OSPIRG member shares her story at public hearing

From medical debt to delaying care, your stories are the best way to show lawmakers why lowering health care costs is so important.

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Michelle has been struggling with medical debt over the last three years. After two bouts of COVID, mold poisoning, ongoing respiratory problems, and other health conditions that have affected her ability to work, she has spent through her entire savings – twice – and still has medical bills to pay off, along with her regular expenses. “I had dreams of finishing my education and buying a new home. Now I’m 54 and have no retirement…Nobody chooses to go into debt like this,” she shared during Oregon’s Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target public hearing on May 17.

Unfortunately, Michelle’s story is all too common. Individuals across Oregon are struggling with premiums, deductibles, medical bills, prescriptions, and more, trying to keep themselves and their families healthy without breaking the bank. The Cost Growth Target program has found that health care costs are becoming a greater portion of Oregonians’ income, which causes delays in seeking care. At OSPIRG, we’ve heard dozens of stories from families who have chosen to endure pain and other health issues because they were afraid of the cost.

Oregon’s cost growth target is a vital program that looks for ways to slow the rising cost of health care. Michelle took a brave step forward to help us show lawmakers and other state decisionmakers why this is so important to her. You can help, too – share your story with us here!


Maribeth Guarino

High Value Health Care Advocate, PIRG

Maribeth educates lawmakers and the public about problems in health care and pushes for workable solutions. When she's not researching or lobbying, Maribeth likes to read, play games, and paint.

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