Over the past several years OHA has been building toward a promise of better health, better care and lower costs.
The goals and strategies in Governor Kitzhaber's recommended budget released today will help us move forward and deliver on that promise. The Governor's budget is built on three main principles:
- Education – put children, families and education first
- Jobs – invest in jobs and innovation
- Costs – lower costs and increase efficiencies
The Healthy People portion of the budget, which includes the Oregon Health Authority, helps meet those principles. The Oregon Health Plan is funded to the level in our agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. And for the first time, the 2013-15 Governor's budget is based on funding the Oregon Health Plan (OHP) at a fixed, predictable rate. This is possible because of the health system transformation under way in every part of the state.
By focusing on what works to bring about better health and better care, Governor Kitzhaber’s budget does the following:
- Lowers the cost of the Oregon Health Plan;
- Eliminates insurance premiums tax;
- Increases access to health care coverage in a transformed delivery system to more than 200,000 low-income Oregonians through the Affordable Care Act;
- Increases community mental health services for children, families and individuals;
- Supports strategic investments in management of chronic disease, aging and disability programs, and developmental disability services; and
- Realigns early learning programs to include child care, health care and pre-school services to ensure all children are ready to learn when they get to kindergarten.
You can read the entire Governor's budget here and also join a webinar at noon today to learn more detail about the Oregon Health Authority budget specifically. To register, click here.
Another important element of the Governor's budget is that he has kept his pledge to end mandatory unpaid furloughs for state workers. I know the pay reductions that came with these furloughs have been a hardship and it has been a challenge maintaining adequate staffing in our facilities that are staffed 24/7. I join you in relief that the furloughs are ending.
As you know, the next step is that state lawmakers will take up the budget when they convene for the 2013 legislative session in February. As we move forward, I will continue to keep you updated.