Governor Kate Brown Leads Multi-State Effort to Protect Health Care Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions

Governor Kate Brown Leads Multi-State Effort to Protect Health Care Coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions


(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown is leading eight other states in a call to the federal government to stop undermining the health care that Americans across the country rely on. Joined by Governors Inslee (Washington), Bullock (Montana), Cooper (North Carolina), Dayton (Minnesota), Hickenlooper (Colorado), Malloy (Connecticut), Northam (Virginia), and Wolf (Pennsylvania), Brown contacted Attorney General Jeff Sessions to share concerns over his refusal to defend coverage of people with pre-existing medical conditions in a lawsuit brought by a district in Texas against the United States.

Oregon, along with 15 other states, is challenging this in court. Governor Brown and her colleagues sent the following letter to Attorney General Sessions:


“As governors committed to protecting healthcare access and equity for our citizens, we are gravely concerned by the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) refusal to defend the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee of health coverage for Americans with pre-existing conditions. The unconscionable decision to abandon defending key elements of the law upends long-held, bipartisan tradition, injects unnecessary uncertainty into our states’ insurance markets, and puts the health of tens of millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions — including as many as 17 million children — at risk. This decision by the DOJ also reverses President Trump’s repeated promise that he would protect people with pre-existing conditions and is yet another example of this Administration’s callous attempts to sabotage the healthcare that our constituents depend on. We strongly urge you to reconsider your decision in Texas v. United States and stand up to protect Americans with pre-existing conditions.
“All families deserve access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage. That’s why the American public has overwhelmingly rejected efforts in Congress to return to a time when people would face higher rates, limited benefits, or denials of coverage simply for having widespread health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, pregnancy, asthma, or cancer. It is no surprise that a wide swath of key healthcare stakeholder groups representing patients, providers, and insurers have issued statements and filed amicus briefs opposing your agency’s decision in this matter and re-affirming the importance of federal protections for pre-existing conditions. When such varied interests speak with one voice, we believe it’s wise to listen.
“We are dedicated to expanding access to affordable care for the citizens of our states, and we will not remain silent as this Administration threatens to rip away healthcare from those who need it most. As state leaders, it is our duty to stand up and take action when federal policy threatens the health and pocketbooks of our constituents. We will take every available measure to stop this dangerous action and to protect our constituents with pre-existing conditions from losing their health coverage. Silence is not an option.
“We proudly stand with the 17 state Attorneys General who are filling the void of DOJ’s leadership on this issue and fighting to ensure these critical protections remain intact. For the millions of families in our states whose lives and health are on the line, we strongly urge your Department to do the same.”

Forwarded from the desk of Rep. David Gomberg: Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan

Forwarded from the desk of Rep. David Gomberg:

On Saturday morning I joined the Beachcomber Days parade in Waldport. As is my practice, I walked the parade route, greeting folks along the sidewalk. On four separate occasions, people stood up and told him how distressed they were that families detained by ICE were being separated and children were being warehoused in Texas.

My sad reply was that the situation was much closer than they imagined. The previous day, I had been informed that 123 detainees were being held here in Oregon at the Federal Correctional Institution in Sheridan. That’s in our very own House District 10.

Saturday afternoon, I joined members of Oregon’s congressional delegation, Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Sen. Ron Wyden, Sen. Jeff Merkley, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer on the grounds of the detention center in Sheridan. (I was the only other elected official there.) They were able to tour the center and meet the detainees. The delegation was emotional and visibly upset. Their report was shocking.

Of the 123 people now in Sheridan, 52 listed India as their home country. Several identified themselves as Sikhs or Christians fleeing religious persecution from the Hindu majority. Other detainees being held in Oregon are men from Pakistan, China, Nepal, Ukraine, Guatemala, and Mexico. Many of the detainees applied for asylum at points of entry along the U.S. border.

The East Indians told the congressional delegation that Hindi and Punjabi translators who came Saturday were the first outsiders they’ve been able to talk to since they were imprisoned weeks ago. The migrants said they are locked up 22 to 23 hours a day, three to a cell. They have no access to legal services, clergy, or religiously appropriate food, and often, cellmates do not speak the same language. Those with families say they have no idea where their wives or children are, and they fear they’ll be deported and separated from them forever.

