RELEASE: Oregonians Urge the U.S. Senate to Protect the Health Care Our Family’s Rely On

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 21, 2017
Contact: Lisa Loving, lisa@uniteoregon.org, 503-488-0529 or Lili Hoag, lili@familyforward.org, 971-271-9229

 

Oregonians Urge the U.S. Senate to Protect the Health Care Our Family’s Rely On
A National Day of Action Calls Attention to Winners and Losers in ACA Repeal Effort

 

Portland, OR – Oregonians who are concerned about losing their health care as a result of Republican efforts in Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act and to restructure and radically cut Medicaid spoke out today in Portland. Members of Unite Oregon, Family Forward Oregon, the Main Street Alliance of Oregon, SEIU 503, and the Oregon Center for Public Policy rallied against repeal proposals that cut health care from millions of American families while giving $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations as part of a national day of action led by Health Care for America Now (HCAN) partners.

After weeks of secret negotiations U.S. Senators are expected to vote on a bill that closely resembles the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which passed the House in May, before the end of June. If the Affordable Health Care Act, as passed by the House, is enacted, 465,000 Oregonians would lose healthcare coverage while 2,760 households earning over $1 million would get an average tax break of $34,584. The plan would also devastate state budgets by making them cover a greater share of health care costs and would harm the economy by siphoning billions of dollars out of local economies.

“Repeals to the Affordable Care Act will make healthcare less accessible for the 23 million people who rely on the program to get and keep healthcare. It will make women, older people, and people with pre-existing conditions pay more for their healthcare. This proposal slashes Medicaid for seniors, children and people with disabilities and cuts the in-home and other care supports that many families rely upon to both care for a family and provide for one,” said Andrea Paluso, Executive Director of Family Forward Oregon.

In addition to tax breaks for wealthy individuals, the AHCA also includes $145 billion over ten years in tax breaks for big insurance companies and $25 billion over ten years in tax breaks for prescription drug companies.

“Senators have been working on a repeal proposal for months while keeping the details a secret from the public and from fellow legislators,” said Kayse Jama, Executive Director of Unite Oregon. “But it’s no secret that this proposal will closely mirror the bill that passed in the House: making healthcare inaccessible or unaffordable for many, and giving massive tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations.

Cuts to Medicaid would hit Oregon harder than nearly every other state, in part because Oregon has enrolled a high number of people in Medicaid expansion programs in recent years, according to the Oregon Center for Public Policy. If the extra federal dollars for the Medicaid expansion were to go away, the Oregon Health Plan would lose 41.8 percent of its federal funding. Nationally, only the State of Washington would lose a larger share — 42.2 percent — of federal Medicaid dollars.

“No family should have to navigate costly and inaccessible health care, particularly when dealing with a serious illness. As a mother and a daughter to loved ones fighting cancer, I know firsthand that the proposed healthcare bill and budget will make our whole country a lot sicker. We can’t go back to the days when a preexisting condition, like my 6-year-old’s cancer, would prevent him from having insurance later in life.” said Kalpana Krishnamurthy, an Oregon mother and Policy Director with Forward Together. “We need a system that leaves no cancer family behind. We need a response to this disease that is greater than the devastation it wreaks. This is not that response.”

“Repealing the ACA will strip healthcare away from many families in Oregon, especially in East Portland, where I live and have my practice,” says Dr. Thuy Tran, Rose City Vision Care and a Main Street Alliance of Oregon board member. “It will shift more costs onto small business owners, and the higher cost of coverage will mean less money to hire new staff, making it harder for us to create jobs.”

Participants in today’s event called on the Senate to reject any bill that trades tax breaks for cuts to healthcare for families, eliminating coverage, caps and block grants for Medicaid, or that increases costs for older people, people living with disabilities, and people with pre-existing conditions. Congress needs to have a full public debate on the merits of this legislation that risks so much for so many.

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