Congressman Greg Walden

Representing the 2nd District of Oregon

Improving Rural Health Care

Holding a roundtable meeting in Bend with doctors, patients, and disease advocates to discuss the 21st Century Cures Act

Working to improve access to affordable health care, especially in rural communities, has long been a priority of mine. Before I ran for Congress, I was a member of the Hood River Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees and the Oregon Health Sciences University Foundation Board. As a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee now, I’ve listened to what constituents, doctors, stakeholders, hospitals, care providers, and disease advocates alike have to say about the direction our nation’s health care is headed.

Implementing real health reform
The new health care law, known as Obamacare, is driving up insurance costs and reducing choices for too many Oregonians. The state wasted hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on Cover Oregon and now is mired in costly litigation.  Meanwhile, people are left to cope with more insurers leaving the market, and two new health “co-ops” set up by the law have already folded. There’s a better way to give everyone access to quality, affordable health care. Our plan would replace Obamacare with a new one that provides consumers more choices, lowers costs, focuses on curing deadly diseases like cancer, and strengthens and preserves Medicare. For more on the House GOP’s “Better Way” plan on health care, please click here.

Boosting medical research and accelerating cures 
In our increasingly connected world where innovation happens at lightning speed, health research is moving quickly. But government regulations for approval of new drugs and devices are not keeping pace with the science for some of these breakthrough cures. We can do better. I’m a proud supporter of the 21st Century Cures Act, a bipartisan initiative to streamline the process for new medical treatments to help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of cures.

Combating mental illness and drug addiction in our communities 
Mental illness and drug addiction touch every segment of our communities, no matter where you live or what you look like.  I am a strong supporter of two bills that will deliver help quickly to those who need it.  The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which has been signed into law by the President, expands access to care and prevention services in our communities, establishes best practices that will help prevent lawful prescription use from spiraling into abuse, and gives new tools to law enforcement and prevention advocates to combat the epidemic of painkillers and heroin.  The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which passed the House with my strong support, reforms the 112 federal programs that address mental health, allows families to better work with health care professionals to care for loved ones, increases access to inpatient care.  

Delivering vital care to seniors
Receiving care at home gives seniors more control over their health care and provides a sense of comfort, familiarity, and normalcy for patients and their loved ones. Especially in parts of rural Oregon where access to physicians can be limited, Oregon’s seniors should be able to get their care in a timely fashion without having to choose between receiving health care and remaining in his or her home. I have long worked to support and expand home health services for rural communities.

Protecting Medicare and Social Security
I helped pass a law to prevent a drastic spike in Medicare premiums and to ensure that doctors are paid fairly under Medicare so that seniors get access to the care they need from the providers they know and trust. We’ve also protected Social Security disability recipients, who would have faced a 20 percent across-the- board cut this year if Congress hadn’t acted. And I’ll continue to oppose plans to cut cost of living adjustments for today’s Social Security recipients.

More on Improving Rural Health Care

August 15, 2016 Op-Eds
Across Oregon, I’ve talked with many families who are struggling with mental illness and drug addiction. These touch every segment of our communities, no matter where you live or what you look like. Tragically, they often carry with them a major stigma in society, and help is hard to find. Fortunately, Congress is working in a bipartisan way to help solve these problems and offer relief to those who need help.
May 25, 2016 Press Release
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) today issued the following statement after the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released an investigative report on the failure of Cover Oregon...
May 12, 2016 Press Release
U.S. Rep. Greg Walden (R-Hood River) applauded a federal judge for ruling in favor of the U.S. House of Representatives in a lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s improper use of taxpayer dollars under Obamacare.