July 15, 2014 - Issue: Vol. 160, No. 110 — Daily Edition113th Congress (2013 - 2014) - 2nd Session
HEALTH CARE; Congressional Record Vol. 160, No. 110
(Senate - July 15, 2014)
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[Pages S4468-S4470] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] HEALTH CARE Mr. BARRASSO. Mr. President, last week I heard the majority leader speak about people who are happy with the President's health care law. While I agree that some people have been helped by the law, many Americans have been hurt by the law's destructive side effects. Republicans have given examples of people from all across the [[Page S4469]] country of all ages and in all kinds of situations being harmed by the health care law, and we found that a disproportionate number of those being hurt are women. These are middle-class Americans who work hard, do the right thing, and they just want to care for themselves and their families. The health care law that the President wrote--and every Senate Democrat in the Senate voted for--is standing between them and the lives they want to live. That is what I am hearing from my neighbors back home in Wyoming, and I think I hear from more individuals than many of the Senators do because I was a physician and practiced medicine in Wyoming for 25 years. I have taken care of patients and families. I would like to share with everyone what I have been hearing from the women around the State of Wyoming and how this law has been impacting their lives. I got a letter from a woman in Gillette, WY, and she said: ``I wanted to share with you my frustration and worry concerning the Affordable Care Act.'' She said she and her husband have three daughters--ages 12, 9, and 3--and her husband started a new business. She said: ``Thanks to the new health care law our insurance premium increased $560 per month.'' That is $6,700 more a year that this family has to pay for insurance under the President's health care law. She wrote: As we struggle to plan for our girls' futures, attempt to make my husband's business prosper, and dream of what our future may hold once our children are raised, it is disheartening that we will now pay nearly $17,000 a year for health insurance. She said: There are so many things we could, and should, be able to do with that money. That additional $560 per month could be put in our girls' college funds, be given back to our church and community. Sadly, we don't have the luxury of deciding how to use that hard-earned money. We have been told by Washington that we will spend our money on health insurance. I have never felt so completely let down by the American government. Here is a woman who just wants to raise her family, send her daughters to college, maybe grow the family business, and there she is in Wyoming struggling with the burden Washington Democrats imposed on her with this terrible health care law and its damaging and disheartening side effects. President Obama says the Democrats who voted for this law should ``forcefully defend and be proud'' of the health care law. Are Democrats in the Senate who voted for this health care law proud of what they are doing to this woman and her family? Are Democrats willing to come to the floor and forcefully defend and be proud that this Wyoming family has to spend thousands of dollars on health insurance instead of on their daughters' college funds? Millions of women all across America are in the same situation as this woman in Gillette, WY. There has been a new study that looked at how much more money people are paying this year for insurance in the ObamaCare exchanges than they paid last year before the Obama health care law kicked in. They found that a lot of women are paying much more because of the President's health care law. In North Carolina--and we just heard from the Senator from North Carolina--an average 27-year-old woman is paying $1,100 more for health insurance coverage than she did last year. In North Carolina a 64-year- old woman is paying $5,000 more because of all of the requirements of the health care law. Is that Senator willing to come back and forcefully defend and be proud of this health care law and what it has done to these women in her home State? It is the same in Arkansas. An average 40-year-old woman pays $1,300 more this year because of the law. A 64-year-old woman in Arkansas is paying $3,400 more this year in the exchanges. In one State after another, women are paying more. Women of all ages are getting hurt. The Washington Post had a very interesting story about this on June 24. It said: ``Older women bear the brunt of higher health insurance costs under Obamacare.'' That is the headline from the Washington Post--``Older women bear the brunt of higher insurance costs under Obamacare.'' The article says a new report found ``women age 55 to 64 will face a huge spike in cost when they go out to buy individual insurance on the federal exchange.'' The article says, ``These women bear the brunt of the increased premiums and out of pocket expenses after the Affordable Care Act.'' Under President Obama and the Democrats' plan, older women are bearing the brunt of higher health insurance costs. This is a disgraceful side effect of the Democrats' health care law. Women across the country are paying more money for insurance they do not need, do not want, and will likely never use. Are Democrats willing to come to the floor of the Senate and forcefully defend and be proud of the fact that older women are bearing the brunt of higher health insurance costs under this law? I