Gov. Brown Budget Proposal Targets Health, Housing

The governor's budget includes $722 million in revenues -- including raising the tobacco tax and increasing taxes on hospitals and insurers -- to plug the $830 million funding gap in Medicaid and ensure health care has stable funding over the next six years.

Gov. Kate Brown unveiled a $23.6 billion budget proposal Wednesday that plugs holes in state health funding, seeks to gain ground in an ongoing housing crisis, expands access to voting and sets aside millions for challenging the policies of President Donald Trump.

OHSU’s Revenues In Just-Finished Fiscal Year Hit A Record

In 2017-18, the university enjoyed brisk growth in outpatient and emergency department visits and in Medicare and Medicaid patients.

An aging population, increased federal spending on health care for the poor, and a strongly growing regional economy all continue to work to the advantage of Oregon Health & Science University.

Greenlick and Courtney Applaud OHA Budget, But Deal with GOP Elusive

House Speaker Tina Kotek has set up a game of high-stakes chicken, scheduling a vote tomorrow on the Oregon Health Authority budget and a new tax on hospitals and insurers without critical votes. The budget bolsters funding for public health and mental health.

Democratic leaders praised aspects of the Oregon Health Authority budget that was approved by the budget committee on Tuesday but it goes to a floor vote on Thursday still lacking a critical Republican vote in the Oregon House of Representatives.

Oregon Could See Higher Spending if Safety Net Program for Seniors Cut

Gov. Kate Brown has proposed severe cuts to Oregon Project Independence to help close a $1.8 billion budget gap for 2017-2019. But limiting support for the program will only push more seniors into Medicaid, which costs the state more than this program, which provides limited help for seniors wishing to stay at home. Sen. Tim Knopp and Rep. Alissa Keny-Guyer may lead the bipartisan effort to save the program.

Oregon may not gain any savings if it tries to cut back on the popular Oregon Project Independence program, as many seniors in the program could end up routed into more expensive Medicaid programming without it.

Keny-Guyer and Stark Plan to Fight Cuts to Homeless Program

In an ironic move, Gov. Kate Brown recommended the ending of a small but efficient program to draw down federal funds to get homeless, disabled people into housing, and target investments in the social determinants of health -- the stated goal of the Medicaid waiver pending before the federal government.

A bipartisan pair of lawmakers plans to fight to keep a critical program for getting disabled, homeless people into housing after the initiative was defunded in the governor’s proposed budget, released earlier this month.

Independent Report Calls for Massive Child Welfare Overhaul, Increased Spending

A report from Washington state consultant Public Knowledge argues the Oregon Department of Human Services needs increased staffing and foster care programs must be better funded. The report also calls for all children in or entering the system to be given a needs assessment and an overhaul of the protocols and system for reporting child abuse.

An independent consultant says that the Oregon Department of Human Services needs to raise rates for all types of foster care providers and develop an assessment tool to determine children’s needs when they enter the system.

Healthcare Financing Study Bill Clears Difficult Hurdle with $300,000

A study first conceived by Sen. Michael Dembrow in 2013 that passed without funding, has repassed with $300,000 in state money after private donations came up short. Support for the study has a bipartisan history, but as a thorough and objective study comes closer to a reality, the political pressure mounts against it. The state money, however, is enough for the study to move forward.

The Oregon universal healthcare financing study bill cleared the top budget committee after a contentious hearing Monday, with $300,000 attached to design the best way of financing a universal healthcare system in Oregon.

DHS Director Tries to Calm Concerns over Budget as Bates Sounds Alarm

Sen. Alan Bates, the Senate chairman of the budget committee for human services, raised concerns that spending increases for people with disabilities were getting out of control, a point echoed by two Republicans on the Senate floor. But a DHS program director explained that structural changes at the agency were all hitting at once.

Sen. Alan Bates, D-Medford, raised alarm bells that Department of Human Services spending is getting out of hand, and steps may need to be taken in the new budget and future budgets to tighten its belt and ensure that safety-net services are sustainable.

Devlin Says Most New Money in Budget Forecast Already Spoken For

The Oregon Senate’s top budget writer told The Lund Report that much of the $463 million in new revenues for the next budget should go into a reserve fund for 2017-2019, while 40 percent is being dedicated for schools. DHS and OHA will be fully funded, but new programs will need a sustainability check, although savings from CCOs should bolster social services.

The Oregon economic forecast eased pressure on the budgets for health and human services, but other developments, such as the Supreme Court decision striking down public employee pension cuts, should force state lawmakers to be cautious in crafting the 2015-2017 budget, and fall short of the robu


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