Senator Alexander has helped lead the fight against the new health care law since it was proposed in 2009.
At the White House health care summit in February 2010, Alexander gave opening remarks on behalf of all congressional Republicans in opposition to Obamacare. The senator told the president the proposal would raise individual premiums. President Obama disagreed, but multiple studies have proved Alexander correct. (Click HERE to see Senator Alexander's full remarks at the summit.)
“Obamacare was an historic mistake, and should be repealed and replaced with step-by-step reforms that transform the health care delivery system by putting patients in charge, giving them more choices, and reducing the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.” – Lamar Alexander
Sen. Alexander has:
*Voted, on the floor of the U.S. Senate, to repeal or defund Obamacare 23 times since it became law, and overall to oppose or repeal Obamacare or its provisions more than 90 times.
* Sponsored legislation, written letters or taken other action against Obamacare, including efforts to defund it, more than 70 times.
* Debated, made remarks or otherwise spoken out about his opposition to Obamacare more than 100 times.
Alexander Opposition to Obamacare:
June 16, 2009: Alexander proposes “sentencing every Senator who votes” for Democratic health care proposal on Medicaid “to a term of 8 years as Governor in his or her home State, so they can have an opportunity to manage the program, to raise taxes, and to find a way to pay for that sort of proposal.”
June 17, 2009: Alexander warns health care bill will bankrupt states.He added: “Republicans have offered health care plans that would give low-income Americans the same opportunities and choices that most Americans already have—plans that wouldn’t make it harder for American businesses to compete in the world marketplace by adding to their costs, plans that our grandchildren can afford that wouldn’t heap trillions of dollars of new debt upon them, devaluing their dollars and the quality of their lives.”
June 23, 2009: Alexander: “We’ve had enough of Washington takeovers.” He added, “That’s not the best way to extend coverage to low-income Americans who need it.”
July 8, 2009: Alexander’s colloquy on health care with Senator McCain: “We want to make sure that everyone is covered and that we have access to health care at a cost the family budget can afford.”
July 13, 2009: Alexander writes in The Hill newspaper that if Senate Democrats continue with the “completely partisan” health care bill, “Americans will not be better off.” He wrote: “Republicans believe we must have a health care plan that you can afford and that your government can afford, so your children do not get a big debt piled on top of them.”
July 21, 2009: Senator Alexander on health care reform: “Let's keep a four-letter word out there that is a good word; and that is ‘cost,’ and make sure we focus first on the 250 million Americans who have health insurance and make sure they can afford it; and, second, make sure when we finish fixing health care that those same Americans can afford their government.”
July 22, 2009: Alexander on Senate floor on the “wrong way to fix health care”: “Health care is very personal to every one of us, to every one of our families, and to all the American people. Our goal, on the Republican side, and I am sure for many Democrats as well, is to start with cost and make sure we can say to the American people they can afford their health care policy; and when we have finished fixing health care, they can afford their government. So far, that has not been the case.”
July 28, 2009: Alexander on Senate floor: “We should start over in terms of what we are doing to try to find the right way to provide health care for the American people at a cost they can afford and, at the same time, provide a government they can afford. We are going in the wrong direction.”
August 6, 2009: Alexander speaks in opposition to health care legislation, calling attention to alternative proposals. “We are hearing already from people around the country who fear that millions of people may lose their employer-based health insurance and may find themselves in a government-run plan, with new state taxes to pay for Medicaid.”
August 9, 2009: Alexander writes op-ed on health care plan forChattanooga Times Free Press: “Proposals would slap high costs on states.” He wrote: “We want to be sure you can afford your health care, but also that you can afford your government once we’ve fixed the system. We want to be sure the insurance company representative that today stands between you and your doctor isn’t replaced by a Washington bureaucrat.”
September 8, 2009: Alexander urges Congress to "start over" on health care reform. “It is obvious we need health care reform, but it is also obvious that most Americans aren’t comfortable with the direction in which we are going.”
September 15, 2009: Alexander criticizes proposed health care reforms, saying "the era of the 1,000-page bill is over." Alexander proposed smaller steps toward reform, such as allowing small business pooling and reforming medical malpractice.
September 16, 2009: Alexander says on Senate floor that health care law will shift costs to seniors, states, and taxpayers. “We are barking up the wrong tree. This debate about health care should be about reducing costs.”
September 23, 2009: Alexander says, "We do not want the status quo, and there is 100 percent agreement on the Republican side that there would be one thing worse than the status quo and that would be higher premium costs, more debt for the government, and higher taxes." He added: “Health care reform should be about one thing: reducing costs.”
September 24, 2009: Alexander criticizes proposed health care law for increasing premiums and funneling patients into a broken Medicaid program. “We believe that instead of a 1,000-page bill, we … should go step by step to re-earn the trust of the American people. For example, permitting small business plans to pool their resources to offer more insurance to a million people; buying insurance across State lines; stopping runaway junk lawsuits against doctors; signing up those people already eligible for Medicaid and SCHIP; and encouraging technology.”
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.
September 29, 2009: Alexander promotes an alternative step-by-step approach to reducing health care costs. “From the Republican side, we want to reduce health care costs, and rather than try a comprehensive health care reform of the whole system, we would like to work step by step in the direction of reducing costs in order to re-earn the trust of the American people.”
September 30, 2009: Alexander criticizes Democrats for ramming through health reform legislation. He added criticism of the proposed Medicaid expansion and the cost to government of the health care law.
October 1, 2009: On health care, Alexander says "we do not want to see another Washington takeover." He added: “Instead of scaring the country half to death with new taxes and Washington takeovers and threatening their health care choices, let’s not throw the whole system out. Let’s take practical steps to reduce costs and to improve services.”
October 6, 2009: Alexander criticizes Democrats for pushing through health reform without knowing the cost to taxpayers. He asked, “How much will these Medicaid mandates cause taxes to be raised in your state? Will this bill raise your insurance premiums?”
October 7, 2009: Alexander says health care bill “imposes onerous new costs on states and is likely to increase the federal debt.” He added,“What we know at this point is that the bill cuts Medicare, raises taxes, and increases insurance premiums for tens of millions of Americans.”
October 8, 2009: Alexander says the first step in health reform is reducing costs. “We all know there are people who don’t have health care and who need it. We would like to extend it to them. But we can’t afford to do that until we reduce the cost of the health care we have.”
October 15, 2009: Alexander criticizes health care bill for raising taxes and premiums. “We want to reduce costs for individuals who are buying insurance, and we want to reduce the cost of our government.”
October 19, 2009: Alexander says health care legislation will add to the national debt. He added: “This debate was supposed to be about reducing costs – reducing costs to the government and reducing costs to individuals across this country who cannot afford to pay for health care insurance.”
October 22, 2009: Alexander criticizes Democrats for closed-door drafting of health care legislation. He added that health care reform should not add to the deficit or be built on Medicare cuts.
October 28, 2009: Alexander says health care legislation will raise taxes and premiums.
November 3, 2009: Alexander criticizes Democrats for limiting Republican input on health care reform. He added: “Americans instinctively distrust these comprehensive, change-the-world, never-mind-the-cost, 2,000-page risky schemes, one of which is the health care plan that is coming toward us.”
