St. Paul, Minnesota--In a vote that spells trouble for universal coverage proponents, Oregon citizens soundly defeated its single-payer health care initiative. State Measure 23 died with a yet unofficial vote total of 30,563 in favor (26.3%) and 85,416 opposed (73.6%).

"Oregonians made the right choice by rejecting a single-payer system. The approval of a government health care system FOR all citizens would have signaled the beginning of health care rationing TO all citizens," said Twila Brase, president of Citizens' Council on Health Care, a Minnesota-based health care policy organization.

"Rationing is implicit in any government health care system. One need only look at Medicare, America's single-payer system for senior citizens," she added.

According to Brase, Medicare has increasingly rationed health care services to senior citizens. Congressionally-approved strategies which discourage health care professionals and institutions from providing care to the elderly include decreasing payments to physicians on whom patients depend, bundling of payments that result in lack of reimbursement for certain services, prepayment for health care services thus forcing institutions to spread health care spending evenly over the year regardless of patient needs, and the 1997 prohibition on cash payments for care by senior citizens whose treatment is denied by Medicare.

"Oregon citizens realized that they would expand their tax burden while eliminating their health care freedom. Oregon health care professionals would instantly become state employees, beholden to government treatment directives. And patient access to health care services would forever be determined by political agendas and state budgets. Oregon saw the future and wisely said no," said Brase.

Election Results: http://www.co.lane.or.us/Elections/results/20021105.htm

Article in The Oregonian: Click here   

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