Oregon advocates testify for universal health care

Saerom Yoo, Statesman Journal May 4, 2015

   (Photo: ANNA REED / Statesman Journal)

(Photo: ANNA REED / Statesman Journal)

Advocates for a universal state health system urged legislators Monday to consider how Oregon could create a publicly funded, single-payer health system.

The Senate health care committee heard testimony on Senate Bill 631, which would establish such a system, but the proponents weren't asking the panel to pass the bill. They acknowledged Oregon wasn't ready to enact the policy.

Instead, they used the hearing as a platform to voice why they thought pursuing universal health care as a long-term goal was important. They asked for funding for a study to examine how Oregon could finance such a system.

Charlie Swanson, of Eugene, said the rising cost of health care in the U.S. creates hardships for individuals who cannot afford medical care (even with insurance), for employers that lose their competitive edge and for the state government that struggles to invest in other important programs.