WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke about how the health care law has created higher costs, more confusion and less confidence in the Obama Administration.
Excerpts of his remarks:
“With less than two weeks remaining from the deadline for people who need to sign up for health insurance that starts for them to be insured for January 1st, there is a significant amount of anger as well as anxiety across the country.
“The web site where people are supposed to go to buy that insurance has been plagued with problems that everyone in the country seems to know about, and that has caused huge amounts of anxiety.
“I heard about it last week in Wyoming, I hear about it on Capitol Hill with staff members, and I hear it pretty much anywhere I go. What people have been learning is that the problems with the web site is just actually the tip of the iceberg.
“The Obama Administration has been saying that it's been fixed, that the problems with this health law are fine, that everything is good, that a majority of people are having good experiences.
“The law continues to leave so many Americans struggling, struggling with higher costs, with greater confusion and really with a lot less confidence in the Administration. People all around the country are worrying if the Administration even knows what it's doing.
“People at home in Wyoming –and I went not just around the communities in the state and traveled to a number of different communities, but I also went to my own medical office where I practiced as an orthopedic surgeon at Casper Orthopedics for 24 years and people were telling me how worried they were about the higher costs they’re seeing regarding paying for insurance for next year.
“I got a letter from one man in Cody, Wyoming. He talked about the rates that he's been quoted are going to go up from about $860 a month that he pays now—he has a family of four –to $2,400 a month. $860 to $2,400 a month. He said ‘I'm not sure what planet they think I live on, he said, ‘but there is no way I can spend more than half of my monthly income on insurance.’
“Well, I hear the same thing from people all around Wyoming. People are having the same sticker shock all over the country.
“Now, we know that more than 4.7 million Americans, 32 different states are being told that they can't keep the insurance that they had.
“Well now what they have to do is buy new Washington -approved health coverage that really may not be the right coverage for them and may likely cost more than they were paying before.
“Millions of Americans are going to be forced to use money that in the past was used to pay rent or put their children through school or to invest in their communities or in a business, to help make repairs to the house, and now that money's going to go to pay for higher premiums as well as the incredible high deductibles that people are seeing related to the health care law.
“Ten weeks after the web site launched, there is still an awful lot that's broken, including the parts that actually get people the insurance that they think they signed up for.
“A number of my staff have applied, and they believe they have signed up for health insurance—they are not sure. They haven't yet gotten confirmation. I know that Members on Capitol Hill who have staff signing up are experiencing that same thing.
“You know, last month, one of the officials from the Department of Health and Human Services testified in the House of Representatives that as much as 40% of this web site's system still hasn't even been built yet. The web site still has trouble transmitting information to the insurance companies once someone has chosen a plan.
“It still hasn't figured out how to automatically pay the portion of premiums covered by government subsidy. There are still many, many security holes that can be exploited by con artists, by hackers.
“Certain branches of the government have been warning citizens to be cautious when going on the web site because of the concerns about exploitation, people who are trying to use these in a fraudulent way.
“And then you hear the Administration who is bragging. I mean, it's really sad that almost nine weeks after the web site opened, the Administration is now bragging that it only has an error rate of 10% on one important step of the web site.
“This is a President who said that the web site was going to be running like Amazon.Com. He said that three or four days before the web site opened. Now nine weeks later, he's delighted that the error rate is still one out of ten. Does the President actually believe that Amazon would accept a 10% error rate in their customers not being able to finish their purchase?
Lack of Confidence in the Administration
“All of these flaws and failures have led to a dramatic loss, I believe, of confidence by the American people in their government—and according to a new Gallup poll, 52% of Americans are in favor of scaling back the health care law or repealing it entirely.
“People continue to turn against the law for a number of reasons, and it's not the web site. It's the higher premiums, it's the cancelled coverage, it's can't keep their doctor, fraud and identity theft, higher co-pays, higher deductibles, and confusion about what's going to go wrong next because so many things that the President and his Administration have said, have looked into the camera, told the American people would be one way turned out to be something very different.
“There have just been so many changing stories coming out of the White House. The President said if you like your health insurance, you could keep your health insurance. Then he actually said, period, a punctuation mark.
“The President said if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.
“Well, on Sunday, one of the architects of Obamacare went on Fox News and admitted also that that wasn't true. This is Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Rahm Emmanuel, former Chief of Staff of the White House, a medicine professor.
“What he says is if you like your doctor and you want to keep your doctor, you can pay more for insurance that includes your doctor.
“A lot of places, you can't even buy insurance that will cover that doctor. This isn't at all what the President promised.
“But that's what the President and that's what the Democrats in this body who voted for this health care law have given to the American people.
“You know, just before thanksgiving, the Obama Administration announced that it would have to delay a health insurance exchange that was supposed to let small businesses shop for insurance.
“I remember hearing speeches on this floor about small businesses and being able to find affordable insurance. Well, it turns out once again the Administration knew at least six weeks before that they were going to have to delay the program.
“Did they admit it to the American people? Did they tell the truth? No. They waited. One broken promise after another, one statement after another, the Administration knows is not true.
“So is it a surprise then that the President of the United States is viewed as untruthful by a majority of the people of this country? It's a terrible situation for anyone to put their country in.
“If President Obama really wants to help the American people, he's going to sit down with Republicans and talk about the real issues to reduce costs, to get rid of all of this confusion that he and the Democrats have caused and to restore people's confidence in America as well as in him.
“There's a better way. Republicans agree we need to reform America's health care system. We think that those reforms could have been done without the kind of harm caused by the President's health care law.”