SALEM, Ore. (AP) - Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says the Republicans' health care replacement proposal for the Affordable Care Act is shortsighted and moves health care backward.
In a statement, Brown said Tuesday that since the Affordable Care Act took effect, Oregon's uninsured rate has dropped from 17 percent to 5 percent, with 95 percent of Oregonians now insured.
She predicted the Republican plan would reduce Oregonians' access to care and increase costs for women and seniors.
The new GOP plan would repeal the current law's unpopular fines on people who don't carry health insurance. It also would replace income-based subsidies, which the law provides to help millions of Americans pay premiums, with age-based tax credits that may be skimpier for people with low incomes.
The governor's statement:
"The Republicans' proposed health care bill represents a radical change that is shortsighted and moves health care backward, not forward. It would reduce Oregonians' access to care and increase costs for women and seniors. I am especially concerned about how this bill would negatively jeopardize our state’s budget and economy, especially in rural Oregon.
"I urge Congress and the President to not turn their backs on struggling working families, and instead learn from Oregon’s patient-centered, coordinated care model that has improved health outcomes while holding down costs."
Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, 95 percent of all Oregonians now have health care coverage. Oregon’s uninsured rate has dropped from 17 percent to 5 percent. Now Congress is debating proposals to repeal the law, as well as transform Medicaid. As the debate unfolds, the Governor launched the website initiative to provide accurate information and personal stories about the impact the ACA has had on families and communities across the state.
The site, which includes information in English and Spanish from the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Consumer and Business Services, is intended to provide community members and media with authoritative data to use as they participate in the ongoing Congressional push to make sweeping changes to the ACA and Medicaid coverage. The site includes:
- Facts and statistics about health coverage (by county and congressional district), consumer protections and economic effects in Oregon that resulted from the ACA.
- Stories from people throughout Oregon who share the impact health coverage has made in their lives.
- Policy recommendations from state officials in response to questions from Congressional leaders.
Facts about the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Oregon
The website includes facts about the far-reaching effects the ACA has had on communities across Oregon, including:
- Coverage: More than one million Oregonians have coverage through the Marketplace or the Oregon Health Plan (which was expanded through the ACA). Jefferson, Josephine, and Malheur counties have the highest levels of ACA-related coverage, with nearly 4 in 10 residents covered through the Marketplace or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).
- Under the ACA, fewer Oregonians say that health care is a major reason they need food assistance: The Oregon Food Bank reports the number of people who cited “health care” as a top reason for seeking food assistance dropped in half between 2012 and 2015, following passage of the ACA.
- ACA protects Oregonians with pre-existing conditions: The ACA protects more than 1.6 million Oregonians who have existing medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums by insurers.
- ACA reduces uncompensated care: The ACA’s coverage expansion saved Oregon hospitals more than $500 million in uncompensated care costs between 2013 and 2015.
- Jobs grow following ACA: Oregon added 23,300 new health care jobs from 2013 to 2016. The nonprofit Economic Policy Institute estimates Oregon would lose a total of 42,000 jobs if the ACA is repealed.
- ACA funds public health: In 2016, Oregon received more than $10 million in federal funds through the ACA for immunization, teen suicide prevention, and other vital public health services. ACA repeal puts these programs at risk.
- Support for home and community-based services: The ACA provides enhanced federal funding to support home- and community-based long-term care services in lieu of institutional care.