Julia Lawless, Antonia Ferrier, 202.224.4515
In speech, Hatch Outlines Broken Promises of President’s $2.6 Trillion Health Spending Law
Utah Senator Says, “After centralizing control of the nation’s health care system in Washington, and putting our health care decisions into the hands of government bureaucrats, we will all pay for it through higher taxes, less opportunity, and diminished access to care.”
WASHINGTON –In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined the failures and broken promises of the unconstitutional, $2.6 trillion health spending law. This Friday, March 23rd, marks the second anniversary of the law.
“All American families will pay for this $2.6 trillion spending law one way or another,” said Hatch. “After centralizing control of the nation’s health care system in Washington, and putting our health care decisions into the hands of government bureaucrats, we will all pay for it through higher taxes, less opportunity, and diminished access to care.”
Hatch continued, “And our children will pay for it, as a nation conceived in liberty is increasingly burdened by an unsustainable national indebtedness. That is, unless the American people get the final word on this. They certainly should.”
Below is the text of Hatch’s full speech delivered on the Senate floor this afternoon:
Mr. President, this Friday the nation observes an anniversary that most Americans would prefer to see removed from its calendar. I am talking about the second anniversary of the passage of the President’s health care law.
Rather than celebrate this day, it is one that citizens and taxpayers have come to rue and regret. The process by which ObamaCare became law was an affront to republican principles of democratic self-governance. And the substance of this law is a historic threat to the liberties our Constitution was designed to secure.
A decent respect for the opinions of the American people cautioned against passing this law on a purely partisan basis. Yet in spite of the clear opposition of the American people to this massive expansion of government power — and to its historic spending and tax increases — the President and his congressional allies were determined to jam this bill through Congress.
The architects of this strategy — if not the party loyalists who carried it out against the wishes of their constituents — sleep easy at night having done so, because they knew that this was a once in a generation opportunity. The crowning achievement of the liberal bureaucratic state — a takeover of the nation’s health care sector and its top-down regulation by Washington — had eluded Democrats for over 70 years.
The economic downturn of 2008 changed that. With the election of President Obama and significant majorities in Congress, the left was not going to — in the words of the President’s Chief of Staff — let a crisis go to waste.
What this strategy meant in practice was that Democrats would advance a radical liberal agenda whether the American people supported it or not. That is the anniversary we observe this week.
And it is a dark spot in our nation’s history. The ObamaCare episode showed a fundamental disrespect for the opinions and constitutional common sense of the American people.
Faced with growing unrest — and real concerns about the impact of this law on families, the economy, and access to health care — the law’s proponents assumed that the American people were just too dumb to get it. But once ObamaCare became law, the American people would come to love it, as well as the benefactors who gave it to them.
As Speaker Pelosi explained, we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.
The great liberal conceit was on full display in the process that led to this bill becoming law. We know better than you. We can plan one-sixth of the American economy. And you will eventually come to like it.
Well, as we all know, the American people had something else in mind. They reminded Congress and the President that in this country the people are sovereign. They stood up as free men and women, rejecting ObamaCare before it became law and refusing to embrace it afterward.
And as their understanding of the law has deepened, they have remained constant in their commitment to full repeal. According to a Rasmussen poll this week, over half of Americans support the full repeal of ObamaCare.
Next week the Supreme Court will hear oral argument on the constitutionality of this misguided law. In arriving at their decision later this year, they will consider ObamaCare through the prism of past precedents and the Constitution’s original historical meaning.
But the justices of the Supreme Court are not the only ones evaluating the constitutionality of this law. The American people, as citizens of this nation, have their own obligation to consider whether this law comports with our Constitution and principles of limited government. And on that the verdict is already in.
According to a recent Gallup poll, 72 percent of American adults, including 56 percent of self-professed Democrats, believe that the law's individual mandate is unconstitutional. The average American who opposes this law on constitutional grounds might not be a law professor or an appellate advocate, but those citizens and taxpayers understand that our Constitution was designed to guarantee liberty and that it did so in part by limiting the powers of the federal government and maintaining the sovereign powers of the states.
They know that the unconstitutionality of ObamaCare runs far deeper than the onerous individual mandate. The law is, at its core, a violation of our most deeply held constitutional principles. It undermines personal liberty and puts more power in the hands of the state.
