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Democrats lay foundation for universal health care

Senate Bill 770, the Health Care for All Oregon Bill, would create a govering board and take other steps to set up universal coverage throughout the state.

Sens. ?Lew Frederick, Floyd Prozanski and James Manning. Oregon Democrats plan to lay the groundwork for universal health care in Oregon.

State senators on Thursday filed Senate Bill 770, the Health Care for All Oregon Bill.

The legislation would create a board and take other steps to set up universal coverage throughout the state.

So far, 37 legislators have signed on as sponsors.

"Health care is a basic human necessity and it should be a right," said Sen. James Manning, D-Eugene, a chief sponsor of the bill. "We all need health care, and you can't survive without it. We've got to make sure that we get universal health care set up in Oregon so that none of us go bankrupt or die just because we get sick and don't have health insurance."

The Health Care for All Board, which the legislation creates, will plan and supervise the development, implementation and management of the plan.

The board will develop a transitional schedule toward the universal system and funding mechanism.

"In Oregon, we take care of each other, and health care is one of the most basic needs," Sen. Michael Dembrow, D-Portland, said. "To reach the point to where our communities around the state are truly thriving, we all must have access to affordable health care."