Oregon Votes on Constitutional Health Care

On Thursday, March 18, the Oregon Senate passed Joint Resolution 12, which proposes an amendment to the Oregon Constitution “establishing obligation of state to ensure every resident access to cost-effective, clinically appropriate and affordable health care.” The resolution passed with unanimous support from Democratic senators and unanimous opposition from Republicans.  

With a vote of 17-13 down party lines, the resolution will now go to the House of Representatives and, if approved, be on the next general election ballot.  

Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod said that the resolution lacked funding. “If Democrats are serious about giving Oregonians free health care, they should come up with an actual plan,” he said.  

The Joint Resolution itself states that the provision of this fundamental right is the obligation of the state because “Oregonians should not be divided between those who can afford to be healthy and those who cannot.”  

Programs like The Oregon Health Plan and Medicaid are already in place to help make health care more affordable for Oregonians, but the addition of Joint Resolution 12 to the State Constitution would set this state responsibility in stone.  

By Ardea C. Eichner