Readers Respond: Extending Pandemic Healthcare Subsidies
In my years as a nurse-midwife, I have never experienced a health crisis more devastating than the COVID-19 pandemic. Almost every healthcare worker from all over Oregon will tell you the same thing: This pandemic is far from over. Hospital beds fill up as severe cases increase. As we continue our immunization efforts to end the global health crisis, we must ensure that life-saving health coverage remains accessible and affordable for all. This pandemic will last until many more people are fully immunized. We need to learn the lessons of this crisis and prepare for a long-term impact, which means expanding the expanded health coverage subsidies under the American Rescue Plan Act. As Oregon families experience financial hardship exacerbated by the pandemic, the grants have made more than 50,000 Oregonians eligible for essential tax credit relief that has made paying for health insurance easier. If Congress does not extend the expanded grants, these Oregon residents – many of whom live on the fringes – could lose access to affordable, quality health care. Senator Ron Wyden’s leadership in Washington has been invaluable over the past 18 months. I urge him to continue to advocate for congressional action to extend or make permanent the expanded grants this year. Families in Oregon need help.
Judith A. Fardig, Portland