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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 Ohio.

“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 sound familiar? 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 under Obamacare.

“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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