Skip to content

U.S. Senator Mike Enzi Delivers Weekly Republican Address

It’s time to admit that this partisan experiment in government-run health care is failing.

July 13, 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.In the Weekly Republican Address, Senator Mike Enzi, R-WY, calls for a permanent delay of Obamacare for everyone, not just businesses. The law, he says, is so “massive, burdensome, bureaucratic and confusing” that it’s collapsing under its own weight. “We need to give the failed law’s proponents a way out by searching for positive changes,” says Enzi , who helped lead the fight against passage of Obamacare when he was the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “We can start by dismantling the worst parts of the law first and replacing them with reforms that actually work.” The Weekly Republican Address is available in both audio and video format and is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, July 13, 2013. The audio of the address is available here, the video will be available here and you may download the address here. A full transcript of the address follows:

“Hello, I’m U.S. Senator Mike Enzi.

“The last time I gave this address was back in 2009 when President Obama and the Democrats in charge of Congress were moving forward with their own go-it-alone plan for American health care reform. Back then I warned that if Congress and the Administration messed this up, each and every one of us would pay for their mistakes, as would generations to come.

“And boy are we paying for it.

“All across the country health insurance rates are skyrocketing. Employees are losing coverage through their employers. Families are struggling to cope with higher costs and less choice. Businesses aren’t hiring full-time employees.

“Generally if it comes from Washington and it sounds too good to be true, it is.

“No one likes to be right when what’s happening is affecting so many people in a negative way. The American people saw this coming, it’s a shame the President didn’t see it and didn’t listen.

“It’s time to admit that this partisan experiment in government-run health care is failing. To get better they will have to acknowledge the problem.

“Just last week, the Obama Administration was forced to admit that one of the key pieces of the health care law just isn’t working. The Administration can’t get it ready. In an attempt to push the most economically crushing and burdensome regulations past the 2014 election, President Obama decided he had the authority to waive the employer mandate because he knows that it’s a political liability. The delay will likely force even more people to either enroll on the exchanges, or be taxed if they don’t. This will likely increase the overall cost of this bill to the taxpayer, making it even more unaffordable.

“Where did he find this authority to pick and choose what parts of the law he’ll put in place and when? Republicans and Democrats alike are asking how the Administration can possibly justify this decision. The real answer is after 20,000 pages and still adding new regulations, and over 150 new bureaucratic agencies, boards, and programs, they still haven’t figured out what is in the law, or how to make the law work, which is why we need to permanently delay implementation of the law.

“It appears that some Democrats want the health care train to wreck so we would be forced in to universal, single-payer, government-run, one-size-fits-all health care.

“Even if the Administration’s words don’t say it, its actions show the train wreck that this law was destined to be. Some of the laws biggest supporters, and even some of its authors, admit that the law is a mess and will only get worse.  Still, many of the law’s authors, whether because of pride, politics or a genuine belief that the government knows best, stubbornly cling to this law that is so massive, burdensome, bureaucratic and confusing that it’s collapsing under its own weight. We could give the failed law’s proponents a way out by searching for positive changes. We could start by dismantling the worst parts of the law first and replacing them with reforms that actually work.

“There are clear differences between what Republicans and Democrats see as a financially viable health care system that lowers costs, expands choice, and doesn’t bankrupt each of us or our country. But fixing our health care system doesn’t have to be the divisive and partisan – the partisan issue it became in 2010 when half of America was ignored. 

“The key is common ground. More often than not, you’ll hear what divides us, instead of what unites us. I believe that we can agree on 80 percent of an issue 100 percent of the time. It’s the basis of my 80 percent rule and how I believe we should go about improving our health care system.

“My 80 percent rule isn’t about compromise. When you compromise, both sides give up something they believe in and we end up with something no one believes in.  It’s about agreeing on common ground that doesn’t compromise either side’s principles by leaving out part of it for a later solution.

“We have to stop deal making and start legislating. Too often, the solutions offered to fix our nation’s problems are developed behind closed doors by a few people and presented as the only option. There was a better way forward on health care than a bill written and passed without a single Republican vote.

“We also need to get away from trying to do everything comprehensively. ‘Comprehensive’ usually means incomprehensible. The larger a bill gets, the harder it is for people to understand and agree. This is especially true when we try to pass bills that no one can have read and we have to find out what’s in them after we pass them.

“When you pass a partisan bill, you get a partisan result. No party has all the good ideas. By working together, we can make sure the result is something that not only works, but moves the country forward in a responsible way.

“We still need health care reform, but it has to be the right way. The federal government should be willing to support viable reforms where it’s needed, but also refrain from handcuffing innovative, private sector designs with excessive regulations or narrow political interests. 

“We need to focus on common sense, step-by-step reforms, that protect Americans’ access to the care they need, from the doctor they choose, at a lower cost. Providing Americans with access to high quality, affordable health care is something both Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree upon.

“The challenges we face as a country aren’t going to be easy to address and certainty aren’t going away, but if we approach them in a more practical, rather than a political way, we should be able to make things better. Good policy is good politics.

“Thank you and God bless.”