Taking Action Against Obamacare
September 24, 2009: Alexander calls on Secretary Sebelius to rescind “gag order” against private Medicare providers. Alexander joined Senate Republican leadership and the Senate’s health and finance committees’ respective ranking members in sending a letter calling on Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius to rescind the “gag order” issued by CMS. The gag order prohibits health care providers who offer services through Medicare from providing information about the impact of proposed legislation on their services.
December 20, 2009: Alexander says Democrats want to schedule vote on 2,700-page health care law “before the American people find out what is in it.” Alexander said, “They know the legislation would never pass if Americans first found out that its Medicare cuts will hurt seniors, its tax increases will kill jobs, its Medicaid expansion will force states to raise taxes."
February 25, 2010: Alexander sends President a letter explaining why premiums will increase under his bill. After the White House Summit on health care, where Alexander and President Obama disagreed as to whether the Democratic health care bill would cause individual premiums to rise, Alexander sent the President a letter explaining why premiums will increase, citing outside analysis of the Democratic bill.
February 28, 2010: Alexander tells ABC’s "This Week" that the health care bill has too much wrong with it to be fixed. “This is a car that can't be recalled and fixed,” Alexander said. “There are too many things wrong with it: it raises taxes a half trillion dollars; it cuts Medicare a half trillion dollars to spend on a new program at a time when Medicare is going broke in 2015; it raises insurance premiums; it shifts big costs to states that will drive up state tuitions.”
March 3, 2010: Alexander says if House passes health care bill, “it will go directly to the president to become law, leaving House members to trust the Senate to fix it.” He added: “President Obama today asked House Democrats to hold hands and jump off a cliff and hope Senator Harry Reid will catch them.”
March 18, 2010: Alexander highlights provision in health care bill that “overcharges 19 million students on their student loans.” He added: "The new bill will take $9.1 billion over 10 years from students’ interest payments to pay for this health care takeover.”
March 21, 2010: Alexander says House passage of health care bill “is an historic mistake.” He added: “And unlike Social Security, Medicare and civil rights legislation, the only thing bipartisan about it is the opposition to it."
March 30, 2010: Alexander opposes signing into law of student loans as a “Washington takeover.” He said the direct lending program “overcharges them on their student loans to help pay for the new health care law and other government programs."
April 14, 2010: Alexander tells Education Secretary Duncan the health care law will take money from education in Tennessee. “The new health care law is going to add $1.1 billion – but could reach as much as $1.5 billion – in cost to Tennessee between 2014 and 2019, and most of that will have to come out of education.”
April 20, 2010: At Senate committee hearing, Alexander says health care law will raise individual insurance premiums for Tennesseans. He said the “real problem is the health care delivery system and the real way to reduce premiums is to focus on reducing costs.”
April 23, 2010: Alexander highlights administration report that points to rising individual premiums. “The Obama Administration’s own report now confirms what Republicans feared all along – that the new health care law will add to the federal debt and lead to higher health insurance costs for Americans. Republicans respectfully warned the president at the White House health care summit that his plan would increase individuals’ health premiums, and now it turns out Medicare’s chief actuary says those fears were justified.”
August 3, 2010: Alexander cosponsors bill to repeal “job-killing” health care law mandate. “As if the health care law wasn’t flawed enough, hidden inside it was a provision calling for yet another job-killing and costly Washington mandate for American businesses … we want small businesses to grow and hire – not spend valuable time and resources filling out a separate tax form for every phone bill, every rent check, every utility payment over $600.”
September 30, 2010: Alexander cosponsors bill to fix health care law’s provision, restore St. Jude’s access to affordable, life-saving drugs.The bill would restore St. Jude’s ability to obtain affordable prescription drugs through a drug discount program, a long-standing policy that was terminated by the health care law.
November 12, 2010: Alexander to offer resolutions to ban unfunded mandates and new entitlement spending at the annual meeting of Republican senators. “The new health care law is the most vivid example of Washington politicians putting into law their big ideas and sending the bill to state and local taxpayers,” Alexander said.
January 19, 2011: Alexander supports House of Representatives’ vote to repeal the health care law. “The wisest course would be to repeal the health care law and replace it with provisions that actually reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
March 22, 2011: Alexander continues call for repeal on one-year anniversary of health care law. “I will continue working to repeal this law and replace it with reforms that lower costs step-by-step so more people can afford insurance, rather than expanding a system that already costs too much.”
