06-21-2018  6:49 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...

Oregon allows rancher to kill a wolf after calves attacked

ENTERPRISE, Ore. (AP) — Oregon wildlife managers have issued a permit that allows a rancher in Eastern Oregon to kill a wolf after three of his calves were injured by the predators last week.The Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday they confirmed that the calves were hurt by wolves...

Infant found at Seattle encampment in protective custody

SEATTLE (AP) — A 5-month-old infant found at a Seattle homeless encampment is in protective custody as police investigate child neglect.Seattle Police said Thursday on its blog that the child was removed in late May from an unsanctioned homeless encampment where people were reportedly using...

Washington, other states plan to sue over family separations

SEATAC, Wash. (AP) — Washington, California and at least nine other states are planning to sue the Trump administration over its separation of immigrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border, saying the president's executive order halting the practice is riddled with caveats and fails to...


How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...


3 men face hate crimes charges in Minnesota mosque bombing

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A grand jury added federal civil rights and hate crimes violations to the charges three Illinois men face in the bombing of a mosque in suburban Minneapolis, prosecutors announced Thursday.The new five-count indictment names Michael Hari, 47, Michael McWhorter, 29, and Joe...

Intel CEO out after consensual relationship with employee

NEW YORK (AP) — Intel CEO Brian Krzanich resigned after the company learned of what it called a past, consensual relationship with an employee.Intel said Thursday that the relationship was in violation of the company's non-fraternization policy, which applies to all managers. Spokesman...

Governor orders probe of abuse claims by immigrant children

WASHINGTON (AP) — Virginia's governor ordered state officials Thursday to investigate abuse claims by children at an immigration detention facility who said they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete...


Koko the gorilla used smarts, empathy to help change views

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Koko the gorilla, whose remarkable sign-language ability and motherly attachment to pet cats helped change the world's views about the intelligence of animals and their capacity for empathy, has died at 46.Koko was taught sign language from an early age as a scientific...

Directors Guild says industry is still mostly white and male

NEW YORK (AP) — A new study by the Directors Guild of America finds that despite high-profile releases like "Get Out" and "Wonder Woman," film directors remained overwhelmingly white and male among the movies released last year.The DGA examined all 651 feature films released theatrically in...

Demi Lovato sings about addiction struggles on 'Sober'

NEW YORK (AP) — Demi Lovato celebrated six years of sobriety in March, but her new song indicates she may no longer be sober.The pop star released "Sober " on YouTube on Thursday, singing lyrics like: "Momma, I'm so sorry I'm not sober anymore/And daddy please forgive me for the drinks...


The Latest: Porter's wait ends, Nuggets take him at No. 14

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Thursday night's NBA draft (all times local):9:10 p.m.Michael Porter Jr....

Charles Krauthammer, prominent conservative voice, has died

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and...

AP FACT CHECK: Trump falsely claims progress on NKorea nukes

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is trumpeting results of his summit with North Korean leader Kim...

Suu Kyi says outside hate narratives driving Myanmar tension

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A social media account run by the office of Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi quotes...

Merkel pledges 0 million loan for troubled Jordan

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday promised a 0 million loan to troubled...

Eurozone gets deal to pave way for end to Greece's bailout

LUXEMBOURG (AP) — Eurozone nations agreed on the final elements of a plan to get Greece out of its...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News

Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith and Sen. Ron Wyden held a town hall meeting at Self Enhancement Inc. Aug. 19 to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act often called Obamacare.

Starting Oct. 1, state health exchanges will begin signing people up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden and Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith held a joint town hall in Portland, Monday, to answer questions about the new law.

Wyden said reducing costs by improving prevention and coordinating care is an important goal that will benefit the economy for the long term.

"This fall we'll see some dramatic changes so that health care isn't just for the healthy and wealthy," he said.

"Everything that goes on from the time the Affordable Care Act kicks in will be to put a new focus on prevention. It's not any longer just about sick care."

Wyden said he plans to push for a rule change that will allow Medicare to negotiate for lower medication costs. Right now, he said, the rules don't allow that.

"Medicare is 50 million people and we need to let those 50 million people have clout in the marketplace," he said.

If your family is living on 138 percent or less of the federal poverty level, you qualify for free care through the Oregon Health Plan. If you earn up to 400 percent of poverty you qualify for a tax credit to pay for your health insurance

Anyone already on Medicaid, Medicare or the Oregon Health Plan, won't have to do anything to continue getting their healthcare.  But about 200,000 more people across the state – families with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level— will be eligible for free care through the Oregon Health Plan.

Another 400,000, families with incomes below 400 percent of the poverty level, will be able to get financial help through tax credits. The credits can be paid monthly to your insurer or taken at the end of the year.

Multnomah County serves 70,000 people in its community and school-based clinics, and expects to serve 50,000 more people who will qualify for the Oregon Health Plan under Obamacare.


You can find out if you qualify for help online at the Cover Oregon website, which includes a calculator. In Washington you will find the same information at the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Both sites offer cost and plan comparisons and information about how to sign up.

For the first few weeks Oregonians can sign up through a community partner. The Urban League, the African American Health Coalition, Oregon Latino Health Coalition, are just three of a long list of partners who are trained to help.

Around mid-October, says Amy Fauver of Cover Oregon, those who want to sign up online will be able to do so.

"We're testing the systems now and we want to make sure our customers have the best experience possible," Fauver said. "Starting out by working with our partners to identify any technical issues is the best way we can achieve this."

The law says that next year everyone must buy health care or pay a penalty. In 2014 the penalty will be $95 or 1 percent of your income. The penalty will rise in 2015. 

Small businesses with fewer than 25 employees can use the exchanges to find affordable care, and to get tax credits that pay up to 50 percent of the premium. Employers with fewer than 50 employees don't have to provide healthcare. But by 2015 every business with more than 50 employees must offer health insurance.

Wyden said one of the most important advances in the new law is that it ended discrimination against people with an existing health problem.

"Probably the biggest ripoff was the discrimination against people with pre-existing conditions," Wyden said. "That's just plain old immoral to have a country as good strong and rich as ours to say it was legal for an insurance company to beat the stuffing out of you if you had a pre-existing condition. This law has made that illegal."

Commissioner Smith said she understands the importance of that change because she personally has benefited. A year ago Smith was treated for a brain tumor, she said.

"I f we did not have this, I would not be able to change employers and get insurance because I have a pre-existing condition,"

Wyden said he helped build a provision into the law will allow states to get a waiver to set up a single payor system by 2017.

"I'm trying to get that sped up, because I don't think all the wisdom is in Washington DC," he said.

Wyden also said he will advocate for all licensed health professionals, including alternative providers, to be part of the health care system.

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