Alliance for Democracy

HJR 100: Health Care is a universal right‏

Posted in Health Care, Single Payer by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on February 3, 2010

Our friend, Kris Alman, MD and advocate for single-payer healthcare reform, wrote the following letter to the Oregon House Health Care Committee supporting a bill which would establish a constitutional right to equal health care in Oregon.  I think it deserves our support.  Call your state representative on Tuesday to support this bill.
The text of the measure is pretty straighforward: 
House Joint Resolution 100
Sponsored by Representative GREENLICK (Presession filed.)



The following summary is not prepared by the sponsors of the measure and is not a part of the body thereof subject to consideration by the Legislative Assembly. It is an editor’s brief statement of the essential features of the measure as introduced.Proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution establishing right of all Oregonians to equal opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives. Establishes obligation of state to ensure every legal resident of state access to effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care. Refers proposed amendment to people for their approval or rejection at next regular general election.


Be It Resolved by the Legislative Assembly of the State of Oregon:

46 to be added to and made a part of Article I, such section to read:


The Constitution of the State of Oregon is amended by creating a new section
SECTION 46. (1) All Oregonians deserve an equal opportunity to lead healthy and productive lives, which requires equal access to effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care, a clean environment and individuals’ assuming responsibility for their own health through the lifestyle and behavioral choices they make.
(2) It is therefore the obligation of the state to ensure that every legal resident of Oregon has access to effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.PARAGRAPH 2. The amendment proposed by this resolution shall be submitted to the people for their approval or rejection at the next regular general election held throughout this state.

 David e. Delk, Alliance for Democracy – Portland Chapter 503 232 5495
To comment on this email, please visit the Alliance for Democracy blog at

Chair Greenlick and members of the House Health Care Committee,
I urge you to please support HJR 100.

Oregon communities consistently value access to hospitals and health care. Furthermore, in 3 consecutive Health Values Surveys since 1996, 85% of Oregonians somewhat or strongly agreed,”All Oregonians should be guaranteed basic and routine health care services.” 

 Yet In America, political and commercial interests have successfully lobbied for policies that preserve heath care as privilege or commodity. Consequently, America is the only industrialized country of the thirty-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that does not provide universal healthcare. Last year, this organization reported discrepancies between the enormous amounts that Americans spend on healthcare and the value received for that expenditure. A graph from the December 2009 National Geographic issue vividly illustrates this discrepancy.


Oregon state and federal leaders have lacked the political will to pass a robust public option… and certainly one that ensures universal coverage.

According to TR Reid, universal coverage is possible only when a nation makes the moral decision that health care is a right. In his research of OECD countries Alex Preker, a leading health economist at the World Bank, concluded that universal health care, in fact, leads to cost containment.

President Obama asserted that health care should be a right in the presidential debates of October 2008. This is consistent with Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948. With that declaration, a government is obliged to adopt health strategies based on universality, equity and accountability; provide legal and administrative remedies for violations of the right to health care; and hold the private health industry accountable for ensuring these rights as outlined by Amnesty International USA.

The time is now for Oregonians to lead the way in America. Health care is a universal right.

Kris Alman MD

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