Republican candidate for Oregon Governor Knute Buehler speaks about his plans for health care at press conference in Bend on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Republican candidate for Oregon Governor Knute Buehler speaks about his plans for health care at press conference in Bend on Wednesday, July 18, 2018.

Emily Cureton/OPB

Republican candidate for Gov. Knute Buehler announced campaign promises for health care reform Wednesday. The surgeon spoke at a press conference held in front of his own medical offices in Bend.

He criticized Gov. Kate Brown’s management of the Oregon Health Authority as chaotic and wasteful. He boiled his plan down to a few talking points, and topping the list: protecting Medicaid from federal cuts, expanding mental health care and safeguarding reproductive care.

“Regardless of what happens at the federal level, Oregon will remain a pro-choice state and I’ll continue to do the work that I have done in the past to expand access to contraception,” Buehler said.

He cited his support of a law making birth control available over the counter. But, reproductive rights activists have criticized his record as a state lawmaker because he voted against a law to expand insurance coverage for abortion.

Buehler’s health plan also includes promises to integrate mental health care into state Medicaid delivery, reduce the suicide rate and drive down drug costs by prosecuting leaders of pharmaceutical companies.