Legislature Advances Healthcare for Working Families and Immigrants

Oregon will develop Basic Health Blueprint that could improve access to care for 89,000 working Oregonians, COFA Pacific Islanders and legal permanent residents by 2018.

Salem, Ore. – The Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) and lead advocates from APANO, Oregon Law Center, OLHC, Oregon Center for Public Policy, SEIU, NARAL, CareOregon, OPCA and COFA Alliance applaud the passage of HB 4017B directing the state to create a Basic Health Program Blueprint.  Basic Health is a key opportunity to allow Oregon to meet its health care and equity goals.

Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director of APANO, whose group mobilized hundreds of advocates during the legislative short session, says, “Over 50 community organizations, industry stakeholders and labor groups endorsed HB 4017B, and together we will work closely with the state to create a sound program blueprint that could improve benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs for thousands of modest-income working families, COFA Pacific Islanders and legal permanent residents who are excluded from Medicaid for their first five years.”

Martin Taylor, Director of Public Policy at CareOregon adds, “The advantages of a Basic Health Program are clear. Low-income Oregonians could get more comprehensive health coverage at a much lower cost. And the federal government would pick up most of the tab, since the federal subsidies would largely cover the cost of the program.”

Janet Bauer, a policy analyst with the Oregon Center for Public Policy remarks, “HB 4017B enables the state to explore federal options that could enable better access to affordable health insurance to many Oregonians who are struggling or unable to pay for coverage. One great thing about Basic Health is that it could be operated at little cost to the state.”

Linda Roman, OHEA Policy Director concludes, “While Oregon celebrates expanded healthcare coverage, over 383,000 Oregonians remain uninsured.  A Basic Health Program would build on Oregon’s innovative coordinated care model and address serious gaps in our healthcare system.”  See the OHEA Mend The Gap report to learn more.

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