Monthly Archives: March 2010

What health care reform means to Oregonians

By Sen. Alan Bates and Rep. Mitch Greenlick

The state already has taken steps to expand health coverage, and that puts Oregon at a significant advantage

This week, health insurance reform became law in the United States. This monumental legislation will benefit millions of Americans, and begins to reform our national health care system.

In anticipation of this, the Oregon Legislature passed HB 2009, guided by Sen. Alan Bates and Rep. Mitch Greenlick. Now, Oregon is in a position to realize significant additional benefits, including cost savings in our state health care system. We’d like to offer a primer on the status of health care reform in Oregon, and how the provisions of the federal legislation intersect to benefit Oregonians immediately.

These reforms expand health insurance coverage, improve the quality of health care and begin to rein in out-of-control costs in the years ahead. All Oregonians will benefit from insurance reforms that take effect over the next six months:

* There can be no lifetime limit on benefits.
* Insurers cannot rescind coverage for those already enrolled in a plan except in cases of fraud.
* Many preventive services and immunizations will be covered.
* Unmarried children can remain on their parents’ plans until age 26 even if they are not students.
* Children cannot be denied coverage on employment-based plans for pre-existing conditions.
* A Medicaid option will allow individuals with disabilities to receive home and community-based services.
* A $250 rebate will be available for the seniors in the Medicare drug coverage “donut hole” who pay for drugs out of pocket.
* Medicare preventive care, such as cancer screening, will be free of co-payments and deductibles.

Thanks to Oregon’s congressional delegation, especially Rep. Peter DeFazio, Oregon’s senior citizens will receive improved access to health care because Oregon’s Medicare reimbursement rate will be higher.

It is a little-known fact that a 40-year-old payment formula set reimbursement rates for Oregon doctors and hospitals well below the national average. As a result, some providers stopped accepting Medicare patients. (Medicare pays three and a half times less to doctors in Oregon than it does to doctors in other states, placing Oregon’s rates near the lowest in the nation at 48th place.) Because Oregon’s physicians will no longer be expected to treat Medicare patients at less than their cost, Oregon seniors will keep their doctors.

In addition, Oregon small businesses are immediately eligible for tax credits up to 35 percent of premiums when the employer pays at least 50 percent of the premium cost, and these tax credits increase to 50 percent over time. This will make health insurance more affordable for the employers who choose to offer it and for the employees who need it.

Furthermore, the federal legislation establishes health insurance exchanges in the states for people and small businesses that don’t have group coverage to shop and compare prices and policies, and provides federal grant funds for states to plan and implement those exchanges. However, Oregon’s HB 2009 had already shaped the Oregon Health Authority to integrate state purchasing of health services, state health policy and health insurance planning, policy and function — including an insurance exchange in Oregon. Since that work began last July, Oregon meets or exceeds the eligibility requirements and can immediately apply for grants to offset those costs.

Because the national legislation permits the U.S. government to contract with states that operate a high-risk pool to guarantee coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, Oregon is also eligible to apply for some of the $5 billion in federal funds set aside for this purpose. The Oregon Medical Insurance Pool has been up and running since 1990, and is often cited as a national model.

The federal law also provides various incentives for states that design systems to reward hospitals for improved outcomes, connect physicians to patients by electronic medical records and establish quality standards for health care providers and hospitals. Again, since the Oregon Health Authority has already begun this work, the incentives will serve to accelerate Oregon’s efforts on these reforms. This is one of many ways that Oregon gains recognition as a national leader in health care.

Finally, the federal legislation provides an extra $5 billion in federal Medicaid funds to Oregon over the next 10 years. As a result, two legislative goals are within reach: the expansion of the Oregon Health Plan to more working families, and affordable health care for all Oregonians by the year 2015.

The United States is no longer the only wealthy, industrialized nation that does not ensure that all citizens have health care coverage, and the rewards for Oregonians are substantial.

State Sen. Alan Bates represents Southern Oregon’s District 3. He is co-chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services and a member of the Joint Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Health Care Committee and the Emergency Board. He is a primary care physician who has been in practice for over 30 years in the Rogue Valley. State Rep. Mitch Greenlick represents Portland’s District 33. He is chairman of the House Health Care Committee and a member of the Business and Labor Subcommittee on Work Force Development. He is a health services researcher and a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

Source: Mail Tribune

Walking the Talk – March 20 Peace Rally in Medford Oregon

Chris Chandler with Paul Benoit… Frankie Hernandez to open

story of my life

Chris Chandler has performed on thousands of stages across the US and Canada as well as for hundreds of organizations seeking social justice.  

He has been called, “America’s best kept secret” by someone really important who would prefer to remain anonymous.

Saturday, March 27, 2010 8 pm

Headwaters Environmental Center
84 Fourth Street
Ashland, OR 97520
phone: 541-482-4459

map this location

Jeff Fecht please call home!!!

Jeffrey Fecht is a 16-year old who ran away from Lithia Springs Boys Home in Ashland Oregon and is still missing.  Jeff is 5’6″ 16-years old. Black hair, Brown Eyes. Scar above right eyebrow, scar on left elbow.

Here is an exclusive interview with Christina Fecht, mother of Jeff Fecht.

8.80 MB

Doris “Granny D” Haddock passes away

Doris Haddock with crownDoris “Granny D” Haddock died peacefully today in her Dublin, New Hampshire family home at 7:18 p.m. Tuesday, March 9, 2010. She was 100 years old. Born in 1910 in Laconia, New Hampshire, she attended Emerson College and lived through two world wars and the Great Depression. She was an activist for her community and for her country, remaining active until the return of chronic respiratory problems four days ago.

She walked across the United States at the age of 90 in the year 2000, in a successful effort to promote the passage of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act. In 2004, Granny D decided to challenge incumbent Senator Judd Gregg for his US Senate seat. She hoped to demonstrate that ordinary people can run for office and win with the support of small donations from individuals. Despite a shortened, grassroots campaign without the benefit of any advertising dollars, Granny D garnered an impressive 34% of the vote. During the past year five years, Granny D has traveled the country speaking about campaign finance reform and working on behalf of legislation for publicly-funded elections in New Hampshire.

In the 1960s, she and her husband, James Haddock, Sr., were instrumental in halting planned nuclear tests that would have destroyed a native fishing village and region in Alaska.

She raised two children, including the late Elizabeth Lawrenz of Washington D.C., and a son, Jim Haddock, who survives her and, with his wife, Libby, was at her side during many of her great adventures, including the final one today. She is also survived by eight grandchildren and 16 great grandchildren.

A public memorial service will be held this summer.

Listen to Granny D read some of her most memorable speeches.

Center-of-the-world-speech.mp3

End-of-walk-speech.mp3

Manchester-speech.mp3

Public-Funding-speech.mp3

Reform-Party-speech.mp3

SXSW-speech.mp3

Read some of Granny D’s speeches.

Fighting Bob

The Aftermath of 9–11

Austin, Texas

Capitol steps

Clarksburg, West Virginia YWCA

Graduation speech to the students of Franklin Pierce College

Address at Little Rock’s First Baptist Church

The Orchard House Speech

Seven Layer Cake

May 24, 2000 Court statement

Click here to view the full speech list