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Oregon’s House of Representatives Passes HOPE Amendment in Historic Vote on Health Care

Nurses, legislators and community leaders support state constitutional amendment to recognize health care as a human right.

SALEM, OR - The Oregon House of Representatives made history Feb. 13, 2018, voting to pass the HOPE amendment (House Joint Resolution 203) to amend Oregon’s Constitution and recognize health care as a fundamental right.

The amendment will advance to the Oregon Senate. If the Senate passes the HOPE amendment, it will be referred to Oregon voters in the November 2018 general election.

Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) members praised today’s vote as a historic step to acknowledge and protect Oregonians’ basic rights.

“Today’s vote confirms what Oregonians already know: everyone deserves access to affordable health care,” said ONA nurse practitioner and business owner Diane Solomon, PhD, PMHNP-BC, CNM. "Access to health care is essential to sustain a thriving state and a healthy economy. The HOPE amendment ensures our families and neighbors can get the care they need, when they need it, without worrying about going bankrupt. Oregon has led health care innovations for decades and we can’t go back. It's time to move forward to expand health care access and protect basic rights for all Oregonians.”

“As a nurse, I’ve seen access to health care dramatically improve the lives of thousands of Oregonians,” said ONA member and nurse educator Teri Mills, RN, MS, CNE. “In the face of national threats to health care, we need to stabilize our health care system so all Oregonians have access to affordable care.”

On Feb. 7, more than 100 ONA members, community leaders, health experts and lawmakers showed their support for the HOPE amendment during a public hearing at the State Capitol. Following testimony from supporters, the House Health Care Committee voted to approve the HOPE amendment and advance it to the full House of Representatives. The House voted to pass the amendment Feb. 13.

The HOPE Amendment currently has 40 sponsors in the Oregon Legislature including chief sponsors Representative Mitch Greenlick, Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, Senator Lee Beyer, and Senator Elizabeth Steiner-Hayward.

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. It is a professional association and labor union which represents nearly 15,000 nurses across the state. ONA’s mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities.

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