July 7, 2021
The White House
81st Legislative Assembly
Oregon's 2021 Legislative Session adjourns: With a flurry of floor votes, Oregon’s 81st Legislative Assembly adjourned sine die on June 26, at 5:37 pm with the House Speaker and Senate President simultaneously tapping their gavels after declaring the 81st Legislative Assembly to be adjourned.
Lawmakers passed the largest state budget in history due to unexpectedly strong revenue projections and billions in federal aid. This allowed legislators to address long-term issues and the fallout from the pandemic by allocating more than $300 million to mental health, $600 million to wildfire recovery and prevention, $760 million on affordable housing initiatives and assistance to renters and landlords, $100 million to expand Medicaid to undocumented adults, and $19 million to increase Medicaid dental rates. OHA’s FY 2021-23 legislatively approved budget (LAB) saw a 12% increase over FY 2019-21 current service level (CSL). The growth is largely driven by inflationary expenses, Oregon Health Plan (OHP) caseload growth, and recommended investments in health equity, behavioral health, and public health. House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) issued a press release that outlines some (by no means all) major investments.
OPCA’s Policy Team tracked 398 or 16% of the 2519 bills introduced during the 159-day session and advocated on a wide variety of issues and bills, including providing testimony at over 25 public hearings. OPCA and community health centers enjoyed success on numerous priorities in the 2021 legislative session, including passing HB 3352 Cover All People, HB 2508 Telehealth Payment Parity, HB 2528 Licensing Dental Therapists, HB 2591 Expanding the School-Based Health Center Program, and HB 2958 Improving Access to PrEP & PEP. Policy Priority Tracker.
Gearing up for a September Special Session: Due to delays from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Legislature was forced to delay the once-a-decade redistricting process until after August 15th. Lawmakers have until the end of September to update districts or else Secretary of State Shemia Fagan will be given the authority to do so. Legislative leaders are already planning a September Special Session to address the subject.
White House announces bipartisan infrastructure deal: President Biden and a bipartisan group of 10 Senators (5 Democrats and 5 Republicans) announced an agreement on a $1.2 trillion package focused on traditional infrastructure. Senate Budget Chairman Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is advocating for a package as high as $6 trillion. CHCs, PCAs, and NACHC continue to push for $10 billion in CHC infrastructure funding to be included in one of these efforts on Capitol Hill.
On June 16, 2021, a U.S. District Court judge concluded that the 340B statute is silent as to the role of contract pharmacies and that Congress has a responsibility to clarify whether contract pharmacies are covered entities (CEs). This decision likely means 340B CEs will need to pursue congressional action to protect pharmacy access for patients. It will take a concerted effort from all of us to make this effort successful. Stay tuned.