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Two bills would transform Oregon health care system
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
The big news around the state this week is the road shows that the Ways and Means Committee is holding in places like Bend, Eugene and Ashland. And at PCC Cascade, last Tuesday.
But the biggest news in the Capitol is health care reform.
The House Health Care Committee passed two landmark bills in recent days. If they pass both chambers and are signed into law by the governor, they will transform health care as we know it in Oregon.
House Bill 2009, which passed on Wednesday, would contain health care costs and would streamline Oregon’s health care system. The bill would establish the Oregon Health Authority and Board, which would take over some of the health and health insurance functions that now belong to Department of Human Services and Department of Consumer and Business Services.
House Bill 2116, passed Friday, would expand health insurance coverage to all Oregon children and would increase care for 80,000 uninsured adults. Oregon has an opportunity to leverage up to $1 billion in federal funding to expand access to health care for low-income adults and children. This bill would let the state collect those federal dollars by collecting revenue from hospitals and insurance companies. The program also would increase the reimbursement rates for hospitals that provide uncompensated care (poor people who turn emergency rooms into their primary care provider), so that the hospitals are compensated for the care they give.
Neither bill is a done deal yet. I’ll let you know how they progress. You can read both bills, and chart their progress through committees and both chambers, by clicking here.