Skip to primary navigation Skip to main content

Chairman's View: Obamacare is a “Train Wreck” for Taxpayers, Families

“The people wanted real health care reform, but Washington Democrats instead gave them a ‘train wreck.”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) explained exactly how the President’s health care law will be a “train wreck” for hard working American taxpayers and their families.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“Recently the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius gave a speech. It was a speech in which she said she didn't realize how complicated it would be to implement the President's health care law. She didn't attribute this to all of the flaws that all of us know are in the law. The only problem that she could see was because she said of Republican opposition.

“Democrats in Congress and the administration don't seem to be interested in admitting that there are flaws in their law. They’re only interested in trying to make sure someone else takes the blame for their huge mistakes.

“So the question is: are Republicans opposed to this law? Well of course we are, Mr. President because it is a terrible law. Democrats know how much of a mess this law is too. Some of them are even finally willing to admit it.

“Last week, the Senate Finance Committee held a hearing on President Obama's budget for the next fiscal year. Secretary Sebelius testified at that hearing.

“I want to read an article in the newspaper ‘The Hill’ about what happened. The article is entitled: ‘Baucus warns of ‘huge train wreck’ in enacting Obamacare provisions.’

“The article identifies Senator Baucus as ‘a key architect’ of the President’s health care law and quotes him telling Secretary Sebelius: ‘I just see a huge train wreck coming down.’ He added, ‘You and I have discussed this many times, and I don’t see any results yet.’

“It also quotes Senator Baucus saying that, ‘Small businesses have no idea what to do, what to expect.’

“I agree with Senator Baucus. Businesses do have no idea what to expect, and this health care law is a train wreck.

More Part-Time Workers, Fewer Full Time Jobs

“So what does this mean in the real world? Well, it's causing businesses to avoid hiring or to cut back hours. There are new headlines on this every day.

“Here's what one said last week: ‘Nation's biggest movie theater chain cuts workweek blaming Obamacare.’ Regal Entertainment has more than 500 movie theaters in 38 states.

“Last month it began cutting shifts for employees to 30 hours per week. That’s the cutoff under the health care law where an employer has to provide health insurance.

“The company sent out a memo to its workers explaining why it had to cut the shifts.  It said ‘to comply with the Affordable Care Act, Regal had to increase our health care budget to cover those newly deemed eligible based on the law's definition of a full time employee.’

“One theater manager said they had a wave of resignations from managers who’ve seen their hours cuts by 25 percent. He said, ‘In the last couple weeks, managers have been quitting on a daily basis from various locations to try and find full-time work.’ He went on to say that, ‘Mandating businesses to offer health care under threat of debilitating fines does not fix a problem, it creates one.’

“Well, we already had 22 million people in this country who either can't find a job or can't find full-time work that they want. Now we have even more hardworking Americans whose hours are being cut because of the unreasonable burdens of the President's health care law. 

“That's what this law does to jobs in America. That's what the coming health care train wreck looks like.

“Here's another headline, this one from the ‘New York Times’ over the weekend. It's on page 1, and at the top of the page is the news about the capture of the second bomber. And at the bottom of that page 1, ‘For millions, part-time work is full-time wait for a better job.’

“The article talks about exactly this problem of people who want full-time work, who want to work but cannot find full-time work. They can only find part-time work. The article specifically cites the health care law as a reason why so many people are having trouble.

“It quotes one economist saying,’ there's another reason to believe that part-time employment will stay higher for longer. Namely, the incentives to employ part-time workers created by Obama's health care reforms.’ The article goes on to add confusion about the law and its requirements abound. That's the same point that Senator Baucus made.

“Businesses don't know what to expect. People don't know what's going to happen, and its hurting families and it's holding down our economy. Again, that's what the health care train wreck looks like.

Health Care Costs Rising

“The train wreck also means that health care law is going to be very hard on family finances. It's going to increase how much people have to spend for insurance care. A study by the Society of Actuaries says the cost for health claims will go up an average of 32%.

“Those higher costs are going to be passed along to consumers. That means more money out of the pockets of hardworking people and that's going to be money that they can't afford to lose right now.

“We had another sign of a coming health care train wreck when President Obama finally released his budget for the next fiscal year. Of course it came in over two months late.

“Why did it take so long? President Obama certainly didn't use the extra time to come up with any sort of a plan to stabilize the nation's finances.  Instead he continues to add to the debt burden of America’s children and makes it harder for Americans of all ages to achieve their dreams.

“The President also offered no real entitlement reform and no plan to grow America’s stagnant economy. President Obama is truly budgeting from behind.

More Taxpayer Spending

“What's also very interesting is what this budget says about the coming train wreck of the President's own health care law. The train wreck is coming not just because the health care law is unaffordable for families, it is also unaffordable for the taxpayers of this country.

“The President’s budget fails to slow down Washington spending, but it is also dishonest about how much of a budget buster his health care law will be. In fact, the administration has used a lot of smoke and mirrors to try to hide the true cost of the health care law.

“Here's how the Associated Press put it. They ran an article titled ‘Tracking Obama's health law in budget isn't easy.’ The article points out that the President's budget includes no chapter, no table, not even a mention of what all of the new health care spending adds up to.

“This Associated Press article quotes Bill Hoagland, who is a senior Vice President of the Bipartisan Policy Center. He says, ‘I'm sure somebody has a spreadsheet somewhere, but clearly they are not publishing it in the budget.’

“The Obama Administration knows that if they spelled out exactly how much this law is costing, the American people would be outraged.  So, what do we know about the cost of the health care law?

“Well, we do know that the President wants almost $975 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services next year. It is a budget increase of over $100 billion just since last year, an 11.5% increase.

“The health care law was supposed to help slow down the growth in spending.  Instead it's using taxpayer dollars to fuel the fire, and it's powering us toward the coming train wreck faster than ever.

“Part of the money would go to pay for 3,000 more Washington bureaucrats at Health and Human Services. Now, that kind of increase in Washington spending is not something that the American people need and it's not anywhere close to what we, as a nation, can afford.

“In another part of the budget, it says that Washington needs $32 billion to pay for what the administration calls premium assistance credits. Those are the subsidies to help people pay for the new insurance that they're going to have to get under the President's health care law.

“Ten years from now the President says this $32 billion will grow to $118 billion a year. That's a train wreck. What else does the President want? Well, he wants $772 million for administrative costs at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That's going to pay for more than 4,600 bureaucrats.

“Costs going up instead of down, debt going up, not down, the Washington bureaucracy getting bigger and bigger. That's a train wreck.

“The President's budget also asks for $440 million for the IRS to administer the health care law. That's $440 million that the IRS wouldn't need if Democrats had not forced this law on the American people. The Internal Revenue Service is going to need 1,954 more employees just to implement the health care law. Not more doctors, not more nurses—1,954 more IRS employees.

“That's just the beginning of what the agency is going to be asking for in the next few years. We're going to see an army of new IRS agents and auditors to investigate the health insurance choices of Americans and their families.

“The Obama administration isn't worried about all of that power in the hands of those IRS agents. It's not worried about how unaffordable the health care law is for taxpayers. The only thing that this administration seems to worry about is who's going to take the blame for the train wreck we all know is coming right around the corner.

“The President's health care law is bad for our economy, it’s bad for consumers, it's bad for patients and it's bad for the health care providers of our nation.

“Now the President's budget makes clear that this health care law is also very bad for hardworking American taxpayers. The people wanted real health care reform, but Washington Democrats instead gave them a ‘train wreck."