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Barrasso: President Needs to Listen, Not Lecture On Obamacare

August 1, 2013

Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about the Obama Administration’s latest sales pitch aimed at promoting the President’s health care law. Barrasso said that instead of spending the rest of the summer trying to sell this expensive and failing law, the President should simply listen to Americans who are deeply concerned about how this law will affect their care, their families and their jobs.  

Excerpts of his remarks:

“Many of us will be leaving in the next day or so, heading home to states across the country and as we do we’ll be traveling our states, listening to our constituents and hearing what is on their minds.

“One of the things that I hear about every weekend in Wyoming is that people are concerned about the President’s health care law – and specifically how the law affects them, affects their lives, affects their families, affects their jobs.  

“And people all across Wyoming and I believe all across the country are angry. Angry that the White House is unfairly giving employers a one-year delay in the mandate to offer insurance—but did not delay the individual mandate. The mandate that says every American must buy or hold Washington approved insurance. And for many of these people, it is very expensive insurance.

“Instead of granting a permanent delay of helping all Americans, President Obama and his supporters are trying to convince the American people that this health care law is working just fine.

“Once again, the Obama Administration is lecturing the American people, instead of listening to the American people. 

“They think that if they just give more speeches and deliver more sales pitches, that the American people will finally like this law. It’s not going to happen.

“Just look at how far the Obama Administration is willing to go with its latest sales pitch.

“Last week, CNN reported that the Administration called together a bunch of Hollywood celebrities, Hollywood celebrities to help convince young Americans to buy expensive health coverage. 

“The youth of America are not going to fall for it.

“Even though many of these Hollywood stars are great actors who always remember their lines, young Americans understand that Obamacare is the wrong script for America.

“Even though some of these stars deliver funny jokes on Saturday Night Live, they are about to find out that this health care law is no laughing matter.

“In fact, Americans of all ages believe that the law is unworkable, unaffordable and deeply unpopular. They’re also finding out its unfair.

“That’s what CBS found last week. They did a poll. They found that 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the law.

“It also found that only 13 percent of the people say that the law will help them personally. 

“Three times as many Americans in the poll believe that the law will hurt them personally.

“Three times as many people believe that the law will hurt them personally, then the people that it will help.

“So over the next couple of months, the American people can expect a barrage of advertising. There was a big story about it today in the New York Times about musicians playing songs on the West Coast trying to get people signed up for the exchanges—all aimed at trying to distract the American people from the health care train wreck that is coming.

“According to the Associated Press, at least $684 million will be spent nationally on publicity, on marketing, and on advertising for the law. 

“The Washington Post found the that the states will be running ads not just on TV and radio.

“You’re not going to believe this, they’re also putting slogans on coffee cups, on airplanes flying banners across beaches – and even believe it or not, on portable toilets.

“Nearly $700 million – a windfall for advertising agencies, and a hard sell for hardworking taxpayers.

“So the Administration is picking the pockets of the American people for advertising—while the health care law is shrinking the paychecks of the people who can only find part-time work.

“Speaking of part time workers, I’d like to talk about a new story out that has come out that demonstrates the height of hypocrisy surrounding the President’s health care law. 

“Frankly, this story is so outrageous that it’s one of those things that you can’t even make up.

“The headline of this article reads ‘Half of Affordable Care Act call center jobs will be part-time.’

“Here are the details. The article is about a new call center in Contra Costa County, California.

“This is part of the effort to have the so-called navigators, who will answer Americans’ questions about the health care law.

“The call center ran ads for more than 200 jobs and it said that all of these jobs would be full-time—and that’s what people are looking for in America, full-time jobs, full-time work.

“But once the new workers started training, some of them got a different story.

“They found out that they would actually be part-time employees—with no health benefits. Let me emphasize that point. 

“Even the Obamacare navigators are not going to be covered by the health care law—and they’re not going to be provided health care.

“Even some of the navigators will not know how they can get affordable health care coverage—even though they’re the ones that are supposed to be giving advice to Americans.

“Even some navigators are being forced to work part time because the company cannot afford to provide expensive, government mandated approved insurance that they’re supposed to teach others how to get.

“It turns out that the Obamacare navigators need their own Obamacare navigators.

“The article even quotes one worker saying, ‘What’s really ironic is working for a call center and trying to help people get health care, but we can’t afford it ourselves.’

“That’s what this Administration has done to this country. I don’t call that ironic, I call it outrageous.

“So the question is – who are the navigators going to call for help?

“And how are they going to answer Americans’ questions when many of them don’t know how they are personally going to be able to afford the health care coverage that the government and the President of the United States mandates they have.

“Now, the bad news is that this story is only one of many new examples of hypocrisy recently surrounding the President’s health care law. 

“Week after week, we have seen labor unions, one after another, labor unions who originally supported the law – now express concerns about how the health care law will impact their members’ access to care.

“Late last week, we even heard from something called the National Treasury Employees Union. 

“It’s important to know that this union represents most of the IRS workers—the 100,000 IRS workers, who are the ones who will be enforcing the health care law. 

“And what about these IRS workers, what do they say?

“Well, it turns out that the IRS employee union said that they are ‘very concerned’ that they might actually have to buy their own health insurance in the exchanges, just like other Americans.

“Now, these are the exact same IRS agents who will collect massive amounts of data, personal data on people’s individual lives and their health care choices.

“They will investigate whether people have the right coverage. They will apply tax penalties to anyone who doesn’t.

“These are the agents who now say they want no part of the health care law’s exchanges for themselves.

“They actually have sample letters that the union has sent to the IRS agents to send to members of Congress to say I am one of your constituents and we don’t want it to apply to us and we want to hear back from you. 

“Well, this health care law is bad for all Americans.

“Each of those stories demonstrates again that the President’s health care law is fundamentally broken.

“Instead of spending the rest of the summer trying to sell an expensive, failing product, the President should simply listen.

“He should listen to young people, young people who are about to see their premiums soar.

“He should listen to Obamacare navigators who can’t find affordable health care.

“He should listen to the IRS agents who enforce the law – who don’t want to live under the law.

“He should listen to the American people about what they have to say about the high costs of their health insurance coverage.

“He should listen to what Americans have to say about how hard it is to find a doctor—to find a doctor who will take care of them.

“The President should listen to what Americans have to say about how hard it is to keep their current coverage.

“And the President should listen to what the American people have to say about trying to make ends meet on a part-time salary—a part time salary because of the health care law because of the incentives in the health care law to knock down employees’ work hours to fewer than thirty. 

“Then, he should come back to Washington after he actually listens, not lecture, come back to Washington, sit down with Congress – Republicans and Democrats working together – and work on real solutions that will give Americans what they wanted in the first place with health care. Which is the care they need, from a doctor they choose, at lower costs.

“Things that have not been provided under a health care law—and remember as Nancy Pelosi said, first you have to pass it to find out what’s in it.

“The American people now know more and more what’s in this health care law, which is why it is even less popular today, than it was the day it passed. And why for every one American who thinks they will be helped by the health care law, three Americans believe that their lives will be made worse by the law forced through this body.”