November 5, 2009: Alexander says health care legislation is "half financed by cuts in Medicare." He added: “Why are we passing a health care reform bill that increases the cost of your health care premiums, raises your taxes, and cuts Medicare?”
November 6, 2009: Alexander says proposal to raise health care costs “not helping” bring down high unemployment rate. On news the unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent in October 2009, Alexander said: “Record unemployment rates are hurting and Washington is not helping with its 1,000-page bills that raise taxes, utility bills, health care costs and debt. Our focus should be on one thing: creating good paying jobs.”
November 7, 2009: Alexander says health care reform should lower costs, not add to debt. Alexander added: “This bill is indeed historic in its combination of higher premiums, higher taxes, Medicare cuts and more federal debt. Millions of Americans will be forced into government plans when their employers stop offering health plans. I do not see how Tennessee can pay for its part of the Medicaid expansion without a new income tax or seriously damaging higher education, or both.”
November 9, 2009: Alexander criticizes recently passed House health care legislation. He noted: “It is, indeed, historic. It is a combination of higher premiums, higher taxes, Medicare cuts, and more federal government debt. Millions of Americans, if it were to pass, will be forced into government plans when their employers stop offering health care insurance.”
November 17, 2009: Alexander criticizes Democrats for closed-door meetings and expensive legislation. He added: “Dumping 14 million more low-income Americans into the Medicaid Program not only ruins states fiscally, hurts public higher education in the states, puts these patients in programs that doctors won’t see; it is a program where $1 out of $10 is wasted by fraud and abuse.”
November 19, 2009: Alexander denounces newly revealed Senate health care legislation. He added: “We need to start over. We need to go in the right direction. We need to cut costs.”
November 20, 2009: Alexander says health care legislation will cause state budget cuts, kill jobs, and raise premiums. He added: “We believe the American people have lost confidence in Washington and that they would prefer that we go step by step in the right direction to reduce costs and re-earn their trust rather than pass a 2,074-page bill that will bankrupt the country.”
November 21, 2009: On Senate floor, Alexander speaks against Medicaid expansion. He said: “Moving 15 million low-income Americans into a program called Medicaid, which is a medical ghetto, is not health care reform.”
November 22, 2009: Alexander tells Fox News “this bill is fundamentally flawed.” Alexander added: “Our goal is to let the American people know what it does for them and to them: that it has higher premiums, higher taxes, Medicare cuts, and puts 15 million more low-income Americans into a medical ghetto called Medicaid.”
December 1, 2009: Alexander cites Wall Street Journal headline on the health care law: “Some Health Premiums to Rise.” He asked: “So my question is, why would we spend $2.5 trillion over ten years, cut Medicare, raise taxes and run up the debt to raise some Americans’ health care premiums? I thought the whole exercise was to lower the cost of health care premiums.”
December 1, 2009: Alexander criticizes health care legislation's Medicare cuts. He added: “Why would we spend $2.5 trillion over 10 years, cut Medicare, raise taxes, and run up the debt to raise some health premiums?”
December 3, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to protect and improve Medicare benefits.
December 4, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to eliminate new health care entitlement programs created by Obamacare. This amendment proposed to limit the government control over the health care of American families.
December 4, 2009: Alexander votes to prevent health care law from including Medicare Advantage cuts for 243,000 Tennessee seniors. He said: “Cutting Medicare Advantage, which is exactly what the Democrats’ health care plan does, is not health-care reform.”
December 4, 2009: Alexander speaks against $120 billion cut to Medicare Advantage.
December 5, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to protect home health benefits.
December 6, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to provide for medical malpractice reform.
December 7, 2009: Alexander votes to prohibit Medicare cuts in the health care bill to be used for new government spending . He said: “Senator Gregg’s and my amendment says, if you find savings in Grandma’s Medicare, you should spend those savings on Grandma. Cutting Medicare by half a trillion dollars and spending it on a new program at a time when Medicare is going broke is not real health care reform, and I’m disappointed that Senate Democrats yet again rejected Republican attempts to fix their flawed bill.”
December 7, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to require the Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary to survey enrollee satisfaction with qualified health plans offered through the new health insurance exchanges.
December 9, 2009: Alexander says Medicaid expansion will force states to raise taxes.
December 9, 2009: Alexander says health care bill will mean higher taxes and tuitions in Tennessee. He continued: “And if the state pays a big part of the bill, that means a big state tax increase. It means big college tuition increases. And I guarantee that if this happens, there will be a revolt in the states…Tuitions will rise to a level where only the rich can afford to go to school.”
December 10, 2009: Alexander speaks against health care legislation with Republican colleagues.
December 15, 2009: Alexander votes against the health care law’s tax increases to individuals and families . He added: “More than a million Tennesseans will likely see their taxes increase under the Senate health care bill and it’s this kind of tax increase the president was exactly right to promise during his campaign that he would oppose. I’m disappointed that the Senate chose instead to increase costs to Tennesseans when the goal of health care reform should be to lower them.”
December 15, 2009: Alexander says health care law is “nearly $1 trillion in new taxes.” He said: “It’s an increase in premiums for most Americans. And it’s important for our country not to have this historic mistake thrust upon them.”
December 15, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to allow the importation of prescription drugs.
December 15, 2009: Alexander supports amendment to allow the importation of prescription drugs.
December 18, 2009: Alexander writes an op-ed in Politico: “A Political Kamikaze Mission Toward a Historic Mistake.” Alexander wrote: “The one thing we can be sure of is that if this bill should pass, the law of unintended consequences will produce unwelcome results from higher taxes, higher premiums, Medicare cuts, an increase in the federal debt and large new costs passed on to struggling states.”
December 19, 2009: Alexander requests transparency from Majority Leader Reid on contents of health care bill. Alexander said: “We are in our 20th consecutive day of considering health care, and we still do not have a final bill. In other words, we do not yet know what we are voting on, how much it costs, or how it affects the American people.”
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.''
December 21, 2009: Alexander denounces Democrats for ramming through legislation without giving American people time to read the bill. He said: “They want to make sure they pass it before the American people find out what is in it.”
December 22, 2009: Alexander opposes motion to table amendment no. 3278.
December 23, 2009: Alexander supports point of order against Senator Reid’s amendment no. 2786.
December 23, 2009: Alexander opposes Senator’s Reid’s substitute amendment no. 2786.
December 23, 2009: Alexander opposes ending Senate floor debate on Obamacare.
December 24, 2009: Alexander votes against health care bill he says “will prove to be an historic mistake.” Alexander said, “Their written-in-secret bill will increase health insurance premiums, raise taxes, cut Medicare and dump millions of Americans into Medicaid. For Tennessee, Medicaid’s expansion and the bill’s ‘sweetheart deals’ would cost our state more than $750 million over five years when fully implemented, forcing tax increases or damaging higher education—or both.” Vote result here.
