Dembrow Resurrects Healthcare Study Bill after Failed Vote on Friday

With “two broken arms,” Sen. Alan Bates changes his mind again about studying the financing of universal healthcare in Oregon, even as he complained the state would be studying something -- a single-payer system -- that he did not believe would ever happen. Sen. Michael Dembrow said studying the issue could still strengthen the CCO system.

The Lund Report, July 7, 2015
by Chris Gray

Sen. Michael Dembrow’s bill to study healthcare financing in Oregon died on Friday, but it rose again on Sine Die Monday, as Sen. Alan Bates, D-Ashland, reaffirmed his support in a 16-14 vote on the final day of the 2015 legislative session.

Near the start of the Monday morning Senate floor session, Bates said he was changing his vote “with two broken arms,” and while he’d offer his begrudging support, he highlighted the single-payer aspect of the study and described it as a lost cause.

“I think we’re going to spend $300,000 in this state on something that’s not going to happen,” said Bates, an osteopathic family physician. “I don’t want to spend money on this [study] ever again. Our present healthcare system is barely sustainable and I don’t want to put any more load on it.”

Bates had been a sponsor of House Bill 2828, but in a moment of fatigue and frustration on Friday, his nay vote sank the bill, as its supporters looked on, stunned. His opposition led a Republican supporter, Sen. Jackie Winters of Salem, to switch her vote, and Democratic Sens. Mark Hass of Beaverton and Chuck Riley of Hillsboro also voted it down.