We are excited to announce that we recently opened up registration for the 2022 State of Reform Federal Health Policy Conference. The event is coming up on February 17 and will be fully virtual, allowing attendees from across the country to participate!
This conference will feature conversations on federal health policy, innovations in the state-federal relationship, and learning labs for state-level successes. We’ll release our Topical Agenda for the event next week, but if you already know that you want to join us, you can register here.
State of Reform
1. Q&A: Rep. Nosse discusses 2022 priorities
Rep. Rob Nosse serves as vice chair of the House Interim Committee on Behavioral Health and as co-chair of the Ways & Means Interim Subcommittee on Human Services. In this Q&A, Nosse discusses the priority issues and bills he expects to see in the upcoming legislative session.
Nosse says workforce support, Medicaid redetermination, primary care, and public health will all be important issues in the short session. He also says investments in the behavioral health workforce will be top of mind. “We’re working on bills to try to provide some additional financial resources to behavioral health providers and employers so that we can keep a workforce and attract people. We made a lot of long-term investments, but we don’t have anything short-term to get people paid better in this sector.”
2. Public comment period open for draft 1115 waiver
OHA opened the public comment period for the state’s draft 1115 waiver renewal application last week, signaling the latest step forward in the state’s effort to reform the Oregon Health Plan. The new waiver, which would be in effect from 2022-2027, focuses on improving health equity within Medicaid through proposals like increased flexibility for CCOs to invest in community health, and expanded benefits for American Indian/Alaska Native OHP members so that Tribal-based practices are considered covered services.
The public comment period will run through Jan. 7 and details on comment submission are available here. The feedback will then be used to revise the draft and prepare it for final submission to CMS in February 2022.
3. Lawmakers allocate millions to housing & homelessness in 2nd special session
Monday’s special session saw the passage of several pieces of legislation that aim to extend housing protections, offer relief to those impacted by wildfires and drought, and support affordable housing and homeless supports. SB 891 extends protections for renters who have rental assistance on the way, and SB 5561 includes a $215 million package to provide additional rental assistance and speed up the processing of applications.
SB 5561 also includes a $100 million drought relief package, $18 million to help Afghan refugees in the state find housing, education, and job training, and $1 million each for 14 different cities to address housing insecurity and homelessness. The bill also includes $2 million to create and implement a program aimed at improving public safety and addressing rising youth violence in East Multnomah County.
4. DCBS releases latest drug price transparency report
DCBS released the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Program’s 2021 annual report yesterday, offering a detailed look at prescription drug pricing and price increases that have taken place since the last report was released. During a preview of the report last week, DCBS noted that 193 new high-cost drugs have been reported this year and 71 drugs have reported annual price increases.
The highest price was for a cancer therapy called Abecma, which costs $419,500. The average price increase was +27% for generics and +13% for brand name drugs. The largest reported increase was a 778% jump for a generic drug from Nostrum Labs.
5. Report details health equity data in OR
A recent study from the Commonwealth Fund finds Oregon is one of just six states that rank above average in health care for all measured racial/ethnic groups. Despite these positive rankings, the data makes it clear that disparities still exist.
While Oregon’s health care system ranked above the national average for Latinx/Hispanic people (51st percentile) and AANHPI groups (73rd percentile), they were still significantly lower than the ranking for the white population (77th percentile). The full report includes data on 24 different health indicators with rankings based on health outcomes, health care access, and quality of services.