Kip Hill of the Spokesman-Review - As of Friday, April 25, 2014
With the news this week that more than 600,000 Washington residents have acquired new health care plans through the state exchange, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, a stalwart opponent of the Affordable Care Act, said it’s unlikely the President Obama’s landmark program will be repealed.
“We need to look at reforming the exchanges,” the Eastern Washington Republican said Thursday.
The five-term congresswoman and chair of the House Republican Conference kicked off her re-election campaign this week with visits to Walla Walla, Colville and Spokane. She faces Democratic challenger Joe Pakootas.
McMorris Rodgers has been part of the Republican leadership in the House that has voted multiple times to repeal parts or all of the health care law. GOP members have said it is unworkable, will increase costs for some and force others into inadequate coverage or plans they don’t want.
McMorris Rodgers continued those criticisms Thursday, but said the framework established by the law likely will persist and reforms should take place within its structure.
“It is a top-down, one-size-fits-all approach to health care,” she said. Consumers should have more choice for their coverage, and Democrats should abandon the idea that everyone will enroll because of the mandate, McMorris Rodgers added.
The congresswoman also said that the 85 percent of enrollees who received Medicaid coverage is a sign the program is not sustainable and many will receive subpar care.
“You’re seeing where they’ve had to reduce programs for the very people it’s meant to help,” McMorris Rodgers said. “Somebody’s going to have to pay the bill.”
She also discussed the feasibility of immigration reform this year and efforts to address the need for more medical education opportunities in Eastern Washington.
Cited as a priority issue by many members of Congress and Obama, 2013 came and went without an immigration package, to the chagrin of many advocacy groups.
McMorris Rodgers said she still thinks a deal could be struck before the election.
“I believe there is a path that we get a bill on the floor by August,” she said.
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