Oregon is looking into a universal health care plan

Universal health care - Welcome to Oregon Sign

The state is considering the creation of a nine-member board that would be responsible for its development.

In Oregon, a panel of lawmakers recently received two days of public testimony at its Capitol in Salem regarding a proposed nine-member governance board that would be responsible for developing a universal health care plan to provide coverage for everyone in the state.

The governance board under Senate Bill 704 would develop a single-payer system for the coverage.

Under Senate Bill 704, the nine-member board would be responsible for the creation of a single-payer universal health care system that would over all Oregonians.

Universal health care - Oregon State

Senator James Manning Jr. (D-Eugene/Veneta) was a chief sponsor of the bill. Manning took questions from the chair of the Senate Committee on Health Care on the second day of public hearings. He explained that the bill would only create a governance board and would not actually put the plan into effect. Any proposal put forward by the governance board would still need to receive the Legislature’s approval at a later time.

The Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care was established by Oregon lawmakers in 2019. Last September, the task force’s work was published in a 223-page report that included a substantial recommendation list. Among those recommendations was that a governance board be created during the 2023 legislative session.

The governance board would propose a universal health care system, though lawmakers would need to approve it.

“The intent, and the intention of this bill, is that if you live here in our great state of Oregon, you should have and will be entitled to receive equitable health care,” said Manning in his testimony to the committee on the first day of the public hearings. He went on to explain that a New York actuary had testified to the workgroup that with a single-payer system, the state would save about one billion dollars per year.

The workgroup’s report showed that a universal health care plan would also eliminate deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance and other forms of out-of-pocket cost that are standard under the current coverage model. It would also separate an individual’s coverage from their place of work, allowing them to keep their doctors and their plans.

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