Health Care for All rally brings hundreds to Salem

Northwest Labor Press, Feb 20, 2015

A coalition of more than 100 organizations — including many labor unions — rallied at the State Capitol Feb. 11 where they called on Oregon lawmakers to create a single-payer health insurance system. Bills have been introduced in previous sessions but have gone nowhere.  State Sen. Mike Dembrow (D-Portland), a member of American Federation of Teachers-Oregon, is leading the charge.

Last session, lawmakers did authorize a study on how such a system could be set up in Oregon. The study was to be funded with private money, and supporters so far have raised about $50,000 of the $200,000 needed.  Rallygoers on Feb. 11 called on lawmakers to extend the deadline for the study, and have the state match the amount of private dollars raised. Dembrow also re-introduced a bill to implement a single-payer system. SB 631, which has 27 co-sponsors, will get a hearing in March, but it’s not expected to pass.