Greg Walden Statement on Committee Passage of Bills to Protect Consumers, Improve Health Care

July 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today, Representative Greg Walden (R-Hood River) released the following statement after the Energy and Commerce Committee passed legislation that would improve the lives of Oregonians.  

One of the many bipartisan bills passed by the Committee was the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which would require phone carriers to implement call authentication technology so that consumers can trust their caller ID at no cost to them. According to one study, last year 47.8 billion illegal robocalls were placed nationwide, and that number has already reached 25 billion this year. Walden has been a longtime advocate for stopping illegal robocalls from harassing Americans, going back to his efforts to get the RAY BAUM’S Act signed into law last Congress. 

“We all know how pesky robocalls can be. I am thrilled to announce that today we took steps to stop illegal robocalls from burdening Oregonians and Americans at large,” said Walden. “When you receive a call from an unfamiliar number with a familiar area code -- say 541 -- you should be confident that there is a legitimate reason for the call. This bill takes steps to give consumers more confidence that there is a reason for any calls they receive and tracks down bad actors who make illegal robocalls at no cost to the consumer.”

In addition to passing legislation to stop pesky robocalls, the Committee passed several  bills aimed at improving our health care system. One of those bills was the No Surprises Act, a bipartisan bill that Walden helped introduce. The bill would ensure that patients who follow doctor’s orders do not later receive surprise medical bills. Walden’s call to fix this issue has received widespread support and praise from a range of stakeholders.  

“Patients should not be penalized for following a doctor’s orders,” said Walden. “I’ve heard too many horror stories of patients who followed the rules and to no fault of their own, after an emergency, received a six-digit bill in the mail -- one which they usually have no way of paying. This is not fair, and it should not happen. I am pleased the Committee took steps to stop this preposterous problem and I will work hard to ensure that this bill makes it to the President’s desk and is signed into law.” 

The Committee also advanced the Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health Act, or REACH Act, which would reauthorize Community Health Centers (CHCs) for the next four years.

“Community Health Centers serve more than 240,000 Oregonians in the Second District of Oregon,” said Walden. “I am thrilled that we were able to continue to advance the four-year reauthorization of these centers. Our CHCs play a critical role in ensuring that patients have access to health care in their community, both in Oregon and all around the country.” 

In addition to reauthorizing funding for CHCs, Walden helped advance the funding for other lifesaving health care programs, including the Special Diabetes Program. 

“The Special Diabetes Program has a lifesaving impact on Americans who have Diabetes,” said Walden. “It is essential that we continue to fund this program, a program that has received widespread support from prominent groups like the American Diabetes Association. Today, the Committee made great strides in both improving our nation’s health care and protecting consumers. I am confident that these bills will continue to receive bipartisan support and I look forward to working to get them signed into law.”