The 2021 Oregon Legislature adjourned on Saturday, June 26, marking the end of this year’s legislative session. This session was marked by bills that expanded coverage through Cover All People, mandated data collection to improve health equity, and made an effort to reduce overall health care costs for women. consumers.
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Senator Lee Beyer, a member of the Senate Health Care Committee, commented on the productivity of the session:
âI think when we step back in a few weeks and review everything that has been done, it will be one of the most productive meetings in the Oregon legislature. We conveyed a lot of things in a lot of different areas and in fact so many things, it was difficult to keep up with them all. “
Cover all people, crossed HB 3352, extends eligibility for Oregon’s health plan to adults who would be eligible for Medicaid without their immigration status. This invoice includes DACA recipients in an attempt to shut down Oregon 6% uninsured rate. Governor Kate Brown said:
âBy providing families with health coverage and giving them access to preventive and primary health care, Cover All People will reduce health care costs in Oregon. On average, states that expand health coverage have outperformed other states in employment growth. Expanding coverage of quality health care is linked to individuals obtaining and maintaining employment, which benefits the economy. Medicare coverage also reduces individual debt, increasing economic activity and productivity.
Oregon’s health plan, after which Cover All People will be modeled, has one of the lowest emergency department visit rates in the country, resulting in better health care and lower costs . The expansion of health care for low-income adults has also been associated with an increase in preventive care for their children.
The program will change Cover all children, which covers all children under the age of 19, regardless of their immigration status, to include their parents and better facilitate the transition from coverage to those no longer covered by Cover All Kids. Cover All People will not apply to anyone who may be eligible for Medicaid, regardless of their immigration status.
Equity was emphasized during this session with bills like HB 3159. This bill requires coordinated care organizations (CCOs) to track data on the race, ethnicity, preferred language, disability status, sexual orientation and gender identity of patients in order to track health care outcomes in different demographic groups.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted inequalities in health care. According to OPB, Latinos make up 13% of Oregonians, but account for 25% of confirmed COVID cases and only 6% of total vaccinations. This bill would allow ACOs to see where these inequities lie, compare their figures to community statistics and adjust their programs and operations to best address the inequities for which they are responsible.
The legislature has also passed bills in an attempt to reduce costs. HB 2081 intends to reduce costs across silos by incentivizing insurers and providers to maintain a constant rate of growth in healthcare costs. The bill establishes a “Accountability mechanism” for those whose cost remains high. The concept of transparency will drive efforts to hold insurers and providers accountable for staying within the cost growth target.
Another bill to help cut costs is HB 2362. This bill will require healthcare providers and hospitals to obtain authorization from the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) before any merger, acquisition, or affiliate operations. The bill will create an advisory board of vendors and community members to determine the usefulness and validity of a merger. This bill hopes to put an end to unnecessary mergers that could lead to monopolies and higher costs for the consumer.
The legislator also adopted RJS 12, which submits a constitutional amendment in the 2022 poll to make healthcare a basic human right. The chief sponsor of the bills, Representative Andrea Salinas, said:
âNo one should have to choose between putting food on the table or going to the doctor when they are sick. I am proud that Oregon continues to recognize that health care is a right, regardless of your income, race, ethnicity, skin color, or place of birth.