Inaugurate Social and Eco Justice Demonstration - Friday, January 20

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On Friday, Jan. 20, Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, along with many other groups working toward social justice, will be part of a march and short rally that is billed as a Community Organizing event. It will begin on the OSU campus around 3:00 at the Student Experience Center Plaza, under the big translucent canopy, just east of the Memorial Union on campus (Jefferson street).  The parade will proceed toward and along Monroe, weaving around town, and stopping briefly at Central Park. As dusk approaches, all will be welcomed at the Odd Fellows Hall on 2nd Street for hot cider, conversation, and networking. Titled “Inaugurate Social and Eco Justice,” the event's goal is to showcase issues that our community cares about and will be working on in 2017.

MVHCA members will meet on Monroe at 11th Street at 3:10 to distribute “Health Care For All Oregon” and “Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates” banners and gown-plus-bun costumes so we will be ready to join the procession. Please meet us there as we move into a season of activism! E-mail Bobbi if you have questions, rlhall@peak.org.

Update - Oregon Public Health Association Meeting

Two reports from the Oregon Public Health Association’s recent meetings are linked under our Resources tab or directly here. Each one is about 55 minutes long. They consist ofinterview-conversations with Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, a leading member of the Senate Health committee (in Part 1); Sen. Jeff Merkley, of the US Senate (in Part 2); Alberto Moreno, director of the Oregon Latino Health Coalition (in Part 2); and many other short interviews that give a flavor of the interests of public health professionals. Also there are timely and insightful comments of panel members on a plenary, What’s Up and What’s Next for Recreational/ Retail Marijuana? These aired first on KBOO radio in November

by Roberta Hall, MVHCA Chair

The 2015 meeting of the Oregon Public Health Association, Oct. 12 and 13 at Oregon State University, featured lots of Oregon leaders who spoke out for health and for healthcare reform. OPHA is an important partner of Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates and Health Care for All Oregon.

Here is a link to the OPHA program that aired on KBOO radio Monday, November 16 — Part 1 featured a conversation with Sen. Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward, Marie Harvey, Bruce Thomson, Pat Alene, a poster paper on public health archives with Max Johnson, and excerpts from the plenary on retail/commercial marijuana regulations.  I asked a few about their views on universal health care……  not all though. All are doing interesting work.

Part 2 will be posted at the same site after the program airs on KBOO on Nov. 30 at 11 (90.7 in Portland, 91.9 in Hood River, and 104.3 in the Corvallis area). It will feature Sen. Merkley, Alberto Moreno, a poster paper on a tobacco cessation project in Albany, plus conversations with Sarah Holland, Judy Sundquist, and James Becraft.

In the photo below, MVHCA members Dick Gold, Carol Gold, Betty Johnson on the left, talking with guest Speaker Ted Marmor and MVHCA member Marie Mingo on the right, a few days after the OPHA meeting. Marmor spoke about the history of legislated concepts about what categories of people have become officially entitled to publicly funded medical care in America, from the 1960s to the present. He has written many books about social policy, specifically about medical care.  He believes that knowing this history could help advocates for universal care do a better job of advocacy.

The picture below shows Charlie Fautin of the Benton County Health Department, which is a co-sponsor of the Nov. 19 legislative forum that MVHCA is also co-sponsoring; Marie Harvey, an Associate Dean in the College of Public Health at OSU and Program Chair of the OPHA meetings; and Kim Krull, Interim Program Manager for OPHA.

Below the photo is of Tammy Bray, Executive Dean of the Division of Health Sciences, OSU, who gave a welcoming address; and state Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, keynote speaker on Oct. 12. She addressed “Public Health in the Era of the Internet: Lessons Learned from Immunizations."

Sen. Jeff Merkley (below), keynote speaker on Oct. 13; he described progress in health care reform and showed his approach to convincing other legislators to join him in advancing a variety of public health issues. His topic was “Creating Strong Public Health Policies for our Reformed Health Care System."
 

Below pictures Alberto Moreno, director of the Oregon Latino Health Coalition, an enthusiastic spokesperson for universal health care. He talked about “Latinos in Oregon: A Policy Framework for Health."

