Merkley: ‘Trumpcare monster risen from grave’

Merkley said the Graham-Cassidy bill is 'the worst plan yet'

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)
Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, May 24, 2017 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — As the GOP takes another run at repealing Obamacare, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is mincing no words in his disdain for the plan sponsored by Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy.

The Graham-Cassidy bill would repeal much of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act and limit future federal funding for Medicaid. That federal-state health insurance program covers more than 70 million low-income people, ranging from newborns to elderly nursing home residents. Compared to current projected levels, Medicaid spending would be reduced by more than $1 trillion, or 12 percent, from 2020-2036, a study by the consulting firm Avalere Health found.

“The Trumpcare monster has risen from the grave,” Merkley told KOIN 6 News by phone Wednesday. This is “the worst plan yet,” he said, noting 100,000 Oregonians are on the exchange. If the mandate goes away, the state would just be left with sick individuals.

The vote is set in the Senate for next week — and needs to happen before September 30 in order for the GOP to pass it with onlyu 51 votes — and Merkley predicted the vote will be another cliffhanger.

Merkley also took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who scolded Portland in a Tuesday speech about sanctuary cities. Merkley said Sessions’ stance and plan would damage public safety, not improve it.

The senator helped secure funding to battle wildfires and for the communites most affected by them, through loss of tourism among other ways.

Rep. Greg Walden recently introduced a bill to expedite salvage logging within the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area in the wake of the Eagle Creek Fire. But Merkley is not totally on board with this idea.

Merkley said lawmakers need to be careful they don’t do enormous damage to the communities because of the Walden bill. The details, he said, really need to be investigated.