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Plus, New York thanks Oregon and our readers think dispute resolution is a better solution, Oregon hasn't planned for the pandemic, and further details are needed from the Oregon Health Authority

We need a plan to provide universal health care and paid sick leave for Americans in the next coronavirus response bill.

The state of our economy during this pandemic proves the connection between citizen health, the economy and national security. Health care provided by employers doesn't work in a recession or pandemic that forces businesses to close their doors or downsize. Having access to free health care will slow the spread of the virus and prevent a second resurgence.

Universal health care will reduce risk of a future pandemic if Americans can afford to have the health care they need to prevent chronic conditions that increase their susceptibility to pandemic disease. If they have paid sick leave, they will stay at home to recover instead of spreading the virus because they can't afford the lost wages.

I'm concerned about the enormous medical bills COVID-19 survivors who are uninsured or underinsured will be faced with in the aftermath of this pandemic. This will threaten their financial stability and negatively impact their ability to contribute to rebuild the economy as we recover from this crises.

I urge President Trump to include a plan to give Americans the health care and sick leave they deserve, it will contribute to the strength of the country as a whole.

Theresa Jones

Southwest Portland

New York to Oregon: Thank you!

From the people of New York to the people in Oregon:

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for letting us use your ventilators. People's lives will be saved because you care. As soon as we don't need them, they will be returned to you.

Thank you again.

Dianne Linscott

Rochester, New York

Dispute resolution process is better solution

Could health insurance companies get any worse? Not only are they shocking their customers with massive surprise medical bills, they're lobbying Congress so that they — and they alone — can set the reimbursement rates they pay to health care providers.

This "race to the bottom" that is the current big insurance company standard approach to provider pay cannot stand. Not only do they pay badly now, they continue to pay less and less.

If insurance companies can heap massive debts onto patients and low-ball the professionals providing care, where is all the money going? Straight to their healthy bottom lines as record-setting profits. Meanwhile hospitals and doctors are pushed to the financial breaking point and patients stare down bankruptcy. Is this really how it's supposed to work?

Congress can reset the balance of power between patients, providers and insurance companies. They should prioritize patients, taking them out of billing disputes. Patients don't need the mental and emotional trauma of surprise medical bills after experiencing physical trauma or life-threatening medical conditions.

A real solution is within the reach of Congress: independent dispute resolution. It's already working in states from New York to Texas. It allows hospitals, doctors and insurance companies to use independent arbitration to settle billing disputes, while patients are held harmless.

This is a real solution to surprise medical bills. We can't give big insurance any more power. We already know how they'll use it.

Ross McCallum

Southeast Portland

Oregon hasn't planned for pandemic

When is the media going to start calling out our local government for its inept leadership is the current crisis?

All Gov. Kate Brown does is complain about the feds. Did Oregon have any kind of plan? They say over and over again we were prepared for the big one? Evidently not! For God's sake, two weeks into the lockdown Clackamas County Fire Department is begging for masks?

My partner works for the Department of Homeland Security. Her co-workers have been asking for hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and protocols for people waking into her office. So far, they have received nothing. Those co-workers who are allowed to work at home have to use their own supplies with no reimbursement.

Is the governor going to drop her obsession with (the corporate income tax passed by the 2019 Legislature to benefit public schools)? Or just hammer the working stiff sof Oregon even more?

Gary Parker

Southeast Portland

Oregon Association of Acupuncturists

Further details needed from Health Authority

The Oregon Health Authority now is releasing confirmed cases by age group, which produces an interesting chart, with wide age dispersal. The hospitalization cases are not yet broken down by age group; it would help tremendously if we could see that and both could help convince young people of the need to sequester.

I also would like to see a breakdown by age group in Washington County, since the county is an epicenter of the outbreak in Oregon. Please keep pushing on OHA to release more demographic data. I know reporters succeeded in getting hospital data/demographics released (numbers/sex at least, now). I'm not the only data geek out here!

Sue Bliss


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