5 Things Oregon: FMAP drop, Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Cost of care

We are five weeks out from our annual health policy conference. It is the key revenue generator that funds all of our Oregon health policy reporting and analysis throughout the year. So, thanks for your consideration in joining us.

It’ll be our 8th conference in Portland, with a strong line up of some of Oregon’s most influential and impactful thought leaders, policy makers and health care executives. Next week, we release our full list of speakers ahead of the November 12th event, but we highlight a few for you in this month’s newsletter below.



With help from Emily Boerger


1. FMAP drop could create $118m shortfall

On October 1, the new FY 2020 FMAP percentages kicked in, resulting in a rate reduction in 17 states. FMAPs are calculated based on a formula that provides higher reimbursement to states with lower per capita incomes compared to the national average. In Oregon, the FMAP decreased by 1.33 percent – dropping from 62.56% to 61.23%.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Oregon’s Medicaid spending in FY 2018 totaled approximately $8.922 billion. Based off those numbers, a 1.33% FMAP drop would create a shortfall of about $118.7 million that the state would now be responsible for.


2. Video: Sen. Murkowski talks impeachment

While we focus this newsletter on Oregon health policy, sometimes news from other states stands out. And, since Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is sometimes viewed as “the Republican Senator from Oregon and Washington,” and because of her central vote in the ACA repeal debate, I thought I’d flag this.

Last week, US Senator Lisa Murkowski joined State of Reform in Anchorage to talk through her work on health care, her vote on the repeal of the ACA, and her thoughts on the impeachment process underway in the nation’s capital. These were some of the first comments on impeachment that were made by a sitting US senator in a public forum.

“I’m also trying to think to myself ‘If this set of facts were to be in front of me, and the president were President Hillary Clinton instead of President Donald Trump, would I be viewing this in a different way?’  Because if I do, that’s wrong. I shouldn’t view what is right and what is wrong based on the political affiliation of the individual that we are considering.”


3. An important detail about our upcoming conference

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that there are very few venues that can host State of Reform. With our ballroom and breakout sessions, there are only a few options in a town that is already one of the most under-resourced in the country for event space. This year, we are moving back to the Hilton Portland Downtown, which is a great hotel.

It’s also a little small for us at State of Reform, to be honest. We’ve had about 450 folks register to be with us in each of the last two years. We already have 194 folks registered this year. However, we’ll only be able to host about 400 for lunch on November 12th. So, I expect registration to sell out this year, and that we’ll likely have a waiting list. In other words, if you are planning on being with us on November 12th, now is a good time to get signed up..! Don’t wait until the last minute. We simply may not have room.

4.  Taking on health care costs in OR

The cost of health care in Oregon is projected to grow faster than Oregonians’ wages and the state economy. In an effort to address these rising costs, next month the implementation committee for the Health Care Cost Growth Target Program will hold its first meeting. The program was established through SB 889 during the 2019 session with the goal of establishing a benchmark for annual per capita rate of growth for total health care spending in the state.

At our conference on November 12, we will take on the issue of cost in our “Getting our Hands Around the Total Cost of Care” panel. Joining us from OHA is Jeremy Vandehey, Director of Health Policy and Analytics at the agency, and Greg Van Pelt, President of the Oregon Health Leadership Council.

5. Study suggests CCO model reduces preventable hospitalizations

The implementation of the CCO model in 2012 led to a decrease in unscheduled, preventable hospitalizations for Medicaid enrollees, according to a new OSU study. The study evaluated the hospital admissions data of 86,000 female Medicaid enrollees from 2011-2013, and found that preventable hospital admissions in the group declined during that period.

The study suggests that the CCOs’ focus on care integration, primary care, close monitoring of high-risk patients, and provider accountability can serve as a model for other states looking to reduce costly, preventable hospitalizations. The entire study is available here.