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Committee To Hold Hearing on Health Care as Basic Right

The Oregon Senate health care committee is expected to hold a hearing today on one of the most controversial ideas to come out of the legislative session: making health care a basic right.

If passed, the bill would put a measure on the November ballot asking voters whether health care should be a fundamental right — enshrined in the constitution.

The Oregon House passed the idea last week along party lines, after debate.

Democratic representative Susan McLain thinks it would be good for the economy.

Susan McLain: “I believe all employers will agree that they benefit when they can hire a healthy workforce.”

West Linn Republican Julie Parrish thinks it would open the state up to lawsuits.

Julie Parrish: “The fact is, this is promise to voters we might not be able to keep.”

Washington State has a similar constitutional requirement for education, and has faced steep fines and lawsuits.