January 20, 2010: Alexander speaks against the health care law and the Medicaid expansion mandate on the Senate floor. “Washington policies are turning our Federal constitutional system upside down. They are transforming autonomous state governments into bankrupt wards of the central government. In doing so, they are making it harder for states to support public higher education; therefore, damaging its quality and damaging the opportunity for Americans to afford it.”
January 21, 2010: Alexander says it is "arrogant to imagine that 100 senators are wise enough to reform comprehensively a health care system that constitutes 17 percent of the world's largest economy."He added: “Republicans have been offering the following alternative to 1,000-page bills: going step by step in the right direction to solve problems in a way that re-earns the trust of the American people.”
February 25, 2010: Alexander gives Republican health care remarks opposing Obamacare at White House Summit. 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. The president disputed the charge but Alexander has been proven correct by many studies.
February 25, 2010: Alexander sends President a letter explaining why individual 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 22, 2010: In speech on Senate floor, Alexander says health care bill passage was completely partisan. “The fundamental mistake is that what this bill basically does is expand a health care delivery system that we all know is too expensive,” he said in the speech.
March 24, 2010: Alexander proposes amendment to reduce student loan interest rates from levels used to pay for health care bill. He noted that “more than 200,000 Tennessee students will be overcharged $1,700 to $1,800 over the life of their ten-year student loans to pay for health care and other government programs.”
March 24, 2010: Alexander supports Republican attempt to return the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) (H.R. 4872) to the Senate Finance Committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
March 24, 2010: Alexander supports Republican attempt to return the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) (H.R. 4872) to the Senate Finance Committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
March 24, 2010: Alexander opposes Democrats’ attempts to stop his motion to recommit the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) (H.R. 4872) back to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
March 24, 2010: Alexander supports Republican attempts to refer the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA) (H.R. 4872) back to the Senate Finance Committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
March 25, 2010: Alexander supports Republican attempts to refer the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HCERA) (H.R.4872) to the Senate Finance Committee, which would effectively kill the bill.
March 25, 2010: Alexander opposes motion to table amendment to repeal Obamacare.
March 25, 2010: Alexander supports motion to repeal Obamacare.
March 25, 2010: Alexander opposes motion to table individual mandate repeal.
March 25, 2010: Alexander votes against health care reconciliation bill. “The wisest course for our country now is to replace the new health care law with prudent insurance reforms and step-by-step reductions in health care costs so more Americans can afford to buy insurance,” he said.
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 29, 2010: Alexander supports motion to consider joint resolution. The resolution would provide for disapproval of a rule regarding grandfathering of health insurance plans under the 2010 health care overhaul law.
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.
November 29, 2010: Alexander votes to repeal job-killing IRS mandate. Alexander voted to repeal the health care law’s mandate requiring all businesses to submit 1099 tax forms for every business transaction greater than $600 in a given year.
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.”
February 2, 2011: Alexander votes for amendment repealing health care law mandate on businesses. Alexander called this provision “yet another job-destroying Washington mandate in the health care law that raises health care costs, instead of lowering them, which should have been the whole point of health care reform.”
February 2, 2011: Alexander opposes amendment that raises taxes to pay for the repeal of the new IRS form 1099 reporting mandates under Obamacare. The amendment would offset the revenue loss by increasing taxes on oil and gas producers by imposing new limits on grantor-retained annuity trusts.
February 2, 2011: Alexander votes to repeal health care law.
March 9, 2011: Alexander supports bill to defund Obamacare.
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.”
April 5, 2011: Alexander votes for, and Senate passes, repeal of health care law mandate on businesses. “I hope the repeal of this bad provision of the new health care law leads soon to the law’s full repeal, so we can start over on real health care reforms that will lower the costs for all Americans.”
April 5, 2011: Alexander opposes amendment to study the impact of the 1099 reporting requirement on small businesses. Rather than delay relief for businesses by studying the impact of more IRS regulations, Alexander voted to repeal the reporting requirement altogether.
April 7, 2011: Alexander says health law has made job creation "harder and more expensive." In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander said chain restaurant owners report that the health care law’s costs will “wipe out” profits, reduce workforces, and “cut future expansion and job creation.”
April 14, 2011: Alexander votes to block funding for health care law.“Employers and workers know this law was an historic mistake, one that is already starting to make private-sector jobs harder and more expensive to create and keep at a time when Tennessee faces 26 straight months of above 9 percent unemployment,” he said. “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.
July 21, 2011: On the Senate floor, Alexander says President Obama's health care policies have made the recession worse. “You have made it worse with the health care mandates and higher individual health care policies,” Alexander said.
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.
October 6, 2011: Alexander cites report that premiums are increasing, as he warned the president they would. In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander reported on a survey that found employer-sponsored health insurance premiums for the average family increased 9 percent over last year, and another new survey showing that premiums in the individual market have increased nearly 5 percent over last year, and reminded his colleagues that at the White House health care summit in February of last year, he warned the President that the new health care law would increase insurance premiums for individuals.
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.”
February 9, 2012: Alexander calls for Congress to repeal health care law’s provisions overcharging students and mandating state spending on Medicaid. In a speech on the floor of the Senate, Alexander said: "Stop overcharging students for their student loans, stop requiring states to spend more state dollars on health care at the expense of public colleges and universities, repeal the new Medicaid mandates that in 2014 will take already-high tuition and drive it even higher… That is the real way to help students afford college.”
February 17, 2012: Alexander opposes adoption of Conference Report to accompany H.R. 3630.
March 1, 2012: Alexander votes to restore religious conscience protections to health care law. Alexander voted to amend the health care law to respect the right of health care professionals, insurance providers, and purchasers of insurance not to provide services that they find objectionable, 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.
March 27, 2012: On Senate floor, Alexander says health care law is a “ticking time bomb for state budgets, college students, businesses, and people with employer health insurance.” He joined Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) on the Senate floor to warn about the cost of the new health-care law to states, given their experience as former governors of their respective states.
April 25, 2012: Alexander introduces bill to return money to students overcharged by the health care law. Alexander introduced the Student Loan Interest Rate Reduction Act to maintain student loan interest rates, paid for by taking away money from the health care law, which is paid for in part with government profits made through higher rates on student loans.
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.”
May 16, 2012: Alexander writes an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal:“Time for a Medicaid-Education Grand Swap.” He wrote, “If we had made that [Grand] swap: [Medicaid for K-12 education] in 1981, states would have come out ahead, keeping $13.2 billion in Medicaid spending and giving $8.7 billion in education spending back to Washington. Today, states would have about $92 billion a year in extra funds, as they'd keep the $149 billion they're now spending on Medicaid and give back to Washington the $57 billion that the federal government spends per year on schools.”
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 18, 2012: Alexander blasts administration’s “avalanche of regulations…the health-care law’s taxes and mandates on business.”Alexander said, “During the last three years, an avalanche of regulations from the Obama administration has thrown a big wet blanket over the American economy.”
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 9, 2013: Alexander addresses joint session of Tennessee's 108th General Assembly about unfunded mandates, including Medicaid mandates. He said, “the best thing Washington, D.C., could do to for the state of Tennessee would be to stop imposing unfunded federal mandates that soak up your tax dollars and that take away your constitutional prerogative to make decisions on behalf of the people who elected you.''
