Report by Wes Brain, HCAO Rogue Valley
Medford, Oregon--July 30, 2015
We had 30 folks attend our press conference outside the downtown Medford library. Despite numerous press releases, it was a no-show for mainstream media--no network TV or corporate newspapers appeared. Thank goodness for the Rogue Valley Community Press, which came to the event and then came inside where people gathered to toot party horns and eat homemade PIE! I did a pie and people count with Health Care for All-Oregon-Rogue Valley activists Ivend and Kathy Holen. Ivend reported about 40 people inside the library, while Kathy reported nine pies were brought by volunteers. She also reported, "one person ate six pieces!"
Go to the report posted on the SOJwJ webpage to see photos and five short video clips of the press conference
A special thanks to Jason and Vanessa Houk with the Rogue Valley Community Press who supplied these photos.
July 29, 2015
Representative Peter Buckley cannot attend Southern Oregon's "Medicare 50" celebration event tomorrow, although he did send the following statement which will be read at the 6pm press conference.
“July 30, 2015--Thanks to all of you for being here to celebrate Medicare and our shared commitment to make sure everyone in our country receives the care they need. In spite of ferocious opposition—an opposition that continues to this very day—Medicare is a tremendous success story. In our state alone, over 600,000 Oregonians receive vital care through Medicare, and over 500,000 Oregonians receive care through Medicaid. This is who we are as a state and a country. We care for our families and our communities, and we will not rest until every single person in Oregon and in the U.S. has access to high quality, affordable health care. The voices of opposition are on the wrong side of history. We need to build on 50 years of saving lives, 50 years of strengthening our families and our communities, and expand Medicare. There is no going back, only going forward. I’m grateful for the generations of Americans who have brought us progress in healthcare for our families, and it’s up to us to expand that progress for decades to come.”
--Oregon State Representative Peter Buckley, District 5.
Report by Bobbi Hall, Chair, Mid Valley Health Care Advocates, Corvallis
T.R. Reid, author of The Healing of America, made a whirlwind tour of Oregon over the last weekend in July, making numerous appearances before packed public audiences such as the 250-plus crowd in Takena Hall at Linn-Benton Community College the evening of July 25. The venue worked well and will be the site Sept. 19 of the play Mercy Killers. Reid, in addition to public talks also met with smaller groups of health care reform leaders, such as members of Physicians for a National Health Program in Portland and the board of Health Care for All-Oregon in Corvallis. On the 25th, Mike Huntington, Bruce Thompson, Sandi Bean and Bobbi Hall brought Reid from Portland to Salem for a noon talk in front of a large crowd at the Salem City Club, then to Corvallis to meet with the HCAO board, and then to LBCC to give a talk, followed by personal conversations with attendees at LBCC.
The talk in Salem compared what the Affordable Care Act has done to advance health care with what needs to be done to extend care to everyone and also outlined what the Colorado plan will offer. To see a video of it, go to the City Club’s website. Audio podcasts of the other Oregon talks by T.R. Reid will be posted on the Mid-Valley website, and an interview with T.R. Reid by Bobbi Hall will be aired Monday August 10 at 11:30 a.m. on KBOO, 90.7 in the Portland area, 104.3 in the Corvallis area and 91.9 in Hood River, and will also be posted as a podcast on the Mid-Valley website..
T.R. Reid had questions for the HCAO Board, and the Board had questions for him. As Reid chairs the Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care, which is preparing an initiative petition to advance universal health care coverage, and the HCAO Board is considering its next move, both organizations learned from each other’s experiences. Reid gave his Oregon colleagues much to think about. We in the mid-valley owe much to several of our members for making large donations that brought our speaker and paid for theater rental at LBCC. Clearly, this event showed that we need more donations as well as more volunteers if we are to meet our goals, and we all can add something.
Caption: T.R. Reid will be plugging universal care when he comes to Oregon this week.
Health Care Inc. NW, July 23, 2015
by Elizabeth Hayes Staff Reporter Portland Business Journal
T.R. Reid, best-selling author of “The Healing of America," will lay down a challenge when he comes to Oregon later this week from his home state of Colorado: Which state can get to universal health care first?
“We have a race going on,” Reid said in a phone interview from Colorado. “I’m going to say, ‘Good luck, I hope you pass it, but we beat you on marijuana, and we’ll beat on universal coverage.’”
Reid, a former correspondent for the Washington Post and NPR contributor, will be speaking at three Portland events, Friday and Monday, along with events in Salem and Albany. He said he and the advocacy group Health Care for All Oregon agree on this principle: “A decent, ethical democracy should provide health care for everybody.”
“All other industrialized democracies do so already. The only one that doesn’t is the richest one — the U.S.,” Reid said. “This is a moral imperative. There are also medical and financial grounds.”
