Measure 101 Ensures Health Care Access for Many

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), January 4, 2018 | Go to article overview

Measure 101 Ensures Health Care Access for Many


Byline: Lorne Bostwick and Ruhi Sophia Motzkin Rubenstein For The Register-Guard

Voting yes on Ballot Measure 101 means protecting access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Oregon families. Ballots for this critical measure will be delivered by mail to registered voters in the coming days and must be returned by Jan. 23.

What happens if Measure 101 fails? Access to health care will be at risk for 1 in 4 Oregonians, including 400,000 kids, and as much as $5 billion of federal health care funding could be lost.

As clergy leaders in this community, we look to our religious traditions for guidance. It is a shared value in all of our traditions that human life is of infinite value and that the preservation of life supersedes almost all other considerations.

In the Hebrew Bible the question is asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It is answered in the great commandment, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."

Islamic scripture declares, "None of you have faith until you love for your neighbor what you love for yourself." Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, Jews and Muslims all have their own version of the golden rule, which suggests that if we value life and health for ourselves we should value them for our neighbor. Providing health care for all in our society is a fundamental way that we live out our commitment to caring for our neighbor.

In recent decades, the United States has faced a growing crisis in health care. Growing numbers of people cannot afford simple basic health care, let alone respond to catastrophic and chronic health needs. Children live in poverty and go without medical insurance; millions of Americans are uninsured; and millions more are under-insured, exposed to out-of-pocket expenses that threaten family economic survival. Health care spending is the leading cause of personal bankruptcies in the United States.

This broadly shared concern for "love of neighbor" compels us to encourage the establishment of a health care system that better meets the needs of all people. Only by working to establish a system that honors and respects disenfranchised neighbors and provides affordable health care access can we say that we have sought earnestly to "love our neighbor as our self. …

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