Committee on the Budget

Tom Price

Black Opening Statement - The Failures of Obamacare: Harmful Effects and Broken Promises


As prepared for delivery – House Budget Committee Interim Chairman Diane Black

Good morning, and thank you, everyone for being here.
We're having this hearing today to discuss the damage that Obamacare has done to patients, medicine, workers, and our economy. After six years, no one can dispute that this law has been nothing but a series of broken promises. Patients have lost their doctors and their insurance plans, premiums and deductibles have skyrocketed, and small businesses have been forced to reduce benefits and wages, or put off hiring new workers altogether. 
Obamacare was sold as a solution that would tackle one of the biggest problems in our health care system: the rising cost of insurance. In fact, President Obama promised this law would lower premiums by $2,500 a year for the average family. In reality, the complete opposite has been true. Average family premiums have risen by $4,300 and deductibles have risen 60 percent in the employer-sponsored market. For working folks across America, more money out of their paychecks just to pay for health care makes life that much harder. 
And what are Americans getting in exchange for higher costs? Well, not much. 20 million Americans have said that Obamacare just isn't worth the cost and trouble – choosing to pay the fine or file an exemption instead. And for those who do have insurance, access to care hasn't improved. So, while our friends on the other side of the aisle may claim Obamacare is increasing the number of people covered, the question we should be asking is "what kind of care are they receiving?" For those pushed into a broken Medicaid system or having to navigate the complicated Obamacare bureaucracy, they're not receiving the very best health care our nation has to offer.  As a nurse for over 40 years, I know we can do better.

Now I'm sure that Democrats will cite the CBO study from last week that discusses what happens to coverage numbers if we repeal Obamacare. But what the CBO study ignores are any potential Republican ideas to reform health care and expand access – and access to quality care is what so many people in my home state of Tennessee are lacking today under this law. 

In our state, 28,000 people lost coverage on a single day when the CoverTN program lapsed after the Obama Administration decreed that it ran afoul of the federal government’s top down requirements. This happened despite President Obama claiming that “if you like your plan, you can keep it.” Now, premiums in our state are rising by an average of 63 percent, and three-fourths of our counties only have one coverage option to choose from on the Obamacare exchange. In five other states around the country – Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – patients only have one insurer in the marketplace to choose from. If you only have one choice, then you're probably not going to find the plan that best fits the unique needs of you and your family. And for folks not living in the city or suburbs, Obamacare has been especially harmful. Since 2010, 80 rural hospitals have been forced to close, further restricting choice and access. 
But the good news is that it doesn't have to be this way. We don't have to accept Obamacare's failures and broken promises. That's why the House and Senate have worked together in this new Congress to pass a budget that begins the process to repeal Obamacare and stop the damage it's causing. In the coming weeks, we'll consider legislation that will roll back some of the worst aspects of this law and begin laying the foundation for patient-centered health care. And we already have great ideas to build on. My Tennessee colleague, Congressman Phil Roe introduced the American Health Care Reform Act and Congressman Tom Price offered the Empowering Patients First Act. And last year, House Republicans put forth "A Better Way" – 37 pages of reform proposals that we will act on this year. 
So, we've got a lot of hard work ahead of us and today's hearing will be another crucial step forward. That's why I'm so glad to welcome today's witnesses and their ideas for improving health care for the American people. First, we have Grace-Marie Turner, who is president of the Galen Institute. Next, we have Dr. Robert Book, a senior director at the Health Systems Innovation Network. We also have Edmund Haislmaier, a senior research fellow in health policy studies at The Heritage Foundation. Finally, we have Dr. Linda Blumberg, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute's Health Policy Center. 
Thank you all for taking time today out of your busy schedules to join our discussion. Everyone on this committee looks forward to your knowledge and insight on what we can do to improve America's health care system. We are committed to rolling back the damage caused by Obamacare to achieve true health care reform. By bringing the best minds together and always remembering to put patients ahead of the Washington bureaucracy, we will succeed.
Thank you, and with that, I yield to the ranking member, Mr. Yarmuth. Read More

Interim House Budget Committee Chairman Black Responds to CBO Report


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Interim House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black of Tennessee issued the following statement after CBO released its Budget and Economic Outlook. CBO projects deficits of $9.4 trillion over the next decade, the national debt to rise to $24.9 trillion by 2027, and for economic growth to average only 1.9 percent over the next decade.”

