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Oregon Receives First-in-Nation Medicaid Funding for Food, Housing and Nutrition

September 28, 2022 by Dan McCue
Gov. Kate Brown (Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz)

HERMISTON, Ore. — Oregon on Wednesday became the first state in the nation to receive an influx of significant new federal funding to pilot changes to the state’s Medicaid program.

Gov. Kate Brown and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said the state will receive a total $1.1 billion in new federal funds to address the health-related social needs of Oregonians. 

Under the new medicaid waiver, Oregon is the first state in the nation to receive federal approval for continuous health coverage for children under 6 years old. 

Additionally, all Oregon Health Plan members aged 6 and older will have two years of continuous OHP enrollment, ensuring continuous coverage and consistent access to health, dental and behavioral health care. 

The waiver will also expand health-related social needs coverage for certain food assistance and housing support — as well as invest in resources that will help mitigate the health risks of climate change, serving as the first state in the country to use medicaid funding for climate-related health needs.

“Health care does not occur in a vacuum — it’s clear that we must look beyond a traditional, siloed approach to truly meet the needs of people, particularly those experiencing complex challenges,” Brown told reporters Wednesday afternoon. 

“With the approval of our Medicaid waiver, we will be taking an innovative, holistic approach to closing equity gaps by addressing health-related social needs — such as housing, nutrition and support for extreme climate events,” she said.

“This transformational agreement injects new resources into our health care system to help Oregon families and communities tackle the housing and food insecurity problems that can undermine good health and quality of life,” Brown added.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and @DanMcCue

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