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Oregon Dems, GOP Differ In Reaction To Affordable Care Act Replacement

<p>U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., speaks at the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport in March 2016.</p>

Kevin N. Hume

U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., speaks at the Crater Lake-Klamath Regional Airport in March 2016.

House Republicans released legislation Monday to replace the Affordable Care Act.

It would restructure Medicaid so states get a set amount of money from the federal government each year.

Oregon’s only Republican in Congress, Rep. Greg Walden, said the new "Patient and State Stability Fund" would help low-income Americans afford health care and repair damage done to state insurance markets.

The bill would also give people refundable tax credits to purchase health insurance, something Walden said gives the nation a way to responsibly unwind the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. Walden has been a leading force behind the attempt to replace Obamacare.

Oregon Health Authority spokesman, Robb Cowie, is not hopeful.

“If the federal government rolls back funding for Medicaid expansion, it’ll jeopardize health coverage for hundreds of thousands of people," he said. "It’ll affect the strength of Oregon’s health care system and put added pressure on state budgets.”

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, called the bill "the end of Medicaid as we know it."

He said it would decimate state and family budgets while putting America’s most vulnerable people at risk.

Two House committees could vote as early as Wednesday on the bill.

Copyright 2017 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.