The health care community arrives at the 2021 Legislatve Session facing major challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across the state. Hospital finances have been impacted as we preserve capacity for coronavirus patients, and our frontline health care workers have been stretched to the limit. Hospitals continue to participate in a number of work groups and rulemaking efforts and invested considerable resources to pass Measure 108. Now, hospitals and health systems are playing a critical role in vaccine administration.
The health care agenda for the 2021 session should be narrowly focused and limited to issues that concern the immediate health and safety of Oregonians. Hospitals are focused on two goals for the upcoming legislative session: ensuring that caregivers have the tools and resources to effectively respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and fully funding the Oregon Health Plan to maintain access to care for everyone in our state.
The pandemic has highlighted the significant need for the Oregon Health Plan. More than 1.2 million Oregonians are covered by the Oregon Health Plan, an increase of more than 100,000 people since the beginning of the pandemic. In November, voters overwhelmingly supported fully funding the Oregon Health Plan by passing Measure 108. Hospitals and health care systems need continued support to ensure the access these Oregonians need during this challenging time.
Oregon’s health care system needs stability to continue to provide the best possible care for Oregonians during this ongoing pandemic. Except for those changes to public policy that will improve care for patents and ease the regulatory burden on the health care system, the Legislature should hold off on major health care legislaton. We are at a critcal juncture in the pandemic. We need to collectvely ensure a singular focus on pandemic response and vaccine deployment to get to the other side.We will be sending out weekly updates on the 2021 Legislative Session. Watch for them on Fridays during the session. Keep track of important bills: