WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Republican health care bill is on its way to the Senate after passing the U.S. House, Thursday. Oregon Congressman Greg Walden was a key player in getting the bill passed. He joined House Speaker Paul Ryan, other leading Republicans and the President in the White House Rose Garden to celebrate their victory.
Walden continues to say it's crucial to repeal ObamaCare because insurance companies are leaving the exchanges in some states and the Democrat plan is failing. "Last year, there were 225 counties in America, where you only had one choice on the ObamaCare exchange; this year, it's 1,022 and you’ve heard now, there are some counties where you’ll have no choice."
He says the GOP plan will keep Americans insured, and allow states to implement their own plans, "What this legislation does is open up the ability for states to to innovate." Walden says it is possible to create a system that will work, "To make insurance affordable to every American and available where they have choices and lower costs and competition in that market. It is collapsing around us, state by state; county by county." He adds, "We can get this right. It is our duty; our obligation."
The next step for the Republican plan is the U.S. Senate. However, despite the President's assertion that it will pass, Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) says, "That act is deader than dead. It breaks the President's promise to have healthcare for all, it breaks his promise to have it at lower cost, it breaks his promise to have it at higher quality." He went on to say Thursday, "It is a terrible piece of legislation made worse by the two adjustments demanded by the Freedom Caucus, those were to gut the essential benefits and to break the promise to provide equal access to individuals with preexisting conditions."
Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) says the bill turns back the clock to the days when health care was reserved for the healthy and wealthy. And Governor Kate Brown says if the Affordable Care Act goes away, it will hurt the state budget, the state's economy and the health care of vulnerable Oregonians.