WASHINGTON—In this week’s Republican address, Interim House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-TN) discussed why, for too many families, the Affordable Care Act has been anything but affordable—and the #BetterWay plan House Republicans are offering to give Americans the relief they need from Obamacare.
“As a nurse, I’ve spent decades watching the impact of healthcare decisions in Washington on my patients’ faces and in their billing statements,” said Chairman Black. “This isn’t about slogans and scare tactics—it’s about people lives’ and their bottom lines. The country is demanding change, and now is the time to act.”
NOTE: The audio of the Weekly Republican Address is available here. Learn more about Chairman Black by following her on Twitter, liking her Facebook page, or visiting her website. Learn more about the House Budget Committee by following it on Twitter, liking its Facebook page, or visiting its website.
Interim House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black of Tennessee
Weekly Republican Address
Saturday, January 7, 2017
Hi, I’m interim Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black from Tennessee’s 6th District.
Today I want to talk with you about our plan to deliver relief to Americans struggling under Obamacare.
Now I’ve been a nurse for more than 40 years, but you don’t need a degree in health care to know that Obamacare is failing.
For too many families, the so-called Affordable Care Act hasn’t been affordable at all. In my state of Tennessee, people are facing average premium increases of 63 percent this year—and that story is being repeated in states across the country.
Even if you do have an insurance policy, deductibles under the law have become so high that many Americans feel like they lack true health coverage.
There was a story in my local paper just this week about a working mom who owns a day care center in Knoxville. She is crossing her fingers that she can get on a new plan because her deductible has gone up to $9,000. “Can you imagine,” she said, “going from a $2,000 deductible to a $9,000 deductible—who can afford that?” It’s a life changing difference for her—and many people like her.
The reason that she has to scramble is because there is only one insurer left in her area. In 73 of our state’s 95 counties, people have a single option to choose from on the exchange. Across the country, the number of counties with just one insurer grew by 25 percent this year. That’s not a marketplace—it’s a monopoly.
When Obamacare became law, I knew I had seen this movie before, and I remember exactly how it ended. A similar government-run program, called TennCare, failed in our state less than 15 years ago. And at the time of its launch, the government made a lot of lofty promises, but for a decade we watched costs grow unsustainably to the point of nearly bankrupting our state. It was ultimately a Democratic governor who dismantled the program, calling it a “disaster.”
Like Tenncare, Obamacare is ripping apart at the seams, and things are only getting worse.
So this week, Congress took the first steps to repeal Obamacare—but that doesn’t mean a return to the status quo.
As we work to replace Obamacare with something better, there will be a stable transition period so that no one has the rug pulled out from underneath them. Our goal is a system that lowers costs, and spurs free market competition, and ultimately empowers you—not bureaucrats in Washington.
We can do that by giving people more control of their health care—allowing insurance to be purchased across states lines, enacting common-sense medical liability reform to bring down costs, and maintaining protections for patients with pre-existing conditions.
You can learn more about our ideas by going to better.gop.
Now, the new Congress you elected has only been in office for a week and already, you’re hearing Democrats in Washington use all kinds of scare tactics. After so many broken promises, it’s all they have left, really.
But when they try to scare you, I ask you to keep one thing in mind: remember these are the same people who promised you their plan would lower premiums… the same people who promised it wouldn’t raise taxes on the middle class… and who promised that if you like your plan, you can keep it.
Don’t let them scare you or lecture you. It’s exactly the kind of elitist arrogance that the American people have just soundly rejected.
For me, this issue is all too personal. As a nurse, I’ve spent decades watching the impact of healthcare decisions in Washington on my patients’ faces and in their billing statements. This isn’t about slogans and scare tactics—it’s about people lives’ and their bottom lines.
The country is demanding change, and now is the time to act.
Thank you for listening, and happy New Year.