I understand that many of us have strong and differing opinions on immigration issues. But ripping children away from their families, denying asylum seekers access to a lawyer, and segregating and dividing nationalities so they cannot even communicate with cellmates is cruel, inhumane, and illegal. We’re Oregonians. These things are not acceptable here. I was proud to stand with our Federal delegation in Sheridan on Saturday.

I urge you to view the entire Sheridan press conference at:

A vigil is planned outside the prison on Monday, June 18 at 5:30 p.m. Details about the event are online at:

I finished my day Saturday walking the Sheridan Days parade. Again, people asked about the detainees. One observer told me, “These are illegals and have no rights here.” I replied that this is America and everyone has rights. In this case, some derive from the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration laws, and international treaties. But rights also derive from fundamental concerns of human compassion and decency.

I will stand up for those rights, now and always.


Warm Regards,

Representative David Gomberg
House District 10

email: I phone: 503-986-1410
address: 900 Court St NE, H-371, Salem, OR, 97301

Beneficial bats help control insects in the garden

CORVALLIS, Ore. – With a swish of his cape, Count Dracula ruined the reputation of bats forevermore. Maybe.

In the 120 years since “Dracula” came on the scene and spooked us into believing bats are bad, we’re beginning to get a grasp on the truth: Their voracious appetite for insects turns them into a living pesticide that saves farmers billions of dollars a year and helps rid our backyards of insects like mosquitoes, moths, grasshoppers, flies and beetles. Some species are critically important pollinators for crops ranging from bananas to agave.

Still, there is plenty of false fodder contributing to their scary reputation. Bats aren’t flying mice. In fact, according to Bat Conservation International, they are more closely related to humans. Bats don’t get tangled in your hair. Bats aren’t blind. Of the three species out of 1,300 that feed on blood, only one targets mammals. All of these are limited to Latin America. (If you really want to know, they don’t suck blood, they lap it “like kittens with milk,” BCI says on its website.)

Most importantly, bats are no more likely to get rabies than other mammals. However, in any given year, some bats likely do contract and develop the disease, said Dana Sanchez, wildlife specialist with Oregon State University Extension Service.

People should report and avoid any contact with a bat that acts oddly, such as flying during the day, approaching people or crawling on the ground,” she said “It could be affected by rabies or another disease, such as white-nose syndrome.”

Report sightings to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife or your local health department where there are professionals to advise you on the steps to take.

Bats need little encouragement to hang around. They roost in dead trees, caves and other dark, quiet places, including bat houses. You’ll see them at dusk and can recognize them by their zigzagging flight pattern.

To attract them to your garden and to help with their conservation, construct a bat house or provide other roosting places, said Dan Crannell, an OSU Extension Master Gardener.

“One of the biggest problems that bats are facing right now is loss of habitat,” he said. “We can try to mitigate that with bat houses.”

Other factors threatening bats, Sanchez added, are wind energy development, white-nose syndrome and broad changes to water and foraging resources due to climate change.

Bat boxes resemble large bird houses but are open on the bottom and partitioned into several narrow spaces. For patterns, refer to Extension’s publication called The Wildlife Garden: Create Roosts for Bats in Your Yard.

Of the 15 species of bats in Oregon, the most common are the little brown bat (Myotis lucifugus), long-legged bat (Macrophyllum macrophyllum) and big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus). The Western pipistrelle (Pipistrellus hesperus), the smallest bat in the U.S., weighs in at one-tenth of an ounce and can be found in Eastern Oregon.

Learn more about bats in Extension’s Bats in the Garden and The Wildlife Garden: Little Brown Bats (Myotis lucifugus).

More bat facts

  • Bats are the only mammal capable of true flight.
  • Bats can be found everywhere in the world except some islands and the polar regions.
  • Bats hibernate in winter.
  • The size of bats is quite varied. The bumble bee bat in Asia has a wingspan of only 7 inches, while the giant golden-crowned flying fox in the tropics of Asia, Africa and Europe can have one of up to 6 feet.
  • Some bats are solitary and some live in colonies of 20 million.
  • In addition to insects, some bats feed on fish, frogs, lizards and fruit.
  • Many bats are listed as threatened or endangered.
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