May 3, 2011: Alexander sponsors bill to stop health care law from forcing states to “spend money they don’t have.” Alexander cosponsored the State Flexibility Act, legislation that would amend the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements imposed on states by the stimulus and recent health care law.
September 7, 2011: Alexander calls on president to focus on jobs instead of job-destroying health policies. In advance of a presidential address to Congress, Alexander called on Obama to focus on jobs: “It would have been better for the President to have said on Day One of his presidency that he’d focus on jobs, instead of on the health care bill, which has destroyed jobs and increased the debt,” he said.
January 27, 2012: Alexander calls on president to “stop overcharging 16 million students who have student loans to help pay for the health care law.” After President Obama’s State of the Union address, in which the president warned colleges about increasing their tuition costs, Alexander said: “If the president wants to reduce the cost of going to college, he should do two things. First, he should stop overcharging 16 million students who have student loans to help pay for the health care law: the federal government borrows money at 2.8 percent and loans it to students at 6.8 percent and uses some of that profit to help pay for the new health care law. Second, the president should stop imposing new Medicaid mandates on the states, which are forcing tuition costs to go up. In Tennessee, for example, over the last ten years, Medicaid costs have gone up 43 percent and that’s forced the state to reduce funding to colleges and universities by 11 percent. As a result, tuition has gone up 120 percent over those ten years.”
February 8, 2012: Alexander cosponsors Rubio bill to repeal mandate in new health care law and restore “religious conscience” protections. Alexander cosponsored the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” introduced by Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), which would repeal a mandate in the new health care law that requires religious institutions to offer employees reproductive services that violate the institutions’ religious tenets, saying: “Requiring our nation’s religious institutions to defy the basic tenets of their faiths shows a disturbing disregard for the Constitution’s protections of religious freedom.”
March 8, 2012: Alexander tells administration: “We are one budget year away from a ticking time bomb in the states” as governors comply with the health care law. At an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing, Alexander told Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius “the new health care law has created a situation where we’re one budget year away from a ticking time bomb in the states for governors as they seek to comply with the federal requirements for the expansion of Medicaid and then federal plans to pay doctors more to serve people who get Medicaid.”
March 22, 2012: Alexander warns health care law has created mandates on the states, Americans are losing their employer-based health insurance, individual premiums are going up and Medicare has been cut.
April 27, 2012: Alexander cosponsors bill to repeal Obamacare’s medical devices tax. Alexander said the bill “would repeal a tax that will raise premiums for patients and destroy jobs in a fast-growing and life-saving industry – including as many as 1,000 jobs in Tennessee alone.”
June 1, 2012: Alexander says prolonged high unemployment rate is the result of “Obama economy.” Alexander added that it “is the result of 3 ½ years of bad policies, which have made a struggling economy worse: government takeovers, unrealistic regulations, out-of-control spending, and threats of tax increases on job creators."
June 28, 2012: Alexander says health care law is “still an historic mistake” despite Supreme Court ruling. Alexander said: “The Supreme Court may have failed to declare the entire health-care law unconstitutional, but it is still an historic mistake that expanded a health-care system we already knew we couldn’t afford. Congress should repeal the law and then proceed step by step to reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
January 15, 2013: Alexander says administration’s health care law delays won’t help states. “The problem with the health-care law’s requirement that states set up health-care exchanges isn’t that states need more time – it’s that the draft rules lack flexibility for states, and the health-care law itself is a poorly written, over-regulating law that never should have been passed in the first place,” he said.
January 22, 2013: Alexander introduces bill to repeal health care law’s individual mandate. The bill gained the support of 30 senators in addition to sponsors Alexander and Senator Hatch. “Congress should repeal the law, especially the individual mandate, and then proceed step by step to reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance,” Alexander said.
January 22, 2013: Alexander voted top Republican on Senate health committee. “I am honored that my Republican colleagues elected me as the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Tennessee is helping lead the country in health care and education innovation, and this opportunity will give me a strong voice in reducing regulations that get in the way of private sector innovation, and getting Washington out of decisions that should be made by states, communities, and individuals,” Alexander said.
