Transcript: McConnell calls health care reform ‘the worst single legislation’
Transcript of remarks by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2012:
“I saw the President at the White House, I was a little surprised that there wasn’t a birthday cake there to celebrate the second anniversary of Obamacare.
“We’ve all noticed not a whole lot being said about the new law, about people who were involved in passing it. And I think there’s pretty good reason for that.
“After two years, it’s pretty clear that it’s full of broken promises. Almost everything that was said about the law, predictions about how it would turn out, have not worked out.
“It said it would protect Medicare. Obviously, it doesn’t. It took half a trillion dollars out of Medicare – not to make Medicare more sustainable but to help provide the cost for a new entitlement program.
“It said it would bring about lower premiums. We all know that hasn’t happened.
“It said it would lower health care costs. We all know that hasn’t happened.
“They said taxes won’t go up, and we know right in the legislation there are $500 billion in new taxes.
“They said if you don’t like your plan, you can keep it. We know that’s not working out.
“So I think we can pretty safely say that the reason the American people like this law even less now than they did two years ago is because nothing essentially that was promised is occurring and will occur.
“Even in the jobs front – we all know that’s the number one issue in the country. Analysts over at UBS, for example, say that the law is ‘arguably the biggest impediment to hiring, particularly hiring of less skilled workers.’ And the CBO director has said it will mean 800,000 fewer jobs over the next decade.
“So, as we get into the Supreme Court arguments, interesting – ironically enough, I just finished a biography of Chief Justice John Marshall. It’s called ‘Definer of the Nation’, and of course in his time on the Supreme Court from 1801 to 1835, you had huge numbers of significant decisions defining what the Constitution means. And the commerce clause, of course, was a big part of a number of those decisions. The Supreme Court and the nation have been wrestling with what the commerce clause means for 235 years.
“And once again, it will be before the Supreme Court. And if you think about the arguments that will be made next week, the plaintiffs will argue essentially this: that if the federal government, under the commerce clause, can order an individual American to buy this product and tell each individual American what kind of product they must buy, is there anything that because that decision – the failure to buy that product – could affect the health care of someone else and is therefore interstate commerce? If the court upholds that, could the federal government then order you to eat carrots? Could it order you to quit smoking? Could it order you to lose weight? Because all of those decisions you could make could arguably have an effect on the cost of health insurance for someone else.
“Obviously, none of us know what the Supreme Court will do. But it strikes me that if this is permissible under the commerce clause, the commerce clause is essentially gone – that it’s meaningless and kind of a relic of ancient times. So those are the arguments that will be made.
“I think the surprise to a lot of us and to a lot of you is the court has apparently also going to be looking at the 10th Amendment implications of the massive Medicaid mandate in Obamacare.
“In my state, for example, as in every other state in the union right now, the current struggle to pay for Medicaid at the state level is already causing college tuition to go up. I’ll tell you why. The two biggest items in every state budget are Medicaid and education. If the Medicaid mandate goes up, education funding goes down. They pass that along to universities and they raise tuition in order to make up the difference. That’s already a huge problem.
“In my state, we’re going to add almost 400,000 people in a state of 4.3 million to the Medicaid rolls. Our Democratic governor has no earthly idea how they can possibly handle this.
“So you’re probably thinking what are the constitutional implications of that. I’m not sure but the 10th Amendment initially, we thought, granted to the federal government specific powers and reserved everything else for the state. Maybe the reason the court wants to hear the Medicaid arguments is because they may conclude that the federal government could make states do so much in terms of their spendings that they’ve basically taken over state budgets. I don’t know. But I think that was a surprise to many that the court decided it wanted to hear arguments related to Medicaid as well.
“Summing it up, it’s a mess. This law is a mess. It’s the single worst piece of legislation that’s been passed certainly in the time I’ve been here. The single biggest direction in the step of Europeanizing America – and look at what’s going on in Europe. We ourselves now have a debt the size of our economy, which makes us look a lot like Greece already, and then we’re adding this on top of it.
“Whether the court finds it constitutional or not, it’s a mistake. There are plenty of mistakes you can make that aren’t unconstitutional.
“And so, obviously, our hope is that the court will find this law constitutionally deficient. Whether or not it does, it is still a huge mistake for our country. And as I’ve said before, I think if I were setting the agenda instead of Sen. [Harry] Reid, I feel like we would have an obligation to the American people on day one to begin the process of trying to repeal this law.”
- CSpan.org: Video of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s remarks on the Affordable Care Act’s second anniversary
- Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) website
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press conference Q&A with Sen. Mitch McConnell on health care reform
Category: Congress, Current Events, Economy, Election 2012, Government, Health care, Politics, Social Services, Transcripts, U.S. · Tags: Affordable Care Act, Barack Obama, CBO, Chief Justice John Marshall, commerce, commerce clause, Congress, coverage mandate, federal government, GOP, government takeover, health care, health care law repeal, higher education, insurance premiums, interstate, Medicaid, Medicare, Mitch McConnell, national debt, Obamacare, presidential election 2012, regulations, Republican, Republican Party, SCOTUS, state budget, state services, states, tuition, U.S., United States, US Senate, US Supreme Court