November 9, 2011
The Senator from Nebraska.Mr. JOHANNS. Madam President, Iask unanimous consent to enter into acolloquy with my Republican col-leagues, Senator G
of Iowa andSenator C
of Oklahoma, for up to30 minutes.The ACTING PRESIDENT pro tem-pore. Without objection, it is so or-dered.
HEALTH INSURANCEMr. JOHANNS. Recently, the DesMoines Register reported that an Iowa-based insurance company has decidedto exit the health insurance market,abandoning insurance sales directly toindividuals and families. So what is thenet effect of all of that? Thirty-fivethousand policyholders will lose theirinsurance. It calls to mind the famouspromise by the President: If you likeyour plan, you can keep it.The story doesn’t stop there. It hasan even more profound impact on thelives of real people. The impact goeson. One hundred ten employees willlose their jobs. Seventy of those em-ployees are in Nebraska. That calls tomind Speaker P
’s broken promise:The law will create 4 million jobs—400,000 jobs almost immediately.The driving factor for all of this is aHealth and Human Services regulationrequired by the health care law whichmicromanages how insurance compa-nies can spend their revenues.Unfortunately, this job loss in Ne-braska is not an anomaly. A recentsurvey of nearly 2,400 independenthealth insurance agents and brokersfrom all over came to this conclusion.One month after this HHS regulationtook effect, more than 70 percent hadexperienced a decline in their revenues.And, more shocking, nearly 5 percenthad lost their jobs.The Government Accountability Of-fice reported that most of the insurersthey interviewed were reducing indi-viduals’ commissions. These are notthe big insurance companies that wererailed against in the health care de-bate. These are not the big insurancecompanies that are being squeezed. Thegood folks who are being squeezed arethe mom-and-pop agencies that we findon Main Street throughout the UnitedStates. Yes, these are the folks we goto to support the local football team,the local high school, the local 4–Hclub, whatever the civic cause may be.And yet, with unemployment hoveringaround 9 percent, the health care lawputs the hammer on these people. Ireached the conclusion long ago thatthe health care law is bad for job cre-ation and it is bad for keeping yourjob.The Des Moines-based insurance com-pany’s CEO’s job loss, according tohim, was:
A fairly predictable consequence of theregulation.
UBS Investment Research called thehealth care law:
The biggest impediment to hiring ...which has the added drawback of strainingState and Federal budgets.
The National Federation of Inde-pendent Businesses said:
Small business owners everywhere arerightfully concerned that the unconstitu-tional new mandates, countless rules andnew taxes in the health care law will dev-astate their businesses and their ability tocreate jobs.
What we are seeing with this law is amassive amount of overregulation. Ac-cording to a recent Wells Fargo-Gallupsmall business poll, government regu-lations are the most important prob-lem facing our small business owners.If we just focus again on the healthcare law, that legislation alone has re-sulted in 10,000 pages of new Federalregulations and notices—10,000 pages.How could any small business comply?The employer mandate penalizes em-ployers for growing. It is as simple asthat. It forces employers who do notprovide acceptable coverage to pay apenalty of $2,000 per full-time em-ployee. But, you see, the penalty is ap-plied to firms with more than 50 em-ployees. And as a small business ownerin the Bellevue, NE, area recently ex-plained to me:
I’m not growing my business over 50 em-ployees. I don’t want to deal with yourhealth care law.
Well, as I mentioned, this discussionstarts, at least today, with that articlein the Des Moines Register.With me today is the very respectedSenator from the State of Iowa, Sen-ator G
. I would ask SenatorG
, what impact does he seearising out of this health care law inhis State and, even more broadly,across this country?Mr. GRASSLEY. I thank SenatorJ
for his leadership in this area.He has spoken on regulations quite reg-ularly on the Senate floor and also inour caucus, and I thank the Senator forhis leadership in that area.No. 1, I would say there is a certainirony between a President who is goingaround the country now and talkingabout, We have got to pass legislationto create jobs, at the very same time asthe Senator demonstrated in his re-marks that there is a health care billlaw being instituted that is makingpeople unemployed.There is also a certain irony in whatthe President does and the Secretary of HHS does with what Speaker P
said at the time the bill was up: Youknow, we have got to pass this bill tosee what this bill does. Well, now weare finding out what it does, and peopledon’t like what it does.You spoke about regulations causingunemployment, and you spoke about10,000 pages of regulations. That isprobably 10,000 pages of regulations outof the 66,000 pages of regulation thatwe have had this year, and 10,000 of that deals with health care. But thinkabout the other 57,000 pages that dealwith other pieces of legislation thatare a problem for small businesses—particularly small businesses. I guess itis a problem for all business, but par-ticularly for small business. And so far,a few regulations have been issued add-ing up to that 10,000 pages.People can read this 2,700-page billand understand what is in it, and mostof them read it and understood whatwas in it before Speaker P
said,‘‘We have got to pass it to find outwhat is in it,’’ and didn’t like what wasin it. But in this bill, there are 1,693delegations of authority to write regu-lations. So if you have 10,000 pages sofar based upon the new regulationsthat have been written, just thinkwhat it is going to be like when all of the pages are printed for the 1,693 regu-lations. So I think we are at the tip of the iceberg so far in this legislation,and the damage that is done to employ-ment and lack of job creation has juststarted. That is my comment on that.I have some remarks I wish to make,if it is okay with the Senator; and if hehas to go to a committee meeting, Iunderstand.This is not the first time this situa-tion has happened in Iowa, and it iscoming at a time when people need sta-bility. American families are strug-gling to put food on their table, paytheir utility bills as winter arrives, andpurchase health insurance as costs areskyrocketing.In other words, the President haspromised: Pass this legislation and it isgoing to keep health care premiumsdown, but that is misleading people,and at a time when, as SenatorJ
said, another promise madewas: If you like what you have, you aregoing to be able to keep it.Well, I don’t know exactly the fig-ure—I have got it here coming up.There is a figure of several thousandpeople in our State who aren’t going tobe able to keep the health insurancethey like and they already have be-cause of this company closing down in-dividual policies.Unemployment continues to hoveraround 9 percent and 1 million Ameri-cans are underemployed, and here wehave a health care bill that is causingmore people to be unemployed, as wellas not keeping the health insurancethey want. With the economic situa-tion our country is facing, Congressmust reexamine its actions and realizethe errors that were made because of partisan votes. This bill was an en-tirely partisan piece of legislation, un-like most social contracts in Americathat have been passed, such as SocialSecurity, Medicare, and Medicaid, civilrights legislation. Those were bipar-tisan pieces of legislation because itwas felt that when you are making thisdifference in America, you ought tohave a broad consensus that majorchanges such as this ought to be made.But in this particular case, it was verypartisan.I want to go over to what SenatorJ
said about the Des MoinesRegister article. The American Enter-prise Group, an insurance companyparticipating in individual health in-surance markets in Iowa and Nebraska,is leaving the market. This action
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