We have been hearing for weeks about the drop in uninsured Oregonians, but the report this week from OHSU tells us definitively: more Oregonians have health insurance today than ever before. Over the past year through an incredible effort by many people, 348,000 people have gained health care coverage and now 95 percent of Oregonians have the security of being insured.
This dramatic increase happened because of the hard work of thousands of people across the state. Just a few examples include:
- Provider clinics where staff helped people fill out applications;
- Community partners who worked with their local populations, particularly people who are hard to reach because of language or geography;
- Staff in DHS field offices who helped direct people to the best place to apply; and
- The “fast-track” process that enabled us to streamline the enrollment process for about 140,000 people.
And OHA and Cover Oregon launched a joint effort to process nearly 340,000 applications during the open enrollment period. Shifts worked day and night, seven days a week. It was an extraordinary effort driven by dedicated leadership and committed staff who rose to the challenge in a difficult time, motivated by one fundamental belief: everyone should have access to health care coverage.
I am deeply proud of everyone at the Oregon Health Authority who worked to make this happen.
We should also be proud that most of the 360,000 new Oregon Health Plan members are entering a new coordinated care health system. Through their local coordinated care organizations, they will have access to team-based and patient-centered care designed to meet the triple aim of better health and better care at a lower cost.
While our work is not yet done, we must take a moment to celebrate this incredible accomplishment. Well done! And thank you again for all you do.