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Barrasso: Obamacare is Unraveling Before Our Eyes

July 9, 2013

Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the White House’s decision to delay a key part of Obamacare is a clear admission that this law is unaffordable, unworkable, and unpopular.

Excerpts of his remarks:

“Last week, our nation celebrated America’s Independence Day.

“And the Obama Administration took advantage of the holiday to slip out a couple of announcements about its health care law.

“The first one came late one day, as the media and most of the nation were distracted by their plans for the Fourth of July.

“The Administration finally had to admit to all of America that their health care law is unraveling before our eyes.

“Several months ago, Senator Baucus predicted that the law was headed for what he called a ‘train wreck’—and last week we saw the train really go off the rails.   

“What happened was that the Treasury Department put out a blog post, written by an assistant secretary, late in the day, on July 2nd, that said it would postpone the implementation of the employer mandate part of the health care law until 2015.

“Now, this 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 or more a month, or 30 hours or more a week, was 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.

“Any time you see the Obama Administration leak news like that late in the day, right before a holiday, with the President out of the country, you can bet it’s bad news for him and for them.

“Presidents don’t delay things that are popular, and that actually people want and like.

“So, when you see them try to hide it in a blog post, that’s another sign.

“So here’s what the New York Times said on its front page: ‘Crucial mandate delayed a year for health law. Large companies won’t need to offer plans until 2015. GOP seizes on shift.’

“Washington Post ran a headline, page one: ‘Health care rule is delayed a year – A setback for Obama law.’

“The Wall Street Journal said, ‘Health law penalties delayed.’

“So, the Obama Administration tried to hide its bad news—but it failed. It also tried to spin the collapse of one of the law’s most important features as good news.

“But as we see it here, Washington Post, ‘A setback for Obama law.’

“The Treasury Department’s blog post claimed that it was implementing the law ‘in a careful, thoughtful manner.’

“Well, if they were interested in careful and thoughtful, Washington Democrats never would have pushed through this reckless law in the first place. A law that many of them admit that they never even read.

“Using that much Washington spin when it tries to sneak out bad news is another sure-fire, sign that the White House is trying to hide the train wreck.

“The President and his supporters have been bragging about this part of the law for years. Now here they are, quietly dropping it for a year—and pretending that things are going well for the law.

“Well, What does this announcement really mean?

“First of all, this is a clear admission that the President’s health care law is unaffordable, unworkable, and unpopular.

“And second, it may be too late.

“Here’s a headline from CNN Money yesterday.

“They wrote: ‘For Fatburger and others, Obamacare delay came too late.’

“The article says that for many small businesses—like fast food franchises—well they have already begun adjusting to the law’s burdensome requirements.

“One business owner told CNN, that the delay won’t help his employees.

“He said: ‘All it’s doing is causing confusion, anxiety, and the workers are paying the price. Now the mandate’s a moving target. It’s very, very challenging.’

“So for a lot of businesses, the adjustments that they had to make included cutting back worker’s hours.

“So let’s look at the latest unemployment numbers released last Friday.

“In June, the number of people working part-time, and these are people that actually want to work more, soared by over 300,000.

“There are now 8.2 million Americans working part-time jobs because their hours were cut back, or because they couldn’t find full-time work.

“Republicans have been warning that this would happen because of the Democrats’ health care law, and that’s exactly what’s been happening for months now.

“The White House has admitted as much when it said employers needed relief from the logistical mess that the law created.

“If the law is so bad for businesses that they can’t handle it in 2014, well I’ll tell you, it’s still going to be bad for them in 2015.

“If it’s bad for employers, it’s going to be bad for people, men and women on the street, hard workers of America.  Well, when do they get relief?

“Will the Administration now postpone the requirement that every man, woman, and child in America has to buy expensive government mandated insurance? Well I hope they do.

“You can bet that labor unions, and other special interest groups, are going to step up their lobbying to postpone the parts of the law that hurt them.

“Even the state of Massachusetts is asking for a waiver from portions of the law. 

“Let me be clear, I think it’s a good thing for employers that they won’t have to face this job-killing mandate next year.

“But why should they have to face it at all?

“Is the Obama Administration finally seeing the light on what a disaster it will be to implement? Or is it just another gimmick?

“Well, like Ronald Reagan once said, ‘they only come around on your side when they want to get their hands on your wallet.’

“This one-year postponement is not a real solution. It’s not designed to help job creators, or taxpayers—it’s designed to delay the train wreck until after the 2014 elections.

“This one-year postponement, in my opinion, is a cynical political ploy to try to fool the voters one more time.

“Now, don’t just take my word for it, because CNBC asked Peter Orszag about it the other day.

“People know he headed President Obama’s Office of Management and Budget in the President’s first term, he was a big proponent and supporter of the law.

“He told CNBC that White House officials ‘by definition’ thought that delaying the employer mandate would help them politically, or they wouldn’t have done it.’

“That’s an incredible admission by a former member of the Obama Administration, his inside team.

“Just because the President thinks it’s good for him politically, that doesn’t mean it’s good for the country.

“On Friday, the Obama Administration also tried to sneak out another admission that its health care law isn’t working.

“Remember, even though employers have another year before their mandate kicks in, all of the people still have to buy expensive Washington approved insurance, Washington mandated insurance. And they have to do that by this upcoming January 1st.

“Well, to try to hide some of the cost, taxpayers were going to subsidize the higher premiums some people would have to pay.

“If someone wanted the subsidy, the government is going to have to verify that those people deserved the subsidy. Well, not anymore.

“Because now under the Administration’s new policy—buried away in 606 pages of regulations on Friday – said nobody will be checking those answers.

“In an editorial yesterday, the Wall Street Journal called these ‘ObamaCare’s Liar Subsidies.’ The paper agreed that managing the law’s rules and regulations was complicated.

“Yet,’ the editors of the Wall Street Journal wrote, ‘that is the system Democrats installed when they passed the law, which is not supposed to be optional due to administrative incompetence.

“Administrative incompetence is exactly what this is. It is also a recipe for rampant waste, fraud, and abuse. And it’s an abuse in taxpayer subsidies.

“Now, I’ve criticized the complicated process the Administration was setting up to verify people’s subsidy applications.

“That’s because I think it’s a tremendous example of government overreach, and because Washington bureaucrats at the IRS and other agencies have shown that they can’t be trusted with that kind of information.

“So the solution now apparently is to scrap the verification system.

“We should be cutting the cost of insurance, that’s what people wanted, that’s why we had health care reform, to get down the cost of care—not driving up the cost, giving subsidies to a select few people, and giving Washington more power to watch over the whole system.

“The American people don’t need to put off the wreck until the train goes around one more bend. They want to stop the train wreck from happening at all. 

“The American people want more than a temporary delay of one part of this terrible health care law. They want a permanent repeal of the whole thing.

“Now that the Obama Administration has admitted its law is too complicated, and would have too many negative side effects, it’s time for it to set aside the political games and do what’s best for the country.

“It’s time to repeal this bad law and replace it with health care reform that will work.