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Greg Walden: Rebuilding our nation’s health care system

Recently, the House Energy and Commerce Committee — which I chair — held a hearing to continue the process of rebuilding our nation’s health care system. During the hearing, I spoke of legislation I will be introducing soon to ensure patients with pre-existing conditions will always have access to health insurance — period. We also discussed giving patients lower costs, more choices, and more control when it comes to their care.

Additionally, the Energy and Commerce Committee will soon consider legislation introduced by my fellow Oregon lawmaker, Rep. Kurt Schrader to modernize drug development and lower the cost of pharmaceuticals. I recently met with President Trump and Vice President Pence, who both agree that lowering the costs of prescription drugs is a top priority. Bipartisan initiatives such as this will be at the top of the agenda for the Energy and Commerce Committee as we work toward providing all Americans with access to more affordable, higher quality health care.

Rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid

Continuing our busy legislative schedule in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we also held a session on rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicaid program. This is a critically important safety net for millions of our nation’s citizens, low-income adults, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those with disabilities. Our session focused on how to strengthen this program, and prioritize federal funding to make sure that those most in need of medical services in our communities get better quality and more affordable care.

This starts by going after bad actors abusing the Medicaid program, not by ignoring them. For the last 14 years, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) has put Medicaid on the list of high-risk federal programs for waste, fraud, and abuse. During our session we discussed commonsense legislation to close loopholes, root out abusers and bad actors, and target savings to help patients who rely on the integrity of Medicaid. The bills we are considering are just one small step forward in a journey toward ensuring the continued solvency of this program for our nation’s most at-need citizens.

The GAO recently said Medicaid made $36.3 billion in improper payments last year!

For more information on the legislation discussed during our recent session, please click here.

Completing a long-delayed land exchange on Mt. Hood

Promoting family wage jobs and economic growth in our rural communities remains a priority of mine in Congress. Recently, I joined my fellow Oregon lawmakers, Rep. Blumenauer, and Senators Wyden and Merkley, to reintroduce legislation to complete a long-overdue land exchange on Mt. Hood. The Mt. Hood Cooper Spur Land Exchange Clarification Act will help resolve a decades-long dispute over proposed land development on the northeast side of Mt. Hood.

Congress first passed our bipartisan bill in 2009, clearly stating that the Forest Service should complete the Mt. Hood Cooper Spur land exchange within 16 months. After eight years, the Forest Service still hasn’t done its job, which is why we once again introduced legislation directing them to do so. This land exchange is critical for protecting Crystal Springs, the water source for the City of Hood River and the upper Hood River Valley, and will stimulate the local economies. The communities around Mt. Hood have waited long enough. It’s time for the Forest Service to finish the job.

I’ll be sure to keep you up to date on this legislation’s progress. I am confident that this bill will receive the overwhelming bipartisan support that moved it through the House last year, and that the Senate will swiftly send this legislation to the President’s desk.

Contact Greg Walden’s Offices:

Washington, DC Office
2185 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: (202) 225-6730

Bend Office
1051 NW Bond St. #400
Bend, OR 97701
Phone: (541) 389-4408

La Grande Office
1211 Washington Avenue
La Grande, OR 97850
Phone: (541) 624-2400

Medford Office
14 N. Central Ave. #112
Medford, OR 97501
Phone: (541) 776-4646

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