President's Report: Seize the Moment


President's Report:  Seize This Unique Historic Moment!

--Lee Mercer, HCAO President and Mobilization Chair

HCAO Statewide Advocates,
Below is the text for the Legislator Cover Memo for your packet for our HCAO Legislative Day, Rally and Hearing thisThursday, April 20. We hope to see many of you there!

Remember to:
1. Register for HCAO April 20 Legislative Day (click here)

2. With your regional coordinators arrange meetings with your House member and Senator between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you don’t have a local chapter or coordinator, set a meeting yourself. All should report which legislator you are meeting, at what time and who is the lead person on the visit to Legislative Committee Visit Coordinator Sandra Coyner, 541-488-8429 or 541-261-7061.
3. Pick up your packets in Room 243 in the Capitol to the left of the Senate Chambers.
4. Wear your red HCAO t-shirt, bring signs and banners (for rally-don’t bring signs and banners inside the capitol).
5. Pack a lunch or prepare to eat in the capitol cafeteria or other local eateries. An information sheet will be provided.
6. Arrive at the rally on the West Steps by 11:45 a.m.!
7. Ask your legislators to support our bills, create a work group to build universal health care in Oregon and sign on in support of the Mission, Vision and Principles of HCAO.
8. Attend the Senate Committee on Health Care hearing in Hearing Room B at 1 p.m.. There will likely be overflow hearing rooms provided.
9. Prepare to have fun and speak out for expanded and improved Medicare for All!

See you there!  Lee Mercer

    Memo: April 20, 2017

    To: Oregon State Legislators
    From: Health Care for All-Oregon
    Re: HCAO Support for SB 1046 and Creating a Work Group
    Also Support for HB 2122, 2576, 2387, 2578, SB 558

    We are here today to ask you to seize a unique historical moment by supporting the SB 1046 Health Care for All Oregon bill and by creating a work group to use the results of the RAND study to build a universal health care system in Oregon.

    Today, red-shirted Oregonian Health Care for All-Oregon advocates from every corner of the state are rallying on the West Capitol Steps and will be visiting many of you as they surge through the capitol halls.

    Health Care for All-Oregon is a coalition of over 120 organizations and endorsed by over 160 statewide business owners. We have more than 20,000 advocates in our statewide database from Astoria to Bend and from Brookings to Joseph. Our mission is to “work for an equitable, affordable, comprehensive, high quality, publicly funded universal health care system serving everyone in Oregon and the United States.”

    With more attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act on the horizon nationally, the U.S. health care system is in a state of crisis. Millions of Americans fear that, in a repeal of the ACA, they will lose health coverage. In the meantime, co-pays, deductibles, drug and premium costs continue to make access to or use of health care unaffordable.

    With this crisis in health care we are hearing a loud national call for the real solution to reaching universal health care— an improved and expanded Medicare for All type health care system. Op eds and commentary in major U.S. media are calling out for it. Oregon Representatives Blumenauer, Bonamici and DeFazio have co-sponsored HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. The California, New York, New Mexico and other legislatures are pursuing single payer health care bills this year. More than 20 states are working on systems that would ask for waivers from the federal government to innovate towards universal state systems.

    The RAND study, created by the Oregon Legislature as HB 3260 in 2013 and funded by HB 2828 in 2015 is complete. You will hear about it in hearings and presentations this week. It says, essentially, that, for about what we currently pay for health care in Oregon, we can cover everyone living in the state with a comprehensive, universal publicly funded health care system.

    There will be challenges in designing such a system and negotiating with the federal government to make it possible. This can currently be done under the Section 1332 Waiver under the ACA. And even if this act is repealed, Republicans controlling Congress have promised that states will be encouraged to innovate in their health care systems.

    Health Care for All-Oregon is asking you to seize this historic moment and move towards universal health care by supporting SB 1046, the Health Care for the All Oregon Act, and by creating a work group of stakeholders to plan for and build a universal health care system in Oregon.

    Please Note: HCAO also supportera and advocates may speak to you today about HB 2122 CCO Reform, SB558/HB2726 Cover All Kids, HB 2387 Drug Cost Control and HB 2578 Small Donation Matching. These bills all will help us move towards improving our health care system in Oregon.

    Thanks for your time and consideration in these critical matters.