COFA EQUITY Bills 2021 Legislative Session – SB 706, SB 553, SB-557 and HB 2557
2018 – HB-1291 (WA)
2017 – SB-147 (COFA Oral Healthcare Bill)
2017 – -HB-2594 (COFA Law Enforcement Bill)
2015 – HCR 21 – Support of COFA Citizens
2015 – HB 2522
2013 – Full Term Driver’s Licenses
SB 706- The COFA Medicaid Outreach bill requests 2 multilingual, multicultural FTE’s for the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). It also requests a $300,000 grant to an organization that has experience in reaching and supporting the Medicaid eligible COFA citizens in their household locations in order to effectively complete the Medicaid application process. The organization must have experience in administering grants that utilize COFA lingual and culturally competent staff. This bill is essential in order to reach all eligible COFA citizens in the state of Oregon for Medicaid. Without this bill, there will be many eligible persons that will not receive any medical services, perhaps as many as 30 to 50 percent as most COFA citizens have never heard of Medicaid and will not be able to negotiate the application / enrollment processes due to language, access issues and/or mobility handicaps. Read Testimony here.
2018 – HB-1291 (WASHINGTON STATE). (CANN) has been working with COFA advocate groups in Washington State for a couple of years. On several occasions members of CANN when asked have supported their efforts to frame and enact a COFA Health Care bill, similar to the one passed in Oregon. There are slightly more COFA residents in Washington State than in Oregon. We were asked to testify before their appropriations committee in order to bring forth Oregon’s experience with the passage of our COFA health care bill, HB 4071.It went well and their effort is getting exposure by NPR (see below). If you are interested our testimony and the others on the panel it is archived in their system.We have high hopes that their bill (HB 1291) will pass as it seems to be gaining bipartisan support.We (and they) owe so much to Oregon’s legislators who demonstrated great bi-partisan support for COFA residents in Oregon, proving that our system works as intended when the ’doing the right thing’ is overwhelmingly obvious. Our legislator’s concern for assisting Oregon’s COFA residents is being noted throughout the country, and we believe one day will become universal. This is not to take away from the marvelous work that the Asian Pacific Children’s Alliance team has been doing in Washington to elucidate the cause of the Washington COFA residents. They truly have presented a factual and compelling case for their COFA residents to receive health care benefits, and we applaud them for their outstanding work.Also, we never want to fail to thank our Oregon legislators for the great support to COFA residents that give so much to our community and country. Read Testimony here.
SB 553– The COFA/Refugee Equity Tuition bill will provide in-state tuition rates for all COFA citizens and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) refugees in Oregon Higher Education Colleges and Universities. It is estimated that it may impact 100 COFA students and 10 or fewer refugee students. The bill will significantly increase the numbers of these students that reach their goal of getting a bachelor’s degree or beyond. It is estimated that as low as 20% of those enrolled will be able to graduate due to the burden of paying the out of state tuition premium. While some are fortunate to receive financial aid from home, most simply have to drop out after a year or two. The Higher Education Coordinating Commission (HECC) is currently working to determine the funding mechanism for the bill such that the universities are held harmless for the negative budgetary impacts. This is especially true for Eastern Oregon University (EOU) in La Grande, Oregon which provides a unique multicultural program for COFA students. The funding for this bill is included in the Governor’s budget. Read Testimony here.
SB-557 and HB 2557— Essentially unanimous bills. The COFA Dental Equity Bill will provide Medicaid-level dental care for those who do not qualify for Medicaid but do qualify for the COFA Premium Assistance Program for their medical insurance. Medicaid is available to COFA citizens through age 64. The expectation is that people will transition to Medicare at the age of 65, however many if not most COFA citizens do not qualify for Medicare as they do not have the required quarterly credits (40). Those that do not qualify for Medicare, but do qualify for COFA Premium Assistance, will be able to have dental care once this bill is passed. Also those who do not qualify for Medicaid, but do qualify for Oregon Supplemental Income Program, Medical insurance would be covered for dental care. Read Testimony here.