Taxpayer Association Lawmaker Profile Series
by Rebecca Tweed
Senator Chris Telfer (Bend””R) has introduced legislation that builds on the power of private-public partnerships to bring health care to the working uninsured. Senate Bill 862 provides employers access to comprehensive health care that they couldn’t otherwise afford. It’s a multi-share plan in which, for example, an employee pays $40, the employer pays $40 and community providers come up with the rest of the portion through a private-public partnership. “We need to help these people; they’re falling through the cracks. We have to keep our workers working and healthy, it’s better for the community as a whole,” says Senator Chris Telfer.
The member who is covered is responsible and accountable for their financial portion, for keeping their job and for leading a healthy lifestyle. There are currently four community organizations covering eight counties in Oregon who have amulti-share model in their strategic plan as a way to assist with improving access for low-wage uninjured workers. The reason for the legislation is to empower these community groups and encourage other communities in the state to provide for their working uninsured.
“We don’t need national health care””they’re our people and we’ll take care of them, but we need to do it in an affordable way,” says Senator Chris Telfer. “It’s a successful program, it brings people together, it’s a win-win situation for everyone and I’m going to push for it.” Senator Telfer is confident that she’ll be able to get the bi-partisan support for the bill.
Senator Telfer’s experience working as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) for over 20 years in the Bend area allows her to bring a different, fresh approach to her work in Salem. “There is no other CPA and few others with financial backgrounds so I look at numbers and can approach them differently and without bias,” says Senator Chris Telfer.
Her number crunching skills are going to do great things for airports across the state, if she has her way. She’s currently proposing leveraging $128 million federal dollars that are coming to Oregon to 27 different airports across the state. The FAA has approved the monies, but the airports have to provide a 5% match, so you’re getting 95 cents on the dollar on brand new money. If the state proceeds and approves this, it would employ over 2200 people.
“It’s a great move for our state. We need the jobs and we need the improvements on the airports. It’s a smart way to use money for public services without adding yet another tax to the people of Oregon,” says Senator Chris Telfer.