Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell unveils Health Care Law Replacement. Read the bill here.
Transcript of McConnell's remarks:
MCCONNELL: Seven years ago, Democrats imposed Obamacare on our country. They said it would lower costs. It didn't. From 2013 to 2017, premiums have on average doubled in the vast majority of states on the federal exchange. Next year, Obamacare premiums will go up across the country once again, potentially by as much as 43 percent in Iowa, 59 percent in Maryland, and even a staggering 80 percent in New Mexico.
Does it sound like Obamacare is working? They said it wouldn't increase choice -- they said it would increase choice. They said it would increase choice, but of course, it didn't. This year, 70 percent of American counties have had little or no choice of insurers under Obamacare. Next year, at least 44 counties are projected to have no choice at all, meaning yet again Americans could be thrown off their plans in states like Missouri and Ohio and Wisconsin.
Does it sound like Obamacare is working? Now, Democrats tell us it would be wrong for the Senate to actually address these problems in a serious way, while the law they've defended for seven years teeters, literally teeters on the edge of total collapse.
They were wrong before. They're wrong again now. Because Obamacare isn't working. By nearly any measure, it has failed and no mount of 11th-hour reality-denying or buck-passing by Democrats is going to change the fact that more Americans are going to get hurt unless we do something.
I regret that our Democratic friends made clear early on that they did not want to work with us in a serious bipartisan way to address the Obamacare status quo. But Republicans believe we have a responsibility to act and we are for our constituents, for our states, and for our country.MCCONNELL: We've long called for a better way forward, and we've been engaged in intensive talks on how to get there. Through dozens of meetings open to each and every member of the conference, we've had the opportunity to offer and consider many ideas for confronting the Obamacare status quo.
We debated many policy proposals. We considered many different viewpoints. In the end, we found that we share many ideas about what needs to be achieved and how we can achieve it. These shared policy objectives and the solutions to help achieve them are what made up the health care discussion draft that we finished talking through this morning.
We agreed on the need to free Americans from Obamacare's mandates and policies contained in the discussion draft will repeal the individual mandate so Americans are no longer forced to buy insurance they don't need or can't afford; will repeal the employer mandate so Americans no longer see their hours and take-home pay cut by employers because of it.
We agreed on the need to improve the affordability of health insurance and policies contained in the discussion draft will do that. It will eliminate costly Obamacare taxes that are passed on to consumers, so we can put downward pressure on premiums, expand tax- free health savings accounts, and deploy targeted tax credits so we can help defray out-of-pocket costs and shift power from Washington to the states so they have more flexibility to provide more Americans with the kind of affordable insurance options they actually want.
We agree on the need to stabilize the insurance markets that are collapsing under Obamacare as well, and policies contained in the discussion draft will implement stabilization policies so we can bring financial certainty to insurance markets, and hope to Americans who face the possibility of limited or zero options next year under Obamacare; and ultimately transition away from Obamacare's collapsing system entirely so more Americans will not be hurt.
We also agree on the need to strengthen Medicaid, preserve access to care for patients with preexisting conditions, and allow children to stay on their parents' health insurance through the age of 26.
I'm pleased that we were able to arrive at a draft that incorporates input from so many different members who represent so many different constituents who are facing so many different challenges. The draft containing the solutions I mentioned, along with many others, is posted online. And I encourage everyone to carefully review it.
There will be ample time to analyze, discuss and provide thoughts before legislation comes to the floor. And I hope every senator takes that opportunity.
Next week, we expect the Budget -- the Congressional Budget Office to release a score. After that, we will proceed with a robust debate and an open amendment process here on the Senate floor, a process that I would encourage each of our 100 senators to participate in.
When legislation does come to the floor, it will present Senate Democrats with another opportunity to do what's right for the American people. They can choose to keep standing by as their failing law continues to collapse and hurt more Americans, but I hope they will join us instead to bring relief to the families who have struggled under Obamacare for far too long.
Either way -- either way, it's time to act because Obamacare is a direct attack on the middle class and American families deserve better than its failing status quo. They deserve better care. That's just what we're going to continue to work to bring them.