Christopher David Gray

All-Payer, All-Claims Shows Clear Figures for Medicaid

But the database as presented by Oregon Health Authority shows very little value in regard to the private insurance market. Many health plans don’t give enrollment numbers; data for individual hospitals is not collected; and data identifying health insurers is kept secret.

The public got a peek into the Oregon Health Authority’s all-payer, all-claims database on Tuesday, and it confirmed in detail much of what was already known -- the growth in the Oregon Health Plan has been huge, and the Medicaid expansion has gone a long way in reducing the state’s num

Legislature Steps Up for Seniors to Restore Programs Hurt by Federal Austerity

The Oregon Legislature agreed to spend $2 million to help restore the budgets of crucial safety-net programs such as meals-on-wheels after partisan feuding in Washington, D.C., cut the programs. The Legislature also used a special tax fund to make significant investments in senior mental health and expand Oregon Project Independence to non-seniors with disabilities.

The Oregon Legislature’s emergency budget board restored more than $2 million to senior services that had been cut through the federal government austerity budgeting strategy known as sequestration when it met last week..

Oregon Starts Efforts to Hold Insurers More Responsible for Costs

Remarks by leading Democrats, including Sen. Alan Bates and Gov. Kitzhaber, give credence to the new set of tools that Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali plans to implement in the health insurance rate approval process for the individual and small business markets.

Insurance Commissioner Laura Cali briefed legislators Thursday, promising a few improvements to tack onto Oregon’s already robust health insurance rate approval process for the individual and small business markets, and offering a window into the state’s goals for holding down the cost of medicin

Kitzhaber Signs Homecare Worker Law, Opening Registry to Private Payment

SB 1542 was pushed by SEIU and senior advocates, giving middle-class seniors a new option, in addition to private home care agencies, to help them stay in their homes while meeting the needs of daily living. The state homecare workers, previously available only for Medicaid clients, will soon be open for all.

Gov. John Kitzhaber officially signed Senate Bill 1542 into law Thursday, creating a new option for middle-class seniors striving to stay in their homes -- hiring a homecare worker off the state’s registry.

Portland CCOs Not Ready to Manage Ride Service Due to HIPAA Concerns

The state has lacked an official privacy policy to govern people who give rides to Medicaid clients, creating a potential liability nightmare. As a result, the Portland-area CCOs will not be ready to take over responsibility for non-emergency transportation services, although others, including Salem, are moving ahead in July.

The transfer of responsibilities for the Medicaid population from the state to coordinated care organizations has hit a snag.

Merkley Pushes for Potatoes in WIC Program Over Nutritionists’ Concerns

U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley
The Senate Appropriations Committee has voted to require that the WIC program add potatoes to its vegetable package. The vote overrules scientific studies that show poor women and children already eat more potatoes than they need but not enough fruits and other vegetables.

U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley has joined an effort by senators from potato-producing states to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture to add the white potato to the list of approved vegetables for its Women, Infants and Children food voucher program.

Republicans Oust Thompson from Oregon House over Gay Rights, Cover Oregon

Sen. Brian Boquist tells The Lund Report that Thompson’s loss could set up a Democratic victory in the Dallas area seat, and he has filed a complaint against Mike Nearman, who defeated Thompson. In other races, Oregon Nurses Association union representative Rob Nosse won his race in liberal southeast Portland.

The day after a federal judge made Oregon the 18th state where same-sex couples could marry, the rank-and-file members of the Oregon Republican Party turned against one of their own for his support of marriage equality.

PEBB Gets Concessions from Kaiser on Dental Rate Hike

The board also voted to remove retirees and COBRA members from its health engagement module. These members will still be eligible for wellness program, but are relieved from taking the electronic survey.

The Public Employees Benefit Board held the line on some cost increases pushed by Kaiser Permanente, renewing dental coverage with Kaiser with just a 4 percent increase -- down from Kaiser’s original 9.5 percent request. 

Kitzhaber and Richardson Downplay Remarks from Obama Nominee

Comments from U.S. Health & Human Services nominee Sylvia Mathews Burwell meant more negative national press for Cover Oregon, but both leading candidates for the Oregon governor’s office think there’s little new indication that the federal government will make the state repay the $248 million grants it wasted on Cover Oregon before abandoning ship and turning over operations to the federal website, healthcare.gov.

President Obama’s nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius at the head of the U.S.

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