This photo shows the newly elected president of OPHA, Robina Ingram-Rich. In her acceptance speech she noted that OPHA is non-partisant but said “we are political,” and enthusiastically urged all OPHA members to get involved in policy issues — including voting and lobbying — to move health issues forward.

Additionally, Physicians for a National Health Program provided a session titled “CCOs and the ACA in Oregon: an Update. Doctors Mike Huntington, Sam Metz, and Peter Mahr were on the panel. The final program at the conference considered "What’s Up and What’s Next for Recreational/Retail Marijuana.” It featured speakers representing the retail side of the new program, an analyst from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, and three public health professionals from OHA and from Multnomah County Health Department.

Audio recordings of interviews and excerpts from the program were made by Roberta Hall and will be available here and on the radio at KBOO soon. Other information including slides from the PNHP panel will be posted on OPHA’s website.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

 

Photos from Mercy Killers LBCC Event

It was great to see so many people and so many new faces at the LBCC performance of Mercy Killers. Thank you to all who helped make the evening a success!

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

MVHCA Annual Picnic Celebration - PHOTOS!

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

MVHCA Annual Picnic Celebration!

INSTEAD of having a business meeting on the fourth Monday of August we will be celebrating a very busy 2014-5 year — rally, hearing, meetings with legislators, 50th Medicare birthday, TR Reid-visit and much hard work! So it is time for a picnic-potluck.

Bring food you'd like to share: a casserole, a salad, a main dish or dessert—whatever you like and enough for a few others too. If you have plastic or metal plates, and silver and napkins, bring them along! and we’ll have some recyclable ware if you do not; we’ll take home what’s leftover and compost what waste we produce. If you have a large cloth tablecloth, bring it along and don’t forget it when you go home. We can relax and refresh, and get prepared to enjoy a provocative play (called “Mercy Killers”) on Sept. 19, 7 p.m., at Takena Hall at LBCC (tickets available at the potluck and at Grassroots Books too).

We’ll have food and conversation and a short program including a visit from the Health Care for All Oregon’s Outreach board member Nancy Sullivan who will very briefly describe strategies that HCAO is considering. We’ll also introduce a few other distinguished guests and make a few announcements, but mainly we’ll enjoy the evening. You can take a minute to have a photo petition made to show your legislators you favor health care for all, too.

You can help MVHCA as we work for publicly funded universal health care like the rest of the developed world by donatinghosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. You can also Like us on Facebook, and Follow us on Twitter. Thank you.

Medicare Birthday Celebration Photos

Thanks to all who helped make this event such a great success! Photos courtesy of John G. Booker, Jr., Dr. Mike Huntington, and Amy Roy

Thank you also to Norbert DuBois for the photos below.

Photos of the February 11 Rally in Salem

We had a large and enthusiastic turnout for the Health Care for ALL rally on  February 11 at the  capitol in Salem. Thanks to all who attended and helped out.

You can help MVHCA as we work for Improved Medicare for All by  hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings. Thank you.

Thank you to Mina Carson, Sandra Bean, and Amy Roy for their photos. Mina's full album of rally photos can be found here.

MVHCA at Corvallis Sustainability Fair

At the Mar. 12 Sustainability Fair MVHCA was asked to have interactive features so we made lots of photo petitions—25 in the two hours we had! On the right panel of our display board was an actual photo petition and a note inviting people to tell their legislators their advocacy for universal health care—and this made it easy to describe to people what we asked them to do. Thanks to Don Hall for processing them to send to HCAO for their website. In 2 hours we made 25 photos!

Don Hall made the diagrams for our board. Shelley Ries, Maxine Eckes, Jim Gore, and Bobbi Hall were the regular volunteers. and MVHCA Chair, Ron Green, stopped by and gave our hard-working volunteers some time off to get food at the fair. A busy and successful time! Thank you to all our dedicated volunteers!

Help MVHCA on the road to true universal health care by donating, hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings.

 

Summary of Responses to Interviews with 315 Linn and Benton County Residents in 2013-2014

The following is a summary of responses to interviews with 315 Linn and Benton County Residents in 2013-2014. These structured interviews were carried out by members and acquaintances of Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates (MVHCA) with friends, neighbors, church members, etc., as well as interested persons who attended healthcare-related events or stopped by to ask questions at a table hosted by MVHCA. It was a sample of convenience, not a scientifically designed sample. Yet it provides an important view of how some of our county residents are experiencing health care problems and what their values are regarding health care.