January 29, 2013: Alexander cosponsors a bill introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to fully repeal the health care law. Alexander said: “The case for repealing this law has only grown stronger as American businesses and families have begun to feel the pain of its impact—a half-trillion dollars of new taxes, premiums going up, employers cutting hours and jobs just to stay in business. Rather than expand a system everyone knows is too expensive, we should be working to reduce its cost so more Americans can afford health insurance.”
February 1, 2013: Alexander cosponsors a bill to study and reduce the negative impact excessive regulation has on the economy. He said, “For too long, the federal government has been throwing a big, wet blanket over the economy with unrealistic regulations that burden businesses.”
February 7, 2013: Alexander says nonpartisan report “confirms the failures of the health care law.” After a Congressional Budget Office report that 7 million Americans will lose their job-based health care as a result of the new health care law, Alexander said: “At least 7 million people will lose the health insurance the president promised they’d be able to keep, and our nation’s job creators will be taxed $150 billion in penalties as a result. The President should accept that this law isn't the right solution and he should work with Congress to repeal it, and then work with us on ways to lower the cost of health care so that more people can afford it.”
February 8, 2013: Alexander cosponsors bill to repeal Obamacare’s tax hike on medical device manufacturers. Alexander said, “This tax increase on medical device manufacturers is already costing Tennessee jobs, and will make it more expensive for families to afford braces, crutches, artificial hips, and almost any other kind of medical device they use.”
February 28, 2013: Alexander and Senate, House lawmakers announce bill to repeal job-killing employer mandate. The bill, called the American Job Protection Act, would repeal the job-killing employer mandate that was included in the President’s $2.6 trillion health law, which requires businesses of 50 employees or more to provide health insurance of minimum value or pay a penalty between $2,000 and $3,000 for each employee working 30 hours or more a week.
March 19, 2013: Senator Alexander co-sponsors a bill to eliminate tax on insurance premiums. Senator Alexander co-sponsored the Jobs and Premium Protection Act (S. 603) which would repeal the tax on health insurance plans that families must pay to create a new entitlement.
March 21, 2013: Alexander introduces amendment to protect consumers, employers, and states from “rate shock” under the new health care law. The amendment would allow states and employers waivers from the law’s mandates if those mandates cause premiums to rise.
March 21, 2013: Alexander proposes repealing tax on medical devices - Tennessee’s top export industry. Alexander said Congress should end “wasteful federal taxpayer subsidy” of wind energy to help pay for repeal of Obamacare medical device tax.
March 21, 2013: Alexander says today states' Medicaid waiver requests may get no response for years, slowing innovations in Medicaid patient care and wasting state money and resources. He added: “It’s bad enough that Washington passes unfunded Medicaid mandates on to states, but ignoring states’ requests for the flexibility to improve care is hurting our most vulnerable people and wasting state resources. This amendment requires Washington to be accountable to states and to Medicaid patients by making a decision in a timely manner.”
March 27, 2013: Alexander supports Gov. Haslam’s pursuit of state flexibility in health care law. Alexander said he would do all he could to help the governor pursue greater state flexibility in increasing access to health care for Tennesseans, instead of expanding Tennessee's Medicaid program, TennCare.
March 28, 2013: Alexander said new nonpartisan study is evidence that individual insurance premiums will rise under Obamacare. Alexander said a nonpartisan report that finds insurance claims in the individual market will rise an average 32 percent for Americans and 46.4 percent for Tennesseans under the new health care law “offers more evidence that what I told the president in 2010 is true: individual insurance premiums will rise under his plan.”
March 28, 2013: Alexander urges administration to grant Tennessee flexibility under health care law. “We urge you to work with Governor Haslam to implement his vision for achieving quality health care for Tennesseans by Tennesseans, particularly for those who currently do not have health insurance,” he said in a letter sent with Senator Corker.
April 25, 2013: Alexander tells HHS Secretary Sebelius: Obamacare’s 30-hour workweek is a “disincentive for full-time, 40-hour employment.” At a Senate committee hearing, Alexander said the law’s definition of full-time work as 30 hours or more a week “sounds more like France than the United States.”
