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Oregon's Top Democrat Lambasts Revived Health Care Bill

<p>Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has called the revived Affordable Care Act replacement bill "sabotage."</p>

Cliff Owen

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Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden has called the revived Affordable Care Act replacement bill "sabotage."

U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he and fellow Republicans are making progress on a new health care bill.

The proposal would allow states to get waivers that alter insurance mandates under the Affordable Care Act. For example, states could get waivers that no longer protect people with pre-existing conditions, or allow carriers to charge more based on a person's health.

Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden called it "sabotage."

“States are given the right to do better. In other words, if states have better ideas to hold down costs and expand coverage, the state would have the right to do that," Wyden said. "The state does not have the right to do worse."

Oregon Republican Rep. Greg Walden co-authored the initial health care bill, which failed to gather enough support for a vote on the House floor in March. Walden's office did not respond to requests for comment on the latest version.

Walden made it clear in recent town hall meetings that he would not support repealing insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The new bill would allow states to remove those protections.

The House Republican Freedom Caucus, key players in last month's defeat of the ACA replacement bill, is reportedly on board with the new proposal.

It remains unclear whether the new bill also has the support of moderate Republicans.

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.