A public option possibility

Oregon Sen. Alan Bates is spearheading an effort to create a state-run health care plan that would provide a public option, paving the way for universal coverage.

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An amendment to the federal health care plan by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., created a provision that allows states to enact their own health care program, including the creation of a public option.

After studying Wyden’s provision, Bates, a physician who practices in Medford, said he believed the amendment would allow Oregon to expand its progressive health care program, called the Oregon Health Plan.

“We really have a good chance of setting up a public option here,” said Bates, who was involved in the creation of the Oregon Health Plan while serving on the state’s Health Services Commission, which he chaired for three years. He began serving on the commission in 1989 and continued until resigning to run for public office in 2000.

Bates said he has had meetings with Wyden and state officials to lay the groundwork for universal health care coverage.

Read the full story in the Mail Tribune.

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