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Opinion » Editorial

Greg Walden Keeps His Streak Going

Greg Walden gets THE BOOT.



If nothing else, we have to give Rep. Greg Walden points for consistency - he's consistently against legislation that would help ordinary Americans.

Walden kept his record intact last week by being one of the 215 members of the House - including 39 Democrats and all but one of the 177 Republicans - to vote against the health care reform bill. (Thankfully, none of those 39 Democrats were from Oregon.)

"The country cannot afford a new $1.3 trillion government program that creates 111 new bureaucracies, especially when nationwide unemployment is at its highest level in 26 years," Walden said after his vote. "Just this year, Washington, D.C. has launched unprecedented national takeovers of the auto industry, the energy industry, and now the healthcare of every American."

First, on the cost issue: Walden, like all Republicans, pretends to be terrified by the cost of health care reform while ignoring the crippling costs of the present unreformed system.

Health care already gobbles up $2.5 trillion a year - 17.6% of our total GDP, a bigger share than any other developed nation. And it's projected to reach over $4 trillion a year by 2018. It's estimated that small businesses will pay nearly $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years in health care costs for their workers, causing the loss of 178,000 small-business jobs by 2018. Studies have found that more than 60% of all bankruptcies filed in 2007 were related to medical expenses. An estimated 1.5 million families a year lose their homes to foreclosure because of unaffordable health care costs.

Now, about the "national takeover" claim: The House-passed bill is not a "national takeover" of health care or anything close to it. It merely would offer limited government subsidies for those who can't afford insurance and a government-supported alternative to private insurance (the "public option"). Surely Walden knows this - which makes his "takeover" rhetoric an outright lie.

Compounding the offense of voting against the health care reform bill, Walden helped pass an outrageous amendment by Reps. Bart Stupak (D-MI) and Joseph Pitts (R-PA) that would prohibit the use of any government funds to pay for insurance policies that cover abortion except in cases of rape, incest, or endangerment of the mother's life.

The prohibition would apply not just to women who choose the public option but to ANY woman who gets a government subsidy, no matter how small, to help pay for private insurance. "You're talking about people who are paying their own money or are minimally subsidized by the federal government, and they will be prevented from purchasing insurance that supports abortion," said Laurie Rubiner, an official with Planned Parenthood.

Apparently Walden opposes the government making health care decisions for people - unless the decisions involve abortion.

According to, in the current election cycle Walden so far has collected $29,600 in campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry, over $18,000 from health professionals and $12,500 from the insurance industry. We're sure those contributors feel they got their money's worth.

But on behalf of the rest of us, Walden gets THE BOOT.

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