Capito Highlights West Virginians Personally Affected by Obamacare

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (WV-02) delivered the following remarks on the House floor last night.  In her remarks, she highlighted hardworking West Virginians who will be hit hard by Obamacare.


To watch the video, click here.

Transcript: “I'd like to thank my colleague from Pennsylvania.  And I'm glad we're talking about this because tomorrow I intend to vote again to repeal Obamacare and put an end to what its lead author himself said is a 'train wreck.'

I'd like to read an email that I received about 2 or 3 weeks ago:

‘I own a daycare center (260 children and 73 staff), been in business 24 years.  I just got the information on Obamacare from my insurance company. The numbers will cause me to close my business.  How can my own government do this?  I have worked hard to have a first-rate child care center, seldom taking vacations and easily putting in 10 hours a day year-round. I have always done the right thing for my employees and clients.  This is so discouraging to me.  Is there any way to fix this?’

So I visited the daycare center and talked with the owner of the business.  If she moves forward and doesn't offer insurance, she is going to have to pay $83,000 a year in penalties.  She cannot afford this.

So what are her options?  She's looking at going from 73 employees down to below 50.  Well, that's 24 jobs right there that she's talking about cutting.  But let's think of the further implications of cutting 24 jobs in a daycare center.  It's over 70 children who are no longer going to have good, high-quality daycare in her small business.  She's worked hard for 24 years and she doesn't understand.

She tells me most of the people in her business now have insurance.  Those who aren't, because they work at the lower wage scale, are able to access Medicaid and have other health care available to them. She's very, very discouraged.

Another business person in my state of West Virginia just sent me his tax collection for next year for the Obamacare health plan.  He has 105 people.  His premiums are going to go up $180,000 more a year. His annual premium in a small business like this is $788,000, $180,000 more than it was the previous year.  And this is for a plan that has a $3,000 deductible, which is going to break the back of a lot of employees in his business.

His change?  We heard from the gentleman from Pennsylvania that we were promised that premiums would not go up, that it was going to be affordable and premiums would come down.  His premiums have gone up 30 percent.

We've already talked about how many folks across this country are going to lose their coverage, how many are going to lose their jobs.  These are just two small businesses that are thinking about either cutting their full-time employees down to part time to try to get under the threshold – which means that employee has to go out and find another job to supplement the income to be able to have enough income to sustain their families.

We also learned, as the report from the Energy and Commerce Committee has stated, that for younger people and people going on the individual market, the premiums are going to be 96 percent higher.  We've also learned that 80 percent of single adults between the ages of 21 and 29, with incomes at just $16,500, will pay more for their health care than they do today.  It's very discouraging to hardworking folks.

I was reading The Wall Street Journal the other day and saw an op-ed by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, who I think played a large role in creating Obamacare.  He noted that the exchanges would only work if younger Americans decided to participate.  The gentleman from Pennsylvania has just pointed out that the younger working population is the one where the premium increase is going to hit the hardest.

But he further suggests that the president, through the force of his own popularity with younger Americans – because they voted for him – could convince them to sign up for health plans because of the popularity of the president.  It's difficult to encourage people through a sheer force of personality to act against their own economic instincts.  I mean, we're talking about young people that will go across the street – and most people in America that will go across the street – to save a nickel on gasoline even if their dad owns the gas station on the other side.  In my view, this just doesn't even hit reality of what's actually going to happen with our young people.

He further states that health insurance needs to be seen as an individual responsibility.  You know what?  Health insurance right now is an individual responsibility in this country.  But instead, purchasing insurance after January 1 will be a requirement imposed by Big Government.

I have shared the concerns of mine.  We've talked about the taxes.  As I was reading through the renewal summary of the small business that has 105, he has three taxes listed here that his insurance company has enumerated for him:

One is the annual fee on health insurance providers called an insurance fee.  This is a nondeductible excise tax applied on health insurance to help finance Obamacare.

Number two, Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund.  This provides funding for an institute to assist patients, clinicians, purchasers and policymakers to make informed health decisions.

The other is a transitional reinsurance contribution for those who are in high-risk pools.

This is added tax to small businesses, the employers in our country.  They're going to have to make tough choices because it's unaffordable.  Even paying the penalties is unaffordable, which is going to result, as you said, in over 700,000 jobs lost in this country.

We have a better way to do this, a more patient-centered, market-based approach where affordability and accessibility are goals that we all want.  We could have, I think, a much more economical, and probably a better health approach because it will have the patient-centered doctor/patient relationship in full consideration.

So I would say to you that I have two concrete examples.  I would encourage my colleagues throughout – and I'm sure we have – the House and Senate to talk to these employers who have over 50 employees to see what kind of impact this is going to have.  Twenty-four possible people losing their jobs in a day care center; 70 children losing after-school care.  What are those families going to do?

I tried to help with this business owner to try to help her find solutions.  I couldn't come up with one, because this is getting rammed down her throat no matter what.

So, with that discouraging bit of a small business viewpoint of the impact of Obamacare as it approaches, and with the attitude of some of the architects of Obamacare that it's our responsibility, or because we voted for somebody, we are going to work against our own economic interests, it just doesn't even pass the laugh test in my opinion.  So I think we're in for a rough ride.

I want to thank my colleague for letting me join him on this special order and all my colleagues here tonight.”