Georgia Rep. Tom Price delivered the Weekly Republican Address on Saturday morning. Price, who is a former orthopedic surgeon, criticized the Affordable Care Act and discussed the GOP alternative that was released as part of Speaker Paul Ryan’s Better Way policy initiative. The full text of the speech is below the fold.
Ever since President Obama and a Democrat-led Congress passed Obamacare six years ago, the law’s failures have been piling up. You know the stories. Premiums and deductibles going through the roof. Patients losing their doctors. Millions of people getting insurance cancellation notices in the mail. Some of the more recent fallout has been the near total collapse of the Obamacare COOPs. The law set up 23 non-profit health insurers in an attempt to provide Americans additional insurance options. But today, the coops are failing at an alarming rate – shutting their doors and dropping their customers. Only six out of the original 23 remain. Just six.
Hundreds of thousands of people have lost health coverage because of these coop failures. And the damage does not end there. Because of Obamacare’s individual mandate, those same folks are now subject to a tax penalty for not having insurance. The same law that encouraged people to sign up for these doomed coops – and did nothing while they imploded – is now penalizing folks who lost their coverage. This is ridiculous, and the American people should not have to put up with it.
That’s why we in the House of Representatives passed a bill this week that would exempt those who lost coverage due to the failure of Obamacare’s coops from the individual mandate. After all the harm Obamacare has caused, it’s the right thing to do.
Now we know that those who still defend Obamacare will come up with one excuse after another to protect the broken status quo. They’ll ignore the evidence and the voices of those who are being harmed by Obamacare. They also ignore the desires for all Americans to have a healthcare system that’s affordable for all, accessible to all, of the highest quality and one that gives patients the choices they need. Obamacare fails on each of those.
But House Republicans are listening, and we know it’s not enough to simply acknowledge the failures and the fallout. It’s up to us to offer an alternative. And that’s what we have done. We’re calling it a Better Way for Health Care. And you can read the whole plan on our website: better.gop.
Our first priority is to put you, the patient, in charge, not Washington bureaucrats. So we repeal things like the individual mandate and say, “You should be free to pick whatever insurance plan meets your needs, not one Washington forces you to buy.” We give you real protections so you never have to worry about being turned away because of your age, your income, or your health. We also clear out the bureaucracy so that our researchers and innovators can develop more life-saving treatments. We save and strengthen and secure Medicare so that it’s there for today’s seniors and future generations. We reform Medicaid so that states have the flexibility to offer the kind of coverage that best serves their communities.
Before going into public service, I practiced orthopedic surgery for over 20 years. That firsthand experience taught me that there is nothing more sacred in health care than the doctor-patient relationship. Our Better Way plan respects and protects the doctor-patient relationship. It is the plan America needs. It is how we can turn things around – a bold vision to bring America’s health care system into the 21st century. House Republicans are offering a clean break with the past: a plan to repeal Obamacare and start over with real, patient-centered solutions – that puts patients and families and doctors in charge – not Washington DC. Thanks for listening.