To mark the second anniversary of Obamacare, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) delivers the Weekly Republican Address, calling for repeal and replacement of the Democrats' health care law. On the eve of next week's historic Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of the law, McConnell says it's time to replace Obamacare with common-sense reforms Americans want, reforms that lower costs and which put health care back in the hands of individuals and their doctors, rather than Washington bureaucrats.
FULL TEXT TRANSCRIPT:
Hello. I'm Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator from Kentucky and the Republican Leader of the United States Senate.
A little more than two years ago, at a moment when Americans were just learning some of the details of President Obama's proposed health care law, the former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, made a comment that's really come to embody the Washington mentality for many Americans.
Commenting on the questions that many Americans had been voicing about the President's health care bill, former Speaker Pelosi said that Congress would have to pass it in order to find out what was in it.
Well, two years have gone by and this is what we know: the President was certainly right to join a call for health care reform. But the giant bill that he and others rammed through Congress has made things worse.
That's why, as we mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of Obamacare this week, Republicans in Congress are more committed than ever to repealing this unconstitutional law and replacing it with the kind of common-sense reforms Americans really want, reforms that actually lower costs, and which put health care back in the hands of individuals and their doctors, rather than unaccountable bureaucrats here in Washington.
As it happens, this year's anniversary happens to fall on the eve of historic Supreme Court arguments on Obamacare. Beginning on Monday, the nation's highest court will hold three days of arguments to decide, among other things, whether the law's mandate that Americans must buy government-approved health insurance is consistent with the U.S. Constitution. As one of many public officials who filed a brief before the court opposing this bill, I believe it isn't. But even if the court disagrees with me, the consequences of this bill are reason enough to make repeal a top priority.
As we look back at how we got to where we are today, most people would probably agree that America's health care system has been in critical need of reform for years. Among other problems were the rising costs of health care for families, job creators and taxpayers, the exposure of too many families to potentially catastrophic health care costs, and the lack of coverage for millions of Americans.
Yet rather than solving the most pressing problems in the old system, the Democrats' partisan health care law has made many of those problems far worse. Costs and premiums are rising, Medicare has been raided, states now struggle to keep pace with even costlier federal mandates than before, and the economy is being sapped as new mandates hold back employers from creating new jobs.
What's more, Americans continue to oppose Obamacare in large numbers. A recent USA Today/Gallup poll showed that 72 percent of Americans, including most Democrats, believe the government mandate to buy health insurance violates the Constitution. This, along with a growing list of unintended consequences and broken promises, are causing many of its original supporters to take another look.
Far from curing a rise in health care costs, Obamacare is now expected to increase health care spending by more than a quarter of a trillion dollars, and federal health care spending and subsidies by nearly $400 billion. Health care premiums for American families are expected to skyrocket by $2100 per year.
And the White House has now admitted what they refused to acknowledge when they forced it into law: a key component of their deficit reduction claims, the CLASS Act, which is designed to deal with long-term care, can't possibly be implemented in a financially sustainable way.
Now they tell us.
As for the law's broader impact on the economy, here too the reality has proven far less appealing than the President's rhetoric. According to the director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare means 800,000 fewer jobs over the next decade. One recent private sector analysis concluded that the President's health care law is 'arguably the biggest impediment to hiring, particularly hiring of less skilled workers'.
States have their own challenges. Many couldn't afford federal health care mandates before Obamacare mandated dramatic increases in Medicaid rolls - and the costs to pay for it. Needless to say, even if states are able to meet the costs of covering as many as 25 million more Medicaid patients, the quality of care for those who rely on Medicaid would almost certainly suffer.
In my own state of Kentucky, an estimated 387,000 more people will be forced into Medicaid - at a time when the state is already struggling to provide benefits to the recipients who are currently enrolled. Kentucky's governor - a Democrat - is on record saying he has no idea, no idea how Kentucky will meet its responsibilities if this law forces several hundred thousand more people into the state's Medicaid program. The math just doesn't add up.
And then there are America's seniors, millions of whom have learned since the passage of this bill that the health care they have and like won't necessarily be there in its current form for them anymore.
President Obama was right to attempt a reform; he joined a long list of members of both parties who want to see our health care system improved. But Obamacare clearly isn't the answer. And two years after its passage, Americans have now come to their own conclusion. They don't like it, they think it's unconstitutional, and they want it repealed.
The time has come to clear the way and start over, to replace this unconstitutional law with common-sense, step-by-step reforms that lower costs and Americans support.
VIDEO, IMAGE and TEXT CREDIT: gopweeklyaddress