My background is predominately medical, both inside and outside of the military. I understand that health care is deeply personal for most Americans. In Oregon, our health care system has been lacking in a number of ways. Chronic preventable illnesses occur at higher rates in Oregon than they do in many other states. Obesity is the second leading cause of death in Oregon. Chronic illnesses associated with obesity cost Oregonians roughly $1.6 Billion per year. When looking at health care from a cost association point of view, preventative care presents a cost savings to the taxpayer and increases long term out comes for patients with chronic illnesses. By choosing to advocate for policies that encourage active lifestyles along with low-cost preventative care we can lower the overall tax burden to Oregonians. Chronic disease as a whole cost Oregon taxpayers roughly $8 Billion annually. Roughly 54% of the state’s population suffers from some form of chronic illness. Legislation needs to be introduced that will encourage healthy lifestyles and incentivize preventative care.
COVID-19 highlighted the ineptitude of many government bureaucracies and why we as a society need to be more cognizant of how unelected bureaucrats have vast powers to impact our day to day lives. During my time as Mayor, I called for the resignation of Oregon Health Authority Director Pat Allen on multiple occasions. I stand by those statements. When we put too much power into the hands of unelected officials, it undercuts our republic. I am not in favor of government backed mandates for any health care decision in the general populace. Health care decisions must be made by the individual based on the advice of their doctor. Broad mandates stand to do more harm than good and set a dangerous precedent in government that should be avoided. Legislation must be introduced that limits the policy making power of unelected bureaucrats and holds them accountable for failed policies.
In Oregon, we currently have a system of health care that involves what are called “certificate of need” laws. These laws are a regulatory mechanism in the health care industry that is mean to ensure expansion of services and facilities is managed in a method that does duplicate services and is responsive to community need. Unfortunately, that is rarely what occurs, and certificate of need laws have been shown on multiple occasions to drive up the cost of health care for the consumer. They stifle competition, creating no market generated cost control methods and harming the consumer. Certificate of need laws have also been shown to have a negative impact on elderly mortality rates. This set of laws must be repealed to provide greater access to care for Oregonians while also driving down the per unit cost of health care. Legislation must be introduced that repeals certificate of need laws and opens the health care market.