Joni Ernst

Iowans' Struggle with Obamacare - Dec. 2, 2015

Joni Ernst
December 02, 2015— Washington, D.C.
Congressional floor speech
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Promises, promises, promises...

Day in and day out, I hear stories of the broken promises of the President’s failed health care law in Iowa, and across the country.

President Obama promised health insurance premiums would go down by $2,500. They haven’t. In fact, the President’s own administration admits that nationwide, premiums in the exchange for next year have increased by more than 7 percent. The outlook for my state is even worse, with Iowans facing more than a 12 percent increase in premiums.

President Obama’s promises don’t pay these bills. Real people in Iowa and across the country they do.

Mark from Urbandale shared with me that the double digit premium increases his family faces for 2016 are unsustainable and that it may be more cost effective to pay the individual mandate penalty instead.

Similarly, Angela from Centerville said that the plan she had hoped to purchase for 2016 increased by nearly $200, and that was the cheapest option for her. If she keeps her current coverage, her family will be strapped with a nearly $1,000 per month bill for health insurance. She asks, ‘How is it possible that the Affordable Care Act has made health care so unaffordable?’

Let me say that again. How is it possible that the Affordable Care Act has made health care so unaffordable?

It’s a question I get when traveling all across the state of Iowa.

The answer is pretty simple. Obamacare is wrongly rooted in a Washington knows best mentality.

Instead of empowering families and individuals to determine what they want and need in their health care plans, Washington has replaced choice with new one-size-fits-all mandates and taxes.

It’s another costly example of the Washington way failing every day Americans.

Mr. President, the sad reality is that the consequences of this failed law go far beyond just these unaffordable premium increases.

Americans were promised job creation and economic growth, but instead, we have seen employers reduce employee hours in an effort to avoid Obamacare’s employer mandate.

Small businesses—employers—like a marina in Okoboji, have halted their plans to expand and create new jobs because of the mandate. They have even quit hiring folks to fill open jobs and had to cut back on hours for their existing employees to bring them to part time.

And as employers brace themselves for the impending ‘Cadillac tax,’ employees are already feeling the effects – rapidly increasing out of pocket costs. In fact, Ryan from Newton recently learned that his deductible will be doubling next year in anticipation of the tax going into effect.

Obamacare is not helping these folks, it’s hurting them.

At a time when we want to see job growth and rising wages, this is simply the wrong approach. Broken promises don’t cut it.

Today we have the opportunity to roll back some of Obamacare’s most harmful provisions.

Today we can provide much needed relief from the individual and employer mandates, and stop the law’s trillion dollars in tax hikes, like the health insurance tax, medical device tax and Cadillac tax, from being passed on to the American people.

Today we can put patients and doctors back in the driver’s seat when it comes to their health care decision-making.

Today I will stand up for the Iowans and people all across America to fulfill our promise to them—that I am committed to stopping this failed law and paving the way to implement patient-centered options that ensure that folks have affordable coverage and access to needed health care services.

Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor.

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