Tags: Healthcare Reform | House | vote | AHCA | repeal and replace

Rep. Greg Walden: AHCA Will Pass House Vote

CNN's "New Day"

By    |   Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 03:19 PM

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, one of the architects of the American Health Care Act, said Thursday he remains optimistic it will pass a House vote, despite the last-minute arguments that have continued through the week.

"A lot of work has gone into this over many months, not just the last 24 hours," the Oregon Republican told CNN's "New Day." "You know how these things have come together. The president has been extraordinary, and the others in the White House have been very involved, meeting with members of all persuasions to put together a plan that is the best plan for the American people. That's what we're moving forward on. We believe it will come to the floor [Thursday] and we'll have the votes."

The House healthcare plan, Walden said, aims to make sure Americans have access to more healthcare plans.

"As you know, plan providers are pulling out of the markets," Walden said. "There are states going forward that may have no option on the Obamacare exchange. Premiums have gone up 50 percent in the last two years. While we have a couple of plans left, I worry about one of three counties in America, they're down to one plan. We have to make adjustments."

Walden said one of the concerns he has heard a great deal is that under Obamacare, people are forced to buy plans with provisions they do not need or want, and that's making many decide not to buy insurance. 

"If look at the data by a two-to-one margin, 20 million people say no, I'll pay a penalty and take the exemption," said Walden, and since that is happening, it is hurting the markets.

"We're trying to find the balance here where we have essential protections," Walden said. "We can do that through the state regulators and allow a little more flexibility in these plans so they're more affordable and people will take them up. That's how we get to the pooling that you and I would agree is very important."

There is also common ground with many governors who have pushed for Medicaid exemptions, including Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio, as they have asked for relief from plans calling for coverage people don't need, or the essential benefits packages.

Also under Obamacare, able-bodied adults were fully funded for Medicaid, and there were some who were forced onto the program who did not want it.

"In my state if you're aged, blind, disabled, do you know what the match rate is?" Walden said. "The federal government says we'll pay 63 percent, in other states it's 50 percent. That's the moral question. Should we spend 100 percent or 90 percent at the end of this 10-year window on able-bodied adults, or should we shift that and try and put money into the aged, blind and disabled?"

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House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, one of the architects of the American Health Care Act, said Thursday he remains optimistic it will pass a House vote, despite the last-minute arguments that have continued through the week.
House, vote, AHCA, repeal and replace
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2017-19-23
Thursday, 23 Mar 2017 03:19 PM
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