Washington, DC…U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Better Care Reconciliation Act discussion draft that was released today: “The American people deserve better than Obamacare. Across the country, Americans are paying more for less under Obamacare. Already, Obamacare premiums have increased on average by more than 100% on the federal exchange. Next year, Obamacare premiums could rise by as much as 50% or more in states like Georgia and Maryland.
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“Across the country, Americans are losing choice and access under Obamacare. Already, Americans living in 70 percent of counties have little to no options for Obamacare insurance. Next year, nearly 40 percent fewer insurers have filed to participate in the Obamacare exchanges. Many Americans face the real possibility of having no options to pick from at all.
These trends are not new — costs have been going up and choice has been going down for years, thanks to Obamacare — but these trends continue to get worse, and things are not likely to turn around unless we act.
“Obamacare was a direct attack on the middle class from the start. It’s a ticking time bomb today. Obamacare’s years-long hurtle toward collapse is rapidly approaching its seemingly inevitable conclusion — total meltdown, which would hurt even more Americans on top of those it has hurt already. We can’t let that happen. And we’ve continued working hard to ensure it doesn’t.
“After extensive consultations across the conference, numerous meetings with constituents, and intensive conversations with Members, our conference has updated last month’s Better Care discussion draft with additional provisions to make it even stronger. We just walked through that revised draft together. It is now available online. I encourage everyone to review it. As before, it aims to stabilize and reform the collapsing insurance markets that have left too many with no options under Obamacare, and it aims to make insurance more affordable and more flexible so it’s something Americans actually want to buy.
“For those stuck with Obamacare insurance they don’t want or can’t afford, we don’t think they should be forced to buy it anymore. For those who buy insurance on an exchange and want to continue doing so, we want them to have lower premiums and more choices. For those tired of health-care decisions being outsourced to far-off bureaucrats, we want to transfer many of those decisions back to them and their doctors.
“We also want to strengthen Medicaid for those who need it most, by giving states more flexibility while ensuring that those who rely on this program don’t have the rug pulled out from under them. Many states want the ability to reform and improve their Medicaid programs so that they can actually deliver better care at a lower cost, and we would like to dramatically expand their authority to do so. It’s an idea that could significantly improve health care in states across the country.
“The draft we just discussed, like the one before it, addresses all of these objectives. It would again give Americans more tools for managing their own care — and this time, go even further. It would again devote significant resources to the fight against the opioid crisis — and this time, go even further. The revised draft improves on the previous version in a number of ways, all while retaining the fundamental goals of providing stability and improving affordability.
“Regardless, I’m sure we can expect many of the same tired and predictable attacks from the defenders of Obamacare’s failed status quo. It hardly matters what the draft says, they would launch the same kinds of attacks anyway. I would remind colleagues that this is the same crowd that said Obamacare would lower costs, and pledged it would increase choice, and promoted the infamous broken promise if you like your plan, you can keep your plan. They were wrong before. They’re wrong again today.
“Moreover, serious Obamacare solutions from Democrats are hard to find these days. What we’ve heard recently essentially boils down to this. One: Apply a multi-billion-dollar Band-Aid — no reforms, no changes, just billions more for insurers. Two: Quadruple down on Obamacare — pass a massive expansion of a failed idea that puts bureaucrats in control of nearly every single health-care decision in this country. The total cost of that so-called ‘single-payer’ idea could add up to $32 trillion, according to an estimate of a leading proposal.
“These are not the serious solutions Americans need to solve the real problems before us. But, if Democrats would like to offer those ideas, then let’s open debate on the underlying legislation so they can. I’m sure that Members will have more ideas about how we can improve this draft. The only way for anyone — Democrat, Republican, or Independent — to have that opportunity is to vote yes on opening debate.
“We expect an updated projection from the Congressional Budget Office early next week. Once that’s released, we will have the opportunity to vote on the Motion to Proceed — the means by which everyone will be able to come to the floor, share their ideas, and have their voices heard through both robust debate and a robust amendment process. I remain disappointed that our Democratic friends made clear early on that they did not want to engage in a serious, bipartisan effort to solve this issue. But they have a renewed opportunity to engage now. I hope they’ll take it. I hope every Senator will vote to open debate. Because that’s how you change the status quo.
“This is our opportunity to really make a difference on health care. This is our chance to bring about changes we’ve been talking about since Obamacare was forced on the American people. It’s our time to finally build the bridge away from Obamacare’s failures and deliver relief to those who need it. Failure to act means more families get hurt by Obamacare as it continues to collapse. It also means the law’s problems will grow more formidable, making them even harder to solve. That’s not something any of us should be comfortable with. So it’s time to rise to the occasion. The American people deserve better than the pain of Obamacare. They deserve better care. And the time to deliver that to them is next week.”