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Commissioner Steve Novick

Official Website for Commissioner Steve Novick

Phone: 503-823-4682

fax: 503-823-4019

1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204

Expanding Our Safety Net

Expanding Our Safety NetToday, Mayor Hales and I hosted a discussion about the Medicaid expansion that will happen on January 1, 2014, under the Affordable Care Act. Under this expansion, 96,000 people in Multnomah County will be newly eligible for Medicaid or a subsidy to purchase health insurance through the new health care exchange, Cover Oregon.

Oregon Health Authority Director Dr. Bruce Goldberg helped kick off this discussion, which included representatives from Multnomah County, the two new Coordinated Care Organizations in our community, and three service providers: Central City Concern, Volunteers of America, and DePaul Family Services.

The 2014 Medicaid expansion means that our community has the opportunity to take advantage of an infusion of new federal funds that we can use to improve the health of our community and eliminate barriers to accessing health care. For example, this expansion creates the chance to ensure that people who are involved in the criminal justice system and who struggle with mental health and addictions problems can get the care and treatment they need.

By keeping people healthy and out of the criminal justice system, we can save both the City and County resources. Today’s discussion was an important first step to doing the planning that we need to do to take advantage of the new federal resources. Today we identified several important questions that we need to answer, and I look forward to continuing to work with all of our safety net partners on this effort.