Hillsboro, OR —   The most recent attempt by Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may have failed, but efforts continue in Washington, DC to repeal and replace this critical health care program. At the same time, the Oregon Legislature continues to debate a state budget that could dramatically cut the Oregon Health Plan and leave over 335,000 people without health care. Programs like Medicaid and the thousands of Oregonians who rely on the Oregon Health Plan for health care coverage are looking at a future that may not include health care.

On April 20, 2017 the 9th Annual Virginia Garcia Health Care Symposium will bring together experts from organizations around Oregon to discuss issues affecting the health and well-being of women and children in Oregon. The Symposium “Women & Children First” will be held on the waterfront at OHSU’s Collaborative Life Sciences Building and be modeled on a town hall format, providing attendees the opportunity to ask questions to the panel of experts on stage.

“The future of health care for the women and children of Oregon is a critical issue. The current climate around this topic means that organizations like Virginia Garcia must be more vocal as advocates for our patients and for the community,” said Serena Cruz, executive director, Virginia Garcia Foundation. “We are convening this town hall so attendees can ask both elected and health care leaders questions – and get direct answers – about the future of health care for our most vulnerable citizens and learn how they can be engaged.”

The event will begin at 5 p.m. Social hour will be held from 5 to 6 p.m. in the OHSU Atrium where beer, wine and appetizers will be served. The town hall discussion will kick off at 6 p.m. with a welcome from Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici.

“We should be looking for ways to improve – not limit – access to health care,” said Congresswoman Bonamici. “It is my hope that we can work together to overcome our challenges, and I look forward to the symposium and the conversation about how we create a health care system that works for everyone.”

The panel will be moderated by Portland Business Journal staff reporter, Elizabeth Hayes. Included on the panel are:

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Causa – Cristina Marquez, Causa’s Advocacy & Civic Engagement Coordinator

Oregon Latino Health Coalition – Linda Roman, Director of Health Policy & Government Relations

OHSU – Dr. Renee Edwards, Co-Director of the Center for Women’s Health

Planned Parenthood Columbia Willamette – Stacy Cross, CEO

Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center – Monica Arce, VG Women’s Clinic Lead Clinician

Tickets for the event are available now at VirginiaGarcia.org/Women&ChildrenFirst