Bill Walsh, member of HCAO-RV and the League of Women Voters of Rogue Valley, presented to an audience of nearly 20 Health Care activists a summary of pending health care legislation (including a comparison table of federal bills in an accompanying article).

Bill, in addition to this table of federal legislation, also presented the audience with a summary of measures introduced to the current 2019 session of the Oregon Legislature:

HCAO – RV: STATE LEGISLATION WE’RE FOLLOWING (as of Feb 3, 2019)

LC 1927

Status: LC 1927 (based on SB 1046 in 2017) has been “pre-session” filed by Sens. James Manning and Michael Dembrow. Sen. Manning is the main contact on the bill –– 9 senators, 17 representatives are co-sponsors. Getting more co-sponsors before February 19 is our primary immediate effort.

Explanation: This bill describes how a single-payer health care system could be implemented for the state, but funding details are not yet determined.

MessageOur intent is to have all returning co-sponsors of SB 1046 sign on to the bill and to add more co-sponsors. Ask your legislator to be a co-sponsor – they can talk with Sen. Manning to sign on. For any Democratic legislator, it is worth pointing that the number one legislative action item of the Democratic Party of Oregon is:

As health care is a human right, adopt an equitable, high-quality, comprehensive, universal, publicly-funded healthcare system including general, preventative, and emergency care, plus vision, dental, hearing, prescription drugs, long-term care, substance abuse, hospice care, and mental health services at the state or federal level.

Please send meeting information to legislative@hcao.org – who & when you met, that your legislator is already or will be a sponsor of LC 1927, and if not, reasons they give for not being a sponsor.

SJM 2 – a Joint Memorial urging Congress to pass HR 6097, Rep. Jayapal’s State-Based Universal Health Care Act – This bill is part of our effort to get Congress to expand the section 1332 waiver of the ACA (the “Wyden” waiver) so that it allows states to more readily implement an equitable, affordable, universal health care system. It is among the most useful steps to prepare for better future possibilities.

 Oregon health care expenditure transparency –Sen. Beyer has submitted a concept for a bill in this session. The intent is to make information about health care expenditures in Oregon publicly available.

Universal Primary Care – Rep. Rachel Prusak will introduce a bill to create a task force to design something that could become a universal primary care system. Let your legislator know that we expect this could be a good incremental step towards an equitable and affordable universal system in Oregon. Of all of the incremental steps considered by the UAHW, this was the most positively received and is likely to have the greatest positive effect.

Medicaid buy-in – We expect that Rep. Salinas and perhaps others will introduce a bill relating to a Medicaid buy-in. We will evaluate this bill when available.

Prescription Drug bills, etc. – HCAO is a part of the Oregon Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions OCAP

SB 409 & HB 2689– a bipartisan bill which directs the State Board of Pharmacy to develop a program to allow wholesale importation of prescription drugs. A public hearing on SB 409, with our testimony, occurred on 1/30/19.

HB 2679 – Directs administrator of Oregon Prescription Drug Program to cooperate with State of California in bulk purchase of prescription drugs.

HB 2680 – Authorizes administrator of Oregon Prescription Drug Program to cooperate with Canadian provinces or territories in bulk purchase of prescription drugs

HB 2754, 2755, 2756 – Oregon Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions (OCAP, of which HCAO-Action is a partner) bills relating to substitution of generics & biological products.

HB 2799 – a prescription drug concept that we have endorsed – “Requires carrier to offer, in at least 25 percent of health benefit plans at each level, flat dollar copayments meeting specified criteria. Carriers must report to DCBS about changes to formulary, cost sharing and utilization controls for prescription drugs.”

HB 2693 (telemedicine)– A bipartisan bill which requires health benefit plans to reimburse the cost of covered telemedicine health service provided by health professionals licensed or certified in this state if the same health service is provided in person.

Resources:

Oregon Legislature Information System – https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/

Health Care for All Oregon – https://www.hcao.org/

HCAO Rogue Valley – http://hcao-rv.org/

The Lund Report – https://www.thelundreport.org/ Free, $20/month Premium subscription

Oregon Center for Public Policy – https://www.ocpp.org/

The Universal Access to Healthcare Workgroup (UAHW) has released its final report – see https://tinyurl.com/ybrgxc7o, and a couple of op-eds about the report by Sam Metz https://tinyurl.com/y7zwdpao & https://tinyurl.com/y7th5jvl. The most useful specific suggestion in the report relates to exploring universal primary care