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 6, 2013: From Senate floor, Alexander says health care law is keeping unemployment high. “We are making it more difficult to lower the unemployment rate in this country—which has stayed too high, with more than 12 million people unemployed—when we keep loading up employers with costs that make it more expensive to hire an employee,” Alexander said.
March 13, 2013: Alexander votes for amendment to defund Obamacare.
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 22, 2013: Alexander supports amendment to repeal Obamacare.
March 22, 2013: Alexander opposes amendment violating rights of conscience.
March 22, 2013: Alexander supports amendment to protect rights of conscience.
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 11, 2013: At Senate committee hearing, Alexander says health care law is leading to increased individual premiums and cuts in full-time jobs. He added: “In my view, the law was an historic mistake. Instead of expanding a health care delivery system that already costs too much, we should have worked to have as an overall goal reducing the total cost of health care and expanding the consumers’ role in going step by step in that direction.”
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 13, 2013: On Senate floor, Alexander criticizes Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius for unauthorized health care law fundraising. “Fundraising for and coordinating with private entities helping to implement the new health care law may be illegal, should cease immediately, and should be fully investigated by Congress.”
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 22, 2013: Alexander writes an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal on reports that “Secretary Sebelius is raising money from the private sector for use by a private entity that is helping to implement ObamaCare.” He wrote: “If the money being raised by Ms. Sebelius is being spent to do an end-run around Congress, then the Obama administration had better brush up on its Iran-Contra history.”
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 11, 2013: Alexander criticizes Democrats for protecting health care law at Senate committee hearing. “The whole law should be dismantled and replaced with effective legislation that will reduce costs by involving patients in health care decision-making,” he said.
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.
August 29, 2013: Alexander on newest Obamacare delay: “No train wreck has ever had this many warning signs.” Alexander added, “The avalanche of last-minute delays should make every American anxious about the quality of the health care they'll be able to purchase in October and the security of the information they'll have to provide.”
September 9, 2013: Senator Alexander on end to Cover Tennessee, a state program created to help provide affordable coverage to Tennesseans: Obamacare “has destroyed a plan that is helping 16,000 Tennesseans afford health insurance.” Alexander added, “This is why the law should be repealed and replaced 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.”
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 16, 2013: Senator Alexander says “the president’s policies are hurting American workers.” Alexander added: “Employers are cutting hours and payrolls to survive Obamacare.”
September 17, 2013: Senator Alexander receives award honoring members of Congress whose votes help businesses create jobs and reflect efforts to defeat Obamacare. Alexander said dismantling Obamacare is the best way to help Tennessee businesses create jobs.
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.”
September 28, 2013: Alexander on House vote to delay Obamacare, repeal medical device tax, keep government open: “To avoid a government shutdown, the Senate should promptly agree with this eminently reasonable proposal by the House.” He added: “The President himself has already delayed the employer mandate and at least seven other provisions of the new health care law, and hasn’t even finished writing the regulations, making it clear that Obamacare could not possibly be implemented on October 1 as scheduled.”
October 8, 2013: Alexander provides a guide to the Obamacare exchange “glitches,” answers Americans’ biggest questions about what’s going wrong. He said: “I've been warning that a train wreck is coming with this law, but the truth is that no train wreck has ever had this many warning signs.”
October 10, 2013: Alexander calls on the Obama administration to improve the way it provides information to Americans about Obamacare. Alexander: “This law is about as clear as mud, and instead of helping Americans understand their new obligations, the Obama administration has been burying important changes—not announcing them boldly as you’d expect an administration that’s proud of its new health care law to do.”
October 10, 2013: Alexander details 6 things Americans can expect from the Obamacare exchanges: “These will be tough and disappointing days for many Americans, as they finally log on to the exchanges and discover that health insurance next year will cost multiple times what it costs them now.”
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 21, 2013: Alexander on HealthCare.gov - “this law is more than a website that won’t work—it’s a mandate that many Americans are finding impossible, and it’s an historic mistake that is raising premiums, forcing employees off insurance plans, increasing out-of-pocket costs, and pushing employers to cut jobs and hours.”
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 23, 2013: Alexander tells Fox News it is “unacceptable that millions of Americans have to buy insurance on a website that doesn’t work or be fined by the I.R.S.” Alexander on his bill requiring weekly reports on exchanges added: “We want to know what is happening on the exchanges. That ought to be information in the Internet age that’s available every single day. It’s Congress’s job to have oversight over this.”
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.”
October 29, 2013: Alexander calls for resignation of HHS Secretary Sebelius. He added: “Expecting this secretary to be able to fix in a few weeks what she has not been able to fix during the last three and one half years is unrealistic. It is throwing good money after bad.”
October 29, 2013: Alexander vows, “we will keep trying; the American people deserves answers,” after Senate Democrats block his bill requiring weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges. He continued: “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling every day. Before the Internet, Ford knew how many cars they were selling every day. Before the Internet, McDonald’s could tell you how many hamburgers it had sold each day. Yet the Obama administration cannot tell us how many Americans have tried to sign up for Obamacare.”
October 31, 2013: Alexander supports subpoena issued by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa for Obamacare exchange documents requested by Alexander and Issa. Alexander said: “I hope [the subpoena] will force open the administration’s black box of secrets that are keeping Congress and the entire American public in the dark.”
October 31, 2013: Alexander on HHS Sec. Sebelius’s visit to Memphis: Sec. Sebelius should explain to Tennesseans why they can’t keep their insurance. Alexander said: "The secretary is always welcome in Tennessee, but her time would be better spent in Washington fixing the Obamacare website so that millions of Americans won’t find themselves without health insurance stating January 1st.”
November 5, 2013: Alexander, Republican health committee colleagues confront administration about Obamacare failures. On canceled insurance policies, Alexander said to CMS administrator Tavenner, “Let me suggest that a way to fix this problem of canceled policies in the individual market is to go to a website that does work pretty well. It still says: ‘If you like your plan you can keep it and you don’t have to change a thing due to the health care law.’ That’s the White House website. And those are the president’s words in 2009. So why don’t we put those words into law?”
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 13, 2013: Alexander on Obamacare exchange enrollment figures: “You could fit everyone who signed up for Obamacare in the first month into Neyland Stadium – and still have room for the ‘Pride of the Southland’ marching band.” He added: This is “bad news for the 5 million Americans who’ve had their policies canceled by Obamacare.”
November 14, 2013: Alexander on president’s proposal to fix Obamacare provision: “The 5 million Americans – including 82,000 Tennesseans – losing their health care plans know that, after too many broken promises from this administration, the details matter.” He continued: “The president should send his proposal to Congress to consider and give Americans the certainty of law over rhetoric.”
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.”
November 22, 2013: Alexander on administration’s decision to delay next year’s Obamacare insurance enrollment until after the 2014 election: “The only American consumers this change will help are Democratic politicians who voted for Obamacare, because it delays disclosure of some of the law's most insidious effects until after the election.”
