Oregon: Bill to create bridge for post-PHE Medicaid disenrollees advances in state House


As I just noted, the end of the official COVID-19 Public Health Emergency, whenever it happens (it's currently scheduled to end as of April 16th but could be extended once again at any point before then) will cause a new problem:

Millions of Americans currently enrolled in Medicaid will likely no longer be legally eligible to remain on the public healthcare program, threatening to cause a massive overload of agencies and potentially leaving many of them stranded without any healthcare coverage at all.

I noted at the end that leadership in certain states are (sadly) gleefully anticipating exactly that outcome, while others are (thankfully) scrambling to try and deal with the fallout. Case in point, Oregon, where Elizabeth Hayes reports in the Portland Business Journal that...

Legislation to help about 300,000 Oregonians on Medicaid to maintain their coverage after the Covid-19 public health emergency ends advanced out of committee on Monday.

The House Committee on Health Care passed House Bill 4035, which will be discussed further in the House Committee on Rules.

The Oregon Health Authority designed the measure to provide a “soft landing” for people who tend to cycle on and off Medicaid during the yearly process to redetermine their eligibility, said Jeremy Vandehey, director of health policy and analytics.

...If HB 4035 becomes law, then Oregon would allow a “bridge plan” for those with household incomes between 138% and 200% of the federal poverty level to remain on Medicaid through their existing coordinated care organization.

The story goes on to say that this would be a temporary solution which would transition to a "permanent solution" funded by ACA subsidies.

I'm not sure I understand how this would differ from the current structure of the ACA (people who earn over 138% FPL are already eligible for heavily-subsidized ACA exchange plans as it is). Perhaps they're talking about enhancing the federal subsidies with additional state funds, or perhaps it just means that they'd set up some sort of auto-enrollment system instead of making the "bridge plan" enrollees jump through the ACA enrollment hoops themselves. I'll have to read the bill itself to understand what they have in mind.

In any event, this could prove to be a pretty big deal if it works out. Stay tuned...