Greg Walden: Health Care Law Should Be Replaced With Real, Patient-Centered Reforms

Press Release

By:  Greg Walden
Date: July 9, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

In the wake of the Supreme Court's decision today, U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) said that the health care law is still a bad bet for Oregon and that it must be repealed before it does more damage to the economy, families, and seniors.

"Speaker Pelosi said Congress had to pass the bill so Americans could find out what's in it. Now we know: a massive tax increase on middle class families and small businesses," Rep. Walden said.

"The President's health care law is the wrong prescription for Oregon seniors, families, and small businesses. It's hurting our economy by making it more costly for small businesses to hire new workers. It takes half a trillion dollars from Medicare, which will only make it more difficult for seniors, especially in rural areas, to get access to Medical care. And it empowers a board of fifteen unelected bureaucrats to decide what health care individuals will get. That decision should be between patients and doctors, not unelected bureaucrats in Washington," Rep. Walden said. "It's your life. It's your health. You should have the right to choose your doctor and hospital and make your own decisions about what's best for you and your family."

"I look forward to voting on July 11 to fully repeal this unworkable law, as a clear majority of Americans favor. Oregonians deserve a patient-centered health care system that allows them to access the care they need from the doctor and hospital they choose at the lowest possible cost," Rep. Walden said.

Since the law was passed, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has said that the policies in it will reduce the labor supply by 800,000. A recent small business survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce finds nearly three quarters of small businesses surveyed cite the health care law as an obstacle to growing their business and creating jobs.

"As a small business owner since 1986 who always provided health coverage for my employees, I know that the cost of health insurance puts a real strain on small businesses, and this law is driving up costs," Rep. Walden said. "As I go around Oregon, the biggest concern small businesses have is the rising cost of their health insurance. Unfortunately, this law will only drive up their costs further."

The law doesn't just harm small businesses--seniors are hit hard too. Oregon has one of the highest Medicare Advantage penetration rates in the country. Over 268,000 seniors in Oregon have chosen Medicare Advantage as the plan that best meets their needs. Yet the law cuts $206 billion from Medicare Advantage and over $500 billion from the entire Medicare program, meaning higher premiums and reduced benefits for Oregon seniors.

CBO has found that 20 million people could lose their employer-sponsored health insurance by 2019, and consulting firm McKinsey & Co. found that 30 percent of employers say they "definitely" plan to drop coverage.

Finally, the Obama Administration's own Medicare actuary found that the law will add at least $340 billion to the deficit. In March, CBO's cost estimate of the law doubled from its original estimate to $1.76 trillion over ten years.