got another letter from a rancher from Newcastle, WY. She and her husband were paying $650 a month for insurance. She said, ``We don't carry maternity insurance because we have completed our family.'' This woman has had a hysterectomy. I get letters more than maybe most because I am a physician who practiced in Wyoming for a long time. She says their insurance agent told them they couldn't renew their policy at the end of last year. The reason? Because it didn't meet the President's requirement that they have to have maternity coverage, so they had to choose a new policy from the exchange. Now, remember, she doesn't need or want maternity coverage and she is never going to use it because she has had a hysterectomy. According to President Obama and the Democrats, it doesn't matter one bit. It doesn't matter. They were paying $650 a month before ObamaCare. She said her insurance agent quoted her rates for a comparable policy of anywhere between $1,300 and $1,600 a month or they could take a bronze policy with much less coverage than they had before for $900--still more than they were paying before. So $3,000 a year more than they paid before ObamaCare, and the out-of-pocket costs would be much higher and much more difficult for the family. This woman from Wyoming writes: We're being forced out of a good policy, which we pay for with hard-earned money, which we choose, into a dangerous financial health care situation, with less coverage, and which puts my husband and I, who are proud of our own sustainability, on to what we consider the welfare rolls by needing a government subsidy to afford a plan that we don't want or need. We don't want, we don't need, and we are forced on to it. She writes: To say that we're angry is an understatement. Why is this happening? Why can Obama force me into this? We feel helpless. This isn't what the President of the United States promised the American people. It is not what every Democrat who voted for the health care law promised the American people. It seems to me that President Obama and Democrats in the Senate just don't get it. All these women wanted was a chance to buy insurance coverage that worked for them. They wanted the right to be left alone to make their own choices about their family's health care, not to have Washington make choices for them. They wanted the care they need from a doctor they choose at lower cost. President Obama wasn't interested in listening to what women wanted. He wanted to tell--he wanted to mandate--he wanted to tell them and mandate what he thought was best for them. It is outrageous. I hear from people almost every day who are feeling the costly and cruel side effects of the health care law. I heard from a woman in Casper, WY, where I practiced and was chief of staff of the Wyoming Medical Center in Casper. She gets her insurance through her job. The costs have gone up so much under ObamaCare that she is worried about what might happen. She writes: I am concerned for what I might be facing when my employer has to comply with the [health care law] next year. I have not had children yet because of the effects the recession had on me and my husband. I would very much like to think we could have one in the next couple of years, however, the insurance fiasco worries me. So this woman is worried that the health care law might actually affect her and her husband having a family. Why did President Obama take away the rights of women to choose what [[Page S4470]] health coverage is right for them and their families? This was an active decision made by Democrats in this body and the President of the United States to take away the rights of women to choose what health coverage is right for them and their families. Why did President Obama raise the cost of health care and make it more expensive for women? These are just a few of the women who are being hurt by ObamaCare and just a few of the ways the President's health care law is affecting women all across America. Again, there are some people who have been helped by the law. Some people are happy with their insurance. Nobody is denying that. There are also people who have been hurt by the law and who can't afford it and who are devastated because of it. What does the President have to say to those people? Why won't President Obama sit down with just one of these women who has written to me and actually listen to the damage he has done to them, to their families, and to their health care as a result of his health care law? Why won't Democrats come to the floor of the Senate and talk about these millions of Americans--millions of women--whom they have harmed with the health care law? Republicans have offered ideas for health care reform that allow women to make choices on what is best for them and their families. If they want maternity coverage, they can find a policy that offers it. They wouldn't be forced to pay for what they don't need or don't want just because someone in Washington tells them they must. People wanted health care reform to give them access to quality, affordable care--not more expensive coverage. Republicans are going to keep coming to the floor. We are going to keep offering real solutions for better health care without all of these expensive and offensive side effects. Thank you, Mr. President. I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a quorum. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll. The assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll. Mr. COATS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. ____________________