Republican health care plan is a disaster for Oregon’s Economy

By Kelsey Denogean of Portland, Oregon. Kelsey is the owner of Pieper Cafe and a Main Street Alliance of Oregon Member.

I love owning a small business but the potential changes in health care legislation has me worried about my business’ future prosperity.

As the owner of Pieper Cafe in Portland, I am proud to contribute to Oregon’s economy. Like many small business owners, I work long hours to grow my business and create jobs for our local community. I have been in business for 5 years and have seen my neighborhood grow and prosper. Although Portland’s economy is healthy, I am always worried about keeping the doors open and the lights on-- recently the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) legislation has created even more uncertainties.

Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, I have not had to worry about accessing affordable health insurance. Myself and four employees all receive healthcare through the expansion of the ACA. For me, having health care is a necessity. When I was 35 years old, I suffered a stroke. Under the proposed AHCA legislation, insurance companies will be able to deny individuals with pre-existing conditions, like me, health care coverage. The consequences of the legislation would force me and many other small businesses to close our doors and lay off employees.

I am dreadfully concerned that Senate Republican leaders are secretly and quickly advancing their version of the House AHCA bill that would take health care benefits away from 23 million people – including many of the four million newly insured small business owners, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs.

Instead of improving access and lowering health care costs, the Republicans’ plan places health care out of reach for working families across Oregon and jeopardizes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Their proposal also slashes Medicaid by $834 billion, threatening the health care of 74 million Americans who rely on Medicaid every day and creating huge deficits in state budgets. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress are giving $664 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and insurance and prescription drug corporations.

The Republican’s healthcare proposal will be a disaster for small businesses, working families and Oregon’s economy. It is clear, if community members are spending more money on healthcare expenses then small businesses will lose customers, which will lead them to financially struggle, decrease involvement in their local communities and offer fewer jobs for Oregonians. Small businesses will no longer be able to contribute to the economy which will impact us all.

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