May 2, 2013: At Onyx in Memphis, Alexander says he’ll fight to repeal Obamacare tax on medical devices. “This burdensome tax on medical devices is already costing Tennesseans jobs and hurting a crucial Memphis industry by increasing costs, stifling investment and ultimately driving up prices for patients in need of medical help,” Alexander said. “Memphis has become an important center for medical devices, and the industry ranks as Tennessee’s top export. Repealing the Obamacare tax on medical devices – devices that save lives – is one of the most important things we can do to create good jobs for Tennesseans.”
May 6, 2013: Senator Alexander co-sponsors legislation to protect religious freedom. Senator Alexander is a co-sponsor of the EACH Act (S. 862) which provides a religious exemption from the health care law for those whose sincerely held religious beliefs would cause them to object to medical intervention.
May 11, 2013: Alexander says Sebelius’s fundraising and coordinating with private entities to implement health care law “may be illegal.”Alexander compared Sebelius’s activities to the Iran-Contra incident when Reagan administration official Oliver North raised funds and directed their spending through private entities in support of Nicaraguan rebels even though Congress had refused to appropriate funds.
May 16, 2013: Alexander with Senate, House Republicans calls on Government Accountability Office to investigate Sec. Sebelius’s solicitation of funds for private non-profit. The members call for an investigation into Secretary Sebelius’s fundraising for a private non-profit to implement the new health care law.
May 30, 2013: Alexander with Senate Republicans calls for Inspector General review of fundraising activities at HHS. Alexander with Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) of the Senate Finance Committee, and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee called on the Inspector General of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department to launch an investigation into fundraising activities reportedly carried out by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
June 7, 2013: Alexander and health committee Republicans send letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius. Alexander requests the agency to investigate whether any other state may be concealing details of exchange contracts that award federal dollars, in response to a recent news report that California may be concealing the details of contracts awarded using federal dollars to establish and run its Affordable Care Act health insurance exchange.
June 19, 2013: Alexander with health committee Republicans requests details on FDA’s promotion of the health care law. All Republican members of the Senate health committee send a letter to the FDA Commissioner asking “why and under what authority” the agency is using time and resources to enroll Americans in the new insurance exchanges.
June 27, 2013: Alexander and Senate Republicans call on HHS Secretary Sebelius to produce documents, answer questions related to fundraising. A group of 28 Republican senators today sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius asking for documents and answers previously requested by Alexander and Senate Finance Committee Republicans.
July 3, 2013: Sen. Alexander says “Obamacare is unraveling.” After the administration delayed the employer mandate for one year, Alexander said: “This is Obamacare unraveling. This is the ‘train wreck’ that the Senator who wrote the health care law predicted was coming. Pushing the implementation of the employer mandate until after the 2014 election confirms the law was an historic mistake. It should be repealed and replaced with effective legislation that will reduce costs by involving patients in health care decision making. This delay will make a giant mess of the individual mandate because presumably individuals are still required to purchase insurance.”
July 10, 2013: Alexander and Republican colleagues call on president to “listen to American people,” work with Congress to end Obamacare.Alexander sent a letter with all of his Senate Republican colleagues to President Obama calling on him to work with Congress to permanently delay the new health care law.
July 16, 2013: Senator Alexander co-sponsors legislation to defund Obamacare. Senator Alexander is an original co-sponsor of Senator Cruz’s bill (S. 1292) which would permanently defund the president’s health care law, preventing it from being implemented.
July 16, 2013: Alexander joins Republican colleagues to question Secretary Duncan on Education Department’s role in Obamacare implementation. The senators wrote: “While we understand that the effects of the President’s health care law will be felt by parents, teachers, and their families, we are unfamiliar with how the Department of Education’s involvement in implementation will further the mission of educating our nation’s students.”
July 22, 2013: Alexander with House Republican Committee Leaders presses administration to release all health insurance premiums data. The senior Republicans on the U.S. Senate and House health policy committees and subcommittees sent a letter pressing the White House to release data it has collected on health insurance premiums in 34 states, after the administration released a report last week highlighting premium information in just 11 states.
August 1, 2013: Alexander leads 39 Republican senators in calling on White House for details on Obamacare implementation at 21 federal agencies. The senators called on the White House to provide details on efforts by at least 21 federal agencies to help implement the new health care law—specifically, “agencies with no responsibilities” to implement or promote under that law.
