This Friday, March 11, a group trying to establish universal health care in Oregon is holding a legislative action day to spread the word about a bill that would do just that—the Affordable Health Care for All Act.
Despite a tough legislative climate for the proposal, the Oregon Single Payer Coalition and other supporters of the idea are pitching the measure as like Medicare for everyone, providing comprehensive health benefits for every Oregon resident. Patients could choose their own providers with no co-payments and no deductibles. Proponents say the program would be administered by the already existing Oregon Health Authority board and would ultimately cost less than a federal program.
"The safety net just isn't there anymore," says Paul Eck, a volunteer with Single Pay Oregon. A 63-year-old former public school teacher, Eck says the plan would benefit everybody. "My premiums rose 20 percent last year for my health insurance," he says." The rate of inflation hasn't grown that much. I think the money's already in the system. It needs to be redistributed."
The legislative day will include a lobby training, rally on the Capitol steps and a public hearing before the House Health Care Committee. The Oregon Single Payer Coalition and the Oregon chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility are sponsoring the all-day event. Those interested in volunteering or supporting the campaign are invited to participate in Salem. For more information, go here.