“Today’s report from the CBO is former President Obama’s legacy of an unsustainable national debt and an economy that’s leaving too many people behind. Thankfully, we have new leadership in the White House, and Republicans in Congress are preparing pro-growth legislation that will get our economy moving at full steam again and tackle our fiscal problems head on. It’s time to reject the failed policies of the past, and as interim chairman of the House Budget Committee, I’m ready to work with my colleagues to achieve our goals of strong economic growth and being good stewards of taxpayer dollars.”

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Chairman Black's Opening Remarks on Obamacare Repeal Debate


WASHINGTON, D.C. - House Budget Committee Interim Chairman Diane Black (TN-06) delivered the following remarks on the House floor this morning during debate on a resolution that will pave the way for repeal of Obamacare.

As prepared for delivery:

Mr. Speaker-

I rise today to speak on behalf of Americans everywhere who are hurting because of Obamacare. They are calling out for relief from this disastrous law, and Republicans are here today to begin delivering on our promise to provide that relief.

Now we’ll hear plenty of claims from the other side of the aisle during this debate, but let’s be clear – Obamacare has failed, and it’s only going to get worse. Patients have seen skyrocketing premiums and deductibles, lost access to the doctors they preferred, had fewer coverage options, while others have had their plans cancelled outright.

It’s no wonder so many people have rejected this law. In 2015, roughly 8 million Americans paid the Obamacare penalty and more than 12 million claimed an exemption from the penalty. That’s 20 million Americans. What does it say about this law when 20 million Americans want nothing to do with it – many preferring to pay a penalty rather than be subjected to its higher costs and fewer choices?

If you ask me, it’s strong evidence that the American people are tired of paying more and getting less.

Of course, the destruction that Obamacare has caused extends beyond discouraging individuals to purchase coverage. It has been a direct attack on those who had insurance already. In my home state of Tennessee, 28,000 people lost coverage on a single day when the CoverTN program lapsed after the Obama Administration decreed that it ran afoul of the federal government’s top down requirements.

Now, premiums in our state are rising by an average of 63 percent, and three-fourths of our counties only have one coverage option to choose from on the Obamacare exchange. In five other states around the country – Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – patients only have one insurer in the marketplace to choose from. That makes it pretty difficult for someone to find a plan that meets their unique needs or that of their family.

President Obama promised that this law would lower premiums by $2,500 per year for the average family. The exact opposite has happened. Average family premiums have gone up by $4,300 and deductibles have gone up 60%. This is hitting hard-working Americans —many of whom are already struggling to make ends meet. Folks in Tennessee and all across this country are spending more and more money on health insurance because of Obamacare when they’d rather be saving for a new house or their children’s college. The last thing working men and women right now need is the federal government making their life harder with more expensive health insurance by continuing to support this failed law.

That’s why we are here today. The Senate successfully passed this resolution yesterday, and now it’s time for the House to deliver on our promise by kick-starting the reconciliation process so we can repeal Obamacare, provide relief for folks hurting because of the law.

While our friends on the other side of the aisle always claim that Republicans have no ideas or plans to replace Obamacare, that’s simply isn’t true and they know it. I have with me here today a few examples including the House Republican Better Way – a 37 page proposal that will provide access to care for all Americans and increase choice and competition. And we’ve got plans from Paul Ryan, Dr. Tom Price, and Dr. Phil Roe. These are all patient-centered solutions which Republicans have been offering for years.

I urge all my college to vote “YES” on this resolution to begin the process of repealing Obamacare and paving the way for patient-centered reforms.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time. Read More

House Passes Resolution Paving Way for Obamacare Repeal


House Budget Committee Interim Chairman Diane Black (TN-06) issued the following statement today applauding House passage of S. Con. Res. 3 – a budget resolution to trigger the reconciliation process to repeal Obamacare:

“Today Congress took a critical step toward repealing a law that is harming the American people. We are fulfilling our promise to provide relief from Obamacare’s failures. Now begins a process through which we will ultimately be able to achieve patient-centered solutions to expand access to care, promote quality and innovation, lower costs, and give the American people greater power over their own health care decisions.”

