Oregon’s House of Representatives [official website] on Tuesday approved a bill to amend the constitution [text, PDF] to make access to health care a fundamental right.
The amendment would add a section to the state’s constitution that reads: “It is the obligation of the state to ensure that every resident of Oregon has access to cost-effective, medically appropriate and affordable health care as a fundamental right.”
The bill will now be sent to the Senate [official website] and, if approved, will go before voters at the next general election.
Mitch Greenlick, the Chair of the House Committee on Health Care [official websites], introduced the Hope Bill with approximately 40 co-sponsors between the House and Senate. Oregon has already made significant impact on healthcare in their state, where Greenlick reports [press release] only 5 percent of the population is uninsured. Susan McLain [official website] also spoke on the bill, explaining that healthcare coverage has already been extended to children and therefore this right should not exclude them once they become adults:
With Cover All Kids, we decided that health care is a basic right for kids. We should not turn our backs on Oregonians once they become adults. If we want our state to keep moving forward, we must make sure that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care that they deserve.
Other chief sponsors of the bill include Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Senator Lee Beyer, and Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward [official websites].