A local coalition of doctors, nurses, other health care providers and community members are banding together to create a new vision for health care in the Gorge and across Oregon.
According to Dr. Bonnie New, two upcoming workshops, sponsored by Health Care for All Oregon (HCAO), are being offered: 6-8 p.m. Dec. 12 in Hood River and Dec. 13 in The Dalles.
The two events will focus on teaching regular community members how to become activists in the goal of creating universal health care legislation in Oregon.
New, a retired E.R. physician, is co-coordinating the effort in the mid-Columbia area through the nonprofit, Gorge Health Care for All.
“Our goal is to bring, to residents and businesses of the Gorge an understanding of the current health care crisis, the moral and business need to ensure affordable health care for all, and how this can be done for the same money we are already putting into health care,” said New.
According to GHCFA, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — sometimes referred to as “Obamacare“ — is a compromise that will bring some significant improvements but which failed to achieve the main reform objectives of affordability and coverage for all people. After full implementation of the act in 2019, it is estimated that 24 million U.S. citizens will still remain uninsured.
“We are the only industrialized country in the world that does not provide health care for all its citizens,” said New.
The goal for the training, she said, “is to give people specific ways to get the word out about the changes that are needed and the legislation that will be introduced this session related to health care in Oregon.”
She added, “Universal health care legislation has been submitted before but didn’t get traction. This time we are trying to develop a much more concentrated grass-roots action.”
HCAO will focus on simple action steps individuals may take to affect change including: hosting house parties, telling individual health care stories and relating those to what is happening at the state level, generating petitions for legislators and completing surveys documenting existing issues or problems with the health care system as it is.
For those with limited existing information on universal health care concepts or legislation, New encouraged attendance as well. “Absolutely come with questions.”
Ross Lampert, an organizer from HCFAO, will be Dec. 12 in the featured presenter. The Hood River meeting will be held at the Hood River Library in the Jeanne Marie Gaulke meeting room.
The Dalles meeting will be held at the Next Door Inc.’s offices, 318 W. Second St., near Montira’s.
For more information visit gorgehcfa.org or HCAO.org.