Universal Health Care: It’s Oregon’s Moment

by Thomas Sincic

Health Care for ALL Oregon

For many Oregonians, health care is a struggle. People delay medical care and ration out medications because they can’t afford them.

Universal health care remains the #1 Priority Legislative Action Item for the Democratic Party in Oregon:

The need to fight for this basic right is also highlighted by two recent reports: One is in Scientific American Abortion Rights Are Good Health and Good Science. The other is this Lara Media Report commissioned by the Oregon Health Authority, which opens by stating:
Discrimination, including racism embedded in the Oregon health system has physically and psychologically harmed the communities with the least access to health care. This includes BIPOC, rural, those living with disabilities, and those navigating the behavioral health system. Structurally discriminatory and racist health policies have resulted in an ever-increasing legacy of health disparities for these Oregon residents.”

The great news is that thanks to Democratic Party leadership in the Oregon Legislature we are at an opportune time like no other. In 2019, thanks to the advocacy efforts of Health Care for ALL Oregon (HCAO) and Democratic Party leadership, the Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care (JTFUHC) was created. Now, with extensive community engagement and much deliberation, the JTFUHC is bringing the recommendation for a plan in a report that is due Sept. 30, 2022.

However, that is not all! Under the leadership of Oregon Rep. Rob Nosse and the advocacy efforts of HCAO, the Democratic majority passed Senate Joint Resolution 12 in 2021 as a referral to the voters for the November 2022 election to put access to health care as a fundamental right in the Oregon Constitution.

It is now up to us! Multnomah County Dems can take the next step by getting involved in the campaign for the “Right to Health Care Measure” (SJR 12).  Eighteen other organizations have already signed on, and we must join them. 

We also need to get more people involved in the campaign. If you’re interested, please fill out this sign up form: https://forms.gle/QFZB4CUNSwbN8RiA7. If you have any questions, please reach out to Emerson Hamlin, the campaign manager, at righttohealthcareoregon@gmail.com

Of course, the movement to create a universal health care system is more than this one very important campaign. In Oregon, this movement is led by Health Care for All Oregon. Go to hcao.org to find out more and add your name as a supporter to keep informed and stay involved.

The Multnomah County Democratic Party needs to be out front on the #1 Legislative Priority Item and getting the “Right to Health Care” Measure passed.

Tom Sincic

About the author

Tom Sincic, has an MSN in Community Health Nursing from Yale University, and was a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) for 36 years. As an FNP, he served communities in rural East Tennessee,  in Michigan with the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, in Oregon with Corrections Health, and in school-based health clinics with a diverse array of students and their families. It is through these experiences that Tom became a staunch advocate of healthcare as a right, and of the need for a single-payer universal healthcare system. He is a PCP based in Portland.

image source: Health Care for ALL Oregon