September 9, 2013: Senator Alexander cosponsors bill to prohibit union health plans from receiving tax credits that are intended for the uninsured to purchase health insurance - a benefit no non-union member in America would receive.
September 12, 2013: Senator Alexander cosponsors bill and amendment to delay Obamacare mandates on American families and businesses. Alexander said: “Full repeal of this law is my goal - no family in Tennessee should ever be forced to comply with the mess and mistakes of Obamacare.”
September 18, 2013: Senator Alexander leads a group of 21 Republican senators in sending a letter to the White House, urging that labor unions not receive special carve-outs from Obamacare. The senators wrote: “Providing union members with a benefit not afforded to non-union employees is grossly unfair to every non-union worker in America who would receive no such special carve out from the health care law.”
October 10, 2013: Alexander investigates extent of Obamacare launch problems. Alexander, with House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa, sends a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius: “We are concerned by recent comments to the media that the system suffers from architectural problems that need design changes. We seek information about these problems as well as whether you still expect individuals to suffer a tax penalty if they do not purchase government-approved health insurance.”
October 22, 2013: Alexander announces he will introduce a bill requiring the administration to provide weekly reports to Congress and to states with data about Obamacare enrollment and efforts to resolve the site’s technological problems. Alexander said of his legislation: “This bill will require the administration to be honest and transparent with the public, governors overseeing state exchanges, state consumer protection regulators, and decisionmakers in Congress. No more hiding the damage of the train wreck—Americans are on this train.”
October 25, 2013: Alexander raises possibility of oversight committee subpoena for requested documents related to the major problems with HealthCare.gov. Alexander, with House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa, sent a letter to HHS Secretary Sebelius: “Your failure to provide Congress information that would shed additional light on these problems is a troubling indication that you are refusing to hold people accountable for this costly and failed enterprise.”
November 7, 2013: Alexander joins Republican Senate colleagues urging President Obama to relieve HHS Sec. Sebelius of her duties. Alexander said: “When you have good management and you have clear accountability, you usually get something done right—but in the rollout of this health care law, we have had neither. Millions of Americans are losing their policies because of this law but are unable to find new policies because the website won’t work. It is time for the President to ask the Secretary of Health and Human Services to resign.”
November 14, 2013: Alexander leads 20 Republican Senate colleagues to urge administration: No union carveouts from Obamacare. In a letter to the director of OMB, the senators wrote: “The regulatory process is meant to implement the law as written, not as the Administration wishes it were. If the law will unfairly hurt certain groups, it should be repealed or amended through Congress.”
November 19, 2013: Alexander and Senate Republican colleagues introduce bill to prevent union health care plans from being exempted from the Obamacare reinsurance tax. Alexander said: “The Obama administration should not reward its labor union friends and allies who helped pass the health care law by giving them a carveout from the law’s worst provisions.”
November 20, 2013: Alexander and Senate Republican colleagues introduce bill to protect the right of employers to provide insurance to employees through self-insurance plans. Alexander said: “Any effort by the Obama administration to change the rules on companies that self-insure will break the president’s promise to millions more hardworking Americans. No matter if they like their employer’s health care plans, many won’t be able to keep them.”
November 20, 2013: Alexander and Republican lawmakers question the success of an Obamacare loan program that has issued nearly $2 billion in loans to non-profit health insurance issuers – and whether those taxpayer dollars would be repaid on time. In a letter to HHS Sec. Sebelius, the lawmakers wrote: “Recent events, including the rollout of the health care marketplace exchanges on October 1, have deepened our concerns about the success of CO-OPs and the probability of taxpayers being repaid for the $2 billion that was loaned to these plans.”
January 30, 2014: Alexander joins Republican senators in sending a letter to Republican governors, asking for their input and ideas for alternatives to Obamacare’s mandates, taxes and higher premiums if Congress were able to repeal the law and replace it with real reform.The senators wrote: “As Republicans, we believe that Washington works best when it listens more, and lectures less. That is why we write . . . to ask Republican governors to share with us how Obamacare is impacting your states and solicit your thoughts on how we can work together on policies to replace Obamacare with commonsense, step-by-step reforms that will lower costs and increase access to care.”
