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KBND Morning News

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LA PINE, OR -- A new effort to repeal and replace Obamacare could get a vote in the Senate as early as next week. Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is a ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, which is expected to hold a hearing on the new GOP bill Monday. 

Senator Wyden tells KBND news, "This is extraordinarily important to our state. The independent analyst showed that Oregon would actually be the hardest hit state in the nation, losing about $13 billion in funding, if this legislation becomes law. We are pulling out all the stops to derail this bill." He believes rural Oregon would be most impacted by the Graham-Cassidy Healthcare bill, which would slash Medicaid funding. "I always tell people, ‘Listen to the rural hospitals, listen to the rural doctors, listen to the rural older people for whom this legislation has been a lifeline.’ I had a listening tour just in rural facilities. And, overwhelmingly they said this bill was enormously important." He tells KBND News he's heard from rural hospitals, "They say, ‘because of this bill we were able to hire a staff person and now the waiting lines are not as long for rural seniors'."
This latest healthcare bill would reduce federal subsidies for insurers and Medicaid; instead it would provide block grants to states until the year 2027. Only 50 votes are needed to pass the bill until September 30. If it doesn’t go before the full Senate until after October first, Republicans would need 60 votes. 
Senator Wyden expects healthcare and wildfire funding will be big topics at a Saturday afternoon's town hall meeting in La Pine. It begins at 3 p.m. at the La Pine Community Center (16405 First St.) and is his fourth Deschutes County town hall this year. To hear our full conversation with Wyden, click HERE or visit our Podcast Page

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