For Immediate Release
March 23, 2014

Sen. Orrin Hatch: Affordable Care Act disastrous — We need real change

This weekend marks the four-year anniversary of President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — Obamacare. But don’t expect many Utahns or Americans anywhere to be doing much celebrating.

In his push to gain support for Obamacare before it became law, President Obama traveled the country telling Americans that, If you like your doctor, you will be able to keep your doctor. Period. If you like your health care plan, you will be able to keep your health care plan. Period.

Unfortunately, as many have found out the hard way, that’s simply not true. And as we've all come to learn, those claims were so wrong that the fact-checking website Politifact named President Obama’s promise the 2013 Lie of the Year.

It wasn’t true for William and his family in St. George, Utah. William’s daughter has a complicated medical history, and she had been seeing a doctor for several years who successfully found the right treatments to care for her illness.

However, as William wrote to me, “Because of Obamacare, she was not able to keep the doctor she had been seeing for several years.” He added that the new doctor was not aware of the seriousness of her medical condition and of the care required and rendered by her prior doctor to control her illness. As a result she did not receive proper care and her health dramatically declined over the past two-month period. Sadly, William’s daughter had to be admitted to a hospital for several weeks before her new doctor was able to learn her medical history and properly treat her.

Unfortunately, William’s story is just one of many I’ve heard from Utahns fed up with the president’s law. While many are frustrated over losing access to a doctor they had grown to trust, others can only receive the same level of insurance coverage at a much higher price.

Debbie from Salt Lake City is one of those people. Because her husband’s employer decided not to renew their previous health plan, like so many other job creators facing the enormous costs of Obamacare’s mandates, Debbie and her husband looked for a new plan on HealthCare.gov. For the same type of plan they were used to, the plan costs jumped significantly — almost 20 percent of their annual income.

Debbie wrote to me, “We cannot live with this. I am very unhappy and frustrated with this new Obamacare. We not only cannot have the same insurance we had in the past, but the plan we must choose is overwhelmingly expensive for us. We are paying more and getting so much less.”

These are real stories from real Utahns, and they’re heartbreaking.

But unfortunately there’s an attitude of denial by President Obama and many of his friends in Washington, who continue to claim that Obamacare is actually working. The Democrat Senate majority leader even went so far as to say that folks such as Debbie, William and others with similar horror stories are lying about their troubles with the law.

Rather than scrapping this disastrous law and working with Republicans in Congress to implement real, patient-based health care reforms — such as the Patient CARE Act proposal I have introduced — Democrats are choosing to malign those negatively impacted by the law.

Americans deserve better.

It’s my hope, and the hope of so many Utahns I’ve heard from, that President Obama and his allies in Congress will finally work with us to repeal Obamacare and reform our system in a way that Utahns and Americans everywhere deserve.

The last four years of Obamacare have been a disaster. Americans deserve more than just more of the same over the next four years.

- Senator Orrin Hatch is the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.