As The State Turns…

oregonOregon Hospitals and Clinics Ready for Surge
Despite the technical snafus and director resignations caused by Cover Oregon, it appears some good may finally be emerging: The Affordable Care Act is expected to provide over 100,000 Oregonians with health insurance this year. State hospitals and clinics say they are ready to take on this increase. In the Portland area, Kaiser Permante has seen its calls double, while Providence Health has seen a thirty percent hike in calls from Oregon.

Luckily, anyone who missed the Jan. 1 deadline to enroll can still do so until the end of March.

OSP Elated as New Year’s Eve Claims No Traffic Deaths
Oregon State Police has cause to celebrate 2014, as the agency saw no traffic-related deaths during New Year’s Eve for the first time since 1970. These Authorities monitored a period from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until midnight New Year’s Day, and were very pleased with the outcome.

Unfortunately, some Oregon drivers still made bad decisions on the roads, leading to a handful of serious injuries. However, no deaths occurring on a holiday prone to them is an impressive win for the State – especially considering the 12 lives lost on the holiday at the end of 2012.

9th circuit hearing
The public can now listen to hearings from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals online starting this week with hearings in Pasadena, CA. This will be the first time in history that a federal appears court will have made this service available. For those not aware, the 9th Circuit encompasses nine Western states, including Oregon. In the past, they have allowed television coverage of some hearings. This marks either a step in the direction of transparency, or one in the direction of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Running Man.

State Non-Profits Feel Donation Love
In tough economic times, Oregonians still found a way to give back in 2013 with a large number of charitable donations coming in on the cusp of 2014. New Year’s Eve is considered the biggest day in the non-profit world, as tax-deductible donations come pouring into organizations across the state. According to a 2013 Oregon Community Foundation report, Oregonians make a habit of donating more so than those in most other states nationwide.

Oregon’s Unemployed See Benefits Stripped
A new year doesn’t always have a positive resolution attached to it, and 2014 has proven catastrophic for some Oregonians. As of Jan. 1, a reported 18,000 long-term unemployed people had their federal benefits expire. The emergency program which extends unemployment benefits started in 2008 in the wake of the nation’s economic collapse failed to make the budget passed by congress this year. Metro areas are expected to incur the biggest benefit losses, however percentage wise, it’s Eastern Oregon’s unemployed that will really feel the burden.

Congress may opt to reignite a similar program soon, though it’s possible the state may develop it’s own plan.

by Patrick Fancher