Health Care Reform Advocacy
Northwest Health Foundation believes that all people should have equal access to a basic level of quality health care However, there are currently around 600,000 unininsured people in Oregon. Nationwide, as many as 22,000 people die each year from lack of access to health insurance. Read a recent report from the Urban Institute here.
Through our Health Reform and Advocacy grants, Northwest Health Foundation supports various efforts and organizations working to increase access to health care, with a focus on increasing grassroots engagement to promote legislatively mandated expansion, as well as to help redesign of the system both within and outside the legislative process.
Success in the 2009 Oregon Legislature
Much of the tireless advocacy work to improve access to health care for thousands of Oregonians during the 2009 Oregon legislative session was conducted by representatives of sixteen organizations funded by the Northwest Health Foundation.
This work helped the Oregon Legislature pass SB 2009 and SB 2116 in 2009, which are expected to help ensure that nearly all Oregon’s children will be icovered and which will extend coverage to an additional 35,000 low-income adults through a reformed model of health care delivery for Oregonians. The following are highlights of the two bills:
House Bill 2116 — Expands coverage:
- One percent tax on insurance premiums to add 80,000 uninsured children to the Oregon Health Plan, achieving insurance coverage for 95% of Oregon children.
- Hospital revenue tax (maximum 5.5 percent on the largest hospitals) to add 35,000 adults to the Oregon Health Plan.
- $2 billion in federal Medicaid matching money over four years to increase Medicaid payments to hospitals to help recover the tax increase.
House Bill 2009 — Restructures health system to contain costs and creates the Oregon Health Authority to assume most state health functions:
- Establishes statewide database of medical claims to compare costs and results.
- Requires more rigorous review of insurance price increases.
- Standardizes and simplifies paperwork.
- Streamlines state health purchasing.
- Formalizes electronic medical records network.
- Establishes state insurance exchange, including a government insurance option.