Health care is a right, not a privilege, guaranteed by the Constitutional promise of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. Yet, too many of our people are just one health crisis away from bankruptcy. Whether it’s insurance coverage for all or quality health care access, our progress on this front has stalled out in recent years. This is thanks, in large measure, to the Trump Administration’s efforts to systematically undermine the Affordable Care Act. In fact, despite our past progress, today, 293,000 Oregonians are uninsured. The combined stresses of high cost of living and low pay are undermining too many people’s access to a healthy life.
When it comes to women’s health, particularly reproductive health care, the threat from the Trump Administration is especially grave. Though 4 million patients rely on the federal Title X program to access their care, this White House is leading the charge to trap, gag, and ban access to women – especially younger and low-income women – seeking care. With this march to deprive women of control over their bodies, not only is abortion access at risk, so too are life-saving PAP tests, cancer-detecting breast exams, and STD prevention and treatment. Racial bias in health care is another issue demanding our attention. For instance, Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications than are white women. We must do better, and that starts with the implicit assumptions that cause differentials in treatment, as well as working to end the stressors of racism in our communities that set the stage for complications.
Another aspect of health and safety is the prevalence of gun violence. When more than 40,000 gun-violence tragedies happen each year, one has to ask, “when is enough enough?” Most Oregonians support common-sense gun safety policies, such as universal background checks and safe-storage requirements, and many also believe that Oregon can do more.
Expand health care coverage to all Oregonians.
Oregon has been leading change on protection of abortion access. Expansion of school-based health clinics that provide reproductive health services, especially in regions of the state where low-income residents are service- and transportation-challenged, would be a good next step.
Enact safe storage and other common-sense gun-violence prevention laws to keep our children, families, and communities safer.
How to pay for these ideas:
Enact a millionaires’ tax on the top one-tenth of 1% of Oregonians, who have profited the most from 20 years of economic expansion. Dedicate the resources to health care.