Oregon could follow Vermont on universal healthcare

Single payer universal healthcare could happen in Oregon. But before it can, a study, which has already been authorized by the Oregon legislature, must be conducted. But that study is not moving forward. You can help get it moving. Read what must be done in this piece by Dr. Samuel Metz, one of the Mad As Hell Doctors and Health Care For All Oregon. The Oregon Progressive Party is a strong supporter of HCAO.

HB 3260: the study that gets Oregon one step closer to universal health care needs your help

Do you want universal health care in Oregon? www.OregonStudy.org moves our state one step further, and here’s why.

It’s about a study. Legislatures in two states, Vermont and California, passed universal health care plans. Vermont will implement its plan in 2017. California, unhappily, saw its plan vetoed by then-governor Schwarzenegger; when the legislature passed the measure again, he vetoed it again. Fortunately, Oregon is not governed by a Terminator.

What happened in Vermont and California that enabled its legislatures to enthusiastically vote for universal health care plans?

They each had a study.

Both Vermont and California authorized studies of health care financing in their state. Both Vermont and California used their studies to generate action from their legislators and voters. Both Vermont and California saw their legislatures pass measures producing comprehensive health care for everyone in the state that cost even less than the states are spending now.

Now Oregon has its study. The 2013 Oregon legislature passed (and Governor Kitzhaber signed, thankfully) HB 3260, authorizing the Oregon Health Authority to evaluate four methods of financing universal, comprehensive care in Oregon. When this study is complete, the OHA will report its preferred plan back to the legislature. This is a vital step toward following the trail blazed by Vermont.

What’s the catch?

The legislature did not fund this study. We need $200,000 in private contributions to move forward. We need activists for universal health care around the state to visit www.OregonStudy.org and make their contribution.

Contributors will be in good company. Contributors already include the Oregon Medical Society, the Oregon Public Health Association, the Oregon Primary Care Association, the National Physicians Alliance, a dozen small business owners, two unions, and a host of individual activists. All these contributors believe in universal health care and were willing to donate to make it happen.

Universal health care will happen when concerned citizens make it happen. The HB 3260 study presents Oregonians with its most powerful tool to activate our legislature. Please visit www.OregonStudy.org and keep Oregon moving toward universal care.

The HB 3260 study is the first step. Let’s take it together.

Samuel Metz, MD is a Portland anesthesiologist collaborating with State Sen. Michael Dembrow on the HB 3260 study. He is a member of the Portland chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program and a founding member of Mad As Hell Doctors, both of which advocate single payer health care. He can be reached at HB3260@samuelmetz.com or (503) 754-1329.