Over the past two weeks, hundreds of Oregonians have flocked to town halls from Medford to Hood River to speak out against healthcare rollbacks. It’s a scene that’s played out across the country over the past few months as the national GOP has fought to repeal the Affordable Care Act — but in Oregon, constituents weren’t there to talk just about the national threats to healthcare. They were also there to ask state legislators to defend care right here in Oregon.
Last month, Governor Kate Brown signed the Oregon Healthcare Protections Bill (HB 2391) into law. It was a groundbreaking achievement: At a time when healthcare access faces an uncertain future nationally, the law protects care for 375,000 Oregonians and lowers premiums for 220,000 more. But it’s already under attack: The Oregon GOP, led by political consultant and state Rep. Julie Parrish, is trying to rollback key pieces of this historic protections bill.
Just like national Republicans, Parrish and the Oregon GOP don’t have a viable plan for what happens if their repeal goes through — they’d be leaving hundreds of thousands of Oregonians without care, increasing medical costs on even more, and making healthcare less accessible in rural parts of the state. That would be a disaster for our state for generations to come.
Oregonians won’t stand for this attack. Last night, more than 60 constituents packed a room in West Linn, in Rep. Parrish’s district, to share what the Oregon GOP’s rollbacks would mean to them. For thousands of Oregon families, rolling back our progress on healthcare is a life-or-death issue. By making healthcare a luxury that only the wealthy can afford, everyday Oregonians will be forced to choose between financial disaster and going without the care they need. Nobody should face such a decision.
That sentiment was echoed across the state: Altogether, more than 300 Oregonians turned out to healthcare town halls in Hood River, Bend, Medford, Talent, and West Linn, and in each community they had stories to share about what’s at stake if the GOP succeeds. It’s up to us to stop these devastating rollbacks here in Oregon. We did it in D.C. when we stopped the ACA repeal, and we can do it again.