EUGENE, Ore. -- Governor Kate Brown visited Lane County’s Planned Parenthood in Eugene Tuesday.
She said she wants to encourage Oregonians to raise their voices against the possibility of losing health care coverage. She said those with pre-existing conditions are especially at risk.
Brown said this coverage is being attacked at the federal level, and that it’s a direct attack on the Affordable Care Act. She said because a vote on Capitol Hill failed to dismantle the ACA, it’s now under attack by the courts.
“They are literally siding with people who want to eliminate the guarantee on coverage for pre-existing conditions, so it's very likely to happen, at least in the lower courts,” Brown said.
She said this creates huge problems for people with pre-existing conditions, like Mariah Clark, who has been diagnosed with both an auto-immune disease and endometriosis. This has meant she’s needed a lot of medical care throughout her life.
“For people who don't have that access, I’m worried about them. Even if they're not here in Oregon, they're still my citizens, they're still my countrymen, and they deserve this access just as much as I do,” Clark said.
Brown said the possible changes ahead would jeopardize health care for people like Clark, because insurance companies would likely not want to insure people with pre-existing conditions if they didn't have to.
Clark was just one of the people Brown met on her walk through Planned Parenthood. She and some of the patients and physicians she met spoke about the importance of accessible health care. One of those speakers was former Eugene mayor Kitty Piercy.
“We know how to maintain rights, and we know how to be strong voices for justice and health rights for everyone. So I’m counting on you, and you can count on me,” Piercy said.
Piercy was diagnosed some years ago with breast cancer and said she was lucky to have all the help and care that she needed. Brown said everyone deserves to feel that kind of safety in a time of need.
“It's absolutely unacceptable, and the Affordable Care Act must stay intact, and people who have pre-existing conditions must get coverage,” Brown said.
If federal health care regulations were to change, Oregonians would not be affected due to a state statute that guarantees health care to people with pre-existing conditions.