The Oregon state legislature cleared two reform bills that passed its House of Representatives earlier this week, the Portland Oregonian reports. One bill will tax insurers and hospitals up to $500 million over two years to provide "health coverage for 80,000 uninsured children and an additional 35,000 uninsured low-income adults and put the state on a path toward covering all of its more than 600,000 uninsured residents." The state will leverage as much as $1 billion in federal matching funds. "Some of the federal money will be used to pay hospitals what they pay in taxes. Insurers also will get a portion of their tax money back," the Oregonian reports.
The second bill will "create an Oregon Health Authority that will be charged with streamlining state health services and carrying out a variety of initiatives to contain costs and improve quality in the state's health care system" (Graves, 6/11).