Bill will help Oregonians continue to receive affordable health insurance after Public Health Emergency ends
Washington, DC — United States of Care (USofCare) today applauded the passage of a bill (HB 4035) by the Oregon Legislature which will ensure Oregonians can continue to access affordable health care after the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE) ends. USofCare worked with a diverse coalition of consumers, patients, clinicians, and advocates who supported legislative champions to pass HB 4035.
The bill will aid Oregon residents who are most at risk of losing health insurance after the PHE concludes, which could happen as soon as April 15 — including by creating a “bridge” health care plan. These steps pave the way toward the state pursuing other sustainable approaches to providing health care, including a public health insurance option.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act has allowed people to maintain access to Medicaid since the PHE began in March of 2020. Without action, an estimated 300,000 Oregonians could have immediately been left without coverage when the PHE ends and subsequent eligibility redeterminations begin. HB 4035, carried by Representative Rachel Prusak, will provide the Oregon Health Authority and other state agencies with needed tools and resources to ease the redetermination process and will work to ensure Oregonians don’t lose coverage at the end of the PHE.
“We commend the Oregon Legislature for its commitment to ensuring continuity of coverage and affordable care for all Oregonians — especially the 300,000 residents most at risk of losing coverage when the Public Health Emergency ends,” said Natalie Davis, CEO and co-founder of United States of Care.
The legislation also creates a task force to develop a Bridge Plan. That plan will be focused on some of those most at risk of “churning” between sources of coverage, including people whose incomes are just above the Medicaid eligibility thresholds. Oregon’s unique approach will help an estimated 55,000 Oregonians in this income range — those making between 138-200% of the federal poverty level — who will be able to access affordable, dependable health coverage through the Bridge Plan.
“People shouldn’t be afraid of losing health coverage when they need it most. Thank you to leaders in Oregon for finding solutions to bring people dependable health coverage options that provide certainty and peace of mind. We look forward to working with Oregon as the state continues to pursue long-term solutions that improve everyone’s health care coverage, including toward an affordable and reliable public health insurance option,” continued Davis.
About United States of Care
United States of Care is a nonpartisan organization committed to ensuring that everyone has access to quality, affordable health care.