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Barrasso: President’s Failed Policies Hurt Middle Class

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) previewed President Obama’s upcoming speech on the middle class and the economy. Barrasso said that the best way for the Obama Administration to help middle class Americans is to repeal Obamacare and cancel the new national energy tax plan.

“Later today, President Obama is scheduled to give the first in a series of speeches about the economy.

“He is pivoting, one more time, to turn his attention to the millions of Americans who are still struggling, four years after the recession ended.

“Now, I say one more time because as one of the reporters wrote this morning, they said this is about the tenth time the President has pivoted to the economy.

“A White House advisor said on Sunday that the President is going to be speaking about ‘what it means to be middle class in America.’

“Well, I hope that President Obama will talk about his own policies. His own policies have harmed and continue to harm the middle class in America.

“I hope he’ll talk about the harm his health care law has done to hard working families.

“I hope the President will finally start talking about these things, because the American people have been talking about them for a long time now.

“I hear it every time I go home to Wyoming—like every weekend, whether I’m in Fremont county, Park county, Laramie county, Natrona county—wherever I am in Wyoming I continue to hear about this.

“Now we’re even hearing about it from the very union leaders who were among the law’s biggest supporters.

“The heads of three major labor unions put out a letter recently that warned of the damage that the health care law is doing—and doing of course to the middle class.

“They wrote that: ‘The unintended consequences of the ACA are severe. Perverse incentives,’ they say, ‘are already creating nightmare scenarios.’

“Perverse incentives are already creating nightmare scenarios. That’s what the law’s supporters are saying.

“They wrote that the health care law ‘will shatter not only our hard-earned health benefits, but destroy the foundation of the 40-hour workweek that is the backbone of the American middle class.’

“If the President wants to talk about what it means to be middle class in America, he needs to explain why his policies are destroying the backbone of the middle class.

“That’s what the union leaders are saying. They’re seeing that the jobs numbers just like the rest of us, are not good for America.

“In June, the number of people working part-time, when they want to work full-time, soared by 322,000.

“There are more than 8.2 million Americans working part-time jobs because their hours were either cut back, or because they can’t find the full-time work that they seek.

“The White House has conceded that the law has a problem—a problem for employers when it said that they needed relief from the logistical mess that the law has created.

“That’s why the Obama Administration decided to delay the so-called employer mandate. That was one of the signature parts of the President’s health care law.

“Under the law, every employer with more than 50 people working 30 hours a week or more, people are going to have to offer expensive, government-mandated health insurance.

“So now we have a one year delay on this extremely unpopular and damaging Washington mandate.

“Well, if the law is so bad for businesses that they can’t handle it in 2014, it’s still going to be bad for them in 2015.

“That was just one regulation. The President’s health care law has already created more than 20,000 pages of new regulations.

“Well, those regulations concern middle class families that I hear from in Wyoming, but it’s not just Wyoming.

“Now another thing middle class Americans are worried about is their health insurance premiums—and they have a right to worry.

“The McClatchy news service ran this headline last week. It said: ‘Obama boasts of health care savings, but costs likely to rise for many.’

“The article went on to say, ‘experts predict that premiums on individual plans will increase in most states because of the new consumer protections the sweeping legislation requires.’

“Consumer protections’ is just the White House’s way of saying more red tape.

“That includes all of the new required services that people have to have in their Washington-mandated, Washington-approved health insurance.

“It’s all of the health care services people have to pay for in advance—whether they need them, whether they want them, whether they will ever use them.

“Those requirements are a big part of the reason, and another reason that health insurance costs are still going up—even though Washington Democrats promised that the health care law would have the opposite effect.

“It’s happening all across the country. Indiana was the latest state to announce that premiums are going to go up next year, not down.

“Last Friday, the state insurance department, this isn’t just somebody looking around, this is the state insurance department, they said that average rates for people buying individual plans will go up 72 percent.

“That announcement follows big increases in Ohio, Maryland, Idaho, Missouri, and Kentucky.

“In one state after another, rates for next year are being announced—and they are much, much higher than they were before the President’s health care law went into effect.

“So when President Obama stands up to give his speech today, and over the next few weeks, he should tell his audience the truth about what’s happening to the rates, and why.

“He should also talk to middle class Americans about what might happen to their access to their family doctor under his health care law.

“Remember when the President said that if you like your doctor you can keep your doctor? That was something the unions wrote about in their letter – it’s a promise they think that the President now isn’t going to keep.

“Well, I think they’re right. Now the Health and Human Services Department admits that you may not be able to keep your doctor.

“This comes from the website the department set up to try to answer questions people have asking about the health care law.

“The department’s website now says that if you get your coverage through the government’s new insurance marketplace, ‘you may be able to keep your current doctor.’

“May’ be able to keep your doctor.

“That’s a long way from when the President of the United States stood up and promised, actually he used the word guarantee, that you’ll be able to keep your doctor.

“It’s that kind of backpedaling, and broken promises that those union leaders worried—it has them worried, it has job creators hesitant, and it has middle class Americans all across this country concerned.

“And of course the health care law is just one of the areas where overregulation is hurting the economy.

“Another example is President Obama’s announcement last month of tighter regulations on power plants.

“That’s on top of the excessive red tape the Administration has already put in place that makes it harder and much more expensive for America to produce American energy.

“Last week, I introduced a bill to block President Obama from going around Congress to implement his national energy tax through regulations.

“The American people have repeatedly told Washington to focus on jobs—not to roll out more red tape that increases energy bills, and decreases economic opportunities.

“The President promised that he cared about hard working, middle class families—but his policies, one after another, are hurting those families, and are making their lives much more difficult.

“President Obama needs to stop the Washington spin, and tell the truth, the truth about his health care law, and the truth about his other failed policies.

“Then, he needs to come back to Washington, put aside his tired old rhetoric, and work with Republicans to do the right things for the American people.”