Reid’s bestseller, “The Healing of America: A Global Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Health Care,” examines how other countries pull off universal care, and do it for less money and with better outcomes than the U.S.
Senator Ron Wyden repeatedly promised to fight for transparency in negotiating trade deals that will impact our jobs, wages and quality of life. Not only has he failed to do that, he’s just signed off on legislation that will give away Congress' constitutional trade authority to anyone who becomes president for the next three to six years. This is a betrayal of Oregon’s working families and of democratic policymaking. Oregonians won’t stand for it; and we won't stand for Fast Track!
April 18th Day of Action - Fast Track is Dead on Arrival! #FastTrack DOA
Join the Fast Track Events Across Oregon:
Rally Against Fast Track
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
Wall St & Newport
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
Rally Against Fast Track & the TPP
Saturday, April 18 * 3:00pm
Boardwalk on Hwy 101
Coos Bay, OR
Contact: Rick Staggenborg, 541-217-8044
Stop Fast Track Rally
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
7th & Washington
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
Stop Fast Track Rally
Saturday, April 18 * 2:00pm
S Central Ave
Contact: Oregon AFL-CIO
**We’ve stopped Fast Track legislation before and we can do so again!**
Because no one should profit from another's pain
On August 1, 2015, history will be made in the fight for healthcare access for all in the United States. Thousands will gather on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for the Healthcare Justice March demanding Expanded and Improved Medicare for All. We have the legislation – H.R. 676 – and now we need the power of the People to stand behind it.
Throughout the week of July 30, there are events being planned across the country to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the signing of Medicare. We encourage you to participate in whatever events are happening in your area on July 30 and 31 and then top it off by coming to the Healthcare Justice March on Saturday, August 1. We’ll also be lobbying Congress on July 30, so if you’re in or around Washington, feel free to join us in delivering our message to your legislators before they leave for their break!
You can find a listing of events at the Medicare Turns 50 Facebook event page, their website or by checking the Healthcare-NOW! and DUH websites. It may seem like July 30 is a long way away, but the more events that happen, the louder and stronger the message is to our legislators – NO MORE PROFITING FROM OUR PAIN!
We hope for the kind of success that the People’s Climate March had – massive numbers, a wide diversity of people and related causes (and we believe that healthcare is a factor in every social justice cause), and the raising of awareness about the millions of people who are suffering, or know someone who is, from our current wasteful and unjust healthcare system
In order to achieve this, we’ll need to build a unified coalition of organizations that will mobilize their members, help with logistics, fundraising, and other volunteer tasks, and, finally, SHOW UP! It’s a big job, but we must act, we must find our voice as a movement, and we must walk our talk if our goal is ever to be reached.
4th ANNUAL INNER CITY BLUES FESTIVAL
"HEALING THE HEALTHCARE BLUES"
A BENEFIT FOR;
HEALTH CARE FOR ALL OREGON
Saturday April 11, 2015 6:00pm-12:00am
North Portland Eagle’s Lodge 7611 N Exeter & Lombard
tickets $20.00 www.tickettomato.com
also; Music Millennium, Geneva’s Hair PerfecCon, Musician’s Union & Norman Sylvester Gigs
21 & over ~ food, desserts & drinks for sale ~ Silent Auction ~
2 Stages of 9 stellar performances ~ "Community Village" w/
information tables Simulcast live on KBOO Radio
Norman Sylvester Band
Healing the Healthcare Blues PSA
Video filmed by LaMonte Demille
Post Production by Jeff S. Dodge
Twenty Lincoln County Health Care for All-Oregon Advocates gathered at Newport's Visual Arts Center on Wednesday, Feb. 11, for a lunch-hour “Echo Event,” in conjunction with the 2015 Rally on the Capitol Steps taking place at the same time in Salem, and with several other similar regional events around the state. Photo by Deane Bristow.
Sen. Michael Dembrow, the movement’s leader in the state Legislature, has reintroduced legislation to implement single-payer in Oregon. Broader support exists for a bill to provide state money to figure out how universal healthcare might work and be paid for in Oregon.
By Chris Gray
The Lund Report 2-12-15
Labor unions and religious organizations joined Health Care for All Oregon to shut down Court Street in front of the Oregon State Capitol on Wednesday, for what’s become a biennial rally in support of a state single-payer health insurance program to replace the patchwork system currently in use in Oregon.
“Healthcare is a human right! We shouldn’t have to beg for it,” said Fernando Gapasin, the state chairman of the United Auto Workers and National Writers Union. He said collective bargaining could be much more productive if workers and employers no longer had to haggle over whether employees could receive quality health insurance.
Single-payer activists have kept up their grassroots efforts, despite the national health reform law that reduced the number of uninsured people in Oregon to 5 percent of the population, a group largely composed of immigrants ineligible for the benefits of Obamacare.
