Senator Portman Shares Stories of How Obamacare is Negatively Affecting Ohio Families
December 3, 2015 - 4:00 PM
Washington, D.C. – Last evening, U.S. Senator Rob Portman
(R-Ohio) went to the Senate floor to urge his colleagues to repeal and
replace Obamacare. Portman also shared stories from his constituents
about how Obamacare is affecting them and their families.
Excerpts are below and full remarks can be found here.
“Mr. President, thank you, I want to talk a little about the
legislation that is before us to repeal and replace Obamacare, otherwise
known as the Affordable Care Act. When I travel around my home state of
Ohio I hear about a couple of things a lot. One is the tough job market
and flat wages. It’s just difficult to get ahead. And the other is, and
it’s related, escalating health care costs.
“Our job is to do what is right, and that is to pass this legislation
to repeal and replace Obamacare to give us the chance to get rid of
some of the most detrimental aspects of it that are eliminating jobs and
pushing healthcare costs higher and higher.
“It was sold under false pretenses. Specifically, the President said
it would bring down premiums. He talked about it going down $2,500 per
family. No, in fact, premiums are going up. We were told Americans would
be able to keep their insurance. Of course, millions have lost their
healthcare insurance. We were told that if you have a doctor you like,
you could keep your doctor. Of course a lot of people are now being told
under their new plan they can’t keep their doctor. We were told that theAffordable
Care Act would keep our economy strong; that it would grow jobs and
create jobs. Instead, again, it has made things worse. And if you look
at the economy and look at what’s happened, a lot of the issue is that
people have given up looking for work. The so-called labor participation
rate is low. It’s as low as it’s been in 30 years.
“I hear stories every day. Sometimes they come in through our
website; sometimes people call; sometimes I just run into people and
they tell me their stories. I got one this morning. We have our weekly
Buckeye Coffee where we bring in people from Ohio to talk about issues
and I ran into a small business owner, a manufacturerin
this case. He said ‘Rob, my margins are between 2 or 3%. In other
words, that’s what my profit is. And yet I’m seeing my health care costs
go up by double digits every year. He says it just doesn’t work. I
can’t make ends meet. And he said ‘I’mhaving to pass this along to
my employees, higher premiums, higher deductibles, high co-pays. Or try
and pass it along to my customers.’ But he said ‘I’m in a very
competitive market, I really can’t do that. And that could mean for me
having to lay some people off – having to downsize the business.'
“Take the small business owner who wrote to me recently. Another one who said this is going to hurthis
business. He said he’s going to have to tell his 35 employees that
their insurance would be cancelled and that the cheapest replacement
policies would include a 35 percent increase in premiums as well as a 33
percent increase in deductibles. This is another small business in
“Or take the father of five who saw the cost of his family’s
insurance double under the Affordable Care Act. Or the man who saw his
$100 deductible soar to $4,000. Does that soundfamiliar?
There’s probably some people listening tonight who had that same
experience where their deductible just went up so high it’s almost like
they don’t have insurance. This guy by the way said he saw his
deductible soar to $4,000 while his premiums went up to $1,000 a month.
“Batavia is in Clermont County, Ohio right by my home. Recently, a
mother wrote to me from Batavia. She said: ‘I am a single mom I pay for
my own health insurance. I am active and fit. I have cycled over 4000
miles this year.' Good for her. 'I am seldom sick. In the three years that I've paid for my own insurance, I went to the doctor once for illness.’ She said, ‘my
rate was $146 month. In September, I received a letter from Anthem
saying my plan does not meet the requirements of the Affordable Care Act
and will be discontinued. I was offered the same coverage I had before,
not at $146 per month but at $350 per month.’ This is a real problem
for her, for this single mom. But it is for families all over Ohio.
“I am concerned about the impact on those families. I am concerned
about the impact on our small businesses. I am also concerned about the
indirect impact on employees who work for those small businesses.
“More and more small businesses in Ohio are becoming what they call '49ers' or '29ers.' '49ers'refers
to the fact that some employers have felt they have no choice but to
freeze growth and hiring at 49 employees rather than 50 employees
because when you hit 50 you come up with new requirements and mandates
“Here’s Mike from Westlake . He wrote me and said: ‘I own a small
business. Our health insurance rates for single employees under 30 went
from $198 per month last year to $560 per month this year. That's a 260%
increase,’ he says. ‘Thank you Obamacare,’ he says. ‘This bill is going
to put small businesses out of business,’ he says.
“This one is from Tim from Canton. ‘The Affordable Care Act fees
being charged to us are $3,250 per year for 11 covered employees, which
will be passed on to them. We are paying for the insurance premium
increase of $15,186 by reducing our year-end bonus program. We also are
offering an even higher deductible plan than we have now.' He said, 'Iwill take the higher plan to lower the overall cost to soften the blow for my staff.’
“So this is an interesting one because it is what I hear around Ohio…
It’s happening out there. I know some economists have debates about
this issue, but I hope they are talking to people in the real world who
are being affected by this Affordable Care Act…”
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