Members of the U.S. House passed their version of a health care bill today, in an effort to roll back the efforts of the Obama administration and the Affordable Care Act.
If passed by the Senate (and signed by the president) the House bill, titled the American Health Care Act, would offer tax credits to help people buy insurance, cut the current expansion of Medicaid, remove protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and impose surcharges on people who have lapses in insurance coverage. In addition, the bill includes the repeal of a payroll tax and taxes on investment income, set into place by the Affordable Care Act, according to the New York Times
Democratic members of Oregon's Congressional delegation are outraged by the passage of the bill in the House.
“In my eight years in the Senate and nearly 20 years in public service, I have never seen a worse bill than this one. TrumpCare 2.0 is even more damaging than TrumpCare 1.0. This bill keeps all the most harmful features of TrumpCare 1.0, stripping coverage for 24 million Americans and gutting Medicaid," said Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley in a press release Thursday. “It then adds even more damage, throwing Americans with preexisting conditions out in the cold. If you or your loved one has cancer, diabetes, asthma, or even an old sports injury, this bill could make it extremely expensive, if not impossible, to get health care."
Meanwhile, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden said: “This bill is a staggering reversal of Republican health care promises that has been rammed through the House by buying off members and brazenly misleading the public,” Wyden said. “Bottom line, the House has voted to turn back the clock to the days when health care was reserved for the healthy and wealthy.
“If my Senate Republican colleagues don’t declare this dangerous, partisan effort dead on arrival, I will fight at every turn to protect people from the harm it will cause.”
Oregon Republican Congressman Greg Walden issued this statement on his website:
“For seven years, our constituents, patients, friends, and family, have suffered under a one-size-fits-all law that is collapsing under its own weight. The American Health Care Act will put patients, families, and their doctors first. It will protect those with pre-existing conditions and provides states with the flexibility they need to help meet the unique needs of their citizens. Simply put, the American people deserve better than what they received under Obamacare and the American Health Care Act delivers on our commitment to rebuild our health insurance markets and provide relief to the American people. We want to thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and our colleagues in the House who have worked so hard to get this bill over the finish line today. There’s more work to be done, and we know we are up to the task.”
Governor Kate Brown also issued a statement today, saying, "It is irresponsible for the U.S. House of Representatives to consider this legislation before the Congressional Budget Office has analyzed its impacts on Americans. Today, 95 percent of Oregonians and 98 percent of children in Oregon have health care coverage. In its current form, the AHCA would roll back major provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), jeopardizing the health care of 350,000 Oregonians, increasing prices for elderly Oregonians, reducing federal funding for Medicaid enrollment, and risking the loss of more than 23,000 jobs that were created in Oregon after the implementation of the ACA."
The U.S. Senate still needs to vote on the bill.