The Cost of a Lifeline

Oregon was one of the states to embrace the expansion of Medicaid made possible by the Affordable Care Act. For several years in the early 2000’s, there were severe limits on adding new Oregon Health Plan members.

Remember the days of the OHP lottery? Once again, Oregon’s Medicaid program was in the national news, but not in a flattering way. Today, thanks to the Medicaid expansion, Oregon has one of the highest rates of insured residents in the U.S. Our state’s innovative Medicaid program has once again become a source of pride.

The ACA is designed to reduce over time the federal government’s share of Medicaid’s cost. The state’s share of that cost has roughly doubled.

That brings us to today. Every two years, lawmakers meet at the state capitol to create Oregon’s budget, including how to fund Medicaid.

It's never easy. There are so many important services that need funding, like schools and public safety. But we believe Medicaid has become a critically important piece of the budget.

It saves lives. Without health coverage, fewer cancers are detected early. Fewer expectant mothers get regular pre-natal care, putting the child's health at risk. And, more Oregonians will seek treatment for the flu not at their family doctor's office, but in the hospital emergency department. That's not good for the patient and contributes to rising health care costs for everyone. 

Now is the time to ensure that a fully funded Medicaid program is part of the budget now being crafted in Salem. There is support for this, but we can't take that support for granted.

That's why we will be in Salem, fighting for health coverage for Oregonians. 

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