While Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act many times, there is one Obamacare program she’s looking to save.
Next week, McMorris Rodgers plans to introduce legislation that would provide three more years of funding for teaching health centers, a program that seeks to draw medical students to complete residencies serving in isolated or underserved rural and urban hospitals. A popular measure with bipartisan support, teaching health centers were first established in 2011 as a part of the Affordable Care Act, and their funding was renewed again in 2015.
McMorris Rodgers, though not a co-sponsor of the 2015 bill, voted in favor of extending its funding until 2017. With funding now set to expire in September, she said she has spoken with fellow Republicans and U.S. House of Representatives leadership – as well as members on the other side of the aisle – who are supportive of making the program more permanent.
“I have been very encouraged by the support I’ve gotten from leadership, Republicans and Democrats,” McMorris Rodgers told The Spokesman-Review in a phone interview. “There’s a chance to get (the bill) passed included as part of the health reform.”
In May, the House passed the controversial American Health Care Act just weeks after an earlier version was pulled from the floor because Republicans could not secure the necessary votes. While the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the initial version of the bill could cause 24 million Americans to lose their health coverage, the bill that came to the floor in May was passed before the CBO could evaluate it – it later reported 23 million Americans could lose their insurance.
The Senate is now working to write its own health care reform bill, a process that has been criticized for lacking transparency because discussions on the bill are not public.
Rural areas struggle to ensure that there are…