Advocates start early push for single-payer health system

Supporters of a state-funded health care system testified in Salem.

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Supporters of a state-funded health care system testified Monday in Salem.

They conceded that Senate Bill 631 — which implements a single-payer system — is not ready for passage, so they used their testimony in front of the Senate health care committee to make their early intentions known. They also made a push for funding for a study to test the viability of such a system.

The Statesman Journal reports:

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.  Universal health care would cut administrative costs through simplification, he said. Ultimately, all Oregon residents and workers would have equal access to necessary health care, and providers would not have to worry about whether a particular patient can afford his or her co-pay, or whether his or her payer would reimburse their services.

Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, a chief sponsor of the bill, said, “We need to take Medicare and improve it and extend it to the entire population. This is the way health care is delivered in virtually all industrialized nations in the world.” Dr. Paul Hochfeld told the committee that taxpayers already pay for a significant portion of the population’s health care — but that they’re getting a bad deal. The current system splits people in risk pools, and tax dollars either subsidize or fully pay for the highest risk patients — the elderly, disabled and the poor.

Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson expressed concerns about the impact of the system on already-high income taxes.


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