By Daniel Murphy

Do you have a point you’d like to make or an issue you feel strongly about? Submit a letter to the editor or a guest column.

It’s easier to turn away from a candidate that is despicable than from one that is, at his/her core, a decent human being.

I believe Greg Walden is a decent human being, but I’ll be voting for Jamie McLeod-Skinner this time around.

I worked as a family physician for 20 years in Redmond and continue to do volunteer work there.

Sitting across from patients during those two decades, it was rare to hear people focus on words like conservative or liberal. Nor words like socialism, right-wing, left-wing or which color lives mattered.

What I did hear, daily, was about people’s anxiety about their health, and about the cost of maintaining it, restoring it or negotiating their way through a terminal illness without leaving their families in financial ruin.

What I heard was people refusing tests, because of the cost; refusing prescriptions, for the same reason.

I heard them declining follow-up visits, because even if they had insurance, the whopping deductibles and maximum annual out of pocket expenses where overwhelming.

I listened to their reasons for declining referral to needed specialists.

I saw health decline and needless hospitalizations, for the simple reason that people could not afford what was needed for either their illness or their wellness.

The Affordable Care Act, flaws and all, did provide significant relief for many, and the percentage of people in Oregon without health insurance declining from 17 percent to 5 percent.

In many cases, the ACA made it easier for me to provide adequate care, without pushing patients toward bankruptcy.

But as many Americans have discovered, having health insurance with high deductibles and high maximum annual out of pocket expenses before full coverage kicks in, does not protect them from illness related financial ruin.

A bipartisan effort to improve the ACA could make it a plan that Americans could be well-protected by, and proud of.

Walden repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA, a law that for the first time ever protected Americans from being denied insurance because of pre-existing medical conditions.

Jamie McCleod-Skinner passionately supports the development of an affordable health care plan, available to all Americans.

There are enough challenges in life without worrying about access to quality affordable health care when we need it.

One candidate understands this, the other, not.

One of the candidates for the 2nd Congressional District, Jamie McCleod-Skinner, appears to have heard the concerns that Oregonians expressed to me daily during the last 20 years, and to have well-reasoned solutions in mind.

The other, Greg Walden, worked actively in Washington, D.C., to gut the very parts of the ACA that actually helped his constituents.

Walden’s website says that his highest priority is dealing with the opioid crisis.

A tiny percentage of my patients were at risk from over-prescribed opioids, a HUGE percentage of them were dealing with the unaffordability of their care.

I’m one of those people that buys a car and hangs on to it until the wheels threaten to come off (my car has 215,000 miles on it).

But eventually, I know that it’s time to give up on trying to rescue a well-loved but disintegrating car, and move on to a new model.

Our health care system is beyond tweaking: we need a bold new design that offers quality and affordability.

Only one of the candidates seems to comprehend this: Jamie McLeod-Skinner.

I’m going to vote for her.

— Daniel Murphy lives in Redmond.

21412076