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More than 450,000 Oregonians would lose health coverage under GOP plan

Analysis says additional Medicaid expenses would cost the state $4.6 billion through 2023.


Capital Bureau

Published on March 16, 2017 7:28PM

Last changed on March 16, 2017 8:02PM

SALEM — As many as 465,000 Oregonians would be unable to afford coverage and lose health insurance by 2026 under the U.S. House GOP health care proposal, according to an analysis released by the state Thursday.

And it would cost the state an additional $2.6 billion through 2023 to maintain Medicaid coverage extended to 375,000 Oregonians and subsidized by the federal government under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the state anaylsis says.

The Republican plan, known as the American Health Care Act, would also cost 42,000 jobs, the state says.

“This bill is not about improving health care. This bill is about giving tax breaks to the wealthy,” said Gov. Kate Brown, during a news conference Thursday where she took no questions.

The Governor’s Office did not specifically address an emailed question about whether Brown intends to have Oregon make up the losses from the federal government, if the GOP bill becomes law. However, Brown and her communications director, Chris Pair, said she plans to share the report with federal officials and Congress to “influence their deliberations on the AHCA.”

Most of those who would lose coverage now benefit from the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s Medicaid program.

In addition to losses in Medicaid coverage, state officials expect coverage provided by employers also to decline because the proposal eliminates the tax penalty for employers who don’t provide insurance.

Patrick Allen, director of Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services, said he is concerned some insurers might drop out of the market as a result of the changes. That agency regulates commercial insurance companies and manages the state health insurance marketplace.

“We are certainly concerned about the stability of the market in the face of uncertainty and in the face of changes that are potentially quite destabilizing,” Allen said.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 24 million people nationwide would lose medical coverage under the plan. State agencies based their projections on their enrollment, use and cost statistics to come up with their estimates, said Leslie Clement, director of health policy and analytics at the Oregon Health Authority.

When the plan first released to public last week, the governor said she directed OHA and DCBS to analyze the impact of the proposed law on Oregon. Under the Affordable Care Act, more than 400,000 Oregonians gained health coverage.

“Our report found that for every step of progress that Oregon has made this proposal will take Oregon three steps back,” Brown said.


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