What it does: The bill would establish the Health System Fund and appropriate money for the Department of Consumer and Business Services to administer the Oregon Reinsurance Program. Assessments on hospitals, providers and insurers would generate resources for the fund. The assess-ments are intended to help close Oregon’s $1.4 billion budget deficit. Medicaid expansion and a lack of federal funding to support it constitute a significant share of the state’s 2017-19 budget gap.
What’s new: The House passed HB 2391 Thursday with a 36-23 vote, picking up one Republican for the required three-fifths vote for tax bills. Still unknown is how the 1.5 percent assessment on insurers might impact school districts. There is speculation the assessment might be passed onto schools through higher premiums in the upcoming biennium. That potential impact is estimated at $23 million.
What’s next: The bill is headed for a vote of the full Senate, expected next week.