Measure 97 Means Health Care Justice

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Just two weeks ago, the Oregon Health Authority cut approximately $100,000 of grant funding for the Cascade AIDS Project’s education and outreach budget for insurance enrollment. That’s bad news for the hundreds of thousands of Oregonians who are struggling to access health care — it is downright dangerous for many Oregonians most in need of healthcare, like the LGBTQ community.

Thankfully, there’s a solution on the horizon: By restoring health care funding and preventing future cuts from being made, Measure 97 can help ensure that every Oregon community has access to the health care they need. Benjamin Gerritz, a Case Manager at Cascade AIDS Project, agrees that Measure 97 is the best solution to help close the health care gap here in Oregon:

Measure 97 is our chance to build a better Oregon. In my work as a Case Manager at Cascade AIDS Project, I have seen firsthand what funding cuts can do to vulnerable populations, like Oregon’s LGBTQ community. Recently, the state cut funding to a program at CAP that helps LGBTQ people choose health plans. These cuts will hurt our ability to connect LGBTQ people with good doctors that understand their needs.

And we weren’t alone. Across Oregon, multiple organizations were cut, too. Cutting funding to these programs will increase barriers to health care, and that will lead to unnecessary emergency room visits, chronic houselessness, and violence. This shouldn’t be happening. We can treat people with dignity and respect, and Measure 97 is how we will fix it.

— Benjamin Gerritz is a Case Manager at Cascade AIDS Project and a member of SEIU 503

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