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Public Statements

Health Care

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, next week does indeed mark the 1-year anniversary since the Democratic health care bill was signed into law. We all recall the debate quite well. It was the most partisan of debates. The only bipartisan moment was in the House when there was bipartisan opposition to the new health care bill. In the Senate, it was a strictly partisan vote--60 Democrats voted for it, 40 Republicans voted against it. If a single Democrat--even one--had changed their vote on that Christmas Eve, we would not be looking at the 1-year anniversary of the Democratic health care bill. This morning, I would like to look back on what we learned during that year.

Shortly before the final vote, then-Speaker Pelosi famously said that the Democrats had to pass the bill so they could find out what was in it--away, as she put it, from the ``fog of controversy.'' Now that the fog has lifted, the question arises, What do we know now that we did not know then?

We now know that those who promised us that ``if you like your plan, you can keep it'' were dead wrong. The Obama administration has already admitted that at least 7 million seniors will now lose their Medicare Advantage plans. And one of the administration's own top health care analysts recently admitted that this oft-repeated pledge was ``not true in all cases.''

We all knew the bill created strong incentives for businesses to drop or change employees' health care plans, the ones they get through their jobs. Now that the bill is passed, the White House admits it too. One recent study suggests that as many as 35 million American workers could see their employer-based health insurance plans dropped in this way. The administration's promises on this point, which were echoed by Capitol Hill Democrats, such as Speaker Pelosi, turned out to be hollow. Today, even the administration itself predicts more than half of all American workers will see their current employer-sponsored health care plans change within a couple of years' time.

Shortly after the health care bill became law, the Department of Labor acknowledged all of that. Small businesses would be most affected, it said, with as many as 80 percent expected to have to change their coverage to comply with the new law. For all remaining businesses, the administration now estimates that somewhere between 39 and 69 percent will be forced to change their plans to comply with costly and burdensome new dictates from health care bureaucrats in Washington.

What happened to the reassuring predictions that everybody's plans would stay the same? It turned out to be nonsense--utter nonsense.

Americans have every reason to be outraged, not only by the bill itself but also by the rhetoric that was used to sell it. Far from being reassured of all the bill's merits, Americans feel betrayed. Check the record. I doubt that one Democrat who voted for this bill told their constituents they would see a change in their plans. Yet here we are a year later and they just expect people to accept it. Democrats knew exactly what Americans wanted to hear, and that is what they told them. Perhaps the biggest deception of all was the claim that people could keep the plans they have.

OK, what else do we know about the bill? At a time when nearly 14 million Americans are looking for work, we know this bill only increases costs and burdens on employers and small businesses, making it even harder for them to keep current workers on board or to hire new ones. According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, the health care bill will result in the loss of more than 800,000 jobs over the next 10 years. What is more, 200 economists and experts, including two former CBO Directors, have said that the law's ``expensive mandates and penalties ..... create major barriers to stronger job growth.''

Another chief selling point of the bill is the promise that it would lower costs. Yet now we hear estimates from one of the administration's top actuaries that it will increase costs by $311 billion. And the CBO now estimates it will increase Federal health care spending by nearly $ 1/2 trillion over the next decade.

What about the cost to individuals and families? Well, according to the same independent analyst at the CBO, once fully implemented, the bill is expected to cause premiums on family policies to increase an average of $2,100 a year. So $311 billion more in cost to the government; $2,100 a year more in cost to the average family.

Meanwhile, other new rules are making it difficult for families to secure child-only plans. The fact that families in 19 States no longer have access to these once-common plans is just one of the harmful, unintended consequences Americans are stuck with now that the ``fog of controversy'' has lifted.

Taken all together, these broken promises illustrate why so many Americans continue to support a full--a full--repeal, which the new Republican-led House has passed, followed by commonsense reforms that will actually lower costs, improve care, and protect jobs.

The fog of controversy may have lifted, but contrary to the confident predictions of some, the contents of the health care bill are even worse than anyone expected. One year later, it looks even worse than it did then, and that is saying something.

I yield the floor.

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