WASHINGTON, D.C.—Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) spoke on the floor of the Senate today on the double-digit premium increases many Obamacare consumers are facing and the continued broken promises of this failed law.
Click here to watch Senator Thune’s remarks on the Senate floor.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“The president made some comments yesterday on the upcoming Supreme Court Obamacare decision. Referring to his health care law, the president said, and I quote, ‘What’s more, the thing’s working. Part of what’s bizarre about this whole thing is we haven’t had a lot of conversations about the horrors of Obamacare because it hasn’t come to pass.’
“Let me repeat that, Mr. President. The president thinks Obamacare is working and that negative predictions about the law haven’t come to pass. To respond to that, let me just read a few headlines from the past couple of weeks.
“From CNN: ‘Obamacare sticker shock: Big rate hikes proposed for 2016’
“From the Associated Press: ‘Many health insurers go big with initial 2016 rate requests’
“From The Hill: ‘Overhead costs exploding under ObamaCare, study finds’
“From the Associated Press: ‘8 Minnesota health plans propose big premium hikes for 2016’
“From the Lexington Herald-Leader: ‘Most health insurance rates expected to rise next year in Kentucky’
“I could go on.
“The truth is, Mr. President, not only is Obamacare not working, it’s rapidly unraveling.
“A May 1 headline from the Washington Post reported, and I quote, ‘Almost half of Obamacare exchanges face financial struggles in the future.’
“Hawaii’s exchange has already failed. California’s exchange is struggling to sign up consumers. One-third of the consumers who purchased insurance on the California exchange in 2014 declined to re-enroll in 2015.
“Massachusetts’ exchange is being investigated by the federal government. Colorado’s exchange is struggling financially and has raised fees for consumers purchasing insurance plans. Rhode Island’s governor is pushing for new fees on insurance plans to help fund the $30.9 million operating cost of the Rhode Island exchange. Incidentally, that’s $30.9 million to run an exchange that serves just 30,000 people.
“The Minnesota exchange was supposed to cover more than 150,000 individuals in its small-business marketplace by 2016. So far, it is covering 1,405 individuals, or approximately 1 percent of the number it’s intended to cover. The Minnesota exchange has cost federal taxpayers $189 million so far -- $189 million, for an exchange that provides coverage for just 61,000 people.
“A recent Forbes piece notes that Vermont’s exchange, and I quote, ‘will need $51 million a year to provide insurance to fewer than 32,000 enrollees – or $1,613 per enrollee in overhead. Before Obamacare, $1,600 would have been enough to pay the entire annual premium for some individual insurance plans.’
“Mr. President, while the Obamacare exchanges unravel, health insurance costs on the exchanges are soaring. Insurers have requested double-digit premium increases on 676 individual and small group plans for 2016.
“More than 6 million people are enrolled in plans facing average rate increases of 10 percent or more. Around the country, rate increases of 20, 30, 40, and 50 percent are common. One health care plan in Arizona is seeking a rate increase of 78.9 percent.
“So much for the president’s promise that his health care plan ‘would bring down the cost of health care for millions.’
“In my home state of South Dakota, proposed rate increases range up to 44.4 percent. That’s not something South Dakota families can afford.
“Mr. President, the discussion about Obamacare’s success or failure is no longer theoretical. The evidence is in, and it shows that the president’s health care law is broken. It’s time to repeal Obamacare and replace it with real health care reforms that will actually drive down costs. Five years under Obamacare is long enough for American families.”