Madam President, this week marks the 2-year anniversary of the President's health care law--one that is often described as his signature legislative achievement. But you would not know it based on the President's schedule this week. For a President who is not particularly shy about taking credit even for things he did not have anything to do with, he is curiously silent this week about a bill he talked about for more than a year before it passed. According to news reports, the President does not even plan to mark the occasion.
Well, we are happy--Republicans are very happy--to talk about it for him, even though he is reluctant. We are happy to point out the ways in which this law has failed to live up to the promises the President made about it. We are happy to make the case for why this unconstitutional infringement on America's liberties needs to be repealed and replaced with the kind of commonsense reforms Americans actually want.
Two years ago, then-Speaker Pelosi said:
We have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.
Well, 2 years later, here is what we have found so far.
The Democrats' health care law has led and will continue to lead to higher costs and hundreds of thousands of fewer jobs over the next decade.
We now know it is loaded with broken promises, such as the one the President made over and over during the health care debate. He said:
If you like your current plan, you will be able to keep it.
According to the independent Congressional Budget Office, 3 million to 5 million Americans will lose their current plan each year under the most likely scenario.
The health care law will strip billions out of Medicare and increase the Medicaid rolls in States by nearly 25 million, costing already cash-strapped States an additional $118 billion and almost certainly lowering the quality of care for millions of Americans who depend on this vital program.
In my State of Kentucky, an estimated 387,000 more people will be forced into Medicaid--at a time when Kentucky's Medicaid Program is already facing huge deficits just trying to provide benefits to current Medicaid recipients. As a result of this law, more than a million Kentuckians or 29 percent of my State's population will soon be on Medicaid. Kentucky's Governor, a Democrat, is on record saying he has no idea--no idea--how Kentucky will meet its responsibilities if the law forces several hundred thousand more people into the State's Medicaid Program. The math simply does not add up.
This is just one example of how the law is unsustainable and hurts the most vulnerable the most. The bottom line is this: This health care law is an absolute mess--a mess--and the American people do not want it. According to a Washington Post-ABC News poll out this week, more than a half of Americans do not like it--a figure that has not changed much at all since the Democrats forced it through Congress 2 years go. Two-thirds believe the Supreme Court should throw out the individual mandate or the whole law.
When it comes to the cost of health care, this law makes everything worse. Two and a half years ago, the President said his health care plan would ``slow the growth of health care costs for our families, our businesses, and our government.'' Yet the Obama administration itself now admits total spending on health care will increase by $311 billion under the President's health care law. According to the CBO, it increases net Federal health spending and subsidies on health care by $390 billion, and drives up premiums on families by $2,100 per year.
Americans wanted lower costs and to have more control of their health care decisions, and they got the opposite instead. They wanted lower premiums; they got higher premiums. They wanted a government that lives within its means, and they got a new entitlement instead. They wanted more options; they got fewer. They wanted better care; it is going to be worse. That is why Americans want this bill repealed.
Look, this bill would be unconstitutional even if it did the things the President said it would. But the fact that it did the opposite of what he promised means it should be repealed either way, whether the constitutionality of it is upheld or not.
It should say something when the President himself is not talking about this bill except in closed campaign events.
It is time to repeal this bill and replace it with the kind of commonsense reforms people want--reforms that actually lower costs, protect jobs and State budgets, and return health care decisions back to individuals and their doctors. That is a reform that both parties and all Americans could support.
Madam President, I yield the floor.
The Senator from Illinois.
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