WASHINGTON, D.C. | February 1, 2017
It is no coincidence that our first hearing is focused on our efforts to rescue Americans from a fatally flawed health care law and transition to a patient-centered system. There is an urgent need to address the challenges facing working families and small businesses under Obamacare, and that’s exactly what this hearing is about.
For nearly seven years, Americans have struggled as they’ve seen their health care costs skyrocket, their plans canceled, and their choices and access to quality care diminished. That is why for nearly seven years, Republicans have been fighting to provide the relief Americans desperately need.
This has never been about politics. The fight to repeal and replace Obamacare has always been about people. It’s been about people like Steve from my congressional district. Steve resides in West Jefferson, and he and his wife are paying 225 percent higher premiums than they were four years ago. Scott from Hickory, North Carolina, has had his health care plan canceled three times because of the law, and today he has access to only one insurance provider.
Michael from Winston-Salem has an $800 monthly premium for him and his daughter, and their deductible is over $14,000. Terry, a 70-year old retiree from Advance, is working part-time just to help pay his wife’s $900 monthly premium.
These stories aren’t unique to North Carolina. Working families across the country are suffering under a failed government takeover of health care. Remarkably, the consequences extend beyond higher insurance costs and limited plan options to fewer jobs and suppressed wages.
In fact, a recent study by the American Action Forum found Obamacare has destroyed 300,000 small business jobs and cost small business employees $19 billion each year in wages. An estimated 10,000 small businesses were even forced to close their doors because of the law’s burdensome regulations.
All of these individuals, families, and small business owners were promised far different. They were promised lower costs, more choices, and more competition. What they got was the exact opposite.
The reality is the 2010 health care law is completely unsustainable. It’s collapsing as we speak. We cannot stand by as the law creates even more havoc in the lives of the American people.
That’s why we are on a rescue mission to deliver the relief people need, and this committee will play an important role in the process. We have already taken steps to repeal Obamacare, and the Trump Administration is actively working to stabilize health insurance markets.
Once the law is repealed, there will be a stable transition to a patient-centered system. At least 4.7 million Americans have already been kicked off their health care plans under Obamacare, and the last thing Republicans want is to disrupt more people’s coverage.
We’re going to do this the right way. There won’t be a massive bill that no one has read and is jammed through Congress in the dead of the night. Instead, we will tackle the challenges of our broken health care system through step-by-step solutions that provide lower costs, more choices, and protect the most vulnerable among us.
We will put patients in control of their health care decisions. That means eliminating one-size-fits-all rules that drive up costs and restrict choices. All Americans should have the freedom to select a health care plan that meets their needs.
After years of costly federal mandates, we will empower small businesses to band together and provide affordable coverage for their employees. Additionally, we will preserve employee wellness plans that have been under attack in recent years by Washington bureaucrats.
Undoing the damage of Obamacare and achieving real health care reform won’t happen overnight. We will continue to hold hearings just like this one, and we will continue to receive input from governors, insurance commissioners, workers, and employers across the country.
Today’s discussion is an important step in this process. We look forward to hearing from all of you on how we can provide a better way forward on health care for the American people.