July 5, 2013 - How can we build a road map for success in bringing comprehensive affordable health care to all Oregonians? That question brought more than a hundred delegates and observers from across the state in support of Health Care for All-Oregon (HCAO) together in Eugene on a hot day in June to celebrate the second anniversary of this rapidly growing coalition. On June 28, 56 of the 80 current HCAO member organizations sent delegates to the gathering from labor unions, health care providers, faith groups, immigrant rights groups, advocates for the homeless and under-served, as well as regional chapters.
Delegates also elected additional HCAO board members and officers. Katie Light of Portland Jobs with Justice, representing small business; Reyna Lopez of Causa, representing communities of color; Cydnie Meyer, of the Oregon School Employees Association; Chris Lowe of Portland Jobs with Justice; and Peter Mahr MD, representing Physicians for a National Health Program joined the 19-member HCAO Board of Directors. HCAO elected officers are Michael Moore, chair; Chris Lowe, vice-chair, Mark Lindgren, secretary; and William Whitaker, treasurer. Small group discussions included all participants with suggestions for how the organization can communicate and collaborate more closely as a statewide coalition.
The Eugene Raging Grannies entertained attendees at lunch, which was prepared by volunteers working with Debby McGee and Patty Hine, local organic farmers using their own organic produce. The meeting took place at the United Methodist Church in Eugene, hosted by HCAO-Eugene, Occupy Inter-Faith and the Health Care Committee of the First United Methodist Church.
Coalition members and supporters headed for the long drive home with re-affirmed commitment to bringing health care justice to Oregon and eventually to America.