  • Almost half (48%) of the respondents reported having had problems getting needed health care.

  • About half (52%) reported being unable to get needed care because of costs.

  • 42% reported they had stayed in a job or relationship to keep health insurance.

  • 15% had experienced discrimination when trying to get health care because of race, immigration status, gender, sexual orientation, age, or disability.

  • Almost a quarter (24%) of respondents had developed more serious health problems because of high costs/limited insurance that delayed needed treatment.

  • Almost a third (32%) had had problems with medical debts.

  • 99% of respondents said they thought everyone in our state should get the health care they need to maintain health.

  • 90% of respondents said they believed that health care is a human right; 6% were not sure; and 4% said no.

  • 87% said they believed it is the role of our government to make sure that everyone has health care; 9% were not sure; and 4% said no.

  • 84% of respondents said they liked the idea of a universal health care system that would be publicly funded; 12% were not sure; and 4% said no.

Thanks to Carol Gold,  Greg Fitzpatrick, and Jack Drexler who analyzed the data from our interviews. Thank you also to the many volunteers in Linn and Benton Counties who took the time to interview people in our community.

Help MVHCA on the road to true universal health care by donating, hosting a house party, signing up for the newsletter, and attending our monthly meetings.

 

Single-Payer Health Care Support Growing

From The Corvallis Advocate:

By Kirsten Allen

Ron Green first learned of the woes of providing health care to employers in the 70s when he was running a bike shop in Texas. Green, a disabled veteran, receives free health care through the VA. When his bike shop began to expand, he looked to hire workers that were either young and still covered by their parents’ insurance, or old enough to receive Medicare, to keep costs down and earn profit.

“In the late 1960s, we had 5% of our GDP devoted to health care. Now, that’s 18%, and it’s going up. That’s just not sustainable, we can’t afford to keep doing that. Those that do have coverage often go bankrupt either providing it or paying medical bills, and those who don’t are constantly worried about the consequences of not having it,” said Green.

It is for this reason, as well as several others, that Green agreed to chair the Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates (MVHCA). MVHCA is a grassroots organization founded in the early 90s, with the goal to bring quality health care to everybody. Along with their ally, Health Care for All-Oregon, (HCAO) a coalition of over 100 organizations, MVHCA is working “to create a comprehensive, equitable, affordable, publicly funded, high quality, universal health care system serving everyone in Oregon and the United States.”

Medical bills are the number one reason Americans are in debt. The US is paying more toward health care than the entire GDP of France, and yet we are ranked 31st in the world. Green, along with volunteers of MVHCA, is trying to change this using the method of single-payer health care.

Also referred to as universal health care, single-payer health care is a system where the state government provides free health care to everybody. Funded by a progressive income and employer payroll tax, single-payer would provide quality health care free of premiums, deductibles, and co-payments.

Green again: “The fact is, it’s going to cost a lot of money. It’s not politically easy to sell to people the idea that we’re going to have to raise so much money from taxes to pay for it. The other half of that, of course, is you subtract from that all the health insurance company premiums, all the co-pays and deductibles. The intent of the plan is to cover all services previously covered by Oregon Educators Benefit Board (OEBB), Public Employees Benefit Board (PEBB), Medicare, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage Plans.”

HB 2922 was brought to the Oregon legislature in 2013, outlining the implementation of the plan. Though the bill didn’t go to General Assembly for a vote, it had 24 sponsors, up from 12 in 2011. This year, Green expects that number to increase to 36. The health care plan was supplemented by HB 3260, which proposed a study of four different health care systems in attempt to discern which system would best fit Oregon. The study is estimated to cost $200,000, a drop in the bucket considering the amount of money the state has spent before. The bill passed, overwhelmingly in fact, but was later struck down because a source of funding hadn’t been identified. The bill is expected to pass in the next legislative session, and Green suspects the results of the study will be in favor of a single-payer system.

