What started well before Convention in 2017 as a proposed diocesan resolution supporting universal health care in Oregon reached a milestone in the very final hours of the 2019 legislative session. What a cliffhanger! SB770 passed and now awaits the governor’s signature.

This bill directs a task force be established by May 2020 to recommend legislation that will form  our Oregon version of universal health care, a transition made by all the other industrialized nations and even some that haven’t quite reached that designation. Each country does it a bit differently; we’ll find our Oregon way. This changes the conversation from “if” to “how and when,” we will have universal health care. The task force will analyze data and hold statewide conversations with a variety of citizens, organizations, civic groups, churches, etc. to hear our wants, needs, and concerns about health care. The task force will then design our new system. In addition to the task force’s conversations, a citizen advisory group will be put together to inform the process.

This bill is the culmination of  much devotion, cooperation, research and hard work on the part of  Health Care for All-Oregon, our Episcopal Diocese and many other groups and individuals, supported by over half our legislators and carried by Senator James Manning. We give thanks to them all for their dedication and for everyone who supported this effort, and to our God to have this particular avenue opened for us as a way to fulfill our instruction to “heal the sick.”

Pamela Lyons-Nelson, Convener
Diocesan Commission on Poverty and Homelessness

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