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Public Statements

Deficit Spending and the Affordable Care Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate being recognized for the time, and I appreciate the recognition that this Chamber and my colleagues are putting on the issues before us.

As we look at Federal spending, what we have to do is say: What is causing us to be in a position where we are borrowing $2 billion a day? And if we are borrowing $2 billion a day, we have to ask: Is that a sustainable practice and something that we as a Nation can continue? Of course the answer to that is, no, it is not sustainable. Therefore, we have to look at what is causing us to spend more money than we are taking in, and one of the things that is at the top of that list that is too expensive to afford is the ObamaCare program, the Affordable Care Act.

What I would like to do today is focus my comments on what we are seeing from the Affordable Care Act and what has happened with the cost of this program and why it has become too expensive to afford and why we have to talk about it and focus on it and put it on the table as we talk about what our Nation spends.

Now, we all remember supposedly ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act, was going to be a $900 billion program, roughly, that was to give access to affordable health insurance for those who didn't have access to health insurance, but let's look at what has happened.

This was the estimate: under a trillion dollars, $900 billion, when the program was passed. But, oh, remember, we had to pass it in order to read it to find out what was in it. After we read it the first time, $1.4 trillion. My source on this is the Congressional Budget Office, the CBO. Every time it has been reviewed, with some of the nearly 13,000 pages of rules and regulations, guess what has happened? The cost estimate has gone up. Now ObamaCare is a $2.6 trillion program. So what we are looking at is a near tripling in cost before the program goes into effect. This is why we continue to say, as we look at fiscal health, fiscal restraint, you have to look at what is happening with the cost projections on ObamaCare.

Now, for those of us from my State of Tennessee, this is something that is not new to us. We had the test case for HillaryCare in our State. It is called TennCare. What happened with the TennCare program was it ended up quadrupling in cost in a period of 5 years.

Now, this causes us a little bit of concern because we look at what has happened with the cost of government-managed and -delivered health care services. Well, let's take a look at Medicare and where it was supposed to be in 1968 and then what has happened with its costs. You can look at these lines, the red line.

These are on my Web site for our colleagues that would like to go and look at the Web site.

You can see what happened in 1968, and the red line shows where it has grown to today. For something that was to end up being about $12 billion a year, we are now spending over $400 billion a year on. You can see what were to be the projections here on this bottom line, and you see how far it has exceeded its projections. So because of this, we are quite concerned with the growth and the projections of growth for ObamaCare.

Look at the track record of government spending. Do programs generally come in below their estimates? No. They generally exceed those estimates. So we continue to be very concerned about what will happen with the cost of ObamaCare and the impact this is going to have on our $3.5-trillion-a-year budget, and we continue to say: We have to review this; it is too expensive to afford; and does it fit into what the American taxpayer is willing to pay for?

Because every penny we spend here in Washington, D.C., comes out of the taxpayers' pockets from money that they have earned and then have paid in taxes, sent to Washington, they expect us to be very careful stewards of those dollars.

Before my time expires, Mr. Speaker, I just want to point out one other concern that we have with the exchanges and the way they are going to handle information. Six hundred million dollars to build a computer system that doesn't work and doesn't protect the identity and the information of enrollees in the health care exchange is another of the problems there that is worthy of discussion of this program.

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