Hatch Slams ObamaCare; Supports Efforts to Defund President’s Health Law
Utah Senator Says, “This law costs more and will do far less than was promised when the bill was first drafted, debated, and passed.”
WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) railed against the shortcomings of ObamaCare and said the House-passed bill to fund the government through December 15 and defund the President’s signature domestic legislation was a strong first step towards getting rid of the misguided law.
“This law costs more and will do far less than was promised when the bill was first drafted, debated, and passed. The Democrats who wrote this law and forced it through Congress may have thought that the American people were naïve enough to believe all the promises that came with ObamaCare, but, from the beginning, polls have shown that the majority of Americans do not support it,” said Hatch. “That is why I have publicly applauded the House of Representatives for passing its continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare.”
“Getting rid of ObamaCare is just the first step. Once we do that, we need to work together on a bipartisan basis to find a way to reduce health care costs for the American people,” Hatch continued. “We’ve seen what happens when one party tries to fix health care on its own. What we got a was a disaster of a law that has actually increased health care costs all while imposing new taxes and mandates on the American people and creating chaos of the entire health care system. The American people deserve better.”
Below is the text of Hatch’s full speech delivered on the Senate floor today:
Mr. President, it’s no secret that the so-called Affordable Care Act is a train wreck waiting to happen.
Republicans have been saying this since before the law was enacted.
Indeed, if you look back at the original debates over Obamacare, you’ll find that we predicted virtually all of the problems we’re seeing now as the administration attempts to implement this poorly crafted law.
Let’s take a look at some of the predictions we made.
We predicted, for example, that, in order to avoid the Employer Mandate, businesses would cease hiring new workers and move existing employees to part-time.
Obamacare requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to offer their workers health coverage of a minimum value or pay a penalty. As we predicted, a number of small businesses – which are the main job creators in this country – are simply opting to unilaterally limit their full-time employees in order to avoid the mandate.
Just think about that, Mr. President.
Rather than creating jobs during a time when our economy could use more jobs, an increasing number of businesses are opting for hiring freezes just to avoid the costs of Obamacare.
The law defines “full-time” employees as those working more than 30 hours a week. As a result of this odd definition many employers have opted to simply cap workers’ hours rather than laying them off.
This is happening everywhere, Mr. President. It’s happening in the private sector and among public schools and municipalities.
In fact, it’s happening so often that even the leaders of Big Labor, who were among the biggest supporters of Obamacare, have publicly argued that the law is destroying the 40-hour work week.
That’s just one Republican prediction about Obamacare that came true.
We also predicted that Obamacare would cause people who currently have health insurance to lose it.
We all remember the President’s infamous promise that “If you like your plan, you can keep it.” Sadly, our post-Obamacare experience hasn’t born that out.
At the time, Republicans said there was no way he could make that promise.
And, we were right.
According to the Congressional Budget office, millions of Americans are likely lose their current employer-provided health insurance under the President’s health law.
We also predicted that the cost of health insurance premiums would skyrocket as insurance companies struggled to comply with all the new mandates under the law.
This is also happening. Numerous studies have shown that the cost of premiums have continued to go up since Obamacare was passed and are predicted to go up even further next year as the law is more fully implemented.
The question is: How high are costs going to go?
Yesterday, the administration released a report claiming that Obamacare is bringing down the cost of health insurance premiums. Specifically, the report claims that premiums “will be 16 percent lower than projected.”
Well, Mr. President, lower than projected is not the same as lower than they are now.
If you compare the cost of Obamacare health plans with the cost of plans available on the market today, it is indisputable that costs are going up under the law.
The administration is free to cherry-pick data in order to make the best case possible. Indeed, that’s what they’ve done with this most recent report. However, even when they cite the most favorable data available, we see that Obamacare is making health insurance premiums more expensive in this country.
And, when you look at a more complete picture of the data, you’ll find that it’s even worse. As the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research recently found, individual market premiums will increase 99 percent for men and 62 percent for women nationwide under Obamacare.
This, once again, was not unforeseen. While the President was claiming that his health care plan would reduce premiums by an average of $2,500 a year, Republicans predicted that costs would actually go up under the law.
As it turns out, we were right on that one too.
Republicans also predicted that health care spending would increase as a result of Obamacare.
The President, as you recall, promised that the law would lower the cost of health care. However, health care spending is projected to increase dramatically as a result of Obamacare.
Republicans also predicted that Obamacare would increase the deficit.
And, wouldn’t you know it, a former director of CBO has projected that the health law will add $500 billion to the deficit in the first 10 years and more than $1.5 trillion in its second decade.
