Hi Oregon Legislators:

The Oregon legislature has a significant role to play in determining public health care and public housing policy in our state. The following are requests for legislative relief and action. While I ask this with a single signature I assure you that there are legions of Oregonians who support these legislative actions. Please give these proposals your serious consideration especially the health care policy recommendations because they can and will affect every legislator's constituency.

Keep this in mind. Given the chance, which previous legislative sessions have not afforded them, Oregonians, like most Americans who despise the failed, for-profit, private health insurance industry, will OVERWHELMINGLY chose a single payer type system, such as the Oregon Community Health Care Bill, as the model on which to base a solution to Oregon's moral and economic health care crisis.

The two previous Oregon legislatures and the Oregon Health Fund Board have inexcusably denied Oregonians the right to discuss and debate the Oregon Community Health Care Bill and any other single payer type systems. This is an unacceptable and reprehensible denial of American democratic due process for which elected Democrats in the legislature, the Democrat serving as governor of our state and the Democratic Party of Oregon MUST take complete and total responsibility. It gives the appearance that the entire Oregon legislature the governor and both political parties are totally and completely under the influence if not in the pocket of the despised, failed, for-profit, private health insurance industry (As reported by Robert Pear of the New York Times, the word "despised" was first, foremost and unanimously agreed upon by the participants of an Obama's citizen health care policy party to describe the failed, for-profit, private health insurance industry).

Time is of the essence. If the Oregon legislature doesn't get it right this session then we Oregonians are very likely to remain on the long and painful road of failure to solve Oregon's moral and economic health care crisis. Are you prepared to stand in the public square facing the cameras, microphones, the press, Richard Ellmyer, your constituents and the citizens of Oregon and say how PROUD you are that YOU helped undermine the democratic process to protect the despised, failed, for -profit, private health insurance industry from an IDEA that the the Oregon Community Health Care Bill and any other single payer type system was a better alternative solution to Oregon's moral and economic health care crisis?


In opposition to the indefensible neglect of attention to the skyrocketing and unstoppable costs of public employee health insurance premiums which can rise to an outrageous height of $1,321 per month (See #1 below), and the general health and welfare of the citizens of Oregon, I request that Oregon legislators:

A. Support the introduction of the Oregon Community Health Care Bill, which can decrease the health care costs of public entities by 20%, as a competing model for the future of health care reform in Oregon (See #2 below).

B. Oppose SB329 as too complicated, costly, developed without due process and debate involving the competitive idea of a single payer type model and relies on the failed, for-profit, private health insurance industry model (See #3 below).

C. Support the Single Payer Universal Health Care Plan embodied in HR 676 (http://www.hr676.org).


In opposition to the current indefensible, discredited and abhorrent public policy of UNLIMITED neighborhood concentration of public housing and in support of Equitable Distribution of Public Housing, I request that Oregon legislators:

A. Identify bills involving any type of government financial contribution or tax subsidy for public housing ( PUBLIC Housing = Means Test + Government Subsidy + Rental Agreement ) and support an amendment to each bill that REQUIRES the recipient entity to affirm that no portion of the funding for that bill will be used for new public housing in any neighborhood which already has more than 15% public housing clients as a percentage of the total population of that neighborhood.

B. Support a bill that requires the Housing Authority of Portland to produce the following public housing statistical data on a monthly basis:

Report #1. HAP Public Housing Program

A tab delimited text file with the following fields: 1. Age 2. Gender 3. Income 4. Neighborhood 5. Last Modification Date, for ALL clients in this database.

Report #2. HAP Section 8 Housing Voucher Program

A tab delimited text file with the following fields: 1. Age 2. Gender 3. Income 4. Neighborhood 5. Last Modification Date, for ALL clients in this database.

Report #3. New Columbia in North Portland's Portsmouth Neighborhood Program

A tab delimited text file with the following fields: 1. Age 2. Gender 3. Income 4. Neighborhood 5. Last Modification Date, for ALL HAP public housing clients (means test + government subsidy + rental agreement) living in New Columbia as of January 1, 2009. 

Report #4. HAP Affordable Housing Program

A tab delimited text file, including the total number of public housing (means test + government subsidy + rental agreement) HAP clients living in all of HAP's 32 properties in Multnomah county as of January 1, 2009, with the following fields: 1. Age 2. Gender 3. Income 4. Neighborhood 5. Last Modification Date.

Without this constantly updated information it is impossible to make credible, reasoned and defensible decisions in support of a public policy of Equitable Distribution of Public Housing and to hold HAP ACCOUNTABLE for their annual spending of more than $80,000,000 of taxpayers money (See #4 below).

