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Letter: Health Care Spending Detracts from Education Funding

Michael Huntington MD

The March 14 Gazette-Times article about cuts at Linn Benton Community College brings our expensive and failing health care system to center stage. LBCC spent $6.7 million on healthcare for its staff in 2012. How much money could have been saved if we had a well-designed publicly funded privately delivered health care system? $6.7 million.

One major determinant of health for a population is its level of education. We have allowed our health care system to extravagantly consume money on administrative overhead, profiteering, and technology--money that could be used more wisely to educate ourselves.

Please tell friends and legislators we can no longer afford our inefficient and callous health care system, especially at the expense of education and other social determinants of health. Even after the P-PACA (Obamacare) and CCOs (Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations) are fully implemented we will still have a costly system that excludes too many people not only from health care but from the education that keeps us healthy.

At 1 PM, Friday, April 5, the Oregon House Committee on Health Care will hear testimony on House Bill 3260 which creates a much needed study of existing and proposed health care financing options and their effects on families, businesses, and government. On Monday, May 13, the Committee will hear testimony on HB 2922 which would create a publicly funded privately delivered health care system for Oregon. Please join Health Care for All Oregon and Mid Valley Health Care Advocates  in support of both bills.