Alexander and Republican Colleagues Call on President to “Listen to American People,” Work With Congress to End Obamacare

46 senators send letter to president noting that majority of Americans disapprove of the law, citing report that some premiums will double or triple

Posted on July 10, 2013

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"Tennessee families can’t afford this law, but they’ll be the ones left paying the bill now that the president is giving businesses a one-year delay while maintaining the mandates on individuals and families.” – Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, July 10—Senator Lamar Alexander, the senior Republican on the U.S. Senate health committee, today 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.

Alexander said: “Tennessee families can’t afford this law, but they’ll be the ones left paying the bill now that the president is giving businesses a one-year delay while maintaining the mandates on individuals and families. Obamacare is unraveling, and it should be dismantled and replaced with effective legislation that will reduce costs by involving patients in health care decision making.”

The senators, led by Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), write in the letter to the president: “Given the widely-held belief by the American people that the Affordable Care Act will not fulfill its promises and will result in higher costs for American families, we implore you to listen to the American people.  This law is unworkable and harmful to the economy and to American families, and your actions to delay the employer mandate are an acknowledgement of this fact.  While your recent action provides temporary relief for some, we believe that all Americans deserve permanent relief from this onerous law, so that we can adopt common-sense reforms that will actually lower costs and that Americans support.”

They continue: “A recent Gallup poll from June of 2013 showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.  The same survey revealed that for every one person who believes they will be better off under the Affordable Care Act, two believe they will be worse off.  Opposition to your health law is growing, and it will continue to grow as more Americans realize that the law is built upon broken promises and will result in higher health care costs and more taxes.”

Alexander voted against the health care bill after warning his colleagues it would be “an historic mistake,” and has voted repeatedly to repeal it. He has specifically warned that the law would raise premiums.

Today’s letter notes that, “families are facing significant increases in premiums.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an analysis of premiums and concluded that under your law some Americans will see their premiums “double or even triple,” which is the opposite of your promise that premiums will go down by $2,500 for American families.”

In February 2010, Alexander was asked by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and then-House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) to represent Republicans at a summit at the White House to discuss the president’s proposed health-care law. He warned President Obama that premiums for millions of Americans with individual insurance would rise under the president’s proposal, and the president disputed Alexander’s charge.

The full text of today’s letter is below:

July 10, 2013

The Honorable Barack Obama

President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Obama:

We write to express concern that in your recent decision to delay implementation of the employer mandate, you have unilaterally acted and failed to work with Congress on such a significant decision.  Further, while your action finally acknowledges some of the many burdens this law will place on job creators, we believe the rest of this law should be permanently delayed for everyone in order to avoid significant economic harm to American families.

In response to questions about the administration’s decision, your senior advisor Valerie Jarrett said, “We are listening,” while referring to the concerns of the business community over the onerous employer mandate that will result in fewer jobs and employees working fewer hours.  We have been listening as well, and as more employers have attempted to understand your burdensome requirements in the Affordable Care Act, the louder their outrage has become.

We are also listening to the views of the American people.  A recent Gallup poll from June of 2013 showed that a majority of Americans disapprove of the Affordable Care Act.  The same survey revealed that for every one person who believes they will be better off under the Affordable Care Act, two believe they will be worse off.  Opposition to your health law is growing, and it will continue to grow as more Americans realize that the law is built upon broken promises and will result in higher health care costs and more taxes. 

Under the individual mandate, the IRS, which is still under multiple investigations for unfairly targeting conservative groups, will play a central role in the implementation of the health care law in our country.  Last fall, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that nearly six million Americans, primarily in the middle class, will have to pay a tax under the individual mandate, which was two million more than previously estimated.   When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, the average individual mandate tax will be nearly $1,200, which clearly contradicts your previous statement that the individual mandate “is absolutely not a tax increase.” 

Further, families are facing significant increases in premiums.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an analysis of premiums and concluded that under your law some Americans will see their premiums “double or even triple,” which is the opposite of your promise that premiums will go down by $2,500 for American families. 

Given the widely-held belief by the American people that the Affordable Care Act will not fulfill its promises and will result in higher costs for American families, we implore you to listen to the American people.  This law is unworkable and harmful to the economy and to American families, and your actions to delay the employer mandate are an acknowledgement of this fact.  While your recent action provides temporary relief for some, we believe that all Americans deserve permanent relief from this onerous law, so that we can adopt common-sense reforms that will actually lower costs and that Americans support.

 

Sincerely,

 

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