In the interest of advancing what the left views as a constitutional right to health care, they undermine actual constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property.
The law’s mandate for abortion-inducing drugs undermines sacred rights of personal conscience and religious liberty. And its expansion of Medicaid fundamentally transforms the relationship of the states to the federal government, undercutting the ability of those sovereign communities to make basic decisions about the welfare of their citizens by crowding out spending for police, infrastructure, and education.
The American people might not have submitted complex legal briefs in the Supreme Court litigation, but their conclusions about ObamaCare possess a unique and powerful wisdom. The people of Utah and of this country understand that the very DNA of ObamaCare — a commitment to more government control, the empowering of an already unaccountable administrative state, and an assault on free markets — is unconstitutional.
This was not what President Obama promised the American people. The President couched this government takeover of the nation’s health care sector as a modest reform designed to reduce costs.
When he spoke before a Joint Session of Congress in September 2009 to push for his plan, the President promised that it would “slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.” The President swung and missed on all three.
According to the President’s own actuary at CMS, national health expenditures would increase by $311 billion over the law’s first ten years. This really comes as no surprise to the American people. The President’s health care law promised all sorts of new free care. But we all know, contrary to the repeated assertions of President Obama and his Administration, that nothing in life is free.
The bill will eventually come due for all of this so-called free care. And it is taxpayers who will pay that bill.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, “rising costs for health care will push federal spending up considerably as a percentage of GDP.” This is not what the President and his allies promised. We were promised lower costs. What we got were higher costs, more federal spending on health care, and with it, more taxes and more debt.
When fully implemented, ObamaCare authorizes $2.6 trillion in new federal spending.
It will increase premiums by $2,100 for families forced by ObamaCare to purchase their own insurance. Its Medicaid expansions will impose $118 billion in new costs on the states. It will increase spending on prescription drugs, physician and clinical services, and hospital spending. And it will increase the deficit by $701 billion over its first ten years.
And who does the President propose to pay for this? Here’s how. He will pay for it by selling more Treasuries to China. He will pay for it by increasing taxes and penalties by over $500 billion. And American workers will ultimately pay for it with 800,000 fewer jobs than would have otherwise existed.
This is not the story that the President and the Democrats in Congress responsible for this law want the American people to hear. So they will attempt to spin their way out of it.
In a memo obtained by the press last week, the advocates of ObamaCare laid out their strategy to sell the merits of this misguided law prior to oral arguments at the Supreme Court.
This week was designed to lay out all of the great things provided by ObamaCare. But naturally, that memo mentions none of the costs. It does not mention the cost of these benefits for federal taxpayers. It does not mention the costs for employers and workers. It does not mention that the law could lead to as many as 20 million Americans losing their employer sponsored health benefits by 2019.
It does not mention the impact that the half a trillion dollars in tax increases and penalties will have on the economy. And it does not mention the harm that this law does to our Constitution and its principles of republicanism, personal liberty, and limited government.
I wish that I could say I was surprised. But I am not. ObamaCare is merely the capstone to a generations-long liberal project that has attempted to convince citizens that they can have their cake and eat it too.
That they can have all of the benefits of an ever expanding welfare state, and that nobody — or only the very rich — would have to pay for it. ObamaCare exploded this myth.
ObamaCare is the culmination of generations of government expansion, and it shows once and for all that we are all going to be paying for the liberal welfare state. Taxing Warren Buffett is not going to cut it.
All American families will pay for this $2.6 trillion spending law one way or another. After centralizing control of the nation’s health care system in Washington, and putting health care decisions into the hands of government bureaucrats, we will all pay for it through higher taxes, less opportunity, and diminished access to care.
And our children will pay for it, as a nation conceived in liberty is increasingly burdened by an unsustainable national indebtedness. That is, unless the American people get the final word on this. They certainly should.
I believe in the American people. I know what my fellow Utahns think of the President’s health law. No less than legislators or justices, they take the Constitution seriously. And they know that this law is unconstitutional. They know what it does to free markets and to free men and women. They know that if this law is constitutional then there are effectively no limits on what the federal government can do. They know that this law has to go. I look forward to showing it the door. Thank you.
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