Health Care For All Oregon: What’s The Latest?
by Janice Karpenick
HCAO held their annual membership meeting via zoom on June 11, 2022. Elections for members and officers took place at the meeting.
Right to Health Care Campaign
HCAO is working to pass the Hope Amendment.
The Right to Health Care Campaign, previously known as the HOPE Amendment (SJR 12 – currently IRR 2022-401), was referred to the voters by the Oregon Legislature in 2021. This Amendment to the Constitution will be on the ballot in the November 8, 2022 General Election.
The Certified Ballot Title reads – Amends Constitution: State must ensure affordable healthcare access, balanced against requirement to fund schools, other essential services
Result of “Yes” Vote:
“Yes” vote requires state to ensure affordable healthcare access. State must balance healthcare funding against funding for schools, other essential services; courts must respect balance.
Result of “No” Vote:
“No” vote retains current law. The constitution does not require the state to ensure access to affordable health care; state provides some health care access.
Summary: Current state law outlines the general requirements for health insurance policies and provides health care for low income and disabled residents who meet eligibility requirements. Amends the Oregon Constitution to establish health care as a fundamental right; obligates the state to provide Oregon residents “access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care.” Amendment requires the state to balance that obligation against the public interest in funding public schools and other essential public services. If the state is sued to enforce the amendment, the court may not order a remedy that interferes with the state’s requirement to balance health care funding against funding for public schools and other essential public services.
Link to full text: https://sos.oregon.gov/admin/Documents/irr/2022/401cbt.pdf
The Right to Health Care measure allows the people to send a message about the future of health care in this state.
The Problem: While approximately 6% of Oregon’s population is uninsured, many more are underinsured and all struggle to get access to quality, affordable health care. Families balance the rising cost of health care and prescription drugs with other necessities such as housing, utilities, and groceries. These issues have only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Solution: Oregon can step up to the plate once again to lead on health care reform. Passing the Right to Health Care measure would be a clear declaration that we will not go back to the failed inequitable systems of the past but instead work to a more inclusive future.
Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care
Statewide Regional Listening Sessions in June
HCAO continues advocating to ensure that the Health Care for All Oregon Plan will be equitable, affordable, and provide comprehensive, high-quality, publicly funded universal health care that will improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities across Oregon.
The JTFUHC was established by Senate Bill 770 and signed by Governor Brown on July 19, 2023. The members of the Task Force, appointed by the Governor and representing statewide health care stakeholders and marginalized groups, are now working to develop the Health Care for All Oregon Plan single payer health care system based on a set of values and principles with a statewide public input process. The timeline for completion was extended until 2023 after multiple delays caused by the covid pandemic.
The Task Force has been holding community sessions throughout the state to listen, learn, and provide feedback about its work so far. Input has also been obtained from various other stakeholder groups.
The Task force has a draft proposal of its Universal Health Plan and a list of frequently asked questions.
- Universal Health Plan – Proposal
- Universal Health Plan – Questions and Answers
- Plan de salud universal – Resumen del plan
- Plan de salud universal – Preguntas y respuestas
Oregon can lead the way to a universal healthcare plan. HCAO continues its work to accomplish this goal.
You can obtain more information from the HCAO website: https://www.hcao.org