Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley held a Town Hall-style meeting near his hometown in Douglas County Saturday morning. The Democrat was greeted by a crowd of supporters celebrating a victory for the Affordable Care Act.
About 300 people cheered from gym bleachers during Senator Jeff Merkley’s town hall at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg. This was a day after congressional Republicans pulled a bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare. Merkley said their proposed bill would have been a step back in healthcare reform.
"We cannot go backwards," Merkley told the crowd. "In fact, we have to reduce the deductibles and make healthcare even more affordable, more accessible, better quality, more efficiency."
About a quarter of Douglas County residents are on the state Medicaid program, which is mostly federally funded under Obamacare.
After the town hall, resident Larry Nieme said the program is important to the area’s largely low-income community, but it doesn’t go far enough.
"What really needs to happen is we need to do something that gives everybody healthcare at a price that everybody can afford," he said. "And basically what that is is medicare for all."
After his stop in Roseburg, Merkley headed south to town halls in Grants Pass and Medford before traveling back to the nation’s capital.