Oregon Progressive Party Demands End to $50 Million Windfall to Health Insurers

Demands that Oregon Legislature enact HB 3465 to apply $50 million in accumulated excess premium payments to Medicaid, not to insurance company bank accounts

In 2013 Oregon’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) reinsurance program was set up to offset any abrupt increases in consumer health care premiums during the first three years of the ACA. Under existing law, that fund simply expires on June 30, 2017, but it holds $50 million in excess premiums--money collected from individuals and businesses in premiums but not spent on providing health care. Unless the law is changed, state health officials say they will give the money back to the insurance companies--with no requirement that the insurance companies return any of the money to the individuals and businesses that paid the premiums.

State Rep. Cedric Hayden, R-Cottage Grove, has introduced HB 3465. The other chief sponsors are Knute Buehler (R) and Julie Parrish (R). Brad Witt (D) and three other Republicans are regular sponsors. The Democratic Leadership in the House has not scheduled any hearing or other action on the bill.

HB 3465 provides that the $50 million be applied to Oregon’s Medicaid budget rather than being paid to insurance companies. That is enough to fund care for 9,500 of Oregon’s neediest adults and children.

The Oregon Progressive Party implores the Democratic Leadership--Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney--to immediately move and pass HB 3465 and for Governor Brown to sign the bill.

Health insurance companies and others in the medical field are among the largest contributors of money to candidate campaigns in Oregon, giving over $6 million to Oregon candidates for state or local office in 2016 alone.

See the Eugene Register-Guard editorial in favor of HB 3465.

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