“Basically the Affordable Care Act was a necessary step to get more people covered by healthcare in America, and get rid of practices like excluding people due to pre-existing health conditions,” said Lee Mercer, the president of Health Care for All Oregon and a leader of the Main Street Alliance, a liberal small-business group. “Until we get to a universal healthcare system, we will have a Swiss cheese system of coverage, high copayments and deductibles.”
Health Care for All-Oregon (HCAO) supporters will descend on the Capitol steps in Salem on Wednesday, Feb. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., to rally and call on state legislators to act, drawing their attention to the fact that far too many Oregonians still lack affordable health care. HCAO proposes a health care system that covers everyone living or working in Oregon-no exceptions-with no co-pays and no deductibles.
The Rally program includes music from Oregon performers such as Norm Sylvester singing The Health Care Blues, the Raging Grannies, Salem’s Dr. Atomic, Anne Weiss, and David Rovics, and "Mad As Hell Minutes," when individuals can share their own health care stories. The Rally will also feature inspiring speakers, including Senator Michael Dembrow and other supporters.
"20 years as a small business owner convinced me that we need to dramatically change our current health care system” notes Lee Mercer, HCAO Board President. “Businesses should be focused on providing the services they are best at, not administering health care plans, and health care providers should be focused on keeping patients healthy, not administering multitudes of insurance payment plans.
Health Care for All-Oregon is a coalition of over 100 organizations supporting the HCAO mission: "To create a comprehensive, equitable, affordable, publicly funded, high quality, universal health care system serving everyone in Oregon and the United States." Coalition members include unions, businesses, advocacy organizations, and political, religious and local community groups from around Oregon. HCAO expects to have 2500 people at the Rally, including members arriving by buses and car pools from Portland, Corvallis, Eugene, and as far away as Ashland, LaGrande and the Coast.
Then Representative, now Senator, Michael Dembrow introduced legislation in the 2011 legislative session and gained 11 co-sponsors. He re-introduced legislation in 2013 and doubled the number of co-sponsors, while also winning passage of a bill to conduct a study of how to best fund health care for all in Oregon. While the study was not funded, a portion of the cost of the study has been raised privately, and a bill will be submitted in 2015 to fund the remainder of the study. Dembrow and co-sponsors will also re-introduce the HCAO legislation for universal health care.
While the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare) has resulted in millions of Americans gaining health insurance, and has reduced the number of uninsured Oregonians, at least 5% of Oregonians still lack any health insurance, and a much larger portion are ill-protected by the insurance they do have, with large deductibles and unaffordable out-of-pocket expenses. This HCAO Rally will focus attention on the need for truly universal health care, and the savings that could be accomplished by establishing a simple system that includes EVERYONE.
Or, as Mercer concludes, “We should give people the freedom to choose their medical providers and to get health care when they need it without the intervention of big for-profit insurance companies."
Learn more or participate in the Rally.
Please register at www.HcaoRally.net so we know how many people to plan for.
PLEASE NOTE: DUE TO SANDRA HERNANDES' ILLNESS THIS WEEK, THE DEC 7 STATE OF EQUITY EVENT IN GRESHAM HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTIL JANUARY. WATCH FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS ON THE MEMBER ORGANIZATION EVENTS PAGE.
by Lee Mercer, President, HCAO
Over 100 HCAO activists from all over Oregon braved ice, sleet and snow to attend the Saturday, Nov. 15 statewide strategy meeting. Like the 100 settlers in 1843 who voted to become a territory of the U.S. (and if they had voted otherwise we would be part of Canada and have universal health care now!), we were charting a brave new future for Oregon. Reviewing our strategic plan to achieve single payer health care, we discussed various policy options to support the HCAO mission. The day also featured breakouts for training in intensive lobbying and use of talking points.
A highlight of the day was a tag team presentation by Representative Barbara Smith Warner (District 45) and veteran AFSCME lobbyist Mary Botkin. They did an overview of the political environment in Oregon (current make-up of the legislature looks good for our issue) and provided much wisdom on doing respectful and effective lobbying in the Capitol. Instead of making lots of noise in the rotunda, they advised talking to all legislators (not just those who agree with us), learning what each legislator cares about, and making sure we communicate and meet with the legislators’ staff members, as informing them on our issue is almost as important as informing the legislators. Legislative Assistants have their own staff network in the Capitol, and our issue can move forward there, as well.
Besides remaining committed to legislation for a ballot measure to achieve the “Health Care for Oregon Plan” to create a publicly funded health care system and an extension and funding for HB 3260 (the health care study bill), we outlined other policy options HCAO is considering. Strong support was indicated among attendees for secession from the U.S. to create the Republic of Cascadia (with Washington and British Columbia), with health care as a human right enshrined in its constitution. This was a fully tongue-in-cheek proposal by President Lee Mercer.Read More