WASHINGTON—Today, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) delivered a speech on the Senate floor in support of the “Restore Growth First” amendment proposed by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), which would defund ObamaCare in the Continuing Resolution.
“Mr. President, almost everything the American people were told about Obamacare by the bill’s proponents has turned out to be false,” said Senator Lee. “We were promised it would save money. Now we know it will cost money. In just two short years, the projected ten-year cost of the federal government’s health care takeover has ballooned from $940 billion to $1.76 trillion. We were promised it would help a struggling economy. Now we know it will smother the economy.
“The reason Senator Cruz introduced and I support this amendment is that the case against Obamacare is rapidly moving from fears about tomorrow to pain felt today. In 2008, then-Senator Obama promised his policies would lower health care premiums for the average American family by $2,500.Four years later, and two years after President Obama signed Obamacare into law, the Kaiser Foundation reports family health insurance premiums have actually risen by $2,370.
“Mr. President, the beauty of the Cruz amendment is that we don’t have to pass it to discover what it would do. We know what it would do. It would delay Obamacare, and thereby save taxpayer money and American jobs.”
The full text of Senator Lee’s speech is available below:
Floor Remarks on Cruz Defunding Obamacare Amendment
Senator Mike Lee
March 12, 2013
I rise in support of the amendment introduced by my good friend, the gentleman from Texas, that would de-fund the implementation of the Affordable Care Act for the remainder of the fiscal year.
Mr. President, almost everything the American people were told about Obamacare by the bill’s proponents has turned out to be false.
We were promised it would save money. Now we know it will cost money.
In just two short years, the projected ten-year cost of the federal government’s health care takeover has ballooned from $940 billion to $1.76 trillion.
We were promised it would help a struggling economy. Now we know it will smothering the economy.
According to the Federal reserve, employers cite Obamacare as a principal reason for planned layoffs and reluctance to hire new employees.
According to the National Federation of Independent Business, Obamacare’s unconstitutional individual mandate will kill between 125,000 and 249,000 jobs over the next ten years.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare will reduce total American employment by 800,000 jobs by 2021.
In fairness, Mr. President, these are only projections. Though I believe even they are optimistic.
They certainly contradict the fairy-tale arguments in favor of Obamacare in 2009 and 2010. But they are still best guesses.
The reason Senator Cruz introduced and I support this amendment is that the case against Obamacare is rapidly moving from fears about tomorrow to pain felt today.
In 2008, then-Senator Obama promised his policies would lower health care premiums for the average American family by $2,500. Four years later, and two years after President Obama signed Obamacare into law, the Kaiser Foundation reports family health insurance premiums have actually risen by $2,370.
This is one of the things we were told we needed to pass the bill in order to find: a $5,000 premium hike on working families. What else have we found?
We found that when the federal government requires businesses to provide health insurance for their full time employees, businesses will respond by cutting employee hours.
Other companies have chosen to go further, and have simply laid employees off all together or shipped jobs overseas.
Other companies have admitted that the costs Obamacare adds to their businesses will have to be passed on to their customers, in the form of higher prices.
Then there is the devastating impact Obamacare has had on our medical device industry, which is targeted for a special, punitive tax under the law. Companies from Boston Scientific, Stryker, Smith & Nephew and others are laying off workers and shipping jobs overseas.
It’s important to remember, Mr. President, that each of these layoffs is, in a sense, a double strike against our economy. On the one hand, when people lose their jobs and their health insurance, the economy suffers in and of itself.
But on the other hand, because Obamacare and the rest of the president’s failed agenda are weighing down our economy, there aren’t enough new jobs being creating for the recently unemployed to fill.
So the unemployed are not only staying unemployed for longer than normal, but they are also increasing demand for already over-burdened government assistance programs.
Thanks to Obamacare, fewer people are working and paying into the system to support the people Obamacare is preventing from finding work and health insurance in the first place.
Mr. President, the beauty of the Cruz amendment is that we don’t have to pass it to discover what it would do. We know what it would do. It would delay Obamacare, and thereby save taxpayer money and American jobs.
It would also restore a semblance of democratic accountability to the process. After all, the various Departments of the federal government have already issued 20,000 pages worth of regulations to formalize the Obamacare system. In other words, the thousand-page monstrosity Congress passed in 2010 was only a fraction of the final, deforesting product.
Does anyone – literally anyone in the entire country – know what those 20,000 pages of regulations say? For all we know, Mr. President, we could be violating Obamacare right now.
You might think I’m, exaggerating, Mr. President. But as we we were all shocked to learn recently, 98% of all individual health insurance policies in the United States right now are in violation of Obamacare’s standards.
When Obamacare goes into full effect, the Americans who own those policies will have to either buy more expensive insurance, or pay the unconstitutional fine.
To recap, then, Obamacare is already costing us jobs. It is raising health care costs. It is adding to our deficit and debt. It is forcing families off of health insurance policies they have and like. It’s doubling as a Trojan Horse for 20,000 pages of new law no elected official wrote and not a single citizen in the United States has read.
And then of course, there is the slow-motion train wreck of the law’s implementation. A majority of states in the union have already refused to set up their own Obamacare exchanges. The bill has been passed, you see, Mr. President. And the American people now see what is in it. And they want no part of it.
And so the Department of Health and Human Services is now charged with setting up federal exchanges in those states. But they don’t know how. The clock is ticking. People are losing their health insurance. The exchanges are supposed to be ready to handle the massive influx of people dumped by Obamacare onto these exchanges… and the exchanges aren’t going to be there.
What will be there? According to report today by the Associated Press, uninsured Americans will find a 15-page, 21-step application that will need approval from three separate federal agencies. There are expected to be more than four million of these applications next year alone.
And as even an advocate of the program says in the AP story, the form “will take a considerable amount of time to fill out and will be difficult for many people to be able to complete.” And that part of the process [QUOTE] “does not get you to the selection of a plan.”
Mr. President, Obamacare is going to make doing your taxes feel like a round of golf.
For this reason, there are some who believe the only way to expose Obamacare and rescue the health care system is to let nature take its course. Let it go into effect as soon as possible. They say the sooner it collapses, the sooner we can repeal it and start over.
The gentleman from Texas and I, and everyone else supporting this amendment rejects that logic. We cannot in good conscience send millions of innocent Americans into a dangerously dysfunctional health care system run by incompetent bureaucrats.
We will not sacrifice millions of families to prove a political point. People’s lives and livelihoods are at stake. The American people are not pawns in Washington’s partisan game – we work for them, not the other way around.
As public servants, we have an obligation to protect the American people. Obamacare is going to hurt our country, our economy, our constituents, our neighbors. It is the single greatest threat to our economy and our health care system.
Eventually, Mr. President, Obamacare will be repealed. The American people will see the damage it does, and demand we scrap it and start over.
But for now, we must at least must defund it, at least for the life of this continuing resolution.
Senator Cruz and I have been assured this amendment will fail, and that Obamacare will move ahead as planned. If that is the will of the Senate, so be it.
But when Obamacare does start to break down… when waiting times start to grow… when costs start to explode… when taxes start to rise… when doctors and nurses start to quit… when hospitals start to close… when businesses start to shutter… when take home pay falls and jobs disappear… when patients and families truly find out what’s in this bill…
The American people will know who is responsible for the catastrophe of Obamacare… and who, like the gentleman from Texas, tried to help.