November 26, 2013: Alexander on Supreme Court agreement to review Obamacare mandate requiring business owners to offer employees reproductive services: “Requiring business owners to defy the basic tenets of their faiths shows a disturbing disregard for the Constitution’s protections of religious freedom, and I hope the Supreme Court agrees.”
December 23, 2013: Alexander: Obamacare is “delivering an unwelcome Christmas present to Tennesseans.” Alexander said that starting Jan. 1, at least 82,000 Tennesseans are on track to begin losing the individual health insurance they now have, one of the many ways that the “historic mistake” of Obamacare is reducing choices and driving up insurance costs over the holiday season.
December 31, 2013: Alexander: Unhappy New Year for tens of thousands of Tennesseans whose health insurance on the job will change because of Obamacare. Alexander said that new Obamacare mandates on businesses mean that now Tennesseans receiving health insurance through employers will have to worry about Obamacare cancellations bringing an “Unhappy New Year.”
January 2, 2014: Alexander: Obamacare is creating more substitute teachers for Tennessee schools. Alexander said: “Individuals, families and businesses aren’t the only ones facing financial challenges because of Obamacare – Tennessee schools are also being hit hard by higher health insurance costs that are forcing districts to cut jobs or hours. Obamacare has forced schools to save costs with more part-time employees, from substitute teachers to coaches to custodial and administrative staff.”
January 16, 2014: Alexander urges Senate to consider his bill requiring the Obama administration to provide weekly reports on the Obamacare exchanges to consumers, Congress and states upon announcing House passage of the bill. Alexander said: “Before the Internet, RCA knew how many records Elvis was selling, Ford knew how many cars it was selling and McDonald’s knew how many hamburgers it was selling. It would be laughable in the Internet age that the Obama administration still can’t tell us how many Americans have actually enrolled in Obamacare, if the consequences of this historic mistake weren’t so serious for families and states.”
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.” Taking action
February 4, 2014: Alexander on CBO report that Obamacare could push two million Americans out of the workforce: “The CBO’s new report that Obamacare is likely to force more than two million Americans out of their jobs is yet more evidence that the president took the country in the wrong direction on health care reform. We need to start over and go step by step with reforms that reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
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.” Taking action
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.’” Taking Action
February 10, 2014: Alexander on Obama's latest Obamacare "rewrite," that businesses with fewer than 100 workers would not be required to provide health insurance to their employees in 2015 and that businesses with more than 100 employees would have more time to comply with Obamacare’s employer mandate: “President Obama by himself is rewriting Obamacare one more time instead of working with Congress to repeal the mandate. It’s time to start over and go step by step with reforms that reduce the cost of health care so more Americans can afford to buy insurance.”
February 25, 2014: Alexander on the Obama administration report that 65 percent of small businesses will see health insurance premiums increase under Obamacare: “Now even the Obama administration admits that Obamacare will increase costs for two out of three small businesses, likely causing more employees to lose the insurance they were promised they could keep.”
March 5, 2014: Alexander: Obamacare delay “won’t help millions who have already lost their insurance plans.” On the administration’s announcement it is again delaying the Obamacare requirement that health care plans meet certain coverage standards, Alexander said: “Delaying this Obamacare provision until most of the presidential election season is through may help the president conceal his broken promise from some American voters, but it won’t help millions across the country who have already lost their insurance plans and, often, the providers they trusted.”
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."
March 21, 2014: Alexander on 4th anniversary of Obamacare: Republicans were right then, and we’re right today. Outlining step by step solutions Republicans would take to fix the broken health care system, Alexander continued, “And as the president issues endless delays and repeals of his own law, we’re showing Americans that Republicans have better solutions today to fix the mess Obamacare has created.”
March 25, 2014: Alexander: Obamacare is a “thumb in the eye to our Constitution’s protections of religious freedom.” “Obamacare is a thumb in the eye to our Constitution’s protections of religious freedom. The United States ought to be the last country on earth where people of faith are forced by their government to defy their religious beliefs. I am glad these cases are now before the Supreme Court and am hopeful the court will find this administration has reached too far,” Alexander said of the Supreme Court oral arguments on Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius.
April 10, 2014: Alexander on resignation of HHS Sec. Sebelius: “This is the right decision. The challenge for Ms. Burwell, or any other successor, is to help Congress find the right way to repair the damage Obamacare has done to American families.”
April 16, 2014: Alexander on administration changes to health insurance questions in Census Bureau’s annual survey: “After unilaterally decreeing 22 changes to the health care law, the administration may now have found a way to alter the basic facts. Congress and the American people are counting on the Census Bureau to provide an accurate report of the law’s impact on health insurance coverage, so it is alarming that the administration is altering the survey questions enough to obscure the law’s impact. I'm troubled by this and the American people should be, too.”
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 8, 2014: Sen. Alexander to HHS Sec. nominee Sylvia Burwell: Here’s what Republicans would do about health care if we were in charge. At a hearing on the president’s nominee for HHS Secretary, Sen. Alexander said: “Here’s what Republicans would do about health care if we were in charge: Republicans want to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage. As responsibly and rapidly as we can, we want to move in a different direction to put in place proposals that provide more freedom, more choices and lower costs. We trust Americans to make these decisions for ourselves. That is the American Way.”
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 4, 2014: Sen. Alexander to Burwell: Republicans are ready to repair the damage Obamacare has done. In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander urged HHS nominee Burwell to work with Congress on Republican health care proposals: “Republicans would like to repair the damage that Obamacare has done. We would like to prevent future damage, and as responsibly and rapidly as we can, we want to move in a different direction to put in place proposals that provide more freedom, more choices, and lower costs. We trust Americans to make those decisions for ourselves. We believe that is the American way. Since President Obama will still be in office for the next two years, if Ms. Burwell is confirmed we will need her help to do that.”
June 12, 2014: Alexander calls on his Senate colleagues to schedule a markup that was reportedly postponed to avoid forcing senators to vote on amendments to the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies appropriations. In a speech on the Senate floor, Alexander discussed amendments he had planned to offer at a markup that was postponed indefinitely, including an amendment that would “require the Obama administration to be straightforward with the public about the Affordable Care Act by reporting basic facts on the federally run insurance exchange.”
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.”
June 30, 2014: Alexander: Hobby Lobby ruling makes clear that “government cannot force Americans to defy tenets of their faith simply because they own a business”. “I am glad the Supreme Court has preserved our Constitution’s protections of religious freedom from another overreach by the Obama administration.” Alexander said following the Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The Supreme Court’s ruling asserted that the federal government cannot compel closely-held corporations to provide coverage for certain contraceptives, including abortifacent drugs, that violate their religious beliefs. Hobby Lobby had estimated that if it did not meet Obamacare’s regulatory requirement that they include certain contraceptives in the health care coverage they provide employees, the company would pay fines of about $1.3 million a day.
July 1, 2014: Alexander: Health and Human Services (HHS) Inspector General report “tells us that the administration was more concerned with appearances than getting anything in Obamacare done right.” The Obama administration has “allowed millions of Americans to enroll in a system that may be handing them the wrong subsidies—too much or too little—and they’ve left taxpayers vulnerable to fraud,” Alexander said regarding two reports by the HHS Inspector General that found major systematic problems with verification of eligibility for the Obamacare subsidies.
