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Public Statements

Obamacare

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, each of us was sent here to serve and protect our constituents. That is why Republicans voted unanimously against ObamaCare in 2009, because we believed it was our job to stand for middle-class families we were sent here to represent, because we--and not just us, but countless health care professionals, policy experts, and citizens across the country--saw this train wreck coming literally years ago, knew the pain it would cause, and warned against it.

I wish the President and Washington Democrats had listened back then. I really do. I wish we had been wrong about ObamaCare too, because the failings of this law are about so much more than a Web site. They are about real people.

Yes, the healthcare.gov fiasco can seem almost comical at times--like a surreal parody of government bungling. But as the President says, this is about so much more than a Web site. He is right about that. The pain this law is causing is not digital--it is real.

Workers first began to feel the pain when employers started cutting hours, and then benefits, and some jobs altogether. Spouses felt it when they lost their health coverage they had had through their husband's or wife's job. College graduates felt it when they could only find part-time work, if they could find anything at all in the Obama economy. And this was before basically anyone had even heard of this ObamaCare Web site.

Now that the health care law is actually coming online, many Americans are finding they will be seeing premium increases or that they will be getting hit with higher copays and deductibles or that they can no longer see the doctors who use the hospitals of their choice. In fact, I have been hearing from constituents in western Kentucky that a number of the hospitals and health care providers they have relied upon will no longer be available in their network--and, in many cases, they will be responsible for 100 percent of the costs associated with services performed at those facilities they used to use.

Let me repeat. One hundred percent of the costs. How is that an improvement? How is that reform?

Many in the middle class are also learning that the health plans they were promised they could keep are being taken away from them anyway. They feel absolutely betrayed. They feel hurt. And they feel vulnerable. When these folks are offered ``comparable'' plans at all, they are often completely unaffordable. And if they poke around on the exchanges--assuming they could even log on--many are finding that ObamaCare coverage is going to cost them way too much, not offer them what they want, or both.

Here is a note I recently received from a constituent in Caldwell County:

According to ..... our health insurance provider, we can elect to stay on our current plan for this year with less coverage or switch to the `Affordable' Care Plan that provides a little more coverage but at a cost increase that is almost double. We currently pay $653 per month and it would increase to over $1100 ..... after talking to the insurance company today, it seems ..... I was lied to by the President and Congress when we were told that the `Affordable' Care Act would not require us to switch from our current insurance provider. My husband and I work hard, pay a lot in taxes and ask for little from our government. Is it asking too much for government to stay out of my health insurance?

Her family is not alone. A CNN report this morning estimates that roughly one-half of the 600,000 people in Kentucky's private insurance market will have their current insurance plans discontinued by the end of the year.

This is not right and it is certainly not fair. It is even more unfair when you consider that the administration chose to exempt businesses from this law for a year but did not think the middle class deserved the same treatment.

Republicans do. We think the middle class actually deserves a permanent exemption from this law. But as long as partisans in Washington continue to jealously defend ObamaCare, we will do at least whatever we can to fight for greater fairness for the middle class.

I hope more Democrats will join us to make that happen because a Web site can be fixed but the pain this law is causing--higher premiums, canceled coverage--that is what is really important, and that is what Democrats need to work with us to address by starting over, completely over, with true bipartisan health care reform.

I yield the floor.


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