition working together to achieve real solutions for the people who are hurting and calling for our help.

“Let’s give them that help. Let’s give them some hope. Let’s leave Obamacare in the past, and work together instead on reforms and outcomes we can all be proud of.”

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