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House Budget Committee Announces Republican Members for 115th Congress


Interim Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (TN-06) issued the following statement announcing the Republican members of the House Budget Committee for the 115th Congress:
“The House Budget Committee will play a leading role in the 115th Congress – on repealing Obamacare, jumpstarting our economy, getting control of our national debt, and reimagining the way we do business in Washington. I’m confident that the members of this Committee are ready to tackle these challenges head on. We represent a diverse array of experiences and backgrounds that will inform our plan to set America on a better course. Working as a team, the House Budget Committee is going to get real results for the American people.”
House Budget Committee Republican Members for the 115th Congress:

Rep. Diane Black (TN-06), Interim Chairman
Tom Price, M.D. (GA-06)
Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25)
Tom Cole (OK-04)
Tom McClintock (CA-04)
Todd Rokita (IN-04), Vice Chairman
Rob Woodall (GA-07)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Steve Womack (AR-03)
Dave Brat (VA-07)
Glenn Grothman (WI-06)
Gary Palmer (AL-06)
Bruce Westerman (AR-04)
Jim Renacci (OH-16)
Bill Johnson (OH-06)
Jason Lewis (MN-02)*
Jack Bergman (MI-01)*
John Faso (NY-19)*
Lloyd Smucker (PA-16)*
Matt Gaetz (FL-01)*
Jodey Arrington (TX-19)*
Drew Ferguson (GA-03)*

Note: Additional changes to the committee membership may be made at a later time.
* = New committee members. Read More

Obamacare: Reducing Quality and Innovation


The United States has the best doctors, nurses, and providers in the world and has long been a pioneer in discovering new cures. Unfortunately, Obamacare’s rules and regulations are diminishing quality and stifling innovation throughout the health care sector. Patients no longer believe they are receiving the best care possible.  U.S. consumers are no longer the first to benefit from new therapies and technologies.

While the United States has served as the center of medical technology innovation, the global landscape is changing as innovators invest in Europe and emerging countries. Repealing Obamacare will knock down government obstacles that are standing in the way of better care for patients and will unleash a new wave of medical discovery.  


· According to a 2016 patient survey, the most important thing to patients is a personal health care experience with their preferred provider that does not require the patient to be rushed through their exams. 

· High quality, personalized care has been diminished by the Affordable Care Act. In fact, 25% of people report that Obamacare has personally hurt them.

· In a recent survey of physicians on their impressions of the ACA, over 60% of physicians responded that the ACA has had a negative impact on the quality of care patients receive nationwide.

· Investments in medical innovation, which drive personalized medicine, have also decreased since 2010. Obamacare imposed over $500 billion in new taxes that stifle innovation and capital investment.

· Today, developing new drugs costs over $2.5 billion and takes an average of 14 years – costs that are passed on to patients in the form of higher prices and reduced access to treatments.

· Obamacare’s medical device tax has contributed to discouraging investment in medical technology. For example, venture capital investment is down for all stages of development – early, growth, and later stages – since 2009.

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Obamacare: Fewer Choices


As a result of Obamacare’s poor design, the law’s insurance exchanges are collapsing and many health insurance companies are pulling out of the market. That’s bad news for patients who now have fewer choices when it comes to picking a health care plan that’s best for them and their families. This lack of competition is making health care more expensive and less available for too many Americans. 

It’s time to repeal Obamacare, give patients more choices, and increase competition to make coverage more affordable.


● Many of the nation’s largest insurance providers have been forced to withdraw from the Obamacare marketplace after losing billions of dollars, due to insurance regulations that distort the market, apply undue one-size-fits-all requirements, drive up costs, and deter people from purchasing plans.

● With such significant losses, insurers either have had to scale back their presence on the ACA’s exchanges or hike premiums to help make up lost revenue. Neither option is a good thing for Americans seeking health insurance.

● A number of insurers have decided to pull back from the marketplace completely, leaving many Americans with only one option from which to buy insurance:

- In 2016, there were 225 counties across the country that only had one insurer offering coverage, and that number has grown to 1,022 counties for 2017.

- In 2017, five states – Alabama, Alaska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – will have only one insurance provider, as will large sections of Florida, Utah, and Missouri. 

- Arizona’s Pinal County, where 10,000 individuals had signed up for an exchange plan in 2016, was without a single exchange option until a 51 percent premium hike was approved for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona – the result of a total absence of competition.