Although HB2922 didn’t pass, sponsorship in the legislature nearly doubled since the previous vote, and is expected to continue growing. Though a promising sign, ahead lie many obstacles waiting to slap the bill down. Perhaps the most challenging obstacle is the profit-driven system we are involuntarily thrust into. This system has many stakeholders (medical device manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies, etc.) whose profits would take a hit and who would squeal the loudest when this plan creates enough steam to capture more widespread interest and support.

Another obstacle Green expects to encounter lies at the heart of what the single-payer plan is all about: health care for everybody, including undocumented migrant workers. After the failure of Measure 88, Green suspects this to be a considerable point of contention. However, no matter the amount of resistance this matter is likely to receive, it will remain non-negotiable.

The governance of the plan is also expected to draw opposition. Typically citizens are wary of health care when the government is involved (think of the infamous “death panels” that accompanied the rolling out of Affordable Care Act). However, Green believes this is a taboo society must overcome. The plan will be governed by a board of directors containing nine voting members appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate. The board will include two licensed health care providers, two persons with significant education and experience in public health, two with demonstrated experience in health or consumer advocacy, and one each from labor and business. Having a state-regulated health care system would allow for better allocation of resources, cut wasteful spending, and reduce expensive overhead.

Among single-payer’s many advocates, Physicians for a National Health Care System has been boisterously supportive. Dr. Carol Paris, a psychiatrist and member of PNHCS, states the cost of dealing with insurance companies to an average primary care physician is somewhere around $68,000. These costs result in an increase in price and decrease of face time for patients, because doctors need to see a larger volume of patients to make enough money to pay their insurance clerks and have enough money left over to support themselves.

Now that you know the who, the why, and the what, get ready to embrace the when, the where, and the how. MVHCA are teaming up with HCAO to rally at the capitol in Salem on Wednesday, Feb. 11 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Buses will run from Corvallis and Albany to transport red shirt-wearing, banner-carrying folks wanting to express their desire for health care for all. The rally will feature live music, inspiring speakers, and a chance to join a group to meet with legislators. Being that this is an issue universal to all colors, ages, and occupations, it would be fantastic to have more than the typical old white protestor. The rally is expected to draw 2,500 people, so don’t wait to reserve your bus seat! For more information or to reserve your seat, visit www.mvhca.org. For more info, visit www.pnhp.org/facts/single-payer-faq.

Sign up to ride the bus! Join us in a LIve-Tweet!

MVHCA Presence At the Wellness Fair at the First Alternative Co-ops

On Saturday Jan. 10 Mid-Valley Advocates Shelley Ries, Bobbi Hall, Jim Gore and Max Jones joined other vendors tabling in the Wellness Fair at the First Alternative Co-ops—at the north store in the morning and the south store in the afternoon. Talking to new people about the rally Feb. 11 and the need to provide healthcare for all is always educational, and among others we talked to:   a teacher who reported that over the last 20 years she has seen the health of her students decline sharply; a juggler who favors universal publicly funded health care and hopes to do some juggling at the rally; a vendor who at age 44 is "totally thrilled” because for the first time she has health insurance (under expanded Medicaid) and wishes for others to have it too; a shopper with Lyme disease who has received great care from her naturopath and is excited to have comprehensive health care for all that includes naturopaths as practitioners; a shopper who has seen his employer’s health insurance costs go up even as the deductibles have risen ever higher and cancelled out his annual raises. Let’s all talk to our neighbors about these important issues!
(Roberta Hall)

Help spread the word! Sign up to attend the February 11 rally here.  Share the event on Facebook as well!

THANK YOU!

Handling the Tough Questions about Single Payer

In preparation for the February 11 rally in Salem and to otherwise help the cause, you are invited to practice your persuasive skills. We will get together from 1-5 PM on January 10 at the First Presbyterian Church, 114 Southwest 8th Street, Corvallis, OR 97333. Discussion leaders will include Mike Huntington; Tim Roach, retired  Presbyterian minister; Sandi Bean PhD, Public Health; and Charlie Swanson, chair of the ballot measure committee for Health Care for All Oregon.  RSVP Mike Huntington mchuntington@gmail.com or Tim Roach Tim.roach46@gmail.com

You can also view the event on Facebook and invite your friends here.