Floor and Committee Statements

“Mr. President, Christmas Eve 2009 the floor of this Senate, I and the other 99 members of the Senate voted on what’s known as the Affordable Care Act and became later known as Obamacare. It’s been seven years since that debate, and a lot has happened.

“When it passed on the floor of the Senate and in the House, I voted against it because I feared it would limit access, cost more and limit choice. It was sold as doing the opposite. It was sold as costing less, expanding choice, and expanding access.

“But facts are stubborn things. It’s now time for us to look at Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act, realize what it’s done to us and realize time is running out for us to correct the imperfection of that legislation.

“On choice, remember the president said if you like your policy, you can keep it. Because of what we’re doing there’s going to be more access for those who don’t have a policy. But in fact those who had policies and liked it didn’t get to keep it. In fact, a lot of their coverage went away or became more limited.

“Cost was going to be less expensive because everybody was going to be covered, but in fact everybody was not covered and cost has gone up. In fact, in our charity hospitals, our inner city hospitals, our high trauma one centers around America, the dish payments, which are the disproportionate share of cost that were going to them, was eliminated because Obamacare was going to have everybody covered and there would be no uninsured people going to hospitals, but in fact that did not take place.

“Then access was going to increase. It would increase because there would be more coverage, more insurance, more things like that. What’s in fact been the case is the following, choice is limited or nonexistent. Cost is more expensive than ever. Access is gone. Access is gone.

“In my state of Georgia, Mr. President, I want to read you a few facts.

“Just last month after Aetna, United Healthcare and Cigna announced they would leave Georgia’s market place, [and] Blue Cross [Blue Shield] filed its third premium increase for the third time this summer, an increase of 21.4 percent.

“Earlier in the summer Humana announced the average premium increase in the state of Georgia of a whopping 67.5 percent. This year all 159 counties in Georgia had at least two provide options. In 2017, 96 counties in Georgia will have one option and one alone. The numbers do not lie. Obamacare is forcing insurance carriers to leave the market eliminating competition and choice all the while placing the burden of higher cost on the backs of working taxpayers in this country.

“And worst of all, the inevitability of the Affordable Care Act as a single-payer government system which is on the horizon.

“It’s the thing I feared the most in the debate of Christmas Eve 2009. It’s the thing all of us in the Senate hoped would never happen. It’s going to be on our doorstep if we don’t act now to correct Obamacare, repeal the portions that are wrong. Keep that which is right and bring about choice, access and quality to our residents. That’s what we promised them seven years ago, that’s what they deserve today. 

“It’s time for the United States Senate, United States House, this administration and the next administration to realize our number one rule was to bring about a promise that has more access, lower cost and more choice for the American citizen.

“We cannot rely on going to a government single-payer system. It will bankrupt the country, it will destroy health care and eliminate the choice we all loved as Americans.

“With that, I challenge the Senate to get down to business, correct the inequities of a law that passed and do the right thing for the American people and do the right thing for the people of Georgia that I represent.

“Give them insurance that is accessible, affordable and accountable to the American people. I yield back and note the absence of a quorum.”