We predicted that middle class families would see their taxes go up as a result of Obamacare.
And, if you look at the law, you’ll see that it includes no fewer than 11 taxes and penalties that directly impact the middle class, including taxes on medical devices, prescription drugs, and flex spending accounts.
In addition, Republicans predicted that health insurance exchanges and the system of verifying and approving premium and cost-sharing subsidies for people in those exchanges would be a nightmare to manage.
This has been confirmed time and again as the administration has continually missed deadlines and offered only scant details as to how these exchanges are going to work, even as they are set to go live on October 1st.
Studies from the Government Accountability Office have confirmed that the exchanges aren’t likely to be ready in time. And, of course, we have the continuous stream of delays that have been announced by the administration, demonstrating further that the exchanges are a disaster waiting to happen.
Republicans predicted that Obamacare would result in cuts to Medicare.
The administration has tried to deny that this has happened. In fact, denying these cuts ever took place was a central tenet of President Obama’s reelection campaign.
But, facts are facts, Mr. President. The President’s health law cut Medicare by $500 billion. All of this came in the form of cuts to providers, which even the Obama Administration’s own actuaries have said could jeopardize Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care.
During the congressional debate over Obamacare, we predicted that, despite all the claims that “health care reform is entitlement reform,” the law wouldn’t shore up our unsustainable entitlement programs.
We’re set to spend more than $10 trillion on Medicare and Medicaid over the next ten years. The CBO has called our health care entitlements our “fundamental fiscal challenge.” And, according to the CBO, the President’s health law hasn’t done anything to diminish the problems facing these massive programs.
Finally, we predicted that Obamacare would result in federal dollars being spent on abortions. In case you’re not sensing the pattern here, we were right on that as well.
The President’s health law allows government subsidies to be used to buy health insurance that includes abortion coverage as it did not codify the long-standing statutory prohibition on federally funded abortions.
So, like I said, Mr. President, none of the problems we’re seeing today were unforeseen. Republicans predicted all of these difficulties years ago.
We weren’t psychic. We just know how markets work.
And, more importantly, we’ve learned from experience just how inept government can be when it ventures into uncharted territory.
The Democrats who drafted this monstrosity and forced it through Congress either didn’t understand the inherent problems with the legislation or they didn’t care.
I suspect it was a little of both.
At the time, they were more concerned with just getting something passed so the President could claim victory on one of his central campaign promises than they were with passing something that would actually work.
And now we’re all seeing the results.
Nearly every week we learn of another problem the administration is having with implementing Obamacare.
Like I said, we constantly hear announcements that certain elements of the law are going to be delayed. We’ve heard this about the Employer Mandate, the Small Business Health Insurance Market, and employee automatic enrollment in the exchanges.
The administration makes these announcements almost nonchalantly, never acknowledging that they are indications of a larger problem with the law. Instead, they simply press forward, ignoring the warning signs and pushing our nation’s health care system even further towards the cliff.
It’s clear what needs to be done here, Mr. President. It’s not complicated or convoluted. On the contrary, it is quite simple.
This law needs to be eliminated and Congress should do whatever is in its power to get that done. This has been my position since the day the law was passed and it continues to be my position today.
I’ve supported repealing Obamacare.
I’ve supported delaying it.
And, I support defunding it.
I’ve introduced multiple pieces of legislation that would repeal the most egregious parts of the Obamacare, including the individual mandate, the employer mandate, the medical device tax, and the health insurance tax.
I’ve come here to the floor on numerous occasions to call for either repeal or a permanent delay to the implementation of the law. And, regardless of how the debate over the continuing resolution plays out, I will continue to do so.
Mr. President, this law costs more and will do far less than was promised when the bill was first drafted, debated, and passed. The Democrats who wrote this law and forced it through Congress may have thought that the American people were naïve enough to believe all the promises that came with Obamacare, but, from the beginning, polls have shown that the majority of Americans do not support it.
That is why I have publicly applauded the House of Representatives for passing its continuing resolution that defunds Obamacare.
I plan to vote in favor of the House-passed bill later this week and against any attempt to strip the language defunding Obamacare from the legislation. I urge all of my colleagues to do the same.
Getting rid of Obamacare is just the first step. Once we do that, we need to work together on a bipartisan basis to find a way to reduce health care costs for the American people.
We’ve seen what happens when one party tries to fix health care on its own. What we got a was a disaster of a law that has actually increased health care costs all while imposing new taxes and mandates on the American people and creating chaos of the entire health care system.
The American people deserve better, Mr. President. And the legislation before us today is the first step toward giving them that. I yield the floor.