By Taxpayers Association of Oregon
Former Governor John Kitzhaber recently wrote an opinion piece in the Portland Business Journal urging Oregonians to vote no on Ballot Measure 111. As written, the Ballot Measure is intended to amend the Oregon Constitution to mandate that all health care must be “cost-effective” and “affordable”. This is impactful because John Kitzhaber is teh chief author of the Oregon Health Plan.
Former Governor John Kitzhaber says: “If we are going to amend the Constitution, it would make more sense to create, as a fundamental right, ‘an equitable opportunity to be healthy.’ This would imply that every Oregonian has the right to access some basic, defined level of affordable, effective, quality medical care — but also to affordable housing, nutrition, a clean environment, a safe neighborhood, a good education and a living wage job. Making access to medical care a fundamental right, without effectively addressing equity and opportunity in accessing the social determinants of health, will undermine, rather than enhance the health of our society.”
From a taxpayer perspective, the Taxpayers Association sees Measure 111 as a magnet for lawsuits as it threatens to take power away from elected lawmakers and gives it to judges. By saying that health care must be affordable, it opens the floodgates for people to sue their way to get health services at a cost that someone defines as affordable. The mandate also could politically trigger all kinds of taxes to meet the mandate.