Statement by OCPP policy analyst Janet Bauer
Today’s Census data shows more Oregonians had health insurance coverage in 2016 than the previous year. Oregon continues making steady progress toward the goal of universal coverage.
In 2016, 93.8 percent of Oregonians had health insurance, up from 93.0 percent in 2015. The increase in coverage follows improvements put in place under the Affordable Care Act since 2013, a time when just 85.3 percent of Oregonians had health insurance.
Oregon has made more progress since 2013 in extending health insurance than all but four other states.
Oregon’s choice in 2013 to expand the Oregon Health Plan under the Affordable Care Act is a primary reason for the good news. Oregon was among the original group of states that expanded Medicaid to more residents who did not get coverage through their work. The expansion began in 2014. As a result of this policy choice, 350,000 Oregonians now have greater health security.
Health insurance for Oregonians who would otherwise lack it means Oregonians are healthier, can get preventive care for conditions like hepatitis and heart disease, and can manage chronic conditions such as diabetes.
State lawmakers’ decision earlier this year to ask the health care industry to contribute toward keeping Oregonians insured helps secure Oregon’s progress. It also allows continuation of the billions in federal funds to Oregon that create private sector health care jobs, which are particularly important to rural areas of the state.