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PNS Daily Newscast - October 20, 2020 

GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander comes to the defense of Dr. Anthony Fauci; the NAACP goes to bat over student debt and Election 2020.

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Early voting starts in Florida, and North Carolina allows election officials to start the ballot curing process. Plus, Trump's attacks on Dr. Fauci.

OPDP: Five Years, $30 Million Savings for Oregonians

December 7, 2011

PORTLAND, Ore. - It isn't every day that a state program can say it has saved people $30 million - but the Oregon Prescription Drug Program (OPDP) is doing just that.

Five years ago today, the eligibility requirements for the program changed after a November vote, allowing any Oregon resident to receive a drug discount card good at most pharmacies. Before the ballot measure, says Missy Dolan, OPDP administrator, there were only about 5,000 individual cardholders. Today, there are 230,000.

"Prior to that, there were four or five restrictions - age, a means test, a waiting period - it was really difficult to enroll. So, after Ballot Measure 44 passed, the floodgates opened, basically."

ODS Health negotiates the drug discounts on behalf of Oregon and Washington, after the two states decided - also five years ago - to join forces to further increase their clout. The merger means about 800,000 people now benefit from the drug discounts, including members of several large health-insurance plans.

AARP Oregon was a big part of the effort to pass the ballot measure to benefit seniors around the state. Its outreach director, Joyce DeMonnin, says the program has managed to knock an average of 50 percent off the cost of most prescriptions.

"I think this is an opportunity to reflect on how a public-private partnership can really be a win-win. It really made a difference for people's lives, and it really is saving money."

Oregon residents can receive an OPDP card at no cost. It was designed for people who are uninsured or under-insured, but Dolan says even those who have health insurance can use the card for prescriptions their policy doesn't cover, or those they might need before their deductible is met.

Learn more about the card online at or by calling 800-913-4146.

Groups that worked to expand the program are holding a five-year celebration of its cost savings at 10 a.m. Friday at Portland’s Aladdin Theater, 3017 S.E. Milwaukie Ave.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR