Decision ‘Clears The Runway’ For Oregon Health Care Overhaul

Jun 28, 2012

Oregon health officials say Thursday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act “clears the runway” for big changes to the state’s health care system.

In broad terms, Oregon’s so-called health care “transformation” has two big elements: First, new groups called coordinated care organizations to make patient care more cost effective and second, a new web-based health insurance marketplace called an exchange.

These changes would likely have moved forward in one form or another if the U. S. Supreme Court had overturned the Affordable Care Act. But this decision keeps in place the federal subsidies and tax breaks that support the state health care overhaul.

“And I think my reaction was, 'this is fantastic.’ I think those were the exact words coming out of my mouth,” says Bruce Goldberg, who heads the Oregon Health Authority.

Rocky King, who directs the still-in-development health care exchange was equally exuberant about the ruling.

“We’re pretty excited that that kind of clears the runway, clears some of the clutter for us to really try to put this together for Oregon citizens.”

The decision also preserves federal funding for an expansion of the Oregon Health Plan, which could provide Medicaid for an additional 180,000 low income Oregonians.

On the Web:

Supreme Court opinion:

Oregon Healthy Policy Board:

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