July 16, 2014: Alexander on bill to reverse Hobby Lobby Decision: “Senate Democrats are proposing to carve a giant hole out of America’s religious freedom.” “The Supreme Court decision was about individual freedoms,” Alexander said. “It was not about contraceptive rights. What is really happening is that [Senate Democrats] are trying to change the subject. They want to talk about health care, but they don’t want to talk about Obamacare and what it is doing to the women of this country.”
July 22, 2014: Alexander says federal appeals court ruling that Americans in 36 states, including Tennessee, cannot receive Obamacare subsidies through the federal exchange “is yet more evidence that Obamacare is not working – and cannot work – for the American people.” “It is time for Democrats and the president to realize this and work with Republicans to start over as rapidly and responsibly as possible with step-by-step reforms that reduce the cost of health insurance and expand freedom and choice,” Alexander said. “Republicans are ready with proposals to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.”
July 31, 2014: On report by nonpartisan Government Accountability Office detailing failures in the administration’s oversight of the Obamacare exchange website, Alexander says: “It would be difficult to find a greater litany of mistakes and general carelessness than is contained in this nonpartisan report on the Obamacare rollout. Americans deserve to hear from the president how millions of their tax dollars were so mismanaged by his administration.”
August 19, 2014: Alexander says report on IRS’s inadequate enforcement of Obamacare’s excise tax on medical device manufactures “should be the final nail in the coffin.” “Tennessee companies have been burdened by the outrageous tax, increasing health care costs and costing jobs for Tennesseans,” Alexander said. “Today's report showing the IRS has no idea how to implement this job-killing tax should be the final nail in the coffin. There is no reason the Senate shouldn’t end this onerous $30 billion tax on revenue that has cost 33,000 jobs, discouraged innovation, and raised the price tag on life-saving medical devices.”
August 22, 2014: Alexander said, “People of faith should not have their government tell them how to practice their religion,” regarding the Obama administration’s new processes for religious nonprofits and certain for-profit companies to apply for an exemption from the Obamacare mandate to provide employee coverage for abortifacient drugs that violate their religious beliefs.
September 16, 2014: Following a Government Accountabilty Office report on Healthcare.gov’s security weaknesses, Alexander said, “The president and his administration launched Healthcare.gov knowing that the personal information of Americans who bought insurance through the website was not safe. Their personal information was not safe then, and it is not safe now. Someone should be held accountable for this kind of gross mismanagement, and security must be fixed immediately before a major hacking attack does massive damage.”
September 23, 2014: "Seems like every day we hear a new report on problems with the Obamacare website. All these reports tell us one thing—President Obama’s administration cared more about appearing to be on time than about getting this website right,” Alexander said following a report by the Health and Human Services’ Inspector General on Healthcare.gov’s security weaknesses.
September 25, 2014: Alexander said a recent study showing double-digit health insurance premium increases for Tennesseans in 2015 is “one more reason Americans need a Republican majority in the Senate to start over to repair the damage Obamacare has done and prevent future damage.” He said, “Too many Tennesseans and Americans around the country have been hurt by the false promises that led to Obamacare becoming law—and this report is simply more evidence of damage these empty claims have caused.”
October 1, 2014: Alexander said news that 2,000 more Tennesseans are losing their health plans on the first anniversary of the Obamacare exchanges ‘is one more reason that it should be the last anniversary.’ He added, “Republicans are ready with legislation to repeal Obamacare and increase Tennesseans’ options for care.”
October 2, 2014: Alexander calls on the Obama administration to make final health insurance premium rates public so families can plan their budgets. He said, “The administration will know exactly what health insurance plans cost on November 3, and they should release that information to the public on that day so families can start to plan. If the Senate majority leader hadn't sent the Senate home so he could keep his majority, we could be debating my bill to make health care premium costs available to Americans before open enrollment.”
October 7, 2014: Alexander says Tennessee’s small businesses are hurt most by job-killing Obamacare taxes. He said, “Too often I hear from a small-business owner in Nashville or Bristol that Obamacare is forcing them to let go of employees or raise prices on customers to meet their bottom line—all bad for business. Hard-working Tennesseans are fed up, and Republicans want to put in place policies that move us step by step toward more freedom, more choices, and lower costs—repairing the damage Obamacare has done and preventing future damage.”
October 8, 2014: On news that Obamacare forced Wal-Mart to eliminate benefits for part-time workers, Alexander said Republican proposals will make it easier for employers to offer health benefits, and easier for individuals to afford health insurance. “Republican proposals would make it easier for employers to offer health benefits by driving down costs with more competition, allowing any range of plans to be chosen so people aren’t paying for more than they want, encouraging rather than mandating coverage, and strengthening the ability of employers to help employees make healthy choices,” he said.
October 9, 2014: Alexander says health care for millennials is more expensive under Obamacare. “Millennials are now paying more to cover older, sicker individuals—and often forced to buy more coverage than they want or need,” he said.
October 14, 2014: Alexander says Obamacare costs to Tennessee patients and taxpayers “nothing like Tennesseans were promised.” Alexander said, “Democrats in Congress and President Obama have made a lot of promises about what Obamacare would do to lower patients’ costs and to lower the cost of health care to taxpayers, but the reality is nothing like Tennesseans were promised. Not only are Obamacare premiums going to increase for some Tennesseans by a whopping 14 percent next year, today’s Budget committee report says that Obamacare is driving up the debt our children and grandchildren will owe by $131 billion.”
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 22, 2015: Alexander says restoring full-time to 40 hours could give 2.6 million workers a pay raise. “Many businesses can’t afford Obamacare’s mandate and must reduce their number of full-time employees. The result of all this is that thousands of workers are getting a pay cut. Their work schedules are being reduced to 29 hours a week and below. This is not enough money for these workers to earn a living.”
January 29, 2015: Alexander says the EEOC General Counsel’s actions may discourage employers from using wellness programs to lower employee’s health care costs. “Congress was clear in the health care law. The administration was clear in the regulations of that law. And the White House has again reiterated its support for these programs. But apparently that is not clear enough for the EEOC. EEOC is sending a confusing message to employers—reliance on Obamacare’s authorization of wellness programs does not mean you won’t be sued.”
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.”
March 4, 2015: Alexander attends Supreme Court oral arguments in the King v. Burwell case. Alexander said, “Hopefully the Supreme Court will rule that the law means what it says. If the court does, states will have two options for the 6 million Americans who today receive tax credit subsidies. First, states without exchanges can still create them, but Republicans in Congress will provide a better option. We will act to provide financial assistance to those Americans hurt by this as well as offer states more flexibility in offering lower cost insurance policies to their citizens.”
March 23, 2015: Alexander says 5 years later Obamacare is an “historic mistake.” “Since this law passed, we have seen health care costs increase for the American people, many have lost their health care plans and their choice of doctors, and freedom and flexibility in health care choices have been severely limited. Republicans have been and are still ready to head step by step in a different direction – one that emphasizes more freedom, more choices, and lower costs.”
