Congressman Greg Walden: On Health Care Vote

Congressman Greg Walden,

Walden supports reform that lowers cost of premiums, cuts deficit, protects seniors, expands coverage, and ensures that those with pre-existing conditions can find coverage

WASHINGTON, D.C. “” Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) released the following statement following the passage of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-San Francisco) $1.3 trillion government takeover of healthcare. Rep. Walden voted for the Republican healthcare reform plan.”Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives had a choice of two healthcare reform plans. I voted for healthcare reform that would reduce the cost of health insurance premiums by 10 percent, cut the federal deficit by $68 billion, and make insurance more accessible to millions of Americans. Unfortunately, that’s not the plan that passed. As a small business owner for more than 21 years, I know what it’s like to pay the bills and sign the front side of a paycheck. Independent analysts estimate that the $730 billion in new taxes on Americans families and small businesses in the bill that passed today will result in the loss of 5.5 million American jobs. There’s even an unthinkable new tax on items like pacemakers, artificial hips, and stints.

“The country cannot afford a new $1.3 trillion government program that creates 111 new bureaucracies, especially when nationwide unemployment is at its highest level in 26 years. Just this year, Washington, D.C. has launched unprecedented national takeovers of the auto industry, the energy industry, and now the healthcare of every American.

“The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cost of a family premium under the government takeover that passed today will be $15,000 in 2016. The Republican alternative that I voted for tonight would reduce that cost to $10,000 in 2016.

“I served on a hospital board for many years and strongly believe that this country is in need of healthcare reform. But that reform should not be borne on the backs of seniors in the form of over $500 million in cuts to Medicare Advantage in Oregon’s Second District, which would impact the healthcare of 38,000 seniors in central, southern, and eastern Oregon. Americans deserve a patient-centered approach to healthcare, not a government plan that threatens to force you off the care you enjoy right now with a more expensive plan.

“We can do better with a targeted approach that tackles the biggest problems, and that’s what I voted for. We can lower the cost of premiums and expand access by giving employers the ability to group together for stronger bargaining with health insurance companies, just like corporations and unions do right now. We can allow insurance to be purchased across state lines, giving families and businesses much more choice and competition to bring down the cost of health insurance. And we can protect Medicare and the seniors who rely on it and ensure that no one is denied access to healthcare because pre-existing conditions. The Republican plan I voted for would have done all of that.

“Finally, I am strongly disappointed that rural America was left behind in this bill. Two amendments I proposed in the Energy and Commerce Committee to ensure a voice for rural America on government healthcare committees were stripped behind closed doors, with no explanation. That’s just plain wrong, and it speaks to why the American people are so frustrated with the broken system of government in Washington, D.C.”

Representative Greg Walden represents Oregon’s Second Congressional District, which is comprised of 20 counties in eastern, southern, and central Oregon. He is a member of the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the ranking member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.