With the recent passage of the Equal Access to Care Act (House Bill 2362), the Oregon Legislature has taken a bold step toward protecting patients from the negative effects of healthcare consolidation, including higher prices and cuts to essential services. The legislation was backed by the Equal Access to Care Coalition, which includes Oregon’s leading advocates for reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ care and worker justice.
The Equal Access to Care Act moves Oregon closer to achieving its vision of healthcare transformation by providing a transparent process for reviewing healthcare mergers, acquisitions and other transactions before they happen — with a focus on communities where disparities in health and health care already exist. With such a program in place, Oregon can ensure that transactions are in the best interest of communities and patients — not the bottom lines of big healthcare systems.
The passage of this legislation cements Oregon’s well-deserved reputation as a national leader in state healthcare policy. The Equal Access to Care Act is the first bill in the nation to tackle industry consolidation using a process that centers patients and health equity. The legislation works in tandem with other innovative efforts Oregon is implementing to control runaway healthcare prices, including a cost growth cap and a move toward value-based care.