Policy Focus: 2011

The Community Leadership Council (CLC) meets monthly to talk about events, policy and strategies. We also build in what we have learned in all of our public engagement efforts. Our work is guided by the Triple Aim, and it’s three objectives, to:

  1. improve the health of a defined population;
  2. reduce or contain per capita costs; and
  3. to improve the experience of users of the system. With a vision and mission focused on public engagement, we continually look for opportunities to translate often complex and complicated system language into ideas that the public can understand and weigh in on.

In January 2011 the CLC met to discuss Oregon’s 2011 legislative session, acknowledging that Oregon faces a significant budget deficit and our objectives need to be clear in order to avoid distraction.

While we don’t often take positions on specific bills, we use the Triple Aim to guide whether and how we will interact during legislative debates. Our objective is to have better legislation that reflects the Triple Aim and the voices of the people, rather than a simple objective of passing legislation.

This year, the first year of annual legislative sessions in Oregon, the CLC has identified several policy areas to focus on::

  • SB 97 would create a collaboration between the Oregon Health Authority, boards that license health professionals, and stakeholders, to come to agreement on continuing education regarding cultural competency. The CLC feels that this concept fits squarely with the Triple Aim, specifically that this will improve the ‘experience of care.’
  • SB 99 would authorize establishment of a Health Insurance Exchange. SB 99 has no mention of the Triple Aim to guide its activities, but then most of its language revolves around how we purchase private insurance. In 2010, we testified before the Oregon Health Policy Board, saying that the Health Insurance Exchange must include authority to continue development of a publicly owned health plan, and that governance and accountability must be explicitly laid out. We will carry this message to legislators as well.
  • Single Payer legislation has been introduced this session. While we have not endorsed this or any single payer bill, the CLC believes that this approach deserves further analysis so that it can be compared side-by-side with other payment models fairly. Our framework for reform acknowledges limits, and the need to discuss how we make tough choices among scarce resources. The current discussion around single payer does not include elements of our agreed upon framework, so we will work to include those aspects as the discussion moves forward.
  • Sugar sweetened beverage tax legislation has been introduced, and this discussion is one that we want to follow because of its relationship to childhood obesity and other health conditions. Additional legislation is under consideration that would prohibit use of public funds, such as the Oregon Trail Card (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), to purchase foods containing highly refined sugars. Both of these align with our desire to be good stewards of public funds, and to assure that we invest our funds to result in improved population health.
  • At the federal level, we are supportive of Senator Ron Wyden’s efforts (S. 3598) to promote legislation that would allow states to seek a waiver from provisions of the Affordable Care Act sooner than its currently legislated timeline of 2017.
  • In addition, staff and members of our CLC currently participate in the following coalitions because of their policy focuses:
    • Human Services Coalition of Oregon: promotes the dignity of all Oregonians through improved public policy and strengthened support for human services.
    • Health Equity Policy Review Committee: assembled to proactively evaluate all recommended policy improvements throughout the policy making process to assure they fully promote the elimination of inequities and promote health equity.
    • Oregon Health Coalition: the strategic center for collaboration among organizations and coalitions across the state to support consumer health advocacy.
    • The Commons Convergence: working with Onward Oregon and other other community based organizations who are planning a Portland-based event to explore and celebrate shared local and national common resources.
    • People of Color Health Equity Collaborative (POCHEC): a statewide strategic policy advocacy and structure for communities of color
    • Oregon Health Reform Collaborative: working with more than 25 organizations to develop a common vision and message for a vastly improved health care system in Oregon.