The Oregon House Committee on Health Care on Monday passed two amendments to SB 1562A that will bring accountability and transparency reforms to Cover Oregon, its backers say.
Health Care Committee Chair Mitch Greenlick (D - NW Portland) publicly recognized the good intentions of Rep. Jason Conger's amendments during the February 12th work session on HB 4154 and worked with Bend Republican to secure their passage.
After Monday's hearing, Conger, who is running for the U.S. Senate in the May primary, issued the following remarks.
"As my political hero Winston Churchill once said, 'Never, never, never give up!' After having tried three time to bring these amendments up for discussion, I am proud that our persistence has paid off.
"Throughout this process, colleagues on both sides of the aisle have expressed frustration that they're expected to act on important reforms with incomplete information. The failure of Cover Oregon to give timely and complete information prevented legislative oversight and got us into this mess in the first place.
"We've been told by the exchange that the fee structure isn't enough for the program to be self-sustaining but Oregonians have no idea what fee increases, budgetary obligations, or benefit reforms are necessary moving forward.
"We've been told that over 30,000 Oregonians have enrolled in the new Cover Oregon health care exchange, but we have no actuarial data on the enrollment population. If, as expected, the insurance pool is dominated by high risk applicants what reforms are we going to implement to mitigate the cost of plans sold on the exchange?
"Today, by demanding that the Cover Oregon Executive Director provide us with these answers and by requiring the public release of all independent investigations, we're closer to understanding the full nature of problem. Today, we made a first step in restoring the broken trust with Oregon voters.
"And I want to thank the work of Chair Mitch Greenlick. Working together, we made the outcome better."