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Budget Woes in Oregon Lead to Action from AARP

AARP Oregon had three goals at the start of the legislative session:

  • Protecting Oregon’s national model of home & community-based services (long term services and supports)
  • Implementing both the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (national health reform) and Oregon’s state health reform of 2009 to attain more affordable, quality and efficient health and care
  • Enacting a state Health Insurance Exchange that can assure affordable, quality and effective health care coverage for individuals and small businesses

How the session turned out:

AARP worked to avoid significant cuts to in-home care. Current funding levels were maintained through 2011. Funding for service hours for in-home clients will be reduced by 5 percent reduction beginning in January 2012.

Funding for Long Term Care Ombudsman was maintained at current funding level and includes an additional .25 full-time equivalent hours for the data coordinator.

The Oregon Integrated and Coordinated Health Care Delivery System (aka Health System Transformation) was established and replaces the managed care system for recipients of medical assistance, including those dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. The Oregon Health Authority will conduct a study and develop legislative and administrative remedies by February 1, 2012, that will contain health care costs while protecting access tservices.

The Oregon Health Insurance Exchange, a public corporation governed by a nine-member board and executive director was established. The exchange will develop a formal business plan that will be presented tthe legislature on or before January 31, 2012.

The Senior Property Tax Deferral Program was changed to provide long-term sustainability of the program. Changes include: recertification every 2 years; requires participants must own and live in the home 5 years or longer; changes interest from 6 percent simple interest to 6 percent compounded interest; and, participants with reverse mortgages are now ineligible for the program. Additional hearings are being scheduled so legislators can listen to concerns about the changes.

AARP’s Driver Safety state coordinator has been appointed to the Department of Transportation work group that will evaluate Oregon’s Medically At-Risk Drivers Program.

AARP Oregon will be watching as these actions are implemented and will be gearing up to protect senior programs when the 2012 session begins in February.

Our thanks to all of our member-advocates and partners for engaging in democracy in action. Sign up as an AARP Oregon advocate.