Pam Wilcox’s recent letter about Greg Walden’s record on health care presents false information that would mislead voters. Walden has indeed voted repeatedly against health care for his constituents. The facts:
•Walden was one of the principal architects of the American Health Care Act (aka “Trumpcare”). While it would not have allowed insurance companies to deny coverage based on a pre-existing condition, it would have let them charge whatever premiums they wanted: $3,000 or higher per month if you have a pre-existing condition (e.g., heart disease, diabetes, pregnancy, asthma, joint pain, depression, drug addiction). Removing protection for pre-existing conditions in this way would make health coverage essentially unobtainable for all but the most wealthy.
•When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, it enabled 134,500 of Walden’s constituents who didn’t have health coverage to get it — 105,000 because of Medicaid expansion under the ACA, and 34,000 via the ACA healthcare exchanges. Walden voted three times to repeal the ACA in its entirety, which would have taken coverage away from those 134,500 people and would have eliminated protections for pre-existing conditions. These 134,500 people represent approximately 1 in 5 of Walden’s CD2 constituents.
•Numerous news sources (New York Times, The Hill, Vox, Politico) reported that Rep. Walden, as chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, decided to delay the vote to renew funding of CHIP (the Children’s Health Improvement Program) when funding expired on Sept. 30, 2018, trying to bargain for cuts to other health care programs.
•Walden has voted repeatedly against renewing CHIP funding in the past (HR 3963, HR 976, 2007; HR 2, HR 3962 2009). In addition, in June 2018, he voted to cut CHIP by $7B (HR 3); fortunately that assault didn’t pass.
The facts? When it comes to healthcare, Greg Walden has consistently voted to take healthcare coverage away from his own constituents in order to appease his corporate donors, particularly the health insurance industry. It is critical for voters to look at what he does (his votes), not what he says.
Jamie McLeod-Skinner will protect affordable healthcare for all. That’s why she has my vote.