February is quickly coming to an end, but the Oregon Legislature still has much to discuss. State lawmakers met in the city of Salem this week to map out their plans for what remains of this month’s legislative session. The topics that will receive their attention in these latter days are education initiatives, construction bonds, logging and use of water, and the state’s plans to build its own health insurance exchange. Notably, Governor John Kitzhaber’s plans to reform the state’s Medicaid program have been cut from the current session.
Though the Governor’s plan to reform the Medicaid program have been shelved, his plans for a health insurance exchange have been met with resounding support from the Legislature. Lawmakers are keen to begin building an exchange in the state in the effort of avoiding federal intervention in 2014. As such, legislators will be discussing their plan for the endeavor and hope to have a scheme in place before the end of the month.
Oregon is one of the few states in which the concept of a health insurance exchange has been met with favor by both political parties. Republicans and Democrats, though both somewhat wary of the Affordable Care act, believe that an exchange could be beneficial for state residents by granting them access to affordable health insurance and lowering the price of policies by ramping up competition amongst the state’s various insurance companies.
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