Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) addressed the House Friday about concerns he has heard from Oregonians about the new health care law and backed legislation to let people keep their current policies through next year.
Last week, Walden was at home for an eight day swing through 12 counties in Oregon’s Second District, covering 2,476 miles with 36 meetings. Walden heard numerous stories about cancelled insurance plans, diminished access to health care, and jobs lost or hours cut due to Obamacare.
On Friday, with Walden’s support, the House passed the Keep Your Health Plan Act (HR 3350) on a bipartisan basis.
Walden's news release said, "This common-sense legislation would allow plans available on the individual market today to be offered next year, providing millions of Americans the opportunity to keep their policies in 2014 and not face a penalty under the health care law."
Below is a transcript of Walden’s remarks to the House:
“I rise today as the voice of at least 150,000 Oregonians who have already received their cancellation notices. They’ve been told that their policy that they liked, that they wanted to keep, they can’t have it any longer.
“I was out in my district for eight straight days last week. 36 meetings. 12 counties. 2,476 miles on the road, from early in the morning to late at night.
“I’m going to tell you, there are people like Chuck and Jan from Medford who went into retirement, had health insurance, until they got a notice their plan is being cancelled. From Mitchell to Bend, from Enterprise to Medford, all over.
“Not only are their plans being cancelled, the replacements are coming back with deductibles that are $12,000 to $15,000 when they were paying a couple of thousand. And the premiums are going up, in some cases double or more. Some of them may get a subsidy. A lot of them won’t. And now they don’t have the plan they were promises they could keep.
“Another thing that’s insidious that’s going on below the surface—I’m hearing it in meeting after meeting—hours are being cut back, people are losing their jobs, they are getting less take-home pay because of Obamacare. This is a problem all across America. The promise that you can keep your plan was never going to be kept. And they knew it. They continued to say it, and it wasn’t true.
“People are losing their plans, they’re losing their coverage, and they're losing access to the specialists that may save their lives. That’s right. They won’t be able to keep their doctors. Well, they may, but if the doctor is out of network, there’s no cap on what they will pay in terms of deductible. So, financially, you take away their access to health care, the prices has gone up, the access has gone down, and in many cases, they’ve lost their jobs or their hours have been cut back”.
Last month, the Associated Press reported that 150,000 health insurance plans in Oregon would be cancelled due to the health care law.