Policy Update

    Last Update:   February 1, 2023


 Contents

State Government

Federal Update

Advocacy Corner

 


State Government 

Governor’s Recommended Budget heads to the Legislature: In Oregon, the Governor's Recommended Budget (GRB) is the blueprint for the Legislature's process for determining the biennial budget. Governor Tina Kotek released her 466-page recommended budget titled "Mission Focused" this morning, setting that process into motion.

In a press conference, Gov. Kotek discussed her decision-making and values as she underwent this process. The foundation for this budget is keeping the state's reserves bucket at $2 billion and drawing down the $765 million that was set to automatically go into reserves. Gov. Kotek stated it was important for her to include "no new taxes" in the budget, and instead, gear those reserves towards emergent needs

The Governor's top three priorities included housing, behavioral health, and education. Here is a high-level summary of those sections (you can see a longer list in this press release).

Housing & houselessness. Last week, Gov. Kotek unveiled a $130 million houselessness package to the Legislature, which includes funding for shelter beds, rental assistance, and other rehousing initiatives. Leadership has committed to workshopping and passing a housing funding package in the first 60 days of the session. Aside from that package, the GRB also includes:

  • $770 million for general obligation bonds to build affordable housing
  • $172 million to stand up a long-term rent assistance program
  • $24 million for shelter operations, including continuing the pandemic pilot program called Project Turnkey
  • $2.2 million to create a new Housing Production and Accountability Office

Mental health & addiction treatment. This section pulls from the former Speaker's time in the legislature during landmark packages to transform the behavioral health care system. Some highlights include:

  • $279 million for wraparound substance use disorder services
  • $195 million for services supported as a result of the 2021 behavioral health package, including funding Certified Community Behavioral Health Centers and co-occurring disorder treatment
  • $60 million for workforce incentives like loan repayment and scholarships
  • $50 million to increase staffing at the Oregon State Hospital and upgrade facilities
  • $47 million to continue funding the mobile mental health crisis programs like CAHOOTS
  • $20 million to double the Oregon Health Authority's Health Care Provider Incentive Program

Early learning & K-12 education. Gov. Kotek leads off this section with an increase to the State School Fund, bringing it up to $9.9 billion. The following are also included:

  • $100 million for evidence-based and culturally responsive literacy efforts
  • $100 million to upgrade early learning facility spaces
  • $62 million through an increase in wage rates to bring the early learning workforce up to a living wage
  • $41 million to increase rates and caseloads for Employment-Related Day Care

Federal Update 

Capitol Hill 

President ends COVID Public Health Emergency: The White House announced Monday that it intends to end the COVID Public Health Emergency (and the associated National Emergency) on Thursday May 11, which is 99 days from now.  Read more about how the end of the COVID PHE will – and will not – impact CHCs and their patients

Appeals Court strike blow to 340B Contract Pharmacy: On Monday, January 30, a federal appeals court in Philadelphia ruled unanimously that HRSA “overstepped the statute’s bounds” by requiring drug makers to ship 340B drugs to an “unlimited number of contract pharmacies.”  The publication 340B Report described the decision as “a major victory for the pharmaceutical industry and a significant blow for the government and 340B health care providers” that could “quicken hearings and votes on 340B in Congress.” 

This is the first of three decisions, from three separate Appeals Courts, regarding contract pharmacy issues.  While Monday’s decision officially only applies to three drug makers – Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, and Novo Nordisk -- it makes it highly unlikely that HRSA will continue any enforcement action against any manufacturers.  Meanwhile, decisions are expected soon from the Washington DC and Chicago Appeals Courts, and intel suggests that drug manufacturers are feeling optimistic about the outcome. 

Monday’s written decision clearly points for the need for Congress to explicitly address the contract pharmacy issue, stating “Statutory silences, like awkward silences, tempt speech. But courts must resist the urge to fill in words that Congress left out.” 

Advocacy Corner

Behavioral Health Legislative Liaisons Needed!

In just the first few weeks of the 2023 Legislative Session, OPCA’s policy team has received robust feedback on bills from participants in OPCA’s Legislative Liaison Program. Already, there is a clear emphasis on behavioral health care in the legislature– from workforce, to programs, to funding, all elements of behavioral health are being discussed in capitol committee rooms. To be responsive, OPCA is looking for more behavioral health leaders to join the Legislative Liaison Program! If you are a health center behavioral health staff member and are interested in lending your expert opinions to our advocacy work, please reach out to Marris Alden at .

View this flyer for more information about the Legislative Liaison Program.