REMARKS AS PREPARED
July 6, 2018
Hello, I’m Governor Kate Brown.
Thank you to OHSU for hosting us today, and providing care to so many. And thank you Hai, for sharing your story.
That’s why we’re here today. To share the stories that remind us why it’s so important to fight for health care coverage, which is under attack at a federal level.
It’s up to the states to fill the void of leadership on this issue. We must fight to ensure these critical protections remain intact.
Here in Oregon, we’ve already put consumer protections into state law that will help keep Oregonians with pre-existing conditions covered if it’s struck down at a federal level.
But we need to do more. Everyone deserves to a healthy life, no matter where they call home.
Every single one of us has a friend or a loved one with a pre-existing condition. With cancer. With a heart condition. With diabetes.
Before the ACA guaranteed coverage, if they didn’t have government or strong employer-sponsored insurance, people with these conditions were often uninsurable.
Which in our country today, means that treatment is unaffordable.
The patients here today can tell you what it means to get treatment. It means chemotherapy, it means surgery, it means a doctor’s expertise and life-saving medications.
Most importantly, it means hope.
Right now, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Trump Administration are threatening to rip away that hope. To rip away healthcare from those who need it most.
From your friends, your neighbors, or your family members.
Jacob is 16. He has a heart condition, and while luckily he has had successful surgery and manages his condition with his doctors, he’ll need to closely monitor his blood pressure and take medication for the rest of his life.
Just as his condition affects daily decisions and holds him back from certain activities like ultramarathoning, it will drive the course of his life. When he ages out of his current health insurance coverage, his job choices will be driven just as much by benefits as by vocation. His life decisions will be based on his ability to get health insurance.
And while that sounds difficult, it’s better than the alternative. Which means not being able to get coverage no matter what he does or where he goes.
This administration is causing uncertainty — and chaos.
Taking away coverage for people with pre-existing conditions will destabilize our states’ individual insurance markets and increase costs. Its impacts will ripple onto businesses and economies.
And it is a rejection of American voters’ voices.
Here in Oregon, I am dedicated to expanding access to affordable care. And as your Governor, I will not remain silent.
Together, as Oregonians, we must fight to ensure these critical protections remain intact.
If we’re going to be heard, I need you to raise your voices too.