Oregon’s Congressional Delegation Reacts Along Party Lines to Latest ‘TrumpCare’ Plan

Revisions of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, released Thursday, drew condemnations from the state’s two senators, both Democrats, and from the four Democratic representatives.

Oregon’s congressional delegation has reacted along predictable party lines to the latest Republican-drafted attempt to overhaul the Affordable Care Act, released Thursday, with the state’s two Democratic senators and four Democratic representatives denouncing the bill, as Republican Rep. Greg Walden, an architect of the House-approved version of the bill, remained largely silent.

The Senate’s second attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare aims to shield disabled people from Medicaid cuts, but would still remove many children from the program, lower standards for health insurance, drive up prices, and leave millions uninsured.

Here’s what Oregon’s senators and representatives said about the legislation.

Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat:

“Senate Republicans have ignored weeks of overwhelming public outcry and rewritten their bill to endanger the health and well-being of even more Americans. Trumpcare is still about raising health costs for middle-class families, giving tax breaks to special interests, and keeping the deep cuts to Medicaid that threaten vulnerable Americans across every generation. By including the Cruz amendment, Senate Republicans are prescribing health care chaos by isolating Americans with pre-existing conditions and forcing them to pay astronomical costs to get the care they need.”

Senator Jeff Merkley, Democrat:

“President Trump infamously called the House health care bill ‘mean.’ Well, if that bill was mean, this one is downright diabolical. It is diabolical because it absolutely eviscerates Medicaid, ripping away health care from millions of Americans with cuts that are even deeper than the House version. In what kind of society do we steal care from struggling and working class Americans to pay for billions of dollars of tax giveaways for the richest of the rich? It is diabolical because it deeply cuts the Medicaid coverage that 60% of nursing home residents rely on to pay their bills. Without that coverage, many would be out on the streets.

“It is diabolical because this bill encourages states to gut essential coverage. It rewards states for taking away guaranteed coverage for emergency care, hospital stays, addiction treatment and more—encouraging insurance companies to create health policies that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. It is diabolical because it will impose a pregnancy tax on millions of American women, forcing them to pay thousands of dollars for maternity care out of pocket, and threaten the lives of patients with preexisting conditions.

“Last month, I spoke with an Oregonian named Carol. Carol’s husband is in a nursing home, and Carol suffers from multiple preexisting conditions, including congestive heart failure. Both Carol and her husband are covered by Medicaid. Without the Medicaid coverage guaranteed under current law, Carol told me, ‘Surely I will die.’

“Lives are at stake here. This is not a political game. If this bill passes, it will go down as one of the blackest marks on our national history.”

Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat:

“Another day, another version of Trumpcare -- but now even worse than before, with new provision allowing insurers to offer substandard plans.”

Rep. Earl Blumenhaur, Democrat:

“Trumpcare is the worst public policy proposal in our lifetime. The Congressional Budget Office is estimating 22 million more uninsured and the demise of Medicaid for the elderly and disabled children. This is a heartless bill and a matter of life and death. People could die.”

Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Democrat:

“The latest Trumpcare ‘plan’ from Senate Republican leadership would allow insurance companies to sell junk policies. Decades ago I helped low-income families with financial counseling at Legal Aid. Many were struggling because of medical debt because they didn't have insurance, or their policy didn't cover them when they needed it. We can’t go back to the days when a visit to the emergency room or an unexpected diagnosis drove families into bankruptcy.”

Rep. Greg Walden, Republican.

Walden is the only member of Oregon’s congressional delegation not to issue a statement on the plan released Thursday by Senate Republicans.

Reach Courtney Sherwood at sherwood@thelundreport.org.

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