Health Care for All Oregon: How a Landmark Bill Became Law During the Often Combative 2019 Legislative Session

With the short 2020 legislative session about to begin, it’s a good time to remember one of the surprising successes of 2019. While last year’s session was marred by the cowardly walk-out by Republican lawmakers who could not bring themselves to vote for a cap-and-trade bill in spite of the urgent need to respond to the climate crisis, there was, fortunately, a last-minute, bi-partisan victory for Oregonians.  

Health-care expert and consultant Charles Gallia, who in 2018 was the strong, though ultimately unsuccessful Democratic candidate for Senate District 20, shared the backstory of Senate Bill 770, which establishes a task force on universal health care, with Clackamas County Democrats at a recent Central Committee meeting.

Charles Gallia (center) with Oregon City school board member Anna Farmer and Health Care for All Oregon vice president Valdez Bravo

Health Care for All Oregon, a statewide coalition of over 120 member and endorsing organizations, asked Gallia to help draft the bill. Gallia recalled, “You can imagine the excitement of being asked, ‘so what would you do if you started from scratch to build a system that was going to provide universal access to health care to your neighbors, your family, the next generation.” He turned to the World Health Organization to confirm which issues are key to a successful health care system.  He found that most important were:

  • Improving the health status of individuals, families and communities; 
  • Defending the population against health threats; 
  • Protecting people against the financial consequences of ill health; 
  • Providing equitable access to people-centered care; and, most important in Gallia’s eyes,
  • Making it possible for people to participate in decisions affecting their health and health status.

“Oregon has a culture of leading in certain areas, and health care is one of those areas,” Gallia said. “When we built the Oregon health plan in the first place, decades ago, one of the things we did is travel around the state to many communities, listening to people along with state representatives and senators.  What I learned was a deep appreciation for the values that make Oregon special. People looked ahead and said, we need to be investing in prevention, child care, and we need to be thinking about what contributes to well-being outside the medical setting, and we should have less priority on those higher risk, experimental kinds of surgeries that often don’t result in a prolongation of life, but merely in an extension of someone’s misery.

“So we used the same kind of building blocks for this bill, an opportunity for citizens to engage in controlling their own health care. When I looked at health care in other states, I found that many ended up squaring off with the insurance industry, but we are going to do this the Oregon way, working at the grassroots. 

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Justice Committee Focuses on Minimum Sentencing Laws, Family Camp Timber Sale at January Meeting

Present:  Mike Kohlhoff (Chair), Michael Dewitt, Greg Hunt, Klaus and Cornelia Gibson, Don Klosterman, Connie Lee, Mary Post and Pacific Stensels

Cornelia reported on recent action by the Oregon Chapter of the grassroots group, Moms Demand Action, which supports a bill requiring the owner or possessor of firearms to secure them with a trigger- or cable-lock or in locked container. HB 2505 failed to pass in the 2019 legislative session but will be introduced when the 2020 session begins.

From the Racial Justice Sub-Committee  

Connie announced she plans to pursue information about the program known as CAHOOTS (Crisis Assistance: Helping Out on the Streets), which is now being used in Eugene and Portland.

From the Social Justice Sub-Committee

Mandatory minimum sentencing laws, which force a judge to hand down a minimum prison

sentence based on the charges a prosecutor brings against a defendant that result in a conviction — usually a guilty plea — unfairly target women of color. Eliminating mandatory minimums would also be cost effective.  Greg will work on a resolution recommending that Clackamas County eliminate mandatory minimums.

Oregon Civil Defense Force currently excludes individuals with disabilities. Mike pointed to

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Lake Oswego Mayoral Candidate’s Personal, Poignant Protest Caught on Video

With one memorable exception, virtually all major policies imposed by the Trump administration have caused division among party lines. That exception, of course, was the immigration strategy enforced in early May that separated children from their parents after they crossed the Southern U.S. border. As Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned at the time, “If you cross this border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. … If you are smuggling a child, then we will prosecute you and that child will be separated from you as required by law. If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

As a result, nearly 3,000 children, including scores under the age of five, were removed from their parents and placed first in Customs and Border Protection facilities, then in shelters provided by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Continue reading

Trumps M.O is Mob-Boss 101

By Norm Tarowsky

I hate to admit it but my initial feeling that Trump was just a con man (a P.T. Barnum showman, a charlatan, a snake oil salesman) fighting mental demons (malignant narcissistic disorder and a sociopathic personality) was only partially right. Since taking over as President we have been able to see him in action, and as his ex-lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told us in his testimony he is also operating as a crime boss running his family syndicate.

 What is the crime Boss M.O. (modus operandi) or operating style? It has the following characteristics:

 1)            The Boss demands absolute loyalty and fealty; it is above all else, including  family, country, religious beliefs, and self. Anything else makes one a traitor and the enemy, someone who must be denounced and destroyed.

2)            The only thing important to the boss is himself and his immediate family and, of course, the satisfaction of his ego and accumulation of more wealth and power.

 3)            The Boss is to be treated as royalty and publicly praised and fawned over, with pure sycophantic groveling and obedience. This chain of command is rigid and must be followed.

 4)          The Boss makes all the decisions. and the organization exists to carry them out.  To freelance is very dangerous and seen as insubordination and will be dealt with.

 5)            The Boss must be protected at all costs; like the secret service, underlings are expected to take a bullet to save him.

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Pot O’ Gold Dinner coming March 22nd!

Please mark your calendar for the Clackamas County Democrats’ Pot O’ Gold Dinner scheduled for Sunday evening March 22nd at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. The casual dinner is a fun opportunity to support the Clackamas Democrats as we begin the 2020 election year. Tickets may be purchased here ( in mid-February.