Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) spoke about his new report with fellow doctor, Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Their report "Prognosis: Outlook Not So Good," provides an update on their three previous reports about the health care law. The new report details the senators' predictions that they made about the law and the reality today.
Excerpts of his remarks:
"Yesterday President Obama held an event at the White House to talk about his health care law. The President said "the debate over repealing this law is over,' he said "the Affordable Care Act is here to stay.'
"Of course, last October President Obama said that his health care law was "the law of the land.' Then he went ahead and changed or delayed the law more than 20 times after that--on his own, without coming to Congress.
"If it's the law of the land, how does he get to change the law of the land 20 times?
"Back on March 6, President Obama said that the Democrats' health care law he said "is working the way it should.'
Obamacare Continues to Hurt Families in Wyoming
"If the law is working the way it should, why do people in Wyoming keep telling me how bad the law is for them personally?
"Just the other day I heard from a woman in Rawlins, Wyoming, she wrote "my husband has been self-employed as a small truck driving company servicing the oil and gas fields in Wyoming for over 13 years.' She said "we have always purchased individual health care coverage for our family of five. We currently pay $906 for that coverage.'
"She says "the lowest price ACA Bronze plan will increase our premium to $1,359 a month, an increase of $452 per month, an amount we cannot currently absorb. She goes on to say this is not affordable. She asks why is President Obama doing this to us?'
"That's a good question. Why are Democrats here in Washington doing this to families like this woman's family in Wyoming? Why does President Obama think his law is working the way it should?
"Well, the Senate Democrat Majority Leader, Senator Reid, has said here on the floor of the Senate back on February 26 that the law is going great. The Majority Leader said despite all the good news, there's plenty of horror stories being told.
"He went on to say and I will quote, "all are untrue, but they're being told all over America.' The Majority Leader added that all of the stories were "made up from whole cloth.' He said "lies distorted by the Republicans to grab headlines or make political advertisements.'
"Why does Senator Reid think this woman in Rawlins, Wyoming is making up a story out of whole cloth?
"Remember, the President also said that if you like your insurance, you can keep it. He said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. He said people's health care costs were going to be $2,500 lower by now. So the President has said a lot of things that turned out not to be accurate.
"Now the President says that his health care law is here to stay. Given the President's history, I think it's fair to get a second opinion.
New Coburn-Barrasso Report on Consequences of Obamacare
"As a doctor who has practiced medicine for 25 years, taken care of families in Wyoming, I come to the floor to tell you I bring my medical experience along with my colleague's experience, Senator Tom Coburn from Oklahoma.
"He and I have put together a report that looks at some of the promises that the Democrats have made about the law and some of the things Republicans have said about it.
"Now, the report is called "Prognosis.' What we have done is come out with a report going through three different previous reports that as doctors we put out watching the health care law as it has been developing.
"Each of the reports, one called Bad Medicine, one called Grim Diagnosis, and one called Warning: Side Effects, were released between 2010 and 2012.
"We grade ourselves now on how the predictions that we made over the last four years have turned out.
Prediction One: Americans Would Lose Their Insurance Plans
"First prediction we made, report number one, Bad Medicine, we warned millions of Americans could lose their health insurance plans.
"Headlines all across the country show that over five million Americans did, in fact, get letters that they lost their health insurance plan. Health insurance they liked, worked for them, something that they chose, and they lost them because the President said it wasn't good enough.
"He said he knew more about what they needed for themselves and their family than they did. So we predicted that four years ago, millions would lose their health insurance plans, and millions did.
Prediction Two: Obamacare Mandates Would Increase Insurance Costs
"Now, we warned that the law's new mandates would increase health costs and obviously increase the cost of insurance. Well, that original diagnosis is confirmed as well.
"As the letter I just read from the family in Rawlins, Wyoming, families all across Wyoming and all across the country are seeing incredible increases in the cost of their insurance, they're paying more, in their opinions they are getting worse insurance, the President said better, I say worse, because they're having to pay for lots of things they don't ever need, they don't want, they will never use, but yet the President says he knows better than they do about what kind of insurance they need and what's best for them and their family. They're also being faced with higher co-pays, higher deductibles, higher out-of-pocket costs.
Prediction: Short-Term Fixes Threaten Seniors' Long-Term Access to Care
"We warned additionally that short-term fixes threatened seniors' long-term access to care. That is actually exactly what happened.
"The health care law took $500 billion off of the Medicare program to take care of our seniors, not to strengthen Medicare, not to help our seniors, but to start a whole new government program for other people.
"And for those 14 million Americans on Medicare Advantage, a program for which there are advantages, preventive care, coordinated care, things that one would want, well, that's been dramatically hurt by the President's decision to take money away from the very popular Medicare Advantage plan.
