Oregon Docs to Vote on Single-Payer

For the first time, Oregon doctors will consider a single-payer option as one way to achieve health reform

April 30, 2009 -- Advocates of a single-payer healthcare system believe it’s time for organized medicine to take a decisive stand. When the Oregon Medical Association held its annual meeting in Eugene on April 25-26, physicians hotly debated the issue. A ballot will be mailed to its 350 voting members with a decision anticipated in the coming month.

Although there weren't enough physicians to meet the requirements of a quorum, a preliminary vote showed support for including a single-payer option as one way to achieve universal coverage, said Betsy Boyd-Flynn, the OMA's deputy executive director.

The initial resolution drafted by Dr. Richard Barnhart had stronger language, calling upon physicians to support a single-payer to reform our healthcare system, giving everyone a basic level of benefits.

A cardiovascular surgeon from Springfield, Barnhart believes high quality healthcare should be a right, “not just the privilege of those with enough money or who are fortunate enough to get a job with benefits.”

Our current system cannot control spending, while 50 million Americans are uninsured including 600,000 Oregonians, he said. At the same time, up to 30 percent of the healthcare dollar in the private market is spent on administrative expenses, advertising and profit compared to Medicare, which only spends 3 percent, he added.

On April 1, commissioners in Lane County passed a resolution calling for national healthcare reform that includes a single-payer solution.

“Business owners, seniors, working families and local government agencies all across the country are demanding that our federal government have a serious dialogue about a single payer healthcare system,” said Rob Handy, a commissioner from North Eugene. “The time has come for our dysfunctional healthcare system to be reformed.” In February, a similar resolution was passed by the Dunes City Council.

Legislation pending in Congress, known as HR 676, would expand Medicare to cover all citizens.

Take Action

For more information about physicians in support of a single-payer healthcare plan visit Physicians for a National Health Program.

Call your U.S. Senator and Representative if you support at least a public option that resembles a single-payer health plan.

Find and write to your Legislator or Congressman here.



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