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Oregonians for Health Security's newsletter

The Weekly Monitor, Oregonians for Health Security's weekly newsletter of health care happenings for the week of August 30, 2004.
Profile of Soaring Uninsured Rates: 613,000 Uninsured Oregonians

"I work full-time, but do not have health care coverage. I am unable to access the preventative health care I need and only see a doctor when absolutely necessary. It is unfortunate that there are so many Oregonians like me." Joye Willman

The number of uninsured in Oregon rose by 16.6% to a total of 613,000 in 2003, according to a new Census Bureau report. Oregon had the 2nd highest percentage increase in the nation. 17.2% of all Oregonians are now uninsured. Increasing health care costs, unemployment and cuts to the Oregon Health Plan have exacerbated health care problems in Oregon.

"Over 50,000 Oregonians lost health care coverage because of cuts to the Oregon Health Plan. That is half of the increase in the number of uninsured Oregonians last year," explained Joy Soares with CareOregon, "the impact has been drastic for safety net clinics around the state. We are seeing over-crowded waiting rooms, patients waiting longer to see a provider and even clinics closing due to a lack of revenue from state and federal resources." Skyrocketing insurance rates have led many employers to reduce or eliminate coverage for their employees and children. A total of 113,000 children were uninsured for 2003. Over half the uninsured children are from families below 200% of poverty. If the legislature expands the Children's Health Insurance Program eligibility from 185% of the federal poverty level to 200% and increased outreach to ensure all eligible children are enrolled, we can significantly reduce the number of children without access to health care.

For Oregonians without health care coverage, the health care crisis is very personal. The increase of Oregonians without health care coverage is a red flag signaling the urgent need for common sense solutions that reduce the cost of health care and expand access, We need to elect leaders from the White House to the State House who will fix the health care crisis by reducing the cost of prescription drugs, reducing the number of uninsured residents and reducing health insurance rate increases. Becoming a health care voter is the first step in this process, sign up at  http://www.oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org

45 million Americans are uninsured. 73% of uninsured 18-64 year olds are working.
US Census Bureau Current Population Survey, 2004 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.

Rx Express Train Riders Save Money

"Americans are looking for safe and more affordable drugs in Canada, but Americans don't need Canadian drugs, they need Canadian drug policies."
Colleen Fuller, President of PharmaWatch.

Last week, seniors from California, Oregon and Washington completed their trip to Canada in search of more affordable prescription drugs. The 20 seniors -- some of whom traveled 3 days -- saved an average of 59.8% off the prices they pay for the same prescription drugs at U.S. pharmacies. The Rx Express riders would save an average of $2,000.00 per year U.S. on the prescriptions if we employed Canadian-style price negotiations here in the U.S.

Bulk purchasing policies should not be limited to the Medicare program but opened to all seeking more affordable prescription drugs, according to the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights. "Bulk purchasing of prescription drugs is a market-savvy strategy to help control costs. The more people in the purchasing pool, the better the discounts," said Jerry Flanagan of the FTCR.

Oregonians for Health Security

9813 SE Hwy 212 Clackamas, OR 97015 (503) 655-2793 (503) 655-2879 fax  http://www.oregoniansforhealthsecurity.org