Video of the speech delivery is available here.
Floor Speech of Sen. Chuck Grassley
The Affordable Care Act is Collapsing
Delivered Monday, May 15, 2017
I rise today to speak some more about the Affordable Care Act. The law is collapsing before our eyes.
After seven years, Obamacare continues to over-reach, over-promise and over-stay its welcome for the American people.
Before I dive into the details, I want to share a story about a bridge in the state of Washington.
Tacoma Narrows Bridge, built in 1940, was the world’s third largest suspension bridge. It was considered a state of the art masterpiece of 20th century engineering. But the bridge was set to fail from the very beginning.
On July 1, 1940, the $6 million bridge opened to traffic. Just 5 months later, on November 7, 1940, the bridge collapsed.
What caused the massive steel and concrete structure to twist, turn and drop nearly 200 feet into the Puget Sound below?
Importantly, there was a key foreshadowing clue. The bridge was nicknamed “Galloping Gertie” for its dancing, swaying bridge deck.
On most days, it resembled a roller coaster rolling in the winds. But on the morning of Nov. 7, Gertie’s dance became twisted in howling 40-mph winds. Dramatic footage shows tons of concrete and steel cables snapping “like fishing lines” before its collapse.
Gertie essentially self-destructed due to design flaws that created sheer havoc in high winds.
Like Obamacare, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge wasn’t built to last. Like Galloping Gertie, Obamacare is on a self-destruction course with destiny.
Galloping Gertie collapsed by a flawed design that was unable to withstand high winds. And every day that goes by without a bipartisan solution to fix the flaws, Obamacare is moving the American people closer to a calamity.
Sooner rather than later, Obamacare will become its own bridge to nowhere with no insurance plan on its exchanges. And millions of Americans will be left twisting high and dry.
The warning signs can no longer be ignored.
First: Insurers are bailing. The Individual market is near collapse.
Just last week, another insurance company – Aetna -- announced it will quit the remaining two states it planned to sell plans in under Obamacare.
That means in 2018, Aetna will sell zero plans on the individual market.
Just a year ago, in 2016, Aetna participated in the individual market in 778 counties across the country. In 2017, that number fell to 242. In 2018, that number will be zero. I repeat, zero.
My home state has been hit particularly hard by insurers pulling out of its individual market.
In 2016, United Health Care Group announced it would leave Iowa the following year.
Last month, Aetna and Wellmark announced they would be pulling out of the individual market in Iowa.
This leaves 94 out of 99 counties in Iowa with ONE choice for health insurance on the individual market.
A constituent wrote to me following the news of their departure:
Quote: My son recently turned 26 years old and is ineligible to remain on my insurance. Therefore, he signed up for his own policy, through Wellmark. My son farms with my husband, so while my husband has coverage through me, my son may soon be facing the fact that he will not be able to buy health insurance.
My son, a true “beginning farmer” will be forced to leave our farming operation and seek employment solely for health care coverage.” Unquote.
If Congress doesn’t act, the individual market will come crashing down just like the Tacoma Bridge.
We simply can’t ignore another warning sign: healthier, younger people are choosing the off ramp – the toll to join Obamacare is unaffordable. Obamacare is unsustainable.
Remarkably, instead of joining us to fix this broken bridge, the other side wants to leave Americans twisting in the wind. In my home state, 70,000 Iowans are enrolled in the individual exchanges. And the last carrier left – Medica -- is on the fence about its plans for 2018.
The day has come. It’s time to cross the bridge. It’s time to repeal and replace Obamacare before it collapses.