Dr. Alan Bates has lived in the Pacific Northwest for most of his life. Dr. Bates was a pre-medical student for two years at Wayne State University when he enlisted in the US Army and served one tour of duty in Vietnam. Upon his return, Dr. Bates completed his bachelor’s degree at Central Washington State University in 1969. After working for four years with Parke Davis & Company, he attended medical school at the Kansas City College of Osteopathic Medicine, interning at Denver General and Rocky Mountain Hospitals in Colorado. Dr. Bates then moved to Southern Oregon, where he has remained in private practice for the last 30 years.
Before entering politics, he was Chief of Medicine at both Rogue Valley Medical Center and Providence Medical Center, and a founding board member of a primary care physicians’ group. He served three terms on the Eagle Point School Board and an appointed term on the Governor’s task force on Quality in Education.
In 1989, Dr. Bates was appointed to the Health Services Commission, which was instrumental in designing and implementing the Oregon Health Plan (OHP). He was re-appointed by Governor Barbara Roberts and again by Governor John Kitzhaber. He chaired the Commission for three years, until resigning to run for public office.
Dr. Bates was first elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 2000. During his first two terms of office, he was instrumental in drafting legislation to revamp OHP, authoring the provider tax legislation to maintain critical funding for OHP patients and bring additional federal dollars to Oregon for Medicaid patients. He also passed legislation to increase funding to Oregon’s Trauma Centers to ensure the viability of Oregon’s lifesaving trauma care system.
In 2004, Dr. Bates was elected to the Oregon State Senate. His Senate colleagues elected him Deputy Majority Leader as a freshman Senator. During the interim he served as chair of the Senate Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability as well as a member of the Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Alternative Energy. Prior to the 2007 Legislative Session, Dr. Bates was elected Senate Majority Whip. He was re-elected to serve as Senate Majority Whip during the 2009 Legislative Session.
Between the 2005 and 2007 sessions, Dr. Bates authored Senate Bill 329, The Healthy Oregon Act, a landmark health care reform bill that created the Oregon Health Fund Board. On June 28, 2007, the Healthy Oregon Act was signed into law by Governor Kulongoski, having passed the Oregon Legislature with broad, bipartisan support. He continues to work with the Oregon Health Fund Board and his colleagues in the Legislature to ensure that the Board’s recommendations to expand health care coverage, lower costs, and improve quality in Oregon are implemented during the 2009 legislative session.
Dr. Bates currently serves as Co-chair of the Ways & Means Subcommittee on Human Services, and as a member of the Joint Ways & Means Committee and the Senate Health Care, Human Services, and Rural Health Policy Committee.