BEND, OR -- Governor Kate Brown was in Central Oregon, Thursday. In Prineville, she toured the Facebook data center and Iron Horse Lodge affordable housing apartment complex. And, she met in Crook County with community leaders from across the region, to discuss economic growth. She told the group, "We want to problem solve; we want to help people solve problems and we want to make sure that Oregonians thrive everywhere, not just in the Valley, not just in Central Oregon, but all throughout our state." Crook County employment remains about 20% lower than pre-recession levels, while Deschutes and Jefferson counties have seen much faster improvements.
Brown also visited the Oregon National Guard’s Youth Challenge program, just east of Bend. It's the state's only accredited statewide alternative high school. When asked by reporters about proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act, the governor was critical of the Republican plan. She says it would set us back. "The new proposal - I'll call it 'TrumpCare' - pulls the rug out from underneath these struggling families. We've created over 20,000 jobs in Oregon as a result of expanded access to the Affordable Care Act. And, we anticipate a huge loss in jobs throughout Oregon."
She says in three years, the state's uninsured rate dropped from 15 to 5%, helped half a million Oregonians gain coverage through Medicaid or financial subsidies for private coverage, and it has created 23,000 healthcare jobs in the state. "I've talked to medical providers, they have patients who were getting their care in the Emergency Room. It's much more cost-effective to have preventive primary care providers. It's also really important for people being successful to have access to healthcare. I talked to another provider whose client, now that she has access to healthcare, is able to get a job; that's what we want."
Earlier this week, Brown directed the Oregon Health Authority and Department of Consumer and business services to analyze how the GOP proposal will impact Oregon's economy.