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Obamacare: Reducing Access to Health Care


There’s been a lot of attention paid to how Obamacare has expanded the number of Americans with insurance coverage. But, health insurance is only as valuable as a patient’s ability to receive actual health care. And on that front, Obamacare is failing – actually reducing access to health care. Because of this flawed law, plans have been cancelled, networks have narrowed, and there are fewer medical professionals providing care.

Obamacare needs to be repealed so patients not only have insurance, but also access to the level of quality care that best serves their individual needs.


Despite the President’s promise, “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it” – labeled by PolitiFact as the 2013 Lie of the Year – several hundred thousand people across more than a dozen States lost their plans due to the cancellation of policies that did not satisfy the coverage requirements mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

·Choice of plans on the Obamacare insurance exchanges for 2017 has been significantly restricted across the country, according to a recent report. At the county level, on average only 3.2 plans are participating per county, down from 5.2 issuers in 2015. Five states – Alaska, Alabama, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Wyoming – will only have one participating health plan per state.

·Access to care is more limited since Obamacare took effect, as more health plans offer narrower networks – limiting the number of physicians and hospitals covered under the plan – in an effort to reduce costs while still offering plans that meet the requirements mandated by the ACA. As reported by McKinsey & Co., 2017 exchange plans continue to favor narrow networks, yet prices continue to rise.

·According to another study, Obamacare networks have 34 percent fewer providers compared to commercial plans. On average, Obamacare plans have 42 percent fewer oncologists and cardiologists and 32 percent fewer primary care physicians.

·For many patients, especially those in rural areas, there are too few in-network providers, and patients are forced to travel long distances to find a hospital and doctor.  Read More

Obamacare: The Unaffordable Care Act


The Affordable Care Act is an ironic name for a law that has only made health insurance and health care unaffordable for millions of Americans. Since its passage, Obamacare has caused premiums to skyrocket, deductibles to increase more than workers’ wages, and the costs of prescription drugs to become more of a burden.

This law must be repealed so individuals and families are not further harmed by the high costs of Obamacare that too often lead to those who have health coverage not having actual real access to health care.


• Americans with employer health care coverage – approximately 155 million people – are paying higher premiums and higher deductibles under Obamacare. President Obama promised premiums would decline $2,500 per family; instead, average family premiums in the employer-sponsored market have soared to more than $18,000.     

• Deductibles are also increasing. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, deductibles for individual plans in the employer-sponsored market are up an average of 89 percent, from $646 in 2010 to $1,221 in 2016. This is faster than the rise in individual premiums (27 percent), double the rise in workers’ wages (13 percent), and more than cumulative inflation over the period (10 percent).

• Individuals and families are facing higher prescription drug costs under Obamacare. The average individual with a plan in the exchange marketplace has to pay 46 percent of his or her total drug costs, compared to 20 percent for someone with employer-sponsored health care, according to Health Affairs

• Many families have found health care under Obamacare to be so unappealing that instead of purchasing coverage they have chosen to pay the individual mandate penalty. In 2015, roughly 8 million Americans paid the penalty and more than 12 million claimed an exemption from the penalty. That’s at least 20 million people who have decided Obamacare is not worth the trouble and/or the price.  Read More

Reconciliation Primer


Reconciliation: Background

Section 310 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 sets out a special procedure that allows Congress to direct one or more authorizing committees to produce legislation that changes direct spending, revenue, or the debt limit to bring these levels into compliance with budget resolution policies. Reconciliation directives must be included in a concurrent resolution on the budget adopted by both Houses to be valid.

In general, reconciliation directives include:

·      the amount of budgetary change to be achieved;

·      the time period over which such budgetary change should be measured; and

·      a deadline by which the authorizing committees must report legislation.

Read the full primer here.
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Contact Information

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Diane Black


Marsha Blackburn


Rod Blum


Dave Brat


Tom Cole


Mario Diaz-Balart


Scott Garrett


Glenn Grothman


Vicky Hartzler


Tom McClintock


John Moolenaar


Alex Mooney


Gary Palmer


Tom Price


Tom Rice


Todd Rokita


Mark Sanford


Marlin Stutzman


Bruce Westerman


Steve Womack


Rob Woodall


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