President’s health care law drives up prices and costs jobs

Last week, the Senate had an opportunity to show the American people that we are listening by voting to repeal Obamacare. The American people want the President’s massive health care overhaul to be repealed and replaced with something less expensive and something workable. Individuals with whom I speak when I go home tell me this. Unfortunately, a majority in the Senate failed to heed the will of the people. I voted to repeal the health care law, but the vote failed 47-51.

Problems with the New Law

Some of my colleagues suggested that this massive, 2,000-page, tax-increasing, job-destroying bill is just what we need. Former Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, during the consideration of this act, famously told a grassroots group, “We need to hurry up and pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.” Every day since the passage and signing of the law, the American people have found something new in the bill that they do not like.

Under the new law, Medicare faces over $500 billion in cuts, and senior citizens and future senior citizens have a right to be concerned. These decreases include $155 billion from hospitals, $202 billion from Medicare Advantage, $15 billion from nursing homes, $40 billion from home health agencies, and $7 billion from hospice. These only make Medicare’s problems worse.

The law also falls short of the President’s goal of controlling runaway costs. In fact, it raises projected spending. Last week, in his State of the Union Address, President Obama said the health insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs. This is simply not true.

The President’s own actuary said overall national health expenditures under the health reform act would increase by a total of $311 billion and that health expenditures will be 21 percent of the gross domestic product by 2019. Blue Shield California Health Insurer recently stunned individual policyholders with a huge rate increase, effective March 1, 2011, seeking cumulative hikes of as much as 59 percent in premiums for tens of thousands of their customers.

Hampering Job Creation

It is not just the government bean counters who are worried. The National Federation of Independent Business writes: “Small business owners everywhere are rightfully concerned that the unconstitutional new mandates, countless rules and new taxes in the health care law will devastate their business and their ability to create jobs.” Already real consequences of this health care reform law are being felt. Abbott Laboratories announced it is cutting about 1,900 jobs, and companies from McDonald’s to 3M are requesting wavers from the law.

Obamacare will Cause Higher Taxes

In Mississippi, the legislation will cost the state $1.7 billion over 10 years, including $443 million in year 10 alone. From fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2020, the massive expansion of Medicaid will cost Mississippi taxpayers $225 million to $250 million extra each year. Our Governor has stated that this law will certainly force Mississippi to increase its taxes unless it is repealed.

Opposition to the law is bipartisan. Phil Bredesen, a former Democrat Governor of Tennessee, criticizes the health care law, saying it will cause deficits to go up, costs to continue increasing, employers to drop coverage, state costs to increase, governments to grow, and make our current problems worse. The facts are there. This is a terribly flawed piece of legislation, and the consequences have already started to mount up. For those reasons I will continue voting to repeal this unworkable law.

Roger Wicker Press Release
2/7/11