State Update

October 2013 State Policy Updates

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Oregon


On June 26, Gov. John Kitzhaber (D-OR) approved S.B. 2. The law establishes the Scholars for a Healthy Oregon Initiative to be administered by the Oregon Health and Science University pursuant to rules adopted by the university. The university was given $2.5 million to administer the initiative. The initiative provides a full scholarship for students pursuing a degree in a health profession. The law requires the university to give preference when awarding these scholarships to prospective health care practitioners who are: (a) from rural heritage, as defined by the university’s admission policy; (b) first generation college students; or (c) individuals from a diverse or underrepresented community. The law also entails a service requirement. Immediately upon the prospective health care practitioner’s completion of the health care education degree, residency or training, the participant must practice as a health care practitioner in a designated service site in Oregon approved by the university for one year longer than the number of years the participant spent in the health care program for which the participant received a scholarship.

Vermont

On May 26, 2011, Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-VT) signed H. 202 (now called Act 48). Act 48 created the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) to guide transitions in Vermont’s health system. It not only establishes Vermont’s health insurance marketplace in alignment with the Affordable Care Act but goes even further. By 2017, or when federal waivers allow, Vermont intends to launch a new system called Green Mountain Care. This new system will allow all Vermonters to have health coverage through a single system providing universal health care. According to the GMCB, “of every dollar Vermonters spend on any kind of goods or services, 20 cents goes to health care. By comparison, the U.S. as a whole spends 17 cents of each dollar on health care, while other developed nations tend to spend only half that much.” The GMCB is uniquely positioned to provide oversight for major factors influencing health care costs, such as hospital budgets, health insurance rates, benefit decisions and major expenses, rates paid by insurance companies and Medicaid, and plans to ensure Vermont has enough health professionals to serve its residents. However, the governor’s office will ultimately be responsible for planning, developing and implementing the new system.