Briefly: Knute Buehler will protect Medicaid, expand mental health care

The surgeon in Bend, who's the Republican candidate for governor, also said he would protect women's reproductive rights.

The Republican candidate for governor, Knute Buehler, pledged made campaign promises this week to protect and expand health care coverage.

At a press conference in front of his medical offices in Bend, the surgeon criticized Gov. Kate Brown’s management of the Oregon Health Authority as chaotic and wasteful. He boiled his plan down to a few talking points, and topping the list: protecting Medicaid from federal cuts, expanding mental health care and protecting women's reproductive care.

“Regardless of what happens at the federal level, Oregon will remain a pro-choice state, and I’ll continue to do the work that I have done in the past to expand access to contraception,” Buehler said.

He cited his support of a law making birth control available over the counter. But, reproductive rights activists have criticized his record as a state lawmaker because he voted against a law to expand insurance coverage for abortion.

Buehler’s health plan also includes promises to integrate mental health care into state Medicaid delivery, reduce the suicide rate and drive down drug costs by prosecuting leaders of pharmaceutical companies.

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