Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the need to protect jobs by repealing the unconstitutional health spending bill:
“It’s no secret that most Americans opposed the health care bill that Democrats jammed through Congress last March. It’s also no secret that Democrats would like to move past it. But the fact is, the more Americans learn about this bill the less they like it, and the more urgent it becomes for those who pledged to repeal and replace it to follow through.
“Opposition to the bill continues to build. And when two federal courts in a row rule that this bill is unconstitutional and we learn every day of some other way it’s not only making health care worse but also hurting jobs and the economy, it’s no wonder more Americans support repeal than oppose it, and that the percentage of those who say they support full repeal is higher now than ever. Americans are outraged that the promises that were made about this bill have turned out to be empty. And court rulings like the one out of Florida yesterday only add to the urgency of scrapping this bill and starting over.
“Leave aside for a moment all the broken promises. The first requirement of this law or any law is that it at least be constitutional. This bill fails to meet that basic test.
“And, as yesterday’s ruling concluded, it can’t be fixed.
“This entire bill hinges on its core requirement that every citizen purchase health insurance. If that’s unconstitutional, and two federal courts now say it is, then the whole thing needs to be scrapped.
“But of course we knew that already, based on all the other chaos this bill has wrought.
“The President said as recently as last week that this law would slow rising health care costs — that it would bend the cost-curve down. Yet just two days later, his own actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said that federal health spending would rise by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next 10 years as a result of this bill.
“The President said again and again that Americans would be able to keep the plans they had. Yet since the bill’s passage, business after business has announced that it would rather pay a fine to the government than cover the health insurance costs of employees that would grow under the new mandates and regulations and millions of seniors are now expected to lose access to the Medicare Advantage plans they know and like.
“As recently as last week, the President said: ‘This Law Will Lower Premiums’, yet since its passage we continually hear the opposite: insurers across the country are raising premiums to cover the cost of all the new mandates they’ll have to comply with. One insurer in California recently stunned policyholders by announcing it would be increasing rates by as much as 59% for tens of thousands of customers starting next month. Hikes are also expected in Iowa, Vermont, and Connecticut. In Washington State, one father of five was recently told his $532 monthly premium could nearly triple next year. He said that when he heard the news he just sat back and said: `You’ve got to be kidding me.’
“It’s a good way to sum up how many Americans have felt about this bill all along.
“And that’s to say nothing of the effect this bill has had on the economy and jobs. Despite the empty promises we’ve heard from politicians about this bill being a job-creator, we continue to hear just the opposite from the businesses themselves. Job creators are telling us that all of the bill’s new mandates and fees are stifling businesses and make it even harder for them to start hiring again.
“The National Federation of Independent Business says that if this bill stays intact it will `stifle the ability [of businesses] to hire, grow and invest...’. `Simply put,’ the NFIB said in a recent letter, `Congress must repeal [this bill] immediately.’ To take just one example, Abbott Laboratories said last week it plans to cut nearly 2,000 jobs in response to changes in the health care industry, including this bill.
“And, as I said, yesterday’s ruling out of Florida, only adds to the urgency of repeal. As if it weren’t enough that this bill increases health care costs, increases insurance premiums, and is leading people to lose coverage they already have and like, it’s also unconstitutional — something many opponents of the bill, including me, have been arguing all along. The state can no more compel Americans to buy health insurance under the Constitution than it can compel them to buy vitamins, even if it concluded they’d be good for our health. While Congress may have the power to regulate commercial activity, no court in our nation’s history has ever interpreted that to mean that Congress can regulate commercial inactivity as well, which is precisely what the health care bill would do.
“Most Americans have opposed this bill from the start because they were skeptical of all the claims that were being made about what it would do. The process that was used to jam it through made it even less popular. But the reality has been even worse than people feared. It violates the Constitution — which is reason enough to repeal it — it’s driving up premiums, increasing costs, and driving people off the plans they have. And Americans are just as outraged by the special waivers the administration is giving out to select groups as it was by the special deals it gave out to lawmakers who agreed to vote for it. In other words, the implementation of this bill is no better than the process used to pass it.
“At this point, it would be a dereliction of duty if Republicans didn't fight for repeal. We made a promise to our constituents that we would vote to repeal this bill on their behalf. And that’s just what we intend to do.
“The importance of a repeal vote becomes more evident every day. Americans view it as an important decision point — a marker that shows we’re serious about a return to limited government. On that point, it should be clear where Republicans stand. Every one of us voted against the bill. Every one of us voted for repeal after that. And this week, every Republican reaffirmed his or her commitment to doing it again.
“Democrats made a lot of promises about this bill. Virtually every one has proved to be empty. Republicans have made one promise: that we would work to repeal it and replace it with common-sense reforms that lower costs, protect job creation and that people actually want. It’s a promise we will keep.”