Central Oregon Daily’s Anyssa Bohanen sat down with Doctor Guyn, a population health expert, to discuss House Bill 30-63 which will remove all non-medical exemptions when it comes to deciding whether to vaccinate your school-age children. The St. Charles Healthcare System has launched a new campaign in an attempt to spread information about the importance of getting vaccinated. That campaign can be seen at vaxforthat.com.
This years flu season has turned into an epidemic, killing at lest 30 children since October and closed schools across the county. While nationally the flu season shows no signs of slowing down, in Deschutes County reported flu cases are on the decline.
This year’s flu struck hard in 32 states, including Oregon, which reported record high numbers of emergency room visits due to the flu.
Part of that may have to do with this year’s predominant flu strain, H3N2, which tends to come with more severe symptoms.
In Deschutes County alone 102 residents went to the emergency room with the flu in the first week of January, but as the month goes on that number has dropped significantly. In the second week of January 86 people went to the emergency room with the flu and only 58 cases were reported between January 14th and 20th.
Children under 5 are one of the most vulnerable populations when it comes to the virus since their immune systems are still developing. Elderly populations are also particularly vulnerable but officials are encouraging everyone to get vaccinated.
Even though the vaccine doesn’t guarantee you won’t catch the flu, it could lessen your symptoms and help you avoid complications like catching a secondary illness like pneumonia which commonly leads to hospitalization.
As of 10 a.m. Wednesday morning with 920 of 1335 precincts reporting, 61.54 percent have voted in favor of Measure 101 and 38.46 percent voted against.
Measure 101 approves a temporary assessment to fund health care for low income residents and families in Oregon and to stabilize health insurance premiums. The temporary assessments, which is basically a tax, will be applied to insurance companies, some hospitals and other insurance and health care providers.
Proponents of the measure, which include the Hospital Association, have said this measure will ensure that low income Oregonians are able to keep their healthcare.
Opponents have said it is basically a tax to cover for bad budgeting in the state government.
On Tuesday night the Hospital Association declared victory on Measure 101.
The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) issued the following statement celebrating the passage of Measure 101 on Tueaday night.
OAHHS, which represents all of Oregon’s 62 community hospitals, was a key supporter of the Yes for Healthcare coalition.
“On behalf of our patients and the communities we serve, Oregon’s hospitals are deeply gratified by the passage of Measure 101,” said Andy Davidson, president and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “We are appreciative of the partnership of so many organizations and individuals from across the state who helped to make this outcome possible.”
“Tonight’s vote is critical affirmation of our collective belief that Oregon is better off with a robust Medicaid program that tends to the needs of patients before, during and after an illness or the birth of a child. It is a recognition that our vulnerable friends and neighbors need access to the lifesaving services that our entire health care system provides. We are proud to have been an integral partner in fighting for these patients and their families.”
Hospitals have been longtime advocates for the Oregon Health Plan, working alongside the legislature for the last 15 years to develop funding solutions for the program that ensure coverage for as many Oregonians as possible.
In coming months, hospitals will work cooperatively with legislative leadership, the Governor and other stakeholders to craft additional sustainable funding solutions for the years to come to ensure the stability and health of the Oregon Health Plan. Hospitals are committed to continuing their work on future budget solutions that maintain coverage for Oregon’s most vulnerable.
In Deschutes County 54 percent of voters voted in favor of Measure 101. In Crook County 62 percent voted against the measure and in Jefferson County 57 percent also voted against the measure.
A tax on insurance companies and some hospitals to provide health care for low-income Oregonians goes before voters next month, even after it was approved by the legislature and signed by the governor during the 2017 legislative session.
Central Oregon Daily’s Lisa Carton attended a public forum hosted by the League of Women Voters of the U.S. on Thursday that explained the pro’s and cons of Measure 101.