February 4, 2014: Alexander presses Obama’s nominee for U.S. surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, on whether he would use the “bully pulpit” as “the nation’s doctor” to advance his ideological goals in favor of Obamacare. Of Murthy’s advocacy for Obamacare, Alexander said, “Much of your work has been devoted to electing the current president and advocating the new health care law … I’d be reluctant to put into the surgeon general’s office someone who would use that as a bully pulpit to promote a law I think is an historic mistake.”
February 10, 2014: Alexander, Republican senators send letter to IRS, asking them to clarify how it will enforce Obamacare's individual mandate tax. The senators wrote: “Never before – since the founding of our Republic – has Congress adopted and the courts upheld a law which effectively forces Americans to buy a product they may not want and subjects them to a tax if they choose not to do so. Given the unprecedented nature of this new era, we write with several questions regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s efforts to enforce section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code, or the ‘individual mandate.’”
March 13, 2014: Alexander, GOP colleagues call on Obama administration to immediately rescind its rule giving unions a carveout from Obamacare. In a letter to OMB Director Sylvia Burwell, the senators wrote: “We write to express deep disappointment that your agency has approved a final rule creating an unwarranted special carveout benefitting certain unions over other Americans… Carving out some unions from a multi-billion dollar reinsurance fee, the cost of which will ultimately be borne by every other American with private health insurance, is unacceptable.”
March 20, 2014: Alexander: Repealing the Obamacare medical device tax would create Memphis Jobs. At a roundtable with a panel of leaders in the Memphis-area medical device industry, Alexander renewed his call for the repeal of the health care law’s 2.3 percent excise tax on medical device manufacturers: “This onerous $30 billion tax on revenue has cost 33,000 jobs, increased the cost of life-saving medical devices and discouraged innovation for new devices."
April 17, 2014: Sen. Alexander, GOP colleagues urge Census Bureau to keep questions on uninsured in order to understand impact of Obamacare. The senators write: “We respectfully request that you continue to collect data using both the old and new survey questions for this year and next year. Of course we always want the best statistical information, but the collection of only one year of comparable data is insufficient. Continuing to collect data using both the old and new survey questions will help ensure that you do not conflate a change in measurement with changes due to implementation of the new health care law.”
May 22, 2014: Sen. Alexander, Tennessee lawmakers introduce legislation to protect small business employees from higher premiums, job losses related to Obamacare. On the Certify It Act, Alexander said, “Republicans want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage. I’ve heard from many small business owners with more than 50 employees who say Obamacare is making it hard to offer workers health insurance and, for some, hard to stay in business. This bill says, ‘Let the facts speak for themselves—if premiums are going up and jobs are being cut—then delay the mandate.’”
May 22, 2014: Sen. Alexander, House, Senate leaders question whether CMS is considering punishing states for HealthCare.gov’s technology failures. The leaders press CMS Chief Tavenner in a letter: “Is CMS considering or pursuing administrative reductions in payments to states because of state backlogs in reviewing pending applications?” They also request information regarding how CMS would implement those actions and who would be penalized. Finally, they ask: “When will CMS ensure that HealthCare.gov sends states accurate, complete data on applicants who are deemed eligible for Medicaid, in a manner that meets states’ needs?”
May 23, 2014: Sen. Alexander joins colleague to call for answers on report that Obamacare contractor is paying hundreds of employees not to work. “We are concerned Serco may have much less work than was expected when CMS awarded the contract, and may not be successfully completing the applications it has received,” Sens. Alexander and Blunt wrote. Blunt and Alexander posed a number of questions to the administration and requested a reply on or before May 30, 2014.
June 20, 2014: Alexander says Democratic Leader Harry Reid is imposing a “gag rule” on senators of both parties. During an appropriations committee meeting, Alexander discussed an amendment he was blocked from offering on the Senate floor that would have given the American public “more disclosure on Obamacare” and calls on his Senate colleagues to allow Senators “to have a say on behalf of the people we’re elected to represent.”
January 7, 2015: Alexander cosponsors bipartisan legislation to protect more than 2.5 million workers from harmful effects of Obamacare’s 30-hour workweek. “I’m glad to cosponsor this bipartisan legislation offered by Sens. Collins and Donnelly to overturn this damaging Obamacare provision and give a pay raise to more than 2.5 million low-income workers and their families,” Alexander said. “I intend to hold our first committee hearing on health and labor this Congress to look at how this provision has made it harder for so many Americans to make a living—as we work toward undoing the damage Obamacare has done and preventing future damage from this historic mistake of a law.”
