Salem , OR—Governor Kate Brown today announced a new website – 95percentoregon.com
– to provide Oregonians information about the impact the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has had on families and communities across the state.
“Good health is the starting place for thriving families and communities,” Governor Brown said. “The Affordable Care Act helped nearly half a million Oregonians gain health coverage, strengthened Oregon's health care system, and added jobs into our economy. While there's room to improve the ACA, we want to move forward, not backward, in providing Oregonians good health care and the peace of mind that health care coverage brings.”
Since the Affordable Care Act took effect, 95 percent of all Oregonians now have health care coverage. Oregon's uninsured rate has dropped from 17 percent to 5 percent. Now Congress is debating proposals to repeal the law, as well as transform Medicaid. As the debate unfolds, the Governor launched the website initiative to provide accurate information and personal stories about the impact the ACA has had on families and communities across the state.
The site, which includes information in English and Spanish from the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Consumer and Business Services, is intended to provide community members and media with authoritative data to use as they participate in the ongoing Congressional push to make sweeping changes to the ACA and Medicaid coverage. The site includes:
• Facts and statistics about health coverage (by county and congressional district), consumer protections and economic effects in Oregon that resulted from the ACA.
• Stories from people throughout Oregon who share the impact health coverage has made in their lives.
• Policy recommendations from state officials in response to questions from Congressional leaders.
Facts about the impact of the Affordable Care Act in Oregon
The website includes facts about the far-reaching effects the ACA has had on communities across Oregon, including:
• Coverage: More than one million Oregonians have coverage through the Marketplace or the Oregon Health Plan (which was expanded through the ACA). Jefferson, Josephine, and Malheur counties have the highest levels of ACA-related coverage, with nearly 4 in 10 residents covered through the Marketplace or the Oregon Health Plan (OHP).
• Under the ACA, fewer Oregonians say that health care is a major reason they need food assistance: The Oregon Food Bank reports the number of people who cited “health care” as a top reason for seeking food assistance dropped in half between 2012 and 2015, following passage of the ACA.
• ACA protects Oregonians with pre-existing conditions: The ACA protects more than 1.6 million Oregonians who have existing medical conditions from being denied coverage or charged higher premiums by insurers.
• ACA reduces uncompensated care: The ACA's coverage expansion saved Oregon hospitals more than $500 million in uncompensated care costs between 2013 and 2015.
• Jobs grow following ACA: Oregon added 23,300 new health care jobs from 2013 to 2016. The nonprofit Economic Policy Institute estimates Oregon would lose a total of 42,000 jobs if the ACA is repealed.
• ACA funds public health: In 2016, Oregon received more than $10 million in federal funds through the ACA for immunization, teen suicide prevention, and other vital public health services. ACA repeal puts these programs at risk.
• Support for home and community-based services: The ACA provides enhanced federal funding to support home- and community-based long-term care services in lieu of institutional care.
Stories of Oregonians who gained coverage under the ACA
The website features a “story map” that shows stories of people and families from all parts of the state who have described the difference having health coverage has made on their lives. Here are three:
• Mel and Kayla (near Lincoln City): Mel is a 90-year-old military veteran who is mostly blind and requires recurring eye surgeries. He recently lost his home to a fire and has severe foot pain. Kayla is Mel's home visiting provider and checks in on him regularly to ensure that he has what he needs. Kayla is a single mother of four who struggles with severe bipolar disorder. “The Oregon Health Plan is lifesaving for many of us in rural Oregon.”
• Medical provider from La Pine: “A young single mom of two girls came into my office and was able to qualify for OHP because of the income expansion. She had just found out she was diagnosed with cancer for the second time and needed treatment right away. … Not only was her health taking a turn for the worst, but she was going to lose time from work, which was affecting her housing. Not having to worry about paying medical bills was a big relief for her and her children.”
• Diane, a chiropractor in Portland: As a business owner, Diane paid for insurance for her employees over her entire career. But during tough times later, she found herself without coverage. It was before the Affordable Care Act, and pre-existing conditions meant insurance companies would not sell her a health plan – she was uninsurable. Once the ACA passed, she bought a plan through the Marketplace. She worries that a repeal of the law would make her uninsurable again. Without insurance, she says, “I could pay for a few doctor's visits perhaps. But what if something went wrong with one of my hip replacements?”
For more information, visit 95percentoregon.com
: Governor Brown's message on the Affordable Care Act.
: Stories from Oregonians who gained coverage under the Affordable Care Act.