Defunding ObamaCare

Wednesday was Deficit Day—at around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, the federal government ran out of money. This means all government operations for the rest of the year, nearly $10 billion each day, will be funded by money the government has borrowed. It is no secret that the government spends too much and borrows too much, and under the president’s health care law our deficit will only grow. Over the last three years, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has revised its cost estimates for ObamaCare several times. In February of this year, the CBO released its latest estimate: ObamaCare is estimated to spend roughly $1.85 trillion from 2013 to 2023. But cost isn’t the only reason we need to repeal the president’s health care reform law.

Just this week the ObamaCare insurance premium information was released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). While HHS touted “lower-than-expected” premiums for those going into the exchange, they failed to mention how ObamaCare will impact the premiums for people who already have health care coverage. Before the president’s health care law, nearly 196 million Americans, or 64 percent, had some form of private health care coverage. Among the uninsured, nearly two-thirds are under the age of 40, which also happens to be the age of the people who will be hurt most under ObamaCare.

A recent column in Forbes examined the impact of the law on 27, 40 and 60 year olds, as well as the contrast between men and women. In the state of Tennessee, a 27-year-old woman will see her premiums rise 21 percent, while a 27-year-old man’s premiums will increase by a staggering 69 percent. This is just one more example in a long list of how ObamaCare will hurt the very people it was alleged to help. And it gets worse. This law will negatively impact jobs.

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told the Education and the Workforce Committee that the stories regarding employees losing jobs, wages and hours at work because of the health care law were merely “speculation.” Unfortunately, the Secretary’s statement is being proven wrong in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. On October 1, Lee Regional Medical Center in Pennington Gap, VA will close, eliminating approximately 140 jobs. The hospital cited ObamaCare as one of the reasons they were forced to close their doors. A Burger King franchisee in my district, Mike Clayton, was forced to close a store in Johnson City. Mike put a thank you note in my hometown paper, The Johnson City Press, thanking the people of the Tri-Cities area for 39 years of loyal business. When explaining his difficult decision, Mike said that politicians had “passed a law so unfriendly to business and workers that it forces the business to limit hard-working Americans to less hours and lower pay at a time of high unemployment and less opportunity for people to prevail.” Mr. Clayton underscored there is no “give by government to correct these unintended consequences” so his decision to close his store was greatly impacted by the lack of flexibility.

That is why we must repeal and replace the president’s health care law. I, like the majority of Americans, am adamantly opposed to this law and was proud to support the House continuing resolution, which fully funds the government but fully defunds ObamaCare. Unfortunately, that provision was stripped from the Senate bill. This weekend, the House and Senate are working to avoid a government shutdown. The people of the First District didn’t send me to Washington to shut the government down; they sent me here to help run it, work to make it smaller, and cut spending. Rest assured I will continue to closely follow this issue and work to find a way to do this.

Source: U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M.D., 1st District of Tennessee