Media Room

REMARKS AS PREPARED

Governor Kate Brown
Health Insurance Marketplace Opening
November 1, 2018


Good morning, I’m Governor Kate Brown.

Thank you, Holden, and thank you, Chiqui, for that kind introduction. And thank you to so many who work all year long to make sure that Oregonians continue to have access to health care.

Thank you to:
• Senators Wyden and Merkley, for speaking up for our state on a federal level.
• Our local and statewide elected officials, who make sure that every community’s needs are heard.
• Marketplace employees, who spend all year making sure that their fellow Oregonians have this time to enroll for the care they rely on day in and day out.

I’m so pleased to be here with all of you today to kick off open enrollment.

Last year, more than 156,000 Oregonians signed up for private health insurance through the Oregon Health Insurance Marketplace.

Almost 75 percent of those 156,000 — 115,000 Oregonians — have qualified for federal tax credits that make premiums significantly more affordable.

On average, Oregonians who bought health insurance coverage through the Marketplace and received subsidies had their premiums reduced by $410 per month. That’s more than 70 percent.

This is part of the reason that 94 percent of adults and all children in Oregon have access to health care.

But we can’t stop there. Especially not now. Because everyone deserves a healthy life.

In the last year alone, the federal government put the lives of children and their families at risk when the Children’s Health Insurance Program was at risk of expiring.

Our loved ones with pre-existing conditions face enormous uncertainty, and our insurance markets face fragmentation from short-term, limited-duration plans.

And, we persistently face the possibility of cost hikes on premiums and care.

It puts Americans across the country in the position of having to choose between rent and insurance, one disaster away from financial ruin.

Which means patients in pain and families under extreme stress.

At a time when our federal government is undermining or even attacking access to health care, it’s up to the states to step up.

Under my leadership, we are speaking out against the federal government.

We are fighting for our vulnerable, including our kids and our loved ones with pre-existing conditions.

We are putting consumer protections into state law as an insurance policy to protect against changes at the federal level.

We are seeking innovative solutions to control insurance costs, and keep the health insurance marketplace in Oregon stable and sustainable.

Because we all need affordable access to health care.

My vision is for an Oregon where we build on our successes, not one where we go backwards. I want to take us from 95 to 99 percent access to health care for adults.

And the marketplace is an important way to get there. Eighty percent of Oregonians who are currently uninsured are eligible for either the Oregon Health Plan or financial assistance through the marketplace.

Eighty percent.

That means more people who can access everything from regular checkups to life-saving treatments.

That’s why from today until December 15 is so important. It’s time to get the word out, and get more folks covered.

And soon, we will hear from the director of the Department of Consumer and Business Services Cameron Smith, who can talk more about all of the ways to get involved this month.

Thank you.