C. Support a bill which transfers complete authority over the Housing Authority of Portland from the city of Portland to Multnomah County. HAP's mission and authority is countywide. All voters in Multnomah county MUST have the ability to vote for or against the person most responsible for nominating, appointing and dismissing (ORS 456.110) HAP commissioners.

D. Support a bill which funds the preliminary steps necessary to establish the Metro regional government as the future recipient of all government funds and tax subsidies related to public housing in Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington counties. Metro's charge will be to establish Equitable Distribution of Public Housing throughout its area of authority.

Thank you.

Richard Ellmyer


FYI - A Sampling Of Maximum Current Public Employer Contributions To Public Employee Health Insurance Benefits

Dollar figures are for individual paychecks per month.

Metro Regional Government - $ 1321

Multnomah County - $ 1,282

City of Eugene - $ 1,256

City of Portland - $ 1,246

Portland Public Schools - $ 1,217

Oregon State University - $1,188

Portland State University - $ 1,129

City of Gresham - $1,120

University of Oregon - $ 1,084

State of Oregon - $ 1,006

Beaverton School District - $ 921

Multnomah County ESD - $ 768

Lane ESD - $ 750


A -The Oregon Community Health Care Bill Which involves No New Taxes, will reduce public institutional expenditures for health insurance by 20% and provides equality of health care for public employees and citizens without relying on the failed private health insurance industry and virtually no physician paperwork.

B - March 12, 2007

Dear House Speaker Merkley and Senate President Courtney:

The current legislative debate over health care reform in our state does not include our view that the profit oriented private health insurance industry must not be the model upon which a solution to Oregon's moral and economic health care crisis should be based and that Oregon elected officials - public employees - voters and taxpayers must have equal access to the same level of health care not a perpetuation of our current multitiered health insurance class system.

We request that you find a place holder bill in each chamber which would substitute in its entirety the language of the Oregon Community Health Care Bill (see attached) so that an alternative choice may be discussed and debated this session. The Oregon Community Health Care Bill is the only current fully formed piece of proposed legislation which supports our vision of health care reform. We would welcome others that also meet our requirements.

Thank you for your attention.


Richard Ellmyer - Oregon Community Health Care Bill author 

Sam Adams - Portland City Council

Jeff Cogen - Multnomah County Commissioner

Edwars "Chip" Enbody - Hubbard City Council

Darrell Flood - Mayor of Lafayette

Bill Hall - Lincoln County Commissioner

Jim Needham - Mollala City Council

Michelle Ripple - Wilsonville City Council

Mary Schamehorn - Mayor of Bandon

Pete Sorenson - Lane County Commissioner

[Since this letter was published the following have added their support:

John Frohnmayer - Former candidate for US Senate

Tim Grimes - Staton City Council

David P. Trott - Mayor City of Umatilla

Bill Dwyer - Lane County Commissioner

Dan K. Cummings - Ontario City Council President]

C - The Doctors' Revolt

Doctors, the traditional advocates for the medical status quo, are increasingly in favor of major reforms to the U.S. health-care system.

ROGER BYBEE | July 1, 2008


Physicians like heart surgeon Dr. Dudley Johnson, a renowned pioneer in open-heart surgery, have concluded that only a single-payer system can restore patient care rather than profit as the core of the health-care system.

A poll published recently in the Annals of Health Research shows that 59 percent of U.S. doctors support a "single payer" plan that essentially eliminates the central role of private insurers.

Increasingly, doctors seem to be showing support for a single-payer system that would essentially eliminate for-profit insurers and curb the power of big provider chains. 

A remarkable 64 percent of the Minnesota doctors surveyed in 2006 expressed support for a Canadian-style single-payer system that would drive insurers from their commanding role in the health system, reported Minnesota Medicine. The Minnesota poll aligned closely with a Massachusetts survey of doctors in 2004, which reflected 61 percent backing for single-payer, according to the Archives of Internal Medicine. Doctors' views seem to be coming into closer alignment with those of the general public, of which 67 percent explicitly support a system like Canada's or Britain's.

Where only 18 percent of AMA members favored single-payer reform in 1992, the figure had soared to 42 percent by 2004.

Single-payer proved more popular than more modest measures like public programs to cover the uninsured, an individual mandate to purchase insurance, or an employer mandate, according to the AMA's 2004 Advocacy Agenda Setting Survey. Among some subgroups of the AMA, support for single-payer was even stronger, reaching 58 percent among psychiatrists. (Pediatric cardiologists showed a 70 percent level of support for single-payer in a 2003 poll of physicians published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.)