January 21, 2015: Alexander introduces bill to repeal individual mandate. “How can we continue to enforce the individual mandate when the law doesn’t clearly ensure that millions of Americans are allowed to receive subsidies to help cover the cost? How can we enforce it when Obamacare outlaws plans that fit family budgets? Millions more Americans are in for sticker shock when they see how much they owe the IRS in April because of Obamacare. We need to focus on making health care plans affordable to Americans,” Alexander said.
January 30, 2015: Alexander presses the administration on Healthcare.gov security. In a letter to the administration with House and Senate leaders, Alexander said, “It appears that when an individual visits HealthCare.gov, information about that person is shared through an automated process with companies such as Google, Twitter, Yahoo, and Advertising.com. In most instances, this information is shared long after their visit to HealthCare.gov has concluded.”
March 1, 2015: Alexander, Hatch, and Barrasso lay out a plan for fixing health care. In an op-ed in the Washington Post on the outcome of the King v. Burwell Supreme Court case, the senators write, “Such a ruling could cause 6 million Americans to lose a subsidy they counted on, and for many the resulting insurance premiums would be unaffordable. Republicans have a plan to create a bridge away from Obamacare.”
November 2, 2015: Alexander presses administration on failed Obamacare co-ops.
September 14, 2016: Alexander and seven Republican senators introduced emergency, one-year legislation to give states the authority to allow Americans who rely on Obamacare subsidies to have more options to buy health insurance unavailable on the failing Obamacare exchanges, and waive any penalty if they do not find a plan that suits their or their family’s needs. Alexander announced the bill on the Senate floor, saying, “This legislation would allow your state to give you the option of buying health insurance wherever you can find it whether on or off the Obamacare exchange. This one-year solution is not a substitute for the long-term need to repeal and replace Obamacare with step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system by putting patients in charge, giving them more choices and reducing the cost of health care so that more people can afford it.”
January 12, 2017: Alexander votes to take first step towards building better health care systems that give Americans access to truly affordable health care. Alexander likened addressing the collapsing Obamacare exchanges in Tennessee and across the country to handling a collapsing bridge: “If your local bridge were ‘very near collapse,’ the first thing you would do is send in a rescue crew to repair it temporarily so no one else is hurt. Then you would build a better bridge, or more accurately, many bridges, as states develop their own plans for providing access to truly affordable health care to replace the old bridge. Finally, when the new bridges are finished you would close the old bridge.”
January 20, 2017: Alexander says President Trump’s is right to issue Executive Order to “ease the burden” of Obamacare on his first day in office. Alexander continued, saying, “I look forward to working with him, Vice President Pence, and Dr. Price, when confirmed, to begin the process of repealing Obamacare and replacing it simultaneously with concrete, practical reforms that give Americans access to truly affordable health care."
February 1, 2017: Alexander holds hearing on actions Congress and the Administration can take to rescue the 18 million Americans trapped in an “Obamacare emergency.” At the hearing, Alexander said, “In my home state of Tennessee, in September of 2016, we woke up one morning and BlueCross BlueShield announced that it was pulling out of Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville. That’s 131,000 people who had BlueCross insurance in the individual market. And they wouldn’t be able to buy it in 2017. So they don’t have that option this year. That’s an alarm bell in every one of those homes... Now, it doesn’t make as much a difference to me as to whose fault that is. I can make a pretty good speech about that and you can make a pretty good speech saying why it’s not your fault or it is our fault. I think the question the American people want to know, particularly if they’re among the 11 million people in the exchanges or the 18 million in the whole individual market, is well: What are you going to do about that?”
February 15, 2017: Alexander says HHS proposed rule is a good first step to rescue Americans from collapsing health care market. Alexander said, “Today’s administrative action by Secretary Price is a good first step towards rescuing the health care market that Tennessee's insurance commissioner says is ‘very near collapse.’ Without this course of action, many of the 18 million Americans in the individual insurance market may have zero choices for insurance next year, so having an Obamacare subsidy could soon be like having a bus ticket in a town where no buses run. I continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the administration on next steps.”