VOTE YES ON BALLOT MEASURE 101
(To maintain funding for the Oregon Health Plan)
The legislators who are attempting to undermine the Oregon Health Plan by throwing 350,000 Oregonians under the bus—many of them children—have adopted an Oregon version of the congressional efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act with no viable alternative to replace it. It has taken our state three decades to get where we are today—with 95% of people having access to health insurance—over 900,000 of them through our new Coordinated Care Organizations, which have significantly reduced cost while maintaining quality and good health and outcomes.
Certainly, there remain problems in the individual and small group insurance markets and they need to be addressed. But taking health care away from 350,000 people who currently have it will not fix those problems. In fact, it will make them worse. Why? Because people without insurance still get care. When they get sick enough, they can still go to the emergency department where federal law requires that they be seen and treated.
So, we end up paying to treat strokes in the hospital rather than managing blood pressure in the community; or failing to provide affordable access to prenatal care, then paying tens of thousands of dollars to resuscitate 500-gram infants in the neonatal intensive care unit. This makes no sense as a social policy or economically because these uncompensated costs are shifted back to employers who, in turn, pass them on to individual consumers through premiums, deductibles and copayments so high that, for all practical purposes they are uninsured—perpetuating the cycle.
For thirty years Oregon has set the gold standard for collaboration and bipartisan cooperation in extending quality health care to our citizens. Ensuring that everyone has timely access to quality, affordable care is not one of those things we can do as individuals. It requires a team effort. There is not a Democratic solution or a Republican solution. There is only a solution that says, you know were all in this together. We all share the same brief moment of life, we will all grow older at some point we will all need health care. So, we need a solution that works for all of us as fellow human beings.
That is exactly what Oregon has been doing since the 1989 when the Oregon Health Plan was first created. It is an accomplishment we should celebrate, not undermine. Please join me in VOTING YES on Ballot Measure 101 to maintain funding for the Oregon Health Plan and ensure that Oregon continues its bipartisan march toward universal access to quality, affordable health care.