WASHINGTON, D.C. | November 14, 2013 -
Since former Speaker Nancy Pelosi famously declared we had to pass the president’s health care plan to learn what was in it, we continue to discover disturbing details. We’ve learned health care costs are going up, not down. Politico reports “consumers are suffering from sticker shock” and the Associated Press revealed people are being told to switch to more expensive policies.
Sue Klinkhamer is one of those individuals. A Democrat from Kane County, Illinois, Sue asked, “Someone please tell me why my premium in January will be $356 more than in December?” A constituent from Plainview, Minnesota recently shared with me that her health care plan is increasing more than $200 a month, and her family’s deductible will jump by nearly $1,300. A couple from Chanhassen lamented a monthly increase of $140, money that could have helped pay for their daughters’ college education. The president promised insurance premiums would drop $2,500 for the average family, yet for Sue and many others this is one of many broken promises.
We’ve learned full-time jobs are being destroyed. A recent resolution endorsed by one of the nation’s largest trade associations warned that employers will try to avoid the law’s punitive mandates by cutting hours and pay, creating an “underclass of less-than-30-hour workers.” This statement wasn’t issued by a “Big Business” advocacy organization – it’s a resolution endorsed by the leadership and membership of the AFL-CIO. Other leaders in the labor community share this fear.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, UFCW, and UNITE-HERE wrote the law will “destroy the foundation of the 40 hour work week that is the backbone of the American middle class.” Secretary Sebelius dismissed similar concerns as “speculation,” but I think we can all agree with these union leaders that the law is leading to fewer full-time jobs.
Finally, we’ve learned millions of Americans will lose the health care plan they like. Kaiser Health News recently broke the story of hundreds of thousands of individuals receiving cancellation notices from their insurance companies; their policies no longer meet the dictates established under the law. And we’ve discovered the Obama administration has known for years this was going to happen.
For families, this isn’t just the loss of an insurance policy; it means losing access to their trusted family doctor and pediatrician, all because Washington bureaucrats think they know best. The president promised time and again if people liked their health care plan they could keep it. But millions of Americans are realizing they can keep their health care plan only if the president likes it.
Higher health care costs, fewer full-time jobs, and loss of current coverage – that’s the difficult reality unfolding in the lives of Americans across the country. The question we want to discuss today is whether the law is imposing similar hardships on America’s classrooms. The government takeover of health care transformed one-sixth of our economy. Are schools and campuses immune from the consequences of the law? Recent headlines prove that’s not the case:
- From the Richmond Times Dispatch, “ObamaCare prompts cutbacks for school part-timers;”
- From The Baltimore Sun, “Community colleges cut adjunct hours to avoid ObamaCare;”
- From Education Week, “Health care law poses challenges for districts;” and
- From the Weekly Standard, “ObamaCare costs one Indiana school district $6 million.”
Over the last several years we've talked a great deal about the budgetary challenges facing states, school districts, and institutions of higher education. We’ve discussed how Washington can at times make these fiscal problems worse. Much of the debate has focused on the costs of federal rules, regulations, and mandates that directly intervene in classrooms.
Under the leadership of this committee, the House has taken action to reduce the federal footprint in K-12 education by passing the Student Success Act, and I hope we achieve similar results through reform of the Higher Education Act – both of which will help ensure taxpayers spend less on bureaucracy and more on students’ education.
However, we must be mindful that federal policies unrelated to education can still burden classrooms. The health care law is a prime example. At a time when we need to recruit the best teachers, train today’s workers for the jobs of the future, and school leaders are trying to do more with less, imposing a fundamentally flawed and costly law on our schools is not in the best interests of teachers, parents, taxpayers, or students.
# # #