UHCC Advocacy Pays Off; eternal vigilance is the price
By Marcia Stedman
With 2 years and 14 meetings under their belts, the Commissioners have finally found their voices. Nearly half of the Commission members were absent from the recent October 12th meeting, but those who did attend engaged in substantial conversations that led to sound decisions:
- Set aside ERISA and Medicare considerations for now and focus on designing the new system’s benefits and services, enrollment, and provider enhancements.
- Incorporate other Boards’ recommendations and build from other work such as Oregon’s Universal Health Care Task Force report.
- Engage with a variety of communities, especially the rural and underserved.
- Make their meetings more efficient.
We advocates had been instrumental in securing an additional $1 M for additional staffing for the Commission in the 2023-25 biennium, as acknowledged on p. 99 of the meeting materials. We expected this added funding would result in longer and more frequent meetings, but HCA staff objected, citing lack of staff resources, despite the increased funding for staff. We were extremely disappointed and are hopeful that further discussions will produce a solution that matches the urgency of our state’s health care crisis.
Meanwhile, the Commissioners pivoted to discussing ways for staff to make their meetings more efficient, whatever the frequency or length. Beginning with the next meeting, staff will clearly highlight key action items in the Summary of the previous meeting and send videos of presentations in advance so that Commissioners can come prepared for discussion. We’ll be there!
We really need your voice in public comments to call for more frequent and longer meetings.
Plan now to attend the next UHCC meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14th, 2-4 pm.
Listen to the recording or read the slıdes at the FTAC Past meetings page.
To get our take, you can read past meeting recaps on our website.
These meetings continue to welcome public comments.
Sign up to provide public comment by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting occurs.
Pro Tip: Subscribe to Health Care Authority (HCA) email updates to receive announcements of future meetings in your own inbox.