Weekday Wrap: A new state health plan provides financial relief for some, but others may suffer

By OPB staff (OPB)
June 8, 2023 8:41 p.m.

Stories you may have missed from staff reports and our news partners around the region

Critics of a proposed state health plan say it may do “more harm than good”

With a proposed new health plan, state officials will eliminate health care costs for thousands of Oregonians. Supporters, including state health officials, advocates and lawmakers, say the program would stabilize coverage for lower-income people who often lose their plans when income fluctuations make them ineligible. And data suggests the proposed plan would also help reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. But for Oregonians who earn a little more and don’t qualify for the program, the plan will significantly raise the cost of health care premiums. One insurance executive said state data shows nearly 20,000 Oregonians would pay more than $900 a year due to the premium hikes, and another said the program would do “more harm than good.” (Nick Budnick/The Lund Report)

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The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch that extends across much of eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon as shown with the green shaded areas of this map.

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch that extends across much of eastern Washington and northeastern Oregon as shown with the green shaded areas of this map.

Screenshot of National Weather Service map

Be alert for landslides in northeastern Oregon

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for parts of Wallowa and Union counties in Northeast Oregon. Heavy rain may lead to landslides in steep terrain. Debris flows are possible near burn scars in and around the Eagle Cap Wilderness, where wildfires burned about 200,000 acres last year. The weather service says landslides can be extremely destructive, and they move faster than a person can run. People and structures located below steep slopes may be at serious risk. Evacuations may be necessary, and officials warn that people driving in the affected areas should use extreme caution. The flash flood watch is in effect through Friday morning. (OPB Staff)

Mountain bikers report run-ins with cougars on the Sandy Ridge trail system

After two recent encounters with cougars on mountain trails, state wildlife officials are urging people to use caution this summer if heading into nature. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife recently received a report of a cougar chasing a mountain biker on May 31 on the lower portion of the Hide and Seek trail, which is part of the Sandy Ridge trail system. The mountain biker yelled at the animal and it ran away. On June 2, the agency received another report of a cougar sighting by a mountain biker near the upper portion of the trail. The cougar was not aggressive, but it did not immediately leave the area. Beth Quillan, a spokesperson for the agency, said, “Cougars are normally elusive and wary of humans.“ But she also advises people to make noise while hiking and biking to avoid surprising animals who might feel threatened. Also, Quillan said it’s best to avoid trails at night or at dusk when cougars and other animals are more active. (Amanda Kay Rhoades/The Portland Tribune)

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Marion County selects a new sheriff to replace Joe Kast, who is retiring

Marion County has a new sheriff. Chosen from a field of seven applicants, county commissioners unanimously chose Lt. Nick Hunter to lead the sheriff’s office. He’ll take over on June 30 when Sheriff Joe Kast retires and will hold the position until a new sheriff is elected in 2024. Hunter said he plans to run for the position. The sheriff’s office operates patrols in East Salem, rural parts of Marion County and in cities including Hubbard and Jefferson. (Bill Poehler/Salem Statesman Journal)

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