Chris Gray

Buehler and Steiner Hayward Want Additional Access to Birth Control

The House Health Committee is considering legislation that would allow pharmacists to dispense additional types of contraception without a doctor’s note, as well as a bill that will require the Oregon Health Plan to set up billing codes to allow hospitals to be paid for inserting IUDs after mothers have given birth.

The Legislature’s two physicians are backing legislation that would further increase access to birth control, pushing Oregon further to the forefront of women’s reproductive healthcare.

Republican Health Bill Could Cause 23,000 to Lose Healthcare Jobs

The American Healthcare Act, also known as Trumpcare or Ryancare, could leave rural hospitals in the lurch, causing them to hemorrhage money, as they did before the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Eighteen of these hospitals are in the district of Rep. Greg Walden, a chief supporter of the Obamacare replacement.

The state of Oregon projects that about 23,000 Oregonians in the healthcare industry could lose their jobs as result of the Republican healthcare bill, filling a critical hole in the analysis released Monday by the Congressional Budget Office.

Providence Threatens to Leave Oregon Insurance Market Over Bill that Would Ensure Abortion Access

House Bill 3391, the comprehensive reproductive health bill, requires abortion, vasectomies and contraceptive care be covered at no additional out-of-pocket costs to consumers, gives postpartum care to low-income unauthorized immigrants, and adds further clarity to stop insurers from discriminating against transgender individuals.

Providence Health Plan has threatened to pull out of the state health insurance market if they are forced to cover abortion services, citing First Amendment rights in an effort to block a bill that requires coverage of abortion and other reproductive health services with no additional cost-sharin

State Wants Hospitals to Report Better ER Data, but Hospitals Resist Mandate

The hospital association argues for voluntary ER data reporting, seeking to avoid a new mandate or fees. But the state says the best way to ensure hospitals report this data -- and to help identify the misuse of emergency rooms for mental patients -- would be a statute.

The Oregon Health Authority wants Oregon hospitals to step up their data reporting to include information on emergency department visits, but the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems is fighting the legislation.

Steiner Hayward Sponsors Senate Bill to Regulate Drug Prices

As Portland Democratic Rep. Rob Nosse tries to get a comprehensive prescription drug price reform bill through the House, his counterpart in the Senate has tried a more piecemeal approach, requiring more transparency in the price of drugs and giving DCBS the ability to regulate the price and prevent steep price increases.

Sen. Elizabeth Steiner Hayward, D-Portland, has introduced two of her own pharmaceutical price reform bills into the Senate, keeping pressure on the Legislature to do something about the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs in case similar legislation falters in the House.

Wheeler Scolds Congress for Threat to Behavioral Healthcare Funds

The Portland mayor inherited a city grappling with a severe homeless problem, as people with mental health and drug and alcohol issues have been forced onto the streets. The Medicaid expansion has provided resources for local CCOs to help these people, but their funding would be decimated under a Republican proposal in Congress.

An animated Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler added his voice to the chorus of Oregon Democrats who are appalled by the Congressional Republican healthcare plan, arguing that attempts to slash funding for Medicaid would devastate local organizations that use federal funding to provide behavioral health

Transgender Rights and Nurse Vasectomy Bills Head to House Floor

Both bills were crafted by Rep. Rob Nosse, expanding access to vasectomies and reducing a government burden placed on transgender people wishing to have birth certificates that match their identities. Two years ago, physician Rep. Knute Buehler nicked the vasectomy bill, but he could not stop it this time.

The House Health Committee passed two of Rep. Rob Nosse’s bills on Monday -- sending to the floor a bill that would simplify name and gender changes on state vital records for transgender people, and another that permits nurse practitioners to perform vasectomies, improving access to the family-planning procedure.

Pendleton Senator Wants HIV Information Exchange for Prison Guards at Risk

SB 367 allows prison doctors to disclose information about an inmate’s HIV or Hepatitis status if a correctional officer has been exposed to bodily fluids. A separate bill requires health insurers to continue coverage for children booked in juvenile hall.

Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Pendleton, has introduced two bills that are designed to improve public policy at the intersection of healthcare and corrections, allowing the physicians of prison guards to get information about HIV exposure and closing a loophole to require health insurers to cover medical costs for juveniles held on bail.

Greenlick Wants State, CCOs, NAMI to Strike Deal on Psychiatric Meds

Psychiatric medications are carved out of the purview of the CCOs, limiting their ability to fully integrate mental healthcare. The organizations have tried repeatedly to remove this restriction, and this year the state will require them to allow any patient to stay on their preferred medication.

Rep. Mitch Greenlick, D-Portland, has asked the Oregon Health Authority to negotiate with representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness if the state agency wishes to give more power to coordinated care organizations to manage psychiatric drugs.

Democrats, Pharmaceutical Companies Spar over Push to Curb Drug Costs

Portland Democrat Rep. Rob Nosse convened a work group that spent 18 months crafting aggressive, comprehensive legislation that would stop drug companies from excessively raising prices or setting them at rates higher than other rich nations, while also reducing the ability of insurers to pass on the price of drugs to consumers.

Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, introduced his comprehensive drug bill to the House Health Committee on Friday before a packed room of insurance company and pharmaceutical lobbyists in high-priced suits.


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