2012 Oregon Legislative Summary

Governor's 2 Health Care Bills Pass

The first short, even-year Legislative Session adjourned on March 2, 2012. While legislators did not meet the self-imposed deadline of February 29th, they did end session by the constitutionally imposed deadline of March 6th. The general buzz about the session was that it was a success with key policies being passed including the governor’s two health care bills and two education reform bills. But the warp speed pace of the 35 days and some difficult budget cuts left little time for public participation and questions about the future of a number of public health related programs. 

2012 Legislative Highlights:

Senate Bill 1580: Sets guidelines for Coordinated Care Organizations (CCOs) of hospitals, clinics and other providers to care for the roughly 600,000 low-income members on the Oregon Health Plan. The change gives doctors and hospitals the responsibility for cutting spending. PASSED

House Bill 4164: Creates the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, hopefully making it more affordable for individuals and small groups to buy coverage. PASSED

House Bill 4165: This early learning bill focuses on integrating and streamlining the nutrition, health care and preschool services children need to be ready for kindergarten and beyond. Programs aimed at getting at-risk children ready for school, such as Head Start, would be consolidated under a single council. PASSED

Senate Bill 1581: Requires K-12 schools and colleges to sign outcome-focused achievement compacts. Creates a "chief education officer" with authority over the university chancellor, the community college system director, the next state school superintendent and a soon-to-be-hired state director of early learning. Disappointingly, the benchmarks lack health related measures at this point. PASSED

House Bill 4128: Creates an insurance mandate to cover necessary procedures for kids born with cleft lip and palate. PASSED

Senate Bill 1503: Senate, did not come to vote in House. Would have required health care workers to receive annual seasonal influenza vaccination or written declaration that worker declines vaccination. DID NOT PASS

House Bill 4172: Creates a tobacco enforcement fund. Provides more money for enforcement “sting” operations to catch people selling tobacco to underage kids. PASSED

House Bill 4015: Requires Oregon Health Authority to develop and maintain lead poisoning prevention clearinghouse on its website. PASSED

Budget Related Information: 

School Based Health Centers: $500,000 of funding was restored to School Based Health Centers (SBHC), which provide health care services to kids at school. This means 50,000 children who utilize Oregon’s 55 certified SBHCs will continue to receive care and sites across 22 counties will continue to be funded.

Tobacco Prevention and Education Program (TPEP): Legislators cut 9% from the Tobacco Use Reduction Account (TURA) that funds TPEP. Legislators diverted the $1.5 million from that account into the state’s general fund. Since the TPEP began in 1996, it’s been effective in helping Oregon achieve significant decreases in tobacco use including declines of 54% in smoking among Oregon’s 8th graders and 46% among 11th graders.

Safety Net Capacity Grant Program: This vital health delivery program for children who are not Medicaid eligible was reduced by 70%. The Safety Net Capacity Grant program was the only funding available for more than 13,000 low income children who are not eligible for Medicaid assistance and who have no other option but the Emergency Room. This cut puts the health of nearly 9,000 Oregon children at risk.

School Food Programs: While $600,000 in unused school breakfast money was diverted to other programs, legislators did reinvest in these school food programs for kids.

Outreach for Children’s Health Care: $6.7 million in outreach dollars was cut for the Healthy Kids program, making it difficult to locate and enroll eligible children in this program, likely reducing the number of children with access to health care.

Additional Resources:

Click here for details on all bills introduced during the 2012 Oregon Legislative Session.

Oregon Health Authority Policies/Laws - Health Care Reform
This spreadsheet was created by OHSU School of Nursing student Heather Robinson to succinctly simplify complex legislation around the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Oregon Health Authority's policies.

Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act
This spreadsheet was created by OHSU School of Nursing student Jennifer Edwards and describes the sub-sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.