Oregon Legislature Passes Statewide Health Reform Bills
The Oregon state legislature cleared two reform bills that passed its House of Representatives earlier this week, the Portland Oregonian reports. One bill will tax insurers and hospitals up to $500 million over two years to provide "health coverage for 80,000 uninsured children and an additional 35,000 uninsured low-income adults and put the state on a path toward covering all of its more than 600,000 uninsured residents." The state will leverage as much as $1 billion in federal matching funds. "Some of the federal money will be used to pay hospitals what they pay in taxes. Insurers also will get a portion of their tax money back," the Oregonian reports.
The second bill will "create an Oregon Health Authority that will be charged with streamlining state health services and carrying out a variety of initiatives to contain costs and improve quality in the state's health care system" (Graves, 6/11).