OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 18, 2011
Contact: Nick Smith
HOUSE REPUBLICANS: SCHOOL DISTRICTS, EMPLOYEES
DESERVE RELIEF FROM STATE BENEFITS BOARD
SALEM—Republicans on the House Rules Committee today attempted to amend Senate Bill 800 to help Oregon school districts address the rising costs of the state’s Oregon Educators Benefits Board (OEBB). Republicans say OEBB prevents school districts from choosing their own health plans and offering more affordable benefits to their employees.
Democrats, who created OEBB in 2007, rejected the amendment on a party-line vote.
“OEBB has trapped school districts and forced them to accept never-ending rate increases,” said Rep. Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville), a House Rules Committee member. “It’s time the Legislature addressed a program that is hurting the same people it was intended to help.”
House Republicans support allowing school districts to opt-out of OEBB. However, in order to address the issue this session, Rep. Mark Johnson (R-Hood River) has offered a “middle ground” solution that allows legislators, state officials, school districts and union officials to study the program’s true costs and supposed savings. Democrats have refused to allow this solution advance from multiple committees this year.
“It is critical that we provide school districts tools during these difficult times to find efficiencies, especially for employees who have been hurt by OEBB’s rising premiums,” said Rep. Johnson, a school board member in Hood River. “The Task Force on Educator Health Benefits would bring people together to analyze the benefits of OEBB and whether the program has produced real cost savings.”