Home For Oregonians

The Facts

Learn more about health care in Oregon from our issue primers.

Quality health care that was once reliable is now being priced way out of reach or possible for millions of Americans. This crisis affects all of us regardless of race, age, or employment status.

Nearly 45 million Americans are uninsured.  That’s over 15 percent of the population.

And that number doesn’t even scratch the surface of the number of Americans who are underinsured in this country.

In Oregon:

  • 566,000 Oregonians are uninsured.
  • 38% of Hispanic people are uninsured.
  • 16% of white people are uninsured.
  • 21% of women are uninsured.
  • Kids up to 185% of the federal poverty level are eligible for health coverage in Oregon.
  • The price of health care for the uninsured increased health insurance premiums for individual private employer coverage by $372 in 2005.  If nothing changes, in 2010, the increase in price will be $544.

Note: Due to the yet to be released revised statistics from the Census Bureau, the sample for the number of uninsured black people and Asian people is too small.

Legislative Session Ends with Great Strides for Health Care- but more work needed.

On June 28 the 74th Legislative Session adjourned Sine Die. The day began with Governor Kulongoski signing SB 329 – the Roadmap to Health Care Reform.

Overall, as health care advocates we thank legislators for passing common sense solutions to our health care crisis, but more must be done to make health care affordable and available to all of us.

“This has been the best health care session in many years,” exclaimed Maribeth Healey, Executive Director of Oregonians for Health Security. “Legislators passed common-sense measures to reduce the cost of prescriptions, stabilize insurance rates for small businesses and begin reforming health care.”

“Yet, we are very disappointed that lawmakers did not restore the state’s commitment to health care for low-income Oregonians by funding the Oregon Health Plan-Standard. That will be up to voters in November when they have the opportunity to finish the job for kids,” continued Healey.

a picture of Oregon health care reform

2007 Legislative Sessions Health Care Accomplishments

Great strides were made in reducing costs and increasing accountability. Voters will have to join with lawmakers to increase access and we’ll all have to work to design a better health care system. While there is much more work to do, the following are some of the health care accomplishments for the 74thLegislative Assembly.

Reducing Costs

Expand the Prescription Drug Purchasing Pool—SB 362B Expanded OPDP to include Oregonians and any private business that would like to participate. Increasing participants in the pool will increase our negotiating power and reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Oregonians.

Allow Collective Insurance Purchasing– SB 426 Creating a statewide collaborative insurance purchasing pool for education employees could reduce health care costs and increase funding for classrooms. Collective purchasing for small businesses would help reduce insurance costs and ensure quality care for small business employees.

Increasing Accountability

Health Insurance Transparency—HB 2213 Consumers have a right to know how much health care services are going to cost them. Under this legislation, Health Plans will be required to provide information about enrollee’s costs for certain services or procedures.

Community Benefit Reporting– HB 3290 The Office of Health Policy and Research will establish a standard system for hospitals in Oregon to record charity care and other community benefits. Once the report is issued, the public will have a way to compare the policies and practices of hospitals.

Increasing Small Employer Pool—HB 2002 By changing the definition of a small employer for insurance purposes from 25 to 50, it creates a simpler regulatory environment and ensures that small businesses protections of a larger pool, especially protection against rate increases based on health experience.

Next Steps: Improving Access- Now in the hands of Oregonians

Affordable Health Care for all of us– SB 329 We must create a health care system that provides access to evidence-based health care services for all of us. Reform must include cost containment and creation of a funding system that is fair, with individuals, employers and government all contributing. With passage of this bill, we now have a roadmap for health reform, but it will take active participation by Oregonians to design the new system.

Healthy Kids Plan– SJR 4 & SB 3 The referral will ensure that all kids in Oregon have access to health care, provides tobacco cessation and prevention programs and funds health care services for 10,000 low-income Oregonians under OHP-Standard