Voters In Oregon Will Be Asked To Decide On Measure 111, Which Would Make Healthcare A Basic Right

Voters in Oregon will be asked to determine soon whether access to healthcare should be a constitutional right. The amendment on the right to healthcare would be the first of its type in the country.

In order to guarantee that every person has access to “cost-effective, clinically acceptable, and affordable health care,” Measure 111 would change the state constitution.

Family physician and Democrat Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward served as the Chief Sponsor of the legislation that the Oregon legislature referred.

Family physician and Democrat Senator Elizabeth Steiner Hayward served as the chief sponsor of the legislation that the Oregon legislature referred to. She refers to the suggested change as a “guiding principle.”

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It does not introduce a tax. It declares, in effect, that “here is a principle that Oregonians share and hold firmly enough that they want it in their constitution.

Sam Metz, a private physician, is vehemently opposed to Measure 111 and in favour of a one-payer healthcare system. He cites legal liability as one factor. “Any Oregonian who does not obtain cost-effective or inexpensive health care has the standing to sue the state, according to legislative legal counsel.”
If Measure 111 passes in November, it will be the first state constitution in the United States to guarantee every resident’s right to access affordable healthcare.

Ballot Measure 111’s wording is only 84 words long. Some supporters argue that the amendment should be brief since specifics have no place in constitutions.

The legislation states that the state’s duty to guarantee access to affordable healthcare must be weighed against other duties, such as “supporting public schools and other critical public services.”

Also stated therein is the restriction that “legal remedies for lawsuits may not interfere with the balance between a right to healthcare and funding for other critical public services.”

A prominent member of Oregon Physicians for a National Health Program is Dr Sam Metz. He firmly opposes Measure 111 and is in favour of a single-payer healthcare system.

Attorney Lorey Freeman with the office of Legislative Counsel said that the clause regarding balancing commitments would probably protect the state despite worries that the amendment could allow residents to sue if obligations aren’t met.

The League of Women Voters of Oregon has praised Measure 111 as “aspirational,” while a senator who opposes it said it is “lazy policymaking.”

Measure 111 on the ballot has long been anticipated. Before Senate Joint Resolution 12 was accepted by the House and Senate during the 2021 legislative session, there had been at least seven attempts to get the issue on the ballot.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick was a supporter of the so-called Hope Amendment. Before his proposal was approved by both chambers and put on the ballot as a constitutional amendment, the Portland Democrat passed away in May 2020.

Voters In Oregon Will Be Asked To Decide On Measure 111
Voters In Oregon Will Be Asked To Decide On Measure 111

Emerson Hamlin, who previously worked as a member of Greenlick’s staff and currently directs the Right to Healthcare campaign, is a supporter of Measure 111.

Hamlin stated, “My support for this is personal,” last Friday during a City Club of Eugene open forum. By the age of 20, as a user of mental health services, I had both gotten treatment that had saved my life and been denied access to treatment that both my doctors and I believed I needed. This was a sad, difficult experience that I don’t want anybody else to go through.

Hamlin emphasised that this measure is only a first step and that the legislature must act to address existing issues with health care access.

If Measure 111 is approved by voters, it will be up to legislators to decide how to carry out the state’s duty. There is no built-in funding for the measure.

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The approval of the amendment is opposed by Rep. Ron Noble, R-Carlton, on the grounds that it has too many “unknown implications,” such as defining the terms “cost-effective, clinically suitable, and affordable.” He stated that various people may interpret the phrases differently.

Don’t misunderstand me, Noble added, “I’m all for creating affordable, high-quality, and accessible health care. However, by leaving these regions undetermined, we expose ourselves to the possibility of building a bureaucracy that decides on a policy regarding individual rights.

According to Noble, there is an ongoing debate among Americans on the Second Amendment’s legality. According to him, constitutional language specifics are important.

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