BEND, OR -- Republicans released details, this week, of their plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. But, it's not been met with wide support. Some conservatives say it doesn't go far enough, while Democrats say it's too much.
Redmond physician Dr. Eric Wattenburg tells KBND News, "I truly believe it's not going to make it through the Senate. There are enough conservatives in the Senate that will not sign on to this, and it's only going to take two people jumping ship and it won't make it through the Senate." He says there are several objections, "It's not conservative enough; that it's 'Obamacare light' and it did not go far enough in making reforms in the healthcare system as a whole." He adds, "They've put band-aids on it. They removed the individual mandate but they have included these big tax credits, which a lot of conservatives don't like. They have maintained the 'Cadillac tax' that I think is set to expire in 2025. So, there are a lot of pieces of Obamacare that have been salvaged and carried along in this plan, and the conservatives in Congress probably will not go for this."
The legislation places more of the expense of expanding Medicaid to cover low income people back on states. "We need to treat insurance companies like utilities; the government needs to get out of subsidizing any insurance. How nice would it be if everybody just had an insurance card that says 'I have healthcare insurance.' The doctor's office and the patient don't have to worry about where it came from - is it VA, Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance - that issue should not effect the patient or the office when they finally get to your office."
Republicans did not offer an estimate on how much their plan would cost and how many people could potentially lose coverage. U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) says the plan would bring America back to the days when healthcare was reserved for the healthy and wealthy. Governor Kate Brown says the plan would move healthcare backward by decreasing access to care and increasing costs for women and seniors, as well as placing a bigger financial burden on states.
Dr. Eric Wattenburg can be heard on KBND every Sunday at 4 p.m., on Your Care, Your Health.