Many of the drivers of hunger are addressed through public policy — from government investment in emergency food assistance to the systems that exclude too many of us from essential services and safety nets.
The issues we advance through the legislature and ballot initiatives have a huge impact on our fight to end hunger — and there’s no one better to name solutions than those of us who have experienced food insecurity first-hand. Our Policy Leadership Council is made up entirely of community leaders from rural, urban and suburban communities across the state who draw on lived and professional expertise to determine the best pathways to address food insecurity at its roots.
With the Council’s leadership, we’re shortening the distance between people who experience food insecurity and the decisions that affect us. And affordable healthcare is among the statewide and local initiatives we’re prioritizing this fall.
We Can’t End Hunger without Affordable Healthcare
Healthcare and hunger are directly connected. A lack of nutritious food can seriously harm our health — and high medical costs force impossible decisions between the food and care we need to thrive.
Studies show that health challenges tied to food insecurity cost upwards of $583 million each year in Oregon alone. On the individual level, this means more than $1,400 in health-related costs annually for people already facing hunger and poverty. What’s more, nearly 200,000 Oregonians report being totally uninsured — and we know that Black, Indigenous, Latine, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities face even greater challenges obtaining health coverage.
The impact on Oregon families is real — and too many of us have faced significant financial challenges due to the rising costs of care. Oregon Health Authority reports that medical debt contributes to at least 60% of bankruptcy filings in our state. Last year, 1 in 3 Oregonians reported that healthcare costs led to skipped medications, canceled doctor’s appointments or other actions that are detrimental to our health. And we know that meals are often the first thing families cut back on when budgets are tight.
Oregon Measure 111: Vote YES to Make Healthcare Affordable for All
No matter where we were born, how much money we make, or the color of our skin, we all deserve access to nutritious food and affordable healthcare. Measure 111 requires the state to make sure everyone in Oregon can access quality care, without having to go into heavy debt or cut back on essentials like food.
Across rural, urban and suburban communities, too many Oregonians struggle to access essentials like food and healthcare. Vote YES on Measure 111 to make affordable healthcare a right in Oregon — and address a key root cause of hunger.
What Measure 111 Does
The measure requires that state leaders act to guarantee that every resident of Oregon has access to affordable, clinically appropriate healthcare. This will be a constitutional requirement, making healthcare access a priority alongside other essential public services.
What Measure 111 Does Not Do
The measure does not specify which policies or funding sources the legislature should pursue — and there is no tax increase included. It only creates a constitutional obligation for state leaders to act to guarantee affordable healthcare.
Hunger on the Ballot
Measure 111 isn’t the only ballot priority that directly affects hunger and poverty in our communities. Legislators pass laws that impact our families’ ability to put food on the table. Governors set budget priorities that determine whether or not our food assistance network has the resources we need. And depending on where you live, you may see initiatives on racial justice, community safety, access to the ballot and more — all tied to food insecurity.
So whether or not you’re able to vote in Oregon, please sign the pledge to address hunger on the ballot this fall. Together we can end hunger at its roots!