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Roe Statement: Field Hearing on "Health Care Challenges Facing Kentucky's Workers and Job Creators"
As prepared for delivery.

Good morning everyone and welcome to today’s hearing. I’d first like to take a moment to thank our witnesses for joining us to discuss the important issue of health care. I would also like to thank the staff at the Lexington Public Library for their warm hospitality.

Since the president’s plan for health care reform became law in 2010, employers and job creators have grown increasingly worried about the law’s effect on their families and small businesses. More than 11 million Americans are searching for a job today – including 178,000 workers here in the Bluegrass State. Building a stronger economy for businesses to grow and hire new workers remains a national priority. As elected policymakers, we have to examine whether federal policies are helping or hurting that effort.

According to the so-called experts in Washington, the health care law is working just fine. Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the president’s top health care official, described reports of job losses stemming from the law as “speculation.” The White House called the law’s perverse incentive for businesses to rely more on part-time employees an “urban legend.” And the president himself has dismissed problems with implementation of the law as mere “glitches and bumps.”

However, news reports and personal experiences of every day Americans reveal a much harsher reality than supporters of ObamaCare would like to admit. It seems each day workers and job creators encounter new challenges as they look to ease the pain this government takeover of health care has inflicted on their workplaces.

A leading concern for many is the employer mandate, which requires businesses with 50 or more full-time workers to provide government-approved health insurance or pay higher taxes. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has said this mandate will impose a $140 billion tax increase on employers. It’s no secret what happens when job creators are forced to pay higher taxes: Fewer jobs are created.

This is precisely what employers have said time and again. For example, a Gallup poll showed 41 percent of employers have frozen hiring due to the health care law. The same poll revealed more than half of small business owners expect the law will increase health care costs. As a result, one out of four small business owners may stop offering health insurance as they try to control costs.

Perhaps this explains why President Obama decided to delay enforcement of the employer mandate for one year. While this temporary reprieve is certainly welcome news, it does not alter the fact this fatally flawed law will destroy jobs – regardless of when it is implemented. The unilateral delay of the employer mandate is also an implicit admission that the president’s health care law isn’t working. In fact, the law is making our economy and health care system worse.

As a doctor who practiced medicine for more than 30 years, I know our health care system isn’t perfect. It is far too expensive and too many families lack access to affordable care. If we are going to put Americans back to work and advance smarter reforms that will help lower health care costs, we must first repeal or dismantle the president’s misguided law.

Today’s hearing plays a vital role in reaching these important goals. I want to thank our witnesses again for being with us today and sharing their personal experiences with the committee.