Friday may have been a landmark day in Oregon public policy, not to mention the health of Oregonians, with passage of Senate Bill 329 - the comprehensive health bill. When Governor Ted Kulongoski signs it, as he has said he will, prospects for a whole different health system in the state will start to take form.
Only by steps, and not immediately. First will come appointment of an executive director to oversee the effort, and then a board. In 2009 will come the toughest step - money, to be raised by the Oregon Legislature. All of these steps have the potential to become more contentious than SB 329 was this - and that was, in truth, not nearly as contentious as it might have been.
Still, partly because the first step is so often the most difficult of all, it's entirely possible that Oregonians will look back on June 22, 2007, as an important day.
ADDITIONAL NOTE All that said, by all means check out these comments at Blue Oregon on the evidently impending loss of Senate Bill 27, which apparently will be left hanging at session's end. Just how key is it to the success of 329? Our sense is, considerable but less than some of the commenters indicate. But by all means read for yourself - there's a passionate debate here.