Video of the speech delivery is available here.
Floor Speech of Sen. Chuck Grassley
The Myth of Affordability Under the Affordable Care Act
Delivered Wednesday, May 17, 2017
I rise today to share real stories of real hardship from hard-working families in my home state of Iowa.
Seven years ago, Americans were promised that the “Affordable” Care Act would make health insurance cheaper and health care more accessible.
Well, I won’t pretend to break any news here. The facts speak for themselves: Obamacare is not living up to its promises. When passing the law, the other side made promises they knew they couldn’t keep.
The irony here is that the so-called “Affordable” Care Act is, at the end of the day, anything but affordable.
Merriam-Webster defines affordable as an item “having a cost that is not too high.”
I’ve heard from many Iowans who tell me in no uncertain terms: They cannot afford to buy health insurance because Obamacare is unaffordable.
Ever since Obamacare was enacted, I have received letters, calls and emails from Iowans who are frustrated about the soaring costs of their health plan.
Here’s a prime example. One farmer’s insurance premium went through the roof – it jumped 43 percent in 2017 from 2016. If somebody can explain how that’s more affordable, I have oceanfront property in Butler County, Iowa, to sell you.
Another constituent from Garner, Iowa, wrote about her financial hardship. She said:
“We are going to be paying over $1,300 a month on premiums, plus $6,000 deductible. We don’t have that much longer before we qualify for Medicare, but my concern is that until then, we will have to use so much of our hard-earned savings just to pay for healthcare. My fear is that those of us in the middle class will struggle with paying so much that it will wipe out our retirement savings.”
Another constituent, from Buffalo, Iowa, wrote to me, saying:
“I am forced to pay $230 a month for a health care plan that covers NOTHING until I reach $11,000 in deductible. So on top of paying 100 percent of my medical bills anyway, now I also have to pay for insurance I can’t use.”
How did we get to this point?
Seven years ago, I stood right here on the Senate floor and predicted what would happen to the cost of insurance if Obamacare passed.
Let’s take a walk down memory lane for a moment. Here’s what I said in October of 2009:
“And while some of the supporters of these partisan bills may not want to tell their constituents, we ALL know that as national spending on health care increases, American families will bear the burden in the form of higher premiums. So let me be very clear, as a result of the current pending health care proposals, most Americans will pay higher premiums for health insurance.”
Now, I’m not Nostradamus. I don’t have a magic crystal ball. But it was easy to read the writing on the wall. I knew that layers of new taxes and burdensome new mandates in Obamacare would lead us to where we find ourselves today: A broken health care system that is not better off than it was seven years ago. For millions of Americans, it’s much worse.
So where do we go from here?
After seven years of rising premiums, soaring deductibles and climbing co-pays, Republicans are committed to fixing the damage caused by the Affordable Care Act.
Instead of joining us in our effort to fix what’s broken, the other side is doing their best to scare the living daylights out of Americans.
From the way they tell it, the House-passed bill is “deadly.”
What’s truly fatal is the death spiral the Obamacare marketplace is in.
Not only is it unaffordable for too many people, it is unsustainable. Obamacare is unable to fulfill its promises to the American people.
Here’s what every lawmaker in Congress ought to agree on: Insurance isn’t worth having, if patients can’t afford to use it.
And the facts are clear. A one-size-fits-all, government-run plan is driving insurers out of the exchanges, driving up premiums, driving away customers, and driving up the tab to the taxpaying public.
Obamacare has over-regulated, over-taxed and over-sold its promises to the American people.
Obamacare has not healed what ails the U.S. health care system. It’s time to move forward.
I urge my colleagues to drop the partisan charade and join us for the good of the American people.
I will continue coming to the floor to share how Obamacare is not working for Iowans. In the meantime, the Senate will continue working to rescue our health care system that’s sinking under this broken law.