Smith Warner Promotes Public Funding for Healthcare Study

A private study of the best way to provide universal healthcare in Oregon has foundered for lack of funds. The study was sanctioned in 2013 to rely on private funding; with little materializing, legislators such as Sen. Michael Dembrow and Rep. Barbara Smith Warner are asking for an extended deadline and public funding.

by Chris Gray for The Lund Report
January 22, 2015

Two years ago, the Legislature authorized an examination of universal healthcare, but asked the private sector to pick up the tab. That effort foundered when donors - and dollars - failed to materialize.

This year, legislators who want to know the best way to expand healthcare access to everyone in Oregon may be ready to fund a study that would examine the options, Rep. Barbara Smith Warner, D-Portland, told the Portland City Club on Monday night.  

“We got it through last time without funding,” Smith Warner said. “We’re going to attempt to get some public financial assistance.”

In addition to providing a relatively small amount of public funding, House Bill 2828 will extend the deadline to raise funds and complete the work, since the original legislation called for the mothballed study to be finished this past November.

Dr. Sam Metz, who led efforts to raise private funds to pay for the study, told The Lund Report that the desired level of state funding had not been worked out, but proponents were shooting for about $100,000, which is roughly half what the study would cost. If the state doesn’t pay the full amount, Metz said he believed Oregon’s down payment could spur private donations this time.