Prediction: Patients with Preexisting Conditions Will Still Face Restrictions
"We warned that patients with preexisting conditions will still face care restrictions. I listened to the President's speech, I read editorials written by colleagues on the other side of the aisle as recently as last week that said people with preexisting conditions are all being protected. That's not true, madam President.
"We know of patients who have had to, because of their condition, leave the state in which they live to get specialty care in other states.
"And when they have lost their insurance and have bought insurance through the plans of their state, children with cystic fibrosis seeking specialty care in Boston are excluded from doing that under the plans because they bought the insurance in the state in which they live and the insurance that they got did not cover any out-of-state physicians.
"So children have been hurt by the President's health care law and we can identify those victims, those young victims of the President's health care law.
"We warned that the individual mandate will fail with the IRS as an enforcer. The IRS even admits they don't have a whole mechanism put together to make sure that the mandate to fine Americans for not buying a government-approved product would be collected by the IRS.
Prediction: IRS Taxes Would Harm Small Businesses
"And we warned that new IRS taxes would harm small businesses. Again, that initial diagnosis is now confirmed.
"Small businesses are impacted all across the country by additional expenses and costs making it much harder for them to provide insurance to their workers.
"Many looking at this and saying, you know, it might just be cheaper to pay the fine than to do what we would like to do and have done in the past, which is provide insurance that worked for those employers and their employees, but perhaps doesn't meet the President's recommendations of what many people say is much more insurance than they will ever need, want, use, or can afford.
"The second report that we came out with a number of years ago is called "Grim Diagnosis.' And in that we went through a number of reports after the initial report on Bad Medicine. Grim Diagnosis provided warnings that the employer mandate would lower incomes and result in hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost.
"We're still watching that one very carefully because we do know that with the employer mandate there have been stories of businesses with 50 employees saying we're going to have to get below 50, not going to hire more people, got to get below that number.
"The President's working to maybe make that a higher number, but no matter where that number line is drawn, people are finding that from a business standpoint, there are advantages of being below a certain number of employees, and then not having to comply with the expensive mandates of the law.
Prediction: Risky Insurance Scheme Will Cost Taxpayers
"We warned that the law included a risky insurance scheme that would cost taxpayers dearly. That original diagnosis is confirmed as well. With something called the Class Act.
"And folks that looked at it carefully on both sides of the aisle called it a Ponzi scheme, a Ponzi scheme that would never work, could not be afforded. They said it was something that Bernie Madoff would even be proud of yet the Democrats forced it into the health care law in spite of warnings against.
"And then our final report was called "Warning: Side Effects.' That was released in 2012 and we started talking about the side effects of the health care law.
Prediction: Obamacare Includes Expensive Tax Hikes
"We warned that the law includes hundreds of billions of dollars of tax hikes. Well, that has been confirmed when all one has to do is looking at the list of new taxes brought on by the health care law.
"It goes on and on and on with one new tax after another, and these are taxes on real people that get passed on to others if they're applied to a business, and totaling a trillion dollars in gross tax increases over the next ten years. A trillion dollars from 2013 to 2022.
"We warn the new insurance cooperatives would waste taxpayer dollars, and that's exactly what this report confirms, and it goes state by state where we see significant wasting of money as reported in "The Washington Post' and in "USA Today.'
"We warn the medical device tax would stifle innovation, and that original diagnosis has been confirmed as well.
"So I come to the floor today, the day after the President held his mission accomplished speech at the White House, to tell you that the prognosis for this health care law continues to be grim, that the points that we have made throughout continue to be true and the people all across the country are experiencing it day to day.
"They're experiencing it in their lives. They're experiencing it when they try to continue health insurance that works for their family. They are paying more out of pocket. Their premiums are higher. They may not be able to keep the doctor that they had and liked. They may not be able to go to the hospital that they have gone to.
"I mean, it's just interesting that in the state of New Hampshire where there are 28 hospitals, 10 of them are excluded. Ten of the 28 hospitals in the state of New Hampshire are excluded from the insurance being offered on that state's exchange to be sold in that state.
"Even the doctor who is the chief of staff of one of those hospitals, well, she is not, or her insurance does not permit her to go to the hospital where she is the chief of staff. Is this what the Democrats had in mind when they passed this health care law?
"People paying more in premiums, people losing their doctors, not having access to the hospitals in their community, higher co-pay, higher deductibles. That's what the American people are facing.
"So I think it's time for the President of the United States to acknowledge the pain that his health care law has caused people across the country, and I know he watches the polls, and the polls continue to show that for every one person who says they may have been helped by the health care law, there are more than two people who say they have been harmed.
"People knew that we needed health care reform in this country, and they knew the reason. People knew what they wanted. They wanted the care that they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower costs.
"And this health care law has failed to deliver to the American people what they wanted, what they asked for and instead are trying to deal day to day with something that the Democrats in this Senate and in the House, shoved down the throats of the American people."