June 1, 2015: Alexander says many Tennesseans’ premiums could rise by double digits—“principally because of Obamacare.” He said, “The unfortunate reality is, principally because of Obamacare, tens of thousands of Tennesseans who buy individual Obamacare policies could see their health care premiums go up next year by double digits—and by more than 36 percent if they’re enrolled in the state’s most popular plan. This is money that will come straight out of many of these Tennesseans’ pocketbooks. Republicans are ready to reduce Tennesseans’ costs with plans to restore freedom and competition to the insurance marketplace and allow individuals to choose the health care plan that meets their needs and their budget.”
June 25, 2015: On the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell, Alexander says “it’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court didn’t read the law the way that Congress wrote it.” He said, “The 36 percent increase in some individual health care rates announced recently should remind Tennesseans that Obamacare was an historic mistake. It gave Americans higher health care costs while reducing our choices of health plans, doctors and hospitals. Republicans are ready to reduce the cost of health care so more people can afford it, put patients back in charge, and restore freedom and choice to the health care market.”
October 28, 2015: Alexander says Tennessee’s 23 percent rate hike in Obamacare “benchmark” plans “will put a dent in Tennesseans’ family budgets … even though the president promised Obamacare would lower their health costs.” He continued, “Republicans are ready to reduce Tennesseans’ health insurance costs with plans to restore freedom to the insurance marketplace and allow individuals to choose health care plans that meet their budget.”
December 1, 2015: Five and half years after the White House health care summit at Blair House, Alexander outlines what this “historic mistake” of a law looks like for millions of Americans today. He urged the president and congressional Democrats to work with Republicans on proposals to take health care “step by step in a different direction — one that emphasizes more freedom, more choices, and lower costs”
December 16, 2015: Alexander says Obamacare’s waiver guidance is “not much flexibility and not much relief,” and the administration should allow states flexibility to make health care plans more affordable. He said, “This so-called waiver provides surprisingly little relief from Obamacare, which should be the entire point of a waiver in the first place. The guidance released today essentially says that if a state needs relief from Obamacare, its only real option is to set up a program that offers the same expensive plans as Obamacare. The administration should start over and create a real waiver that allows states to innovate in order to make health care more affordable for Americans.”
January 6, 2016: Alexander commends the House on passing legislation to repeal Obamacare and urges President Obama to work with Republicans to “start over” and implement “step-by-step” solutions to help more Americans access health plans that fit their needs and their budgets.”
February 11, 2016: Alexander says a study by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office finds health insurance premiums will keep rising despite Obamacare’s promise to lower costs. He said, “Obamacare has proven that federal regulation is not the prescription for lower health care costs. It was a takeover of the health care system, the federal pocketbook, and the family budget.”
February 23, 2016: Alexander says an inspector general report detailing failures of Obamacare website shows dangers of “trying to address complex issues through a sweeping, one-size-fits-all federal solution.” He said, “The failure of Obamacare’s online insurance marketplace – which, according to today’s report, cost taxpayers twice what was budgeted and still isn’t operating the way the administration claimed it would – is just one symptom of an all too common affliction in Washington, D.C: trying to address complex issues through a sweeping, one-size-fits-all federal solution.”
March 23, 2016: On the 6th anniversary of Obamacare, Alexander calls on the next president to work with Congress to replace it with bipartisan solutions. He said, “Today, patients and their doctors are frustrated by a health care system that gives them fewer choices and higher costs—health insurance premiums are up 36 percent on average this year for plans offered by Tennessee’s most popular insurer. Today, more than ever, Americans need Congress to go step-by-step to repeal and replace Obamacare with common sense, market-based reforms that provide states and families with access to the health care plans that meet their needs and their budgets.”
June 11, 2016: Alexander says Tennesseans could see their health insurance premiums increase by as much as 62 percent next year as a result of Obamacare's expensive mandates and regulations. He said, “We now know for sure that federal regulation is not the prescription for lower health care costs. Some [Tennesseans] will also lose their current health plan as one health insurer has been forced to stop selling Obamacare plans in Tennessee altogether due to rising costs. Today, more than ever, Tennesseans need a President and Congress willing to go step-by-step to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common sense, market-based reforms that provide states and families with access to the health care plans that meet their needs and their budgets.”
August 12, 2016: Alexander says the unprecedented insurance rate hikes facing Tennessee families “is only the most recent proof that Obamacare is spiraling out of control.” He added, “How can anyone continue to defend this law while they watch it wreak havoc on family budgets – stealing money hardworking Tennesseans had set aside to buy a home or send their child to college but will now have to spend on their skyrocketing premiums?”
August 23, 2016: After 44 to 62 percent Obamacare price increases are made final in Tennessee, Alexander said, “Tennesseans cannot afford 44 to 62 percent Obamacare price increases that will force them to make difficult decisions about their daily lives and their family budgets. They should not have to pay the price for a terrible health care law and the refusal by Democrats in Washington to see what is plainly obvious—that Obamacare is failing. The Tennessee insurance commissioner says that the Obamacare exchange in Tennessee is ‘very near collapse.’”
August 26, 2016: Alexander highlighted The Tennessean’s front-page headline, which read: “Very Near Collapse”—words used by Tennessee’s insurance commissioner to describe the state of Tennessee’s Obamacare insurance exchange. In the weekly Republican address, Alexander said, “Americans have a choice this election. You know exactly what Democrats will do if they are in charge. Democrats will increase Washington’s control of your private health insurance choices. Democrats will spend more of your taxpayer dollars to prop up the collapsing Obamacare exchanges.” Contrasted Democrats’ approach with what Republicans have proposed, he said, “We want to help Americans struggling with the cost of health insurance immediately. We would do that by giving states more flexibility to give individuals and their families options to purchase lower-cost private health insurance plans outside of Obamacare.”
September 7, 2016: Alexander spoke on the Senate floor about the alarming number of health insurance companies leaving Obamacare exchanges and the need to act on behalf of Americans struggling with the cost of health insurance. He said, “Unfortunately, I don't need to look any further than my home state of Tennessee to see how bad things have become. When Tennesseans woke up on August 24 and read the front page of our state's largest newspaper, they saw this headline: ‘Very near collapse…’ This November, when Tennesseans are signing up for 2017 Obamacare plans, there will be fewer plans to choose from, and they'll be much more expensive. And this picture will be the same across the country … Republicans didn't create this problem, but we're prepared to solve it.”
September 14, 2016: Alexander introduces emergency, one-year legislation allowing states to offer Americans more health insurance options next year. On the Senate floor Alexander said, “I will introduce with other senators the State Flexibility to Provide Affordable Health Options Act. This bill addresses a real emergency. It provides immediate relief to families who use their ObamaCare subsidies to buy insurance on failing ObamaCare exchanges for the 2017 health care plan year.”
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.”