Members of the American College of Physicians -- the nation's second-largest doctors' organization with 124,000 internal-medicine physicians and related specialists -- voted in December 2007 to endorse the single-payer idea.

Ironically, the commanding role of for-profit insurers and other corporate players has produced all the dire effects that doctors were warned about as the products of "socialized medicine," delivered instead by a system that generates immense profits. "When doctors were worried about the government looking over their shoulder, now they actually have insurers second-guessing everything we do," says Dr. Deborah Richter, past president of Physicians for a National Health Program.

Doctors' perceptions of the for-profit insurance industry -- which ranks about as low as Big Tobacco in the general public's eyes -- have declined as premiums soar, bureaucratic problems multiply, and the ranks of the uninsured grow.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has noted, "Between 2000 and 2005, the number of Americans with private health insurance coverage fell by 1 percent. But over the same period, employment at health insurance companies rose a remarkable 32 percent. What are all those extra employees doing? ... They are working harder than ever at identifying people who really need medical care, and ensuring that they don't get it."


Senate Bill 329 Which, according to Representative Mitch Greenlick, will cost an additional Billion dollars in taxes and relies on the failed private health insurance industry model assuring continued unsustainable escalation of public institutional health insurance contributions. The complexity of this bill will assure that health care professionals will be spending even more time with paperwork than patients.

Excerpt from John Frohnmayer's statement on health care policy in Oregon during his recent campaign for US Senator. (John Frohnmayer is the former head of the National Endowment For The Arts, an attorney with experience in health care litigation and a university professor.)

Now let’s look at the state of Oregon and the work of the 2007 legislature. Its members, led by Jeff Merkley, passed Senate Bill 329. It again uses the discredited, inefficient, and expensive private insurance model. If they had bothered to fund it, it would cost Oregon taxpayers one billion dollars. It is so complex, it requires an accountant, an actuary, and a seer to understand what is intended. 

But what is most disturbing about Senate Bill 329 is that while it purports to embrace public input, Speaker Merkley failed even to respond to a letter from elected officials representing over a million Oregonians requesting that the legislature consider the Oregon Community Health Care Bill that is essentially a single payer system on the state level. That March 12, 2007 letter is available for your perusal (See #2 above). Speaker Merkley did not favor these Oregon leaders with a reply, nor did the legislature consider this sensible approach.

What are the problems with Senate Bill 329 beyond its complexity and vagueness? First, we can’t control the cost of private insurance. I support union efforts to cover workers, and yet the cost of private health insurance has so skyrocketed that Multnomah County pays as much as $1,282 per month to many of its employees. We taxpayers can’t afford this, the Counties can’t afford it, and the workers certainly can’t shoulder those costs themselves. The result is more and more employers, both public and private are opting out of insurance. Senate Bill 329 will not fix this.

Senate Bill 329, with its private health insurance model, will not encourage preventive care that we need to promote healthy lives, and pre-existing conditions are left to be negotiated, so thousands can be denied.

We must demand that the Oregon legislature respond to its citizens‘ concerns. Here’s what I implore the Oregon legislature to do:  First, consider the recommendations of the Oregon Community Health Care Plan (the letter that Speaker Merkley refused to acknowledge). It is not based on a private health insurance model - the state would be the administrator; it emphasizes preventive care, it would save all public institutions and government employers 20% per year in premiums; it would provide uniform benefits for both public employees and private citizens, with no pre-existing exclusions. The legislature has an obligation to pursue the best, most efficient model for all Oregonians.


Eight Years of Madoffs By FRANK RICH Published: January 10, 2009


To make the policy decisions ahead of us in the economic meltdown, we must know what went wrong along the way in the executive and legislative branches alike... As the financial historian Ron Chernow wrote in the Times last week, we could desperately use a Ferdinand Pecora, the investigator who illuminated the history of the 1929 meltdown in Senate hearings on the eve of the New Deal. The terrain to be mined would include not just the usual Wall Street suspects and their Congressional and regulatory enablers but also the Department of Housing and Urban Development, a strangely neglected ground zero in the foreclosure meltdown. The department’s secretary, Alphonso Jackson, resigned in March amid still-unresolved investigations over whether he enriched himself and friends with government contracts. [HAP receives the bulk of its taxpayer funding from HUD. HAP claims that only HUD need know what it is up to NOT elected officials, voters and certainly not taxpayers.]