September 17, 2009

Wyden, Oregon AFL-CIO Agree: Finance Committee Health Plan Hurts Middle-Class Oregonians

Portland, OR -- Senator Ron Wyden and Oregon AFL-CIO President Tom Chamberlain said today they agree that the health care reform plan released by the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee is unaffordable for middle class families.

Although they haven't agreed on every element of health care reform, Wyden and Chamberlain said they have strong agreement on one key issue: affordability must be part of any plan and it is not currently part of the plan released Wednesday by Senator Max Baucus.

"At the end of the day in this health reform debate working families will want to know if they will have more affordable health care options, and I could not look them in the eye right now and tell them that the Senate Finance Committee bill delivers," said Wyden. "I will stand with the working people of Oregon in the committee mark-up next week as I work to bring costs down and hold insurance companies accountable. As I told the President yesterday, I will fight to get real health reform to his desk this year, but without affordable choices, it won't be real reform."

"Oregonians woke up to a new report yesterday that says health insurance premiums have risen at four times the rate of wages in Oregon," said Chamberlain. "If you want Oregonians to support reform it must be affordable for middle class families. That's Number 1, and Senator Baucus' plan just isn't affordable."

As a member of the Senate Finance Committee, Wyden will have an opportunity to amend and change the bill that the committee ultimately approves. Chamberlain said he hopes that many of the Oregon AFL-CIO's key concerns with the Baucus bill will be addressed during that process.