September 15, 2016: Alexander said the Democrats are trying to cure the Obamacare disease using the same prescription that created the problem in the first place, after Senate Democrats introduced a resolution in support of a “public option,” meaning a government-run health care plan. Alexander said, “Obamacare exchanges are collapsing because of federal mandates and a lack of flexibility for states and choices for families. The right prescription is not more of what caused the disease. Instead, in the short term, we need to give states flexibility so Americans can use their subsidies to buy insurance in 2017 not available on the Obamacare exchanges. And long term, we need to repeal and replace Obamacare and give states more flexibility and individuals more choices so more Americans can buy low-cost insurance."
September 27, 2016: Alexander said that more than 131,000 Tennesseans will be forced to “scramble” for new health plans after BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee announced it is pulling out of the Nashville, Memphis, and Knoxville Obamacare exchanges. He continued, saying “This is more evidence that Obamacare is falling apart. Short term, we need to give families the opportunity to use their Obamacare subsidies to buy a policy for 2017 outside of the exchange. Longer term, regardless of who the new president is, we need to replace Obamacare with insurance choices that allow Tennesseans to select low-cost insurance that fits their budget and their health care needs.”
September 29, 2016: Alexander and a group of bicameral Republican health care leaders urged the Obama Administration to stop illegally diverting taxpayer dollars to insurance companies, after a new legal opinion was issued by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office on Obamacare’s controversial reinsurance program. The House and Senate Republicans said, “The facts are simple – the Constitution is on our side. This new opinion from the government’s top watchdog confirms that the Obama Administration is not above the law. The Administration needs to put an end to the Great Obamacare Heist immediately.”
October 19, 2016: Alexander told local leaders that 2,366 Hamblen Countians and 1,444 Cock Countians who this year have insurance on the Obamacare exchange will lose the option to buy Blue Cross Blue Shield next year, and will have only one insurer to choose from. Alexander continued, saying, “The Obamacare exchanges are collapsing in Tennessee and across the country because of federal mandates, a lack of flexibility for states and fewer choices for families. The next Congress and the next president will need to work together to provide relief to Tennesseans paying 44 to 62 percent more in health insurance premiums—with at least 30,000 Tennesseans paying entirely out of their own pockets—and facing fewer health plan choices under Obamacare."
November 10, 2016: Alexander tells members of the Chattanooga Rotary that voters expect the new Congress and president to fix the Obamacare emergency. Alexander said, "A Republican president, working with a Republican Congress, could reduce Washington’s involvement in our lives and solve some of the problems that were the source of voters’ frustration. I think American voters expect that President-elect Trump and Congress will get to work quickly on fixing the Obamacare emergency – providing immediate relief to Tennesseans paying 44 to 62 percent more in health insurance premiums – and then repealing and replacing Obamacare with step by step solutions that give states more flexibility and individuals more choices to buy private health insurance that meets their families’ healthcare needs and budgets."
January 11, 2017: Alexander proposes three-step plan for repealing and replacing Obamacare simultaneously and concurrently. He said, “To me, ‘simultaneously’ and ‘concurrently’ mean Obamacare should be finally repealed only when there are concrete, practical reforms in place that give Americans access to truly affordable health care. The American people deserve health care reform that’s done in the right way, for the right reasons, in the right amount of time. It’s not about developing a quick fix. It’s about working toward long-term solutions that works for everyone.”
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 18, 2017: At the Senate health committee’s hearing on Rep. Tom Price to serve as HHS Secretary, Alexander tells him, “we will work to rescue Americans trapped in a collapsing Obamacare system.”
During the hearing, Alexander addressed the collapsing Obamacare exchanges in Tennessee and across the country and detailed his three-part plan to repeal and replace Obamacare simultaneously and concurrently.
“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, to replace the old bridge. Finally, when the new bridges are finished you would close the old bridge. “We will first send in a rescue crew to repair temporarily a collapsing health care market so no one else is hurt. Then, step by step, we will build better systems that give Americans access to truly affordable health care. We will do this by moving health care decisions out of Washington, D.C., and back to states and patients.”
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 Humana announcement could leave 40,000 Knoxville residents with zero health exchange options for 2018. Alexander said, “Yesterday's news from Humana should light a fire under every member of Congress to work together to rescue Americans trapped in the failing Obamacare exchanges before they have no insurance options next year. Humana is the only insurer currently on the Obamacare exchange in Knoxville – which means 40,000 Knoxville residents may have an Obamacare subsidy next year, but it’ll be like holding a bus ticket in a town where no buses run.”
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.”
May 5, 2017: Alexander says that unless Congress acts on the health care law, 29,000 Memphis area residents may be unable to buy insurance with their Affordable Care Act subsidy in 2018. He said, “The House has just passed a bill that would make major changes in the Affordable Care Act, and now, in the Senate, we will carefully review the House bill and we will write a Senate bill.”
June 26, 217: Alexander says “the alternative to the draft Senate health care bill is current law that leaves 162,000 Tennesseans who make less than $12,000 a year without aid to buy insurance, and as many as 350,000 Tennesseans in the individual market facing the real possibility of having zero insurance options next year."
July 6, 2017: Alexander tells members of the Kiwanis Club of Cleveland that he is working to help the 162,000 low-income Tennesseans who make less than $12,000 a year and who under Obamacare receive zero help buying insurance, as well as the 350,000 Tennesseans who may not be able to buy insurance in the collapsing Obamacare exchanges unless Congress acts soon.
July 13, 2017: Alexander says, “As I told Bradley Countians last week, my first concern with the Senate health care bill is helping the 162,000 low-income Tennesseans who currently have no help with their health insurance and the 350,000 Tennesseans who may not be able to buy insurance in the individual market next year.”
July 18, 2017: Alexander says, “However the votes come out on the senate health care bill, the Senate health committee has a responsibility during the next few weeks to hold hearings to continue exploring how to stabilize the individual market. I will consult with Senate leadership and then I will set those hearings after the Senate votes on the health care bill.”
July 25, 2017: Alexander votes to debate the House health care bill to repeal and replace Obamacare at the same time. He said, “Every senator, Republican and Democrat alike, will now have a virtually unlimited opportunity to debate and offer amendments to help put together a health care bill that helps Americans. Throughout this process, my focus will be on Tennessee, where 350,000 Tennesseans who buy their insurance in the collapsing individual market—songwriters, farmers, the self-employed, small businessmen and women—may find themselves with zero options in 2018 and 2019.”
July 26, 2017: Alexander votes against the amendment to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a replacement plan. He said, “I agree with President Trump that we should repeal and replace major parts of the Affordable Care Act at the same time.”
July 28, 2017: Alexander votes to take next step to repeal and replace Obamacare. He said, “I voted to take the next step toward what I believed was our best opportunity to repeal and replace Obamacare. The Senate's failure to do this leaves an urgent problem that I am committed to addressing: Tennessee's state insurance commissioner says our individual insurance market is very near collapse. Unless Congress acts, many of the 350,000 Tennesseans who buy health insurance in that market—songwriters, farmers, the self-employed—face the real prospect of having zero options to buy insurance in 2018 and 2019.”
August 1, 2017: Alexander says that unless Congress acts, millions of Americans may not have insurance to buy in 2018. He said, “There are a number of issues with the American health care system, but if your house is on fire, you want to put out the fire, and the fire in this case is the individual health insurance market.”