The Columbia Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees recently voted to support a ballot measure for the first time in our organization’s history. CMH officially supports a YES vote on Measure 101 because it allows continued funding of programs that give our patients, friends and neighbors to access affordable healthcare.
CEO Erik Thorsen has written a letter to the editor of the Daily Astorian in support of this measure, which you can read below. He is joined by countless other hospital administrators, doctors and medical professionals in Oregon in support of Measure 101. We encourage you to learn more about this measure before the Jan. 23 election.
By Erik Thorsen, CEO of Columbia Memorial Hospital
It’s a critical moment in Oregon for ensuring that we all have access to affordable healthcare. Voting YES on Measure 101 on January 23rd is one of the most significant things you can do to keep affordable healthcare accessible – especially for kids, seniors, and people with disabilities. Well over 10 percent of our region’s population depends on Medicaid for health care. These are our friends, families and neighbors who would otherwise go without needed care.
During the past legislative session, state lawmakers crafted a balanced law to fund these vital insurance programs. The law had the support of the entire health care community; doctors, nurses, hospitals and beyond. Now voters are being asked to weigh in on the package on January 23rd, and those same doctors, nurses and hospitals are asking for a YES vote on Measure 101.
For the past 15 years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with our healthcare professionals at CMH. Like all the doctors, nurses and caregivers at the hospital, I know firsthand how important accessible and affordable healthcare is to our local community. Just a few years ago, people without insurance were forced to rely on the Emergency Department for their basic healthcare needs. Today that doesn’t happen as much, because so many more people have insurance and access to the primary care providers they need. Fewer trips to the Emergency Department also means lower costs for all of us, because people get the care they need from the doctor’s office or urgent care center, instead of the high cost Emergency Department.
A YES vote on Measure 101 protects healthcare coverage for one in four Oregonians, including 400,000 kids and holds down costs for all of us. It creates a fee on insurance companies, hospitals, and managed care organizations to make basic healthcare affordable and accessible to every Oregonian. No one in Oregon should have to wait to go in for needed health care or have their only access point be an Emergency Department. With this law, more hard-working Oregonians will be able to afford the health insurance they need.
Please join me, and thousands of healthcare professionals across the state, in voting YES on Measure 101.
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