New report released by Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) Nov. 2015
New Report: Mend the Gap. This report examines the remaining health coverage gaps that, despite the recent progress, prevent Oregonians from accessing the care they need. Over 383,000 Oregonians - roughly one in 10 - who are uninsured while others with health insurance have trouble getting care and at a price they can afford. TIME FOR A SINGLE PAYER SYSTEM!
OHA provides bases for universal health care system
A single payer health care system would ensure healthcare for every individual in Oregon covering medical, dental, mental health, vision needs and prescription drugs. What would make an Oregon Single Payer campaign a feasible long term plan? You may be surprised to learn that the ground work has already been laid.
Currently insurance companies control and profit from our system, selectively eliminating those who are ill. Advocates for single payer agree that the cry for universal access is growing as changes in the health care system break down. Employer cutbacks and layoffs are heightening the instability of job-based health coverage. Medicare’s limitations are increasingly obvious as more people enter the system, as health maintenance organizations (HMOs) have dropped Medicare enrollees, and as some doctors have begun to reject Medicare patients as too costly. State budget crises are forcing drastic cuts in Medicaid. The workers, seniors, and poor families who were formerly protected by job benefits, Medicare, and Medicaid now have more in common with the uninsured and the underinsured.
Historically, attempts have been made to universalize healthcare. When FDR and his administration were preparing the New Deal they worked in secret to prevent debate. Ultimately it did not pass because it did not have strong grass roots support and it failed to capture the imagination of ordinary Americans. In the 1940s, a new grassroots movement arose when organized labor became a major backer of national health insurance. In 1943, labor unions joined the reformer experts of the Committee for the Nation’s Health and liberal administration officials in drafting the Wagner–Murray–Dingell bill (named for its congressional sponsors), the major health insurance legislation of the Truman era. This bill proposed a national medical insurance program financed through social security payroll taxes, and it enjoyed the strong support of Harry S. Truman. The AMA began to fight back and labor unions began winning heath benefits through collective bargaining. The movement began to fizzle. Jump ahead to 1993 when Clinton proposed universal health care for all. Two people rallied the public, which ultimately turned them against the plan. The culprits were Harry and Louise. In 1994 it was declared dead by George Mitchell.
Today fifty million people are uninsured and 60% of bankruptcies are because people can’t pay for health care. It is a sad state of affairs.
The Oregon Health Authority has developed a framework to adopt information technology that would provide quality, reliability and availability for all Oregonians, with financial responsibility at a lower cost. As the OHA's process unfolded, their oversight council obtained a federal grant that provided the plan for information and technology. The consumer is at the hub and would ensure individual privacy of each individual's personal health information. This would provide responsible stewardship of the advancement of our mission for health care for all Oregonians.
The Oregon Health Authority has a strong patient centered view along with an education opportunity to make informed choices. This plan is a long term effort that requires a wide ranging strategy and is the best way to engage consumers.
While Alliance for Democracy recognizes that the OHA is a first preliminary and necessary step, we are a member of Health Care for All Oregon, advocating for a single payer universal health care system for Oregon and the nation. Visit www.hcao.org for more information and to join the campaign.
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