People Power, Feb. 23, 2015
by Hyung nam, Activist, Educator, Musician
Oregon needs a state universal health care system funded byprogressive taxes, that uses private providers, controls costs, protectscurrent benefits, and delivers cost-effective, affordable, comprehensive careto every person living or working in Oregon regardless of health, income, age, or employment status. Rising healthcare costs and diminishing access threaten Oregonians, their compensation and state funding for public services. Publicly-funded universal health care will protect us from state budget strains and will improve public health, improve Oregon’s economy.
A single payer, Medicare for All would not only benefit public health, but also alleviate the record economic inequality and poverty that plagues us. Lower health costs frees resources to increase the pay of all Oregonians and reduce inequality and poverty. Private health insurance premiums continue rise faster than inflation and our salaries.
Our official poverty measures are based only on the costs of food. When accounting for the cost of health care which rises faster than even housing, poverty levels are much higher. For workers, holding the line on health benefits makes it harder to make or defend bargaining gains on wages/salaries, working conditions, retirement, and other matters. Pressure is increasing to reduce benefits, increase deductibles and co-pays and to drop family plans. With the promise that they will not lose access to healthcare, many Oregonians will have the freedom to do the work they really want to do and older Oregonians at the top of the salary scale can more easily retire early, opening jobs for younger workers.