A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Does council want a health sales tax?

Written May 23rd, 2013 by
Ron Green, last year's Democratic candidate in House District 15, presents the health care resolution to the council Monday.

Ron Green, last year’s Democratic candidate in House District 15, presents the health care resolution to the council Monday.

At the urging of local members of Health Care for All-Oregon, the Albany City Council has let itself be pushed into backing a Democratic proposal before the legislature on health care.

The council Wednesday passed a resolution backing HB 3260. It would require the Oregon Health Authority to conduct a study of different health care financing schemes. The options to be studied would be a single-payer system like that in Canada, another allowing people to choose between private insurance and a publicly funded plan, a third that fully carries out the federal Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), and a publicly funded system paid for with a sales tax.

The Health Authority estimates that based on comparable work in New York state, the study would cost about $600,000, and the bill says it would be done only if donations or grants pay for it. My question: If New York already did it, why spend the money? Why not just read their report? And why push for this bill?

There’s a reason the bill has been hung up in the Ways and Means Committee. There is opposition to it. It is clearly aimed at laying the groundwork for a Canadian-style, publicly funded insurance scheme, perhaps with a sales tax to back it up. Is that what the city council in Albany wants? I doubt it, but if not, the council should have refrained from expressing its support. (hh)

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