Gayle Evans, Unitus Community Credit Union

In recognition of the unprecedented health care crisis our nation and world has faced in recent months, OBI encourages health care-related legislation during the 2021 legislative session that both ensures stable access to high-quality health care for Oregonians and reduces the total cost of care.

All businesses, including hospitals, insurers, drug manufacturers, and other providers, are severely financially burdened by the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, and have worked tirelessly to provide coverage to employees and community members during these extremely challenging times.

Policy principles will include:

Addressing Disparities in Health Care

Support legislative efforts to evaluate and address disparities across the health care system. OBI recognizes that all Oregonians are not served equally in our state health care system. The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted communities of color disproportionately, and long before that, health outcomes between racial groups has been inequitable.

Access and Quality of Health Care

Promote efforts to contain health care costs and improve access to high-quality health care by supporting a health care system that is affordable and improves the overall health of Oregon citizens. Support efforts to address social determinants of health and improve health equity. Promote efforts to reduce medical errors and expand the use of Oregon’s Early Discussion and Resolution program. Support legislation that evaluates the ongoing effectiveness of expanded telehealth and scope-of-practice policies that proved to be effective during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cost of Care and Shift to Employers

Support policies and initiatives that address health care coverage of the underinsured and uninsured without penalizing or shifting costs to employers. Protect ERISA provisions for self-insured plans; defend and preserve employer health plans against efforts to tax premiums or claims. Oppose any efforts that may raise the cost of insurance, prescription drugs or other necessary health care. Carefully evaluate new and existing mandates on employers. Continue to support cost transparency efforts that apply to system-wide healthcare.

Oregon Health Plan (OHP)

As the economic recession continues and Oregonians remain unemployed, OBI recognizes the need to support coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and efforts to ensure the Oregon Health Plan (Medicaid) has adequate, sustainable, broad-based funding. Legislators must acknowledge that OHP funding is tied to the overall health of our economy, and this is not the time to raise additional revenue from businesses struggling to make ends meet. Coordinate with OBI Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee on matters that intersect with health care costs and funding mechanisms.

Advanced Value-Based Payment (VBP) Models

OBI recognizes the growth rate cap established and principles adopted by the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Implementation Committee. As the state moves toward recommending value-based payment models as opposed to fee-for-service models, OBI will advocate for additional public transparency measures that can allow Oregon businesses to accurately benchmark the cost of healthcare with peers across the country. Additionally, it is critical that any requirements around VBP models ensure maximum flexibility, recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach will not work.

Cost Growth Rate Target Enforcement

Track the work of the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Implementation Committee. Any proposed enforcement mechanisms must recognize the challenges health care entities are facing in the current economy. Additionally, it is critical that any enforcement authority be clear to all stakeholders and approved by the Sustainable Health Care Cost Growth Target Implementation Committee. OBI has long supported reducing unnecessary costs and increasing transparency of cost-drivers across the system.

Decrease Tobacco Use in Oregon

Support a comprehensive approach to decreasing the state’s tobacco use, including smoking and chewing tobacco, and vaping/e-cigarette use.

Association Health Plans

Retain, enhance, and expand employer private market options such as Association Health Plans (AHPs) as a viable solution to fulfill and serve the healthcare insurance needs for employers and their workforce.

Policy Principles 2021

These policy principles will guide Oregon Business & Industry (OBI) as we represent our members and the broader Oregon business community throughout the 2021 legislative session.

2021 Legislative Priorities