Bad medicine: Doctor groups wanting to avoid Medicaid cuts have raised $2.3 million in campaign contributions to influence health-care reform. As first reported on wweek.com, a document accounting for the campaign cash is circulating in the Capitolâin part, people in the know say, to show the lawmakers accepting the docsâ cash that theyâre being watched. âWe see a lot of money flowing down here,â says one veteran lawmaker, âbut this is obscene.â The groups have given $1.2 million since 2009, but another $1.1 million waits to be handed out. The list shows Gov. John Kitzhaber has received $455,000 since 2009, most of it in his 2010 race against Republican Chris Dudley. Among legislators, Sen. Alan Bates (D-Ashland), an osteopathic physician who serves on the Senate Health Care Committee and co-chairs the Joint Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services, is the top recipient with $72,000. For the full list, go to wweek.com/pdxvotes.
Sasha Buchert never thought her appointment by Gov. John Kitzhaber to the Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board this month would make history. But, according to the governorâs office, it probably did: Buchert appears to be the first openly transgendered person appointed to a state board. Buchert, spokeswoman for Basic Rights Oregon, says itâs an honor. âIâd be very proud to crack that barrier, if true that Iâm the first,â Buchert says. âI feel it would be a significant step forward.â
Ron Abell (1932-2012) was an early and dear friend to this newspaper. Ron lived many livesâjournalist, novelist, teacher, political insider, activist and all around Oregonian of honor. He died Feb. 11, choosing to take advantage of Oregonâs Death with Dignity law after a long fight with leukemia and emphysema.