On July 11th, 2023, Project Access NOW sent the following letter to Governor Tina Kotek, encouraging her to sign Senate Bill 1089 into law. SB 1089 would establish a Universal Health Plan Governance Board to guide Oregon in the creation of such a plan. Project Access NOW believes that this legislation is the next critical step in the journey towards health equity for all Oregonians, and we look forward to its passing.
Read out letter below, and let the Governor know your own thoughts here.
July 11th, 2023
Dear Governor Kotek,
I’m writing to you today representing the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization Project Access NOW. As a community-based organization providing access to health care and health-related resources for underserved communities, Project Access NOW has a unique understanding of the dire state of our current health care system and just how desperately the people of Oregon need universal coverage. Last year we provided $4,594,998 in donated health care resources to the uninsured and paid the premiums of 685 individuals who didn’t qualify for Medicaid but still couldn’t afford coverage. We strongly believe that establishing a permanent Universal Healthcare Plan Governance Board as detailed in SB 1089 is the next critical step on the path to creating an equitable health care system without the gaps in coverage and access we see today.
Project Access NOW exists specifically to fill those gaps in coverage and access, a testament to the need for new solutions to health care challenges. Oregon’s current piecemeal solution creates massive inefficiencies and leaves many of the most marginalized Oregonians behind. Through Project Access NOW’s programs, things like assistance with premium costs for individuals purchasing plans on the Marketplace, access to donated care for uninsured individuals who aren’t eligible for Medicaid or a Marketplace plan, and access to health-related services like housing assistance and transportation are all provided to individuals and families who have fallen through the cracks of our current system. We have a vision for a future Oregon where there are no cracks in the health care system and all individuals in Oregon can have their needs met equitably and efficiently in a centralized capacity.
A governance board to guide this work in creating a Universal Health Plan will be invaluable, as there are infinite moving pieces to a strong single-payer health care system and the nuts and bolts to such a system will inevitably be vastly complex and require the guidance of such an entity. As details like plan benefits, provider networks, consumer cost-sharing, eligibility requirements, and enrollment platforms are all ironed out over the course of this process, a governance board will both act as the critical convener of public engagement on these issues as well as the stabilizing, neutral support to these efforts that will lead to their success. We encourage you to sign SB 1089 into law to ensure that this essential legislation is a success for all Oregonians.
Thank you for your work, and please don’t hesitate to reach out if we can answer any questions.