Tag Archives: Healthcare for All Oregon

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. 

Continue reading

Measure 101 — Thoughts of the Next Day

By Peter Nordbye, Chair of Clackamas County Democratic Party

On the day after the resounding victory of the passage of Ballot Measure 101, I reflect on some of the issues surrounding this victory.

First and foremost, Oregonians can take pride in stepping up and supporting our legislature’s efforts to ensure healthcare for those in most need. Because of this overwhelming vote in favor of Measure 101, over 400,000 Oregonians are protected, who would have been denied, the healthcare marketplace can be stabilized, and our legislature can focus on solving other problems facing our state. Continue reading

Single Payer, Special Announcement to Mark Thursday’s Clackamas Democrats Meeting

health care logoThis week’s meeting of Clackamas Democrats will bring two noteworthy bits of information: one is a report by PCP Don Klosterman, of Charbonneau, on Oregon’s single payer medical system, and the other is a surprise announcement concerning the State Democratic Party.

When half of the nation’s bankruptcies are directly attributable to people’s inability to pay their medical bills, something is wrong. When a person in emergency need of a physician at a hotel out of town is billed $850, but the bill is reduced to $280 once it is turned over to medical insurance, something is wrong.

These and other examples, not to mention the highest-priced medicine in the world without the highest quality performance, will be addressed in Don’s presentation, which begins at 7 pm. Doors open at 6:15 at the Operating Engineers Hall, 555 SE 1st, in Gladstone. See you there!

Health Care for All Oregon Rally on Feb. 11

hcao rallyHealth Care for All Oregon (HCAO) supporters will descend on the Capitol steps in Salem on Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 11 am to 1 pm, to rally and call on state legislators to act on a proposal to provide a “Medicare for All” health care system that covers everyone with no co-pays and deductibles.

The rally program includes speakers such as Senator Michael Denbrow and music from Oregon performers such as Norm Sylvester singing “The Health Care Blues,” the Raging Grannies, Salem’s Dr. Atomic, Anne Weiss, and David Rovics, along with”Mad as Hell Minutes,” when individuals can share their own health care stories.

Health Care for All Oregon is a coalition of over 100 organizations supporting the HCAO mission: “To create a comprehensive, equitable, affordable, publicly funded, high quality, universal health care system serving everyone in Oregon and the United States.” Coalition members include unions, businesses, advocacy organizations, and political, religious and local community groups from around Oregon. To learn more or to be one of the 2500 people participating in the rally see http://hcao.org/Rally-on-the-capitol-steps-2015/ or register at www.hcaoRally.net.