Health Care Reform
I fought to pass the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Now, we must all work to extend healthcare to ALL Oregonians. We must NEVER go back to the days of "pre-existing conditions" and "lifetime caps," and families routinely bankrupted by medical bills. Since the passage of the ACA, tens of thousands of previously uninsured Southern Oregonians now have health care coverage via the Oregon Health Plan and thousands of living-wage jobs have been created.
About 30 percent of Medford residents, including many children and teens, have access to quality health care due to Oregon’s Medicaid expansion under the ACA.
Before the Affordable Care Act, nearly 1 in 5 Oregonians lacked health coverage. Today, 95 percent of Oregonians – and 98 percent of children – have health coverage.
Health care is one of Medford’s six largest employers, and it is a spectacular, clean growth industry.
Oregon gained 23,300 health care jobs since the ACA was implemented. The Economic Policy Institute estimates Oregon would lose approximately 42,000 jobs if the ACA is repealed.
As your Representative, I will be committed to:
Maximize Oregon Health Plan leveraging of the federal 9:1 matching funds to the fullest extent possible in the face of severe budget constraints to meet local health needs.
Contain growth in private insurance costs in line with benchmarks set out in Oregon’s bipartisan SB889.
Defend a woman’s right to bodily autonomy and a full range of reproductive health services, including pregnancy termination. Abortion is a deeply personal decision a woman makes in consultation with her physician, family and faith. No place for politicians to intrude. In matters of conscience, sincere people do reach different conclusions. This does not give anyone the right to compel another.
Medford is a thriving regional medical center—you don’t need statistics to see it. A drive-by will show the expansions that Asante, Providence, La Clinica and others have made since the passage of the ACA. That’s construction jobs. That’s new hires in support personnel, as well as doctors, nurses and other highly trained professionals. I am dedicated to bringing in more family wage jobs that Medford desperately needs––the medical sector certainly contributes. And for every professional job added, there are three or more other jobs created throughout a community.
Thus, the ACA has been an absolute lifeline for Medford’s people. It fed Medford’s recovery from the Great Recession, and it is now crucial to COVID-19 recovery. But economic benefits aside, it’s still a matter of simple justice.
Healthcare is a human right!
What got me fired up for health care reform?
In 2008, I casually asked the man who’d just nailed on our roof, if he’d roofed his own house.
"No,” he said. “I'm recovering from cancer. I lost my house paying the bills."
Those words changed me. No one––no one––no one should ever be forced out of house and home because of medical bills. I soon joined Oregon Action, a local citizens’ advocacy group. Over the next two years, we attended rallies, we wrote letters to the editor, we called our legislators and congressional delegation. As a citizen lobbyist, I would travel twice to Salem in support of the Oregon Health Plan, and twice to Washington, D.C. in support of reform. We fought hard. We won. And on March 23, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. It was a giant step forward to universal health care for every American, but the struggle for health care justice was far from over. The fight goes on.