Report gives Oregon Democrats ammo to attack GOP health plan
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its report Monday on how the Republican House plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would affect people’s health care coverage.
In response, Oregon Democrats in Congress pounced on the report that found that 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance coverage by 2026 under the plan.
Oregon’s District 5 U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader, who sits on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health (the full committee passed its markup of the bill last week), said in a statement that the GOP’s plan is a major step backward.
“This is especially going to hurt our middle-class, middle-aged workers who will be looking at paying nearly half of their salary for health care when they need it most,” he said.
He also said that premiums would go up as much as 20 percent.
However, while premiums would initially go up, the CBO found that in nine years they would likely be lower than under Obamacare.
Schrader tried to delay the bill, but Republicans rejected his motion to do so.
Oregon’s District 3 U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer charged Republicans of trying to rush the bill through Congress so people wouldn’t be aware of “how bad it truly is.”
To back up his claim, Blumenauer pointed to Republicans moving their plan forward without being scored by the CBO.
“Well, the score is in, and it’s just as bad as we expected,” he said in his statement.
Oregon’s District 1 U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici said she’s opposing the bill because of the millions of people who will lose their health insurance under the Republican’s plan.
Oregon’s two Democratic U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley also attacked the Republican’s plan.
Merkley said it is a plan to give big tax cuts to the wealthy.
“Millions kicked off their coverage, skyrocketing premiums and deductibles—all to hand an enormous tax giveaway to the wealthy and well-connected,” he said in a statement. “That is what this bill is truly about, and that is what its sponsors don’t want you to know.”
Wyden echoed Merkley’s sentiments in a tweet:
And in another tweet he reminded people of what Trump promised people during the presidential campaign.
Greg Walden: Oregon’s only Republican in Congress
Oregon’s lone Republican in Congress, Greg Walden, who represents the state’s District 2, was one of the people who worked on crafting the Republicans’ bill.
On his website he pointed to examples of how he said Obamacare has hurt people.
In one example he said a rancher in Klamath County could no longer afford health insurance under the ACA.
“She said, ‘Please repeal Obamacare and give us some relief,’” Walden said.
Another constituent, a small business owner in Deschutes County told him that her insurance company would no longer offer the same plan; instead, she would need to choose another, more expensive plan.
“’In the last three years, my premiums have gone from $685 a month up to $1,500 a month -- $18,000 a year,’” Walden said, reading from a constituent’s letter.
“So this law (Obamacare) is hurting people in my district,” he said.
The White House “strenuously” disagreed with the CBO, and Health Secretary Tom Price said more people will be covered lower cost.
Supporters of the Republican House plan also point out that the tax penalties for not buying health insurance under Obamacare would be eliminated.
The CBO also found the Republican plan would reduce the federal deficit by $337 billion over the next decade.