Hope for Oregon Families: An initiative for a constitutional amendment improving access to health care.

Representative Mitch Greenlick is a second term legislator representing NW Portland and portions of unincorporated Multnomah & Washington counties.Greenlick

Last week, I stood along side State Senators Alan Bates and Ben Westlund and a coalition of seniors groups, health care providers, labor and human services advocates, to announce an initiative campaign for a constitutional amendment. The HOPE for Oregon Families amendment would require the Legislature to adopt a plan to both strengthen and conserve Oregon’s existing health care system and provide health care opportunities for Oregon’s uninsured.

I believe we can no longer tolerate leaving 600,000 Oregonians without access to health care. Each of us knows an uninsured family devastated by a medical emergency. For those of us with adequate health care, this amendment would require little change There is no new tax in this amendment. It only charges the Legislature to develop a practical and incremental plan to provide coverage for the 17% of Oregonians, over 600,000 in all, who live today without any coverage at all.

The amendment adds Section 46 to Article 1 of the Oregon Constitution: Health care is an essential safeguard of human life and dignity and there is an obligation for the state to ensure that every Oregon resident has access to effective and affordable health care as a fundamental right.


· Conserve and strengthen the existing health care system to the greatest extent possible;

· Conserve and strengthen the existing system of providing health insurance as a benefit of employment;

· Encourage individual responsibility for one’s own health care;

· Maximize the use of Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs;

· Encourage the efficient and effective use of health care expenditures; and

· Improve the health of every Oregon resident.

I have filed a petition for the HOPE FOR OREGON FAMILIES initiative, and we plan to have it on the ballot next fall.

June 1, 2005 by Mitch Greenlick
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