Brown says nearly half million Oregonians could lose health insurance under GOP fed plan

Gov. Kate Brown, D-Oregon, released a state report Thursday outlining the impact of the Republican Party's federal health care proposal on Oregon.

Gov. Kate Brown says nearly half a million Oregonians may lose health insurance by 2026 under the federal health care overhaul proposal, beginning next year with 80,000 people losing coverage.

That could triple the rate of uninsured Oregonians to 15 percent as premiums for older individuals could increase fivefold and roughly 23,000 health workers may lose their jobs.

Brown and state health officials said Thursday most of the 465,000 total coverage losses will occur under the state's Medicaid program, called the Oregon Health Plan, beginning in 2020.

KATU spoke with Brandy Banner, a mother of three including a 2-year-old girl with cystic fibrosis who receives care under the Oregon Health Plan.

"It scares me that me and my family aren't gonna be able to have the things we need, mostly my kids," said Banner. "My kids are my main priority. If I have to go out with medication, that's fine. If my husband has to go without medication he would be OK with that, but our kids are a total different story."

Brown said the American Health Care Act would also fundamentally alter the state program and shift $2.6 billion in total Medicaid costs to Oregon between 2020 and 2023, which will force state health and benefit cutbacks at a time when Oregon's upcoming budget already faces a $1.6 billion-funding crisis.

"I call upon Oregon's congressional delegation to oppose this legislation that will hurt Oregonians from every walk of life and in every corner of our state," Brown said in a statement.

A report Monday by the Congressional Budget Office projects that 14 million people nationwide would lose coverage next year under the House bill dismantling former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. Under the estimate, there would be 24 million more people uninsured by 2026 than under current law.

The GOP legislation, which would eliminate the current mandate that nearly all people in the United States carry insurance or face fines, would use tax credits to help consumers buy health coverage and expand health savings accounts. It would also phase out an expansion of Medicaid and cap that program for the future, end some requirements for health plans under Obama's law, and repeal several taxes.

You can read the state's entire report here.

KATU repeatedly reached out to Oregon's Republican Party for its response to Brown's planned news conference starting early Thursday afternoon. A KATU reporter spoke with state GOP staff members by phone but they did not immediately issue a formal response.

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