Rural Healthcare and COVID-19 Response

While there is fundamental debate over the future of healthcare in our country playing out in the United States Congress and Supreme Court, there are many things Oregon can do at the state level to make sure Oregonians get the best care possible. One of my priorities is improving healthcare in rural communities.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has highlighted enormous weaknesses in our healthcare infrastructure,  proving we need leaders in the legislature to overhaul our healthcare systems to support the needs of Oregonians.  We can ensure our response to similar future threats can be effective, organized and compassionate. I will lead a more resilient future for the state through the following action plans:

  • Covid-19 has shown that the most effective response to a public health emergency is a unified response. Since the onset of the pandemic, counties across Oregon have responded differently – some better, some worse. I call on the legislature to establish clear protocols and accountability mechanisms to better coordinate efforts at the state and local level.
  • Because of social distancing, we have seen the expansion of telemedicine as a way for patients to receive care without risking possible exposure to the coronavirus. There also are significant cost savings with telemedicine, especially for rural Oregonians who lack access to reliable transportation. For these reasons, we must expand telemedicine options through funding and revising regulations. This expansion must also go hand-in-hand with an expansion of broadband internet access in rural areas, which is a key component in my jobs plan.

Healthcare reform must happen in 2021…period. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown with painful clarity that our ability to effectively and rapidly respond to public health threats has deep limitations in the fragmented system that we have today. We must understand the connection between a healthy population and a healthy economy, and unlike my 2020 general election opponent Mr. Boquist who voted against SB 250 in the 2019 Regular Session, work to uphold non-discrimination in healthcare coverage plans issued in the state of Oregon.

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