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Public Statements

Health Care

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. ROBERTS. No. 1, I want to give the Senator a lot of credit for leading this colloquy in regard to where we are 2 years from the passage. It is hard to say what it is. Now it is ACA, the Affordable Care Act; it used to be PPACA, the acronym, which I thought was very appropriate. Of course if you politicize it, it is called ObamaCare. I don't mean to do that in this debate. But I do thank the Senator for focusing on jobs and costs.

I thank Senator Kyl for a CBO truth. He ought to start a new program like the old show ``Truth Or Consequences.'' Senator Kyl pointed out the consequences. He pointed out the consequences, when you ask the CBO for a score when you are going to try to pass the bill, they will give you exactly what you want, but the truth is down the road it costs an awful lot more.

There is one person you left out in terms of the CBO telling the truth and that is Richard Foster, who is the Actuary down at the Department of Health and Human Services. That man ought to get a Purple Heart, a Medal of Honor--not a Medal of Honor, just give him a Purple Heart and maybe a Bronze Star for action in the war zone and then maybe a Medal of Freedom later.

Senator Sessions, who is our resident bulldog on the budget, hit it on the second counting. I thank him for that. That is a half trillion dollars. The other half of that is that it is a half trillion that goes to all these exchanges and the rules and regulations in setting up the Affordable Health Care Act. Basically, it denies Medicare reimbursement to all sorts of folks--doctors, nurses, hospices, pharmacists, ambulance drivers, hospital administrators--on and on. We had a health care summit in Topeka, KS, and 34 regulations popped out of the woodwork. We could have had 164 but we sent the 34 in to the Secretary of HHS. Then he went out to Hays, KS. That is really out there in the rural health care system. We had seven different regulations. I hope later when we have a colloquy on regulations we can certainly insert those into the Record.

Senator Boozman, who is a physician, gave a standpoint of what happens in regard to rationing.

Let met get Senator Boozman's attention for a minute. Do you know who enforces this thing, at the end of the year if you do not sign up, if you do not put on your tax return, which I assume it will be, in terms of what kind of coverage you have? It is the IRS. The IRS is going to be the enforcement entity in regard to whether you have a provider. If you do not, you get fined.

Stop and think a minute about what is going on, and all the waivers that have been going on in terms of who is enforcing this. Your friendly Internal Revenue Service--what--reinforcer? I have a lot of feeling about this.

I took the floor today to discuss something called promises made and promises not kept. I tell the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin, of all the words that come back to bite you, this one has. That is the famous statement prior to passage of the health care reform law by the President: ``If you like your health care plan, you can keep it.'' I will give him credit, he may have believed it then. But as we pointed out with Senator Kyl, Senator Sessions, Senator Boozman, Senator Johnson--that is not the case. I didn't believe it then and I said so. Neither did Senator Sessions. Neither did Senator Kyl. Those two are here now, taking a good look at it. They don't believe it either.

Why? It is pretty simple. Employers and health care providers told me that when the majority of the provisions of the health care reform law would take effect, it would be more affordable for an employer to simply stop offering their employee coverage and pay a penalty rather than face the predictable increase in premiums and to continue to offer any coverage.

Now these predictions have turned into facts. A new study just released by McKinsey & Co., a consulting company, predicts large numbers of workers will be shifted into the health exchanges in 2014. That is a shift that folks should be worried about--exactly what you are talking about, Senator Johnson. Literally thousands of regulations and waivers are pouring out of the Department of Health and Human Services; in fact, to date, 12,307 pages of additional regulations to restrict personal freedom and micromanage the private market.

To make matters worse, there is the predictable worry that the exchanges would be better described as much like Medicaid HMOs. That is the kind of service we can expect to get and that threatens access, choice of doctors, and not to mention the rationing regime that will be the marching order of the day. I will have a lot to say about that in the colloquy in the next several days.

At the time the President made his promise, the CBO estimated that, as Senator Kyl pointed out, only about 7 percent of employees covered by employer-sponsored insurance would make the switch, or be forced to switch, to taxpayer-subsidized exchanges. Now I tell the Senator, study after study is releasing facts and figures that find the health care reform law will cause many or even most employers to quit offering their current health insurance.

In a survey by benefits consultants at Lockton, when asked about the cost of notifying employees of changes required by or resulting from health care reform law, they said each notification will cost $1 to $3 per employee. Talk about cost. This would raise costs by tens of thousands of dollars or more for some firms and nearly one in five firms is considering terminating coverage outright, thanks to the law.

With each study the numbers go up. The McKinsey survey found that 45 to 50 percent of employers say they ``will definitely or probably'' pursue alternatives to their existing health care plans. Even more alarming, some 30 percent of employers will simply stop offering any coverage. Those are the facts. There are more to come.

I am going on too long here, I understand that. I simply say again I thank my colleagues. Contrary to this administration's seeming belief, there is no such thing as free health care. Somebody does pay. In this case the American taxpayers will be forced to foot the bill for workers whose employer-sponsored coverage has been dropped due to health care reform.

There is another quote I wish to mention. It should be the subject of another colloquy. There is absolutely no rationing in this bill, it is just scare talk. Want to bet? There is nothing that hurts the truth more than stretching it. With PPACA or ACA or ObamaCare, jobs and costs will be stressed beyond the limit.

I truly thank the Senator for sponsoring this colloquy.

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