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WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Greg Walden (R-OR) is confident the reconciliation process will help create a healthcare bill that can make it to the President’s desk. He was one of the key architects of the American Health Care Act, which continues to face criticism from the left – from those who say the bill will cause millions to lose coverage; and from those on the far right, who say it doesn’t do enough to repeal Obamacare.

 

The Oregon Republican says the GOP is still making adjustments to the AHCA, introduced earlier this month. He told MSNBC's Morning Joe on Monday, "We’ve been working with every element of the Republican conference, not just the Freedom Caucus, the Republican Study Committee, but also the Tuesday Group and everybody, to get a package that works for Americans. The insurance markets are collapsing on the individual side. States are begging us for more authority and flexibility on the Medicaid side." He added, "The President was all engaged on the weekend; there were people going down, he’s been working – he’s 'the closer.' He knows how to put this together; he’s got great negotiating skills and we’re coming together with it."

 

Walden is confident they can come up with a bill that will pass the Senate. "I’ve briefed the Republican Senators a couple of time, as has Kevin Brady who chairs the Ways and Means Committee. And, I think we’re getting their feedback and incorporating that in, as well. As you know, we had a couple of Senators down at Mar-a-Lago this weekend, meeting with the President. Everybody’s trying to get this done; I think we’re in a very good place."

 

Click HERE to watch the full "Morning Joe" interview.

 

He also contends the AHCA is just the first step in a long process. "Remember, Dr. Price – now head of HHS, Health and Human Services – has 1400 delegated authorities where he can also help lower costs, fix the market. And, we have the standard legislative process. We’re going to take on medical liability reform; we’re going to take on association health plans, buying insurance across state lines. All of these constitute a bigger, broader package than this one bill." Walden insists those currently on Medicaid would keep their coverage.

 
A state analysis of the AHCA released last week estimated 80,000 Oregonians wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance next year, under the plan.

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