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News Release

May 14, 2013

Jared Mason-Gere (503) 986-1204

Jared.masongere@state.or.us

           

House Votes to Renew Hospital and Long Term Care Assessments for Critical Services

SALEM- On a bipartisan vote, the Oregon House of Representatives today passed HB 2216-B to continue existing hospital and long term care assessments to fund critical health care services.  The House voted 54-5, with one excused, to renew programs that will leverage federal funds to devote $2 billion to health care and services for seniors and people with disabilities. The bill is the result of an agreement reached with hospitals and long term care providers at the beginning of the 2013 legislative session.

HB 2216-B continues the existing 4.3% hospital assessment, and adds an additional 1% assessment.  The two steps combined will generate approximately a 2-1 federal match, totaling over $1.6 billion.  Additionally, the Long Term Care Facility Assessment continuation is estimated to garner nearly $400 million for the coming biennium. 

“There is no way to balance our budget without continuing the self-assessments,” said Rep. Peter Buckley (D-Ashland), chair of the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee. “Our action today showed that the House recognizes the importance of renewing these measures to support Oregon businesses and fund services seniors and vulnerable Oregonians rely on.”

The assessments are a critical component of the state budget supported by a broad coalition of hospitals, business associations, advocates for retirees and senior services, health care providers, and retirement communities. The continuation of the assessments will fund critical services while helping to keep thousands of Oregonians in jobs statewide. 

“It is gratifying to see so many House members of varying political stripes come together for this important vote,” said House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland).  “There has been an agreement since early in session, and it’s critical that we keep this bill moving forward quickly so we can balance the budget.”

Both assessments have existed since 2003.  Today’s vote renewed the hospital assessment until 2015 and the long term care assessment through 2020.   The bill now moves to the Senate, where swift action is needed in order to allow budget conversations to move forward.

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