by Joanne Cvar
An estimated 1,000 Oregonians arrived in buses and car pools from across the state to greet their legislators on the Capitol steps on Monday, Feb. 4, the first day of the 2013 legislative session. Nine buses brought health care advocates from as far away as LaGrande, Prineville, and Ashland and the Coast, as well as from Corvallis, Eugene and Portland. Participants were gathered in support of Rep. Michael Dembrow's Affordable Health Care for All Oregon Act (LC 1914), a revised version of HB 3510 which did not make it out of committee in the 2011 session. Dembrow (D45) has gained 19 supporters and co-sponsors so far in the new session, and is also introducing a bill to allow 1% of the $28.5 million bonus Oregon recently received from the federal government to be used for an economic feasibility study for the Act.
In addition to Dembrow, speakers included co-sponsors Reps. Jennifer Williamson of Portland and David Gomberg of Lincoln City. Gomberg discussed the benefits of the bill for owners of small businesses like himself, Paul Gorman, MD, representing Physicians for a National Health Program, also spoke, as did several people with stories of hardships due to our increasingly expensive and inaccessible health care system. Blues-man Norman Sylvester sang the Health Care Blues, and musician David Rovics, along with Raging Grannies from Portland, Corvallis and Salem, entertained the rally-goers.After the rally, attendees kept appointments with their legislators and/or their aides. Pictures and news coverage of the Rally are available HERE on our Rally page.