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Public Statements

Health Care

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, last week one of our most senior Democratic colleagues, a primary author of ObamaCare, referred to the law's implementation as
"a train wreck.'' He warned: "Small businesses have no idea what to do.'' They have no idea "what to expect.'' He also expressed concern that the health insurance exchanges for consumers and small businesses could turn into a fiasco. I agree with him. I think just about everyone in my conference agrees with him.

Here is the difference. This is not some grand revelation to Republicans. We have been saying this since day one. We said a government takeover of health care would raise health care costs and premiums. We said it would raise taxes on the middle class. We said it would force millions of Americans to give up insurance plans they liked and wanted to keep. We said it would bury families and small businesses in a literal mountain of regulations, and we said it would cost our country jobs. We shouted these things from the rooftop throughout the health care debate. A few of us have even said it would be a ``train wreck.''

Until now, the President's allies mostly ignored or brushed off our concerns. But do you know what. With each passing day, it appears clearer and clearer that we were right to sound the alarm.

Only now are Washington Democrats starting to come around to the reality of what they passed. Perhaps they thought a "yes'' vote on this bill would somehow magically cure our country's health care challenges without any cost increases, without hurting the middle class, and without the massive, unnavigable bureaucracy that is being erected literally as I speak.

That is the problem. That is why we are stuck in this mess. Our constituents did not send us here to robotically fall in line behind bad legislation and then pat ourselves on the back for ``doing something.'' They sent us here to eventually elevate public policy and to think about the medium- and long-term consequences of our actions.

Look, ObamaCare's mounting challenges shouldn't come as much of a surprise. It is not just that Republicans have warned about them for so long or that experts echoed our concerns. A lot of the problems in this 2,700-page bill should have been pretty self-evident right from the start.

In some ways I am glad to see more and more Washington Democrats and their allies come around to the reality of what they have done.

Earlier this year Democrats helped us repeal the CLASS Act, for instance. Last month, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 79 to 20, to repeal the law's job-killing medical device tax. Last week we saw a union reverse course and come out for repeal of the law. I would hope more would come out and join us in repealing it in its entirety, root and branch. I am optimistic we will see more common sense take root in the days to come as the country learns more about this law and the harm it is causing families, businesses, and taxpayers. I suspect we will.

When administration officials are reduced to hoping that the law's implementation will not amount to ``a third world experience,'' then you know there is trouble on the way.

That is why I have also called on the President to address the Nation and give an honest accounting of what many Americans can expect as this law starts to come online: the higher costs, the premium increases, the taxes, the loss of health care plans they like and want to keep. All of that is happening. We asked him to do this in his State of the Union speech. He should have, because the longer he waits to lay out the truth for the American people, the more people are going to get blindsided by all of this. That is simply not right. The President shouldn't waste any more time. In the meantime, Americans can rest assured Republicans will keep working to repeal this law. I hope more of the President's allies will join us in this fight as well, because all of us owe our country better than this.

For the sake of my constituents in Kentucky and for the sake of Americans across the country, I urge my friends on the other side to join with Republicans and stop the train wreck, stop this train wreck before things get even worse.


On the matter currently before the Senate, I wish to make the following observation about the Internet sales tax bill. Earlier this week I announced my opposition to this bill, which I don't think is in the best interests of Kentuckians or its taxpayers in general. I know everyone in the Chamber doesn't feel that way. This bill may pass. There are Members on both sides who support it. Before it does, I hope the Senate will at least have some chance to offer amendments.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.

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