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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Oregon Health Authority Seeks 55 Percent Funding Increase

Chris Lehman
Northwest News Network

The Oregon Health Authority has a lot on its plate. It arranges medical care for low income people, operates the state's mental hospitals, and even oversees the medical marijuana programs.

That all comes with a huge price tag: More than $2 billion in state general fund tax dollars in the current budget cycle. And in a funding request for the upcoming two years, the agency wants to increase that to more than $3 billion.

One reason for the eye-catching number: Some federal funding sources for health care programs are set to phase out over the next year. Agency director Lynne Saxton also said the number of Oregonians eligible for assistance with medical coverage is trending higher than projections.

Oregon lawmakers will consider the funding request during the 2017 legislative session.