The full text of Senator Lee’s remarks is available below:
Two weeks ago, while most Americans were busy getting ready for the Fourth of July holiday, the Obama Administration made a stunning announcement about the president’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
The president admitted to the American people that because Obamacare was so poorly crafted, he was delaying the enforcement of the employer mandate and would not assess fines and penalties to big companies that did not provide insurance to their employees.
The president explained that businesses could not handle “ the complexity of the requirements,” and that government bureaucrats would spend the next year simplifying the reporting rules so companies could comply.
I expected that in the next paragraph he would acknowledge that American families also deserved relief because, as polls consistently reflect, they have very big problems with the requirements, as well.
They have concerns about the government-run health care scheme, known as “the exchanges.” Henry Chao, the chief technical officer in charge of implementing the exchanges, has said, "I'm pretty nervous . . . Let's just make sure it's not a third-world experience."
American families also have very grave concerns about how much Obamcare is going to add to the national debt. The CBO now estimates that the cost to taxpayers over the next ten years will be $1.8 trillion.
Young Americans are particularly concerned about Obamacare because it is becoming clear that they will see the highest increase in premiums. One study published in the magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries shows that middle- and low-income single adults between 21 and 29 years old will see their premiums rise by 46% even AFTER they take the Obamacare subsidy.
A joint report by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce, Senate Finance, and Senate HELP committees that looked at over 30 different studies concluded that “Recent college graduates with entry-level jobs who are struggling to pay off student loan debt could see their premiums increase on average between 145 and 189 percent. Some studies estimate young adults could experience premium increases as high as 203 percent.” In my state of Utah, premiums for young people will jump anywhere from 56 to 90 percent.
As I read the statement from the Treasury Department, I was shocked to find no mention of these people. Parents, families, students, employees, taxpayers and other hardworking Americans were totally left out, along with THEIR “concerns about the complexity of the requirements.”
A senior advisor to the president took to the White House blog to spin the Administration’s announcement. She said QUOTE, “In our ongoing discussions with businesses we have heard that you need the time to get this right.”
But why aren’t American families part of these ongoing discussions? Isn’t the White House obligated to “get this right” for them, too, BEFORE assessing fines and penalties and forcing them into a government-run “third world experience?”
We knew Obamacare would be unaffordable. But now we know it’s also going to be unfair.
It is fundamentally unfair for President Obama to exempt businesses from the onerous burdens of his law, while forcing American families and individuals into Obamacare’s unsound and unstable system.
It is unfair to protect the bottom lines of big business, while making hardworking Americans pay the price through higher premiums, stiff penalties, cut-backs in their hours, and job loss.
It’s unfair to give businesses more time to figure out complex rules and regulations but force everyone else to figure out equally complex mandates and requirements.
This administration has chosen to put its own political preferences and the interests of various government cronies ahead of the American people.
Republicans in Congress must now stand up for the individuals and families who do not have the money, lobbyists, and connections to get this Administration’s attention.
And we should do so using one of the few constitutional powers Congress still guards – its power of the purse. As long as President Obama selectively enforces Obamacare, no annual appropriations bill or continuing resolution should fund further implementation of the law.
In other words, if the president won’t follow it, the American people shouldn’t fund it.
The recent admission by the administration means that after three years of preparation and trial and error, the best-case scenario for Obamacare will be rampant dysfunction, waste, and injustice to taxpayers and hard-working families.
Even the president himself has now admitted that Obamacare won’t work. It is unaffordable and unfair. If he won’t follow it, we shouldn’t fund it.
The only responsible choice now is to protect the country from Obamacare's looming disaster, start over and finally begin work on real health care reform that works for everyone.
Thank you Mr. President.