Calling it the "first step on a very, very long journey," State Senator Alan Bates, who co-chairs Oregone's Senate Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability, said the commission will draft a bill for the 2007 Legislature that will "make Oregon the first state to provide universal health care with a system to contain costs."
While the proposal has been broadly described by the Commission, important details and questions remain.
Yesterday, the California Assembly voted for a bill, SB 840, that would provide health care to all state residents under a government-run universal health insurance system, joining the state Senate which enacted a similar bill last year.
The health insurance industry in America is increasingly devoid of competition according to a new report from the GAO. In a majority of metropolitan areas, a single insurance provider holds a majority market share. In 9 states, Blue Cross and Blue Shield holds a majority market share.
And the problem isn't expected to go away any time soon.
It appears that Governor Kitzhaber may be launching his health care initiative at the right time. A new Gallup Poll has 2/3 of Americans saying they worry "a great deal" about the affordability and availability of health care. That number is huge.
Former Oregon Governor (and emergency room physician) John Kitzhaber was toying earlier this year with running again for Governor. He has now moved on to launching the Archimedes Movement, an organization that seeks to start by reforming Oregon's health care system significantly.