William Chirolas -- World News Trust
Dec. 13, 2006 -- Health via tax collection payments to Insurers, as with Romney’s Massachusetts Universal Coverage plan, is the insurance company approved "variation" on single payer universal health that is the proposal by the Oregon Senate Interim Commission on Health Care Access and Affordability.
As with Massachusetts, the proposal would not provide universal coverage, but would make coverage available to everyone who wants to pay the rates set by the State, with insurers running the actual system in all ways except rate-setting. (Unlike Massachusetts, Oregon is not talking about stripping the insurance down to a meaningless level so as to fit the premium that state deems the poor can afford.)
But you know the “profit by excluding folks for health care” business plan of the insurance companies means Oregon will have to have an assigned risk pool that they will have to administer or put out for bid at very high rates. Indeed, this is going to work much the same as mandatory auto liability when the State sets the rates -- a system we in Massachusetts tolerate because the alternative of the Companies competition setting the rates has always produced higher rates (I do love how competition lowers rates).
The media seems to allow the news to be framed as if the new rate-setting authority provides a cost-saving universal health-care plan for the state, and is not doing any comparisons to mandated auto liability in states with state-set rates. The rate-setting would be through all employers and individuals “contributing” money to a common pool called the Oregon Health Care Trust Fund, with the money from business collected possibly with a payroll tax, and with large companies with self-insurance plans having their contributions reimbursed. (Residents who earn less than 250 percent of the poverty level would not have to pay to be in the plan, but public employee and federal Medicaid contributions would go in.)
One interesting design feature is the proposed rule that if any -- including any of the 600,000 currently uninsured in Oregon -- choose not to participate in the plan, they lose their personal state income tax deduction. The other interesting design feature is an attempt to get those darn respirators turned off. Oregon is requiring all participants to write an advance directive, describing the level of care they would want at the end of life.
Oh, I almost forgot the cost-savings provision that replaces taking the insurance companies and their unneeded middleman profits out of the system: Oregon is going to have better competition by requiring hospitals and doctors to reveal their charges and costs. Amazing how the most obvious cost-saving feature -- turning Health Insurance Companies into claims-paying service providers, is not even discussed.
New Oregon health could cut the offerred payment to the Ins co & take the "risk" on itself.
Oregon could cut the offered payment to the Ins co & take the "risk" on itself
It would simply structure a max claims per dollar received by the company - say 97% - rather than today's 60 to 75% - and say it would reimbursed for claims over that level - while at the same time demanding a refund of the part of the payment when claims were below 95% of the payment so as to bring the ratio up to 95%.
In effect the above would change the plan into single payer universal health.
By Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A Senate commission approved tentative plans for a universal health care plan for Oregon that it will ask the 2007 Legislature to approve, The Oregonian newspaper reports.
The proposal would give every Oregonian access to a card that could buy complete health care coverage at a lower cost
Saturday, December 09, 2006
BILL GRAVES -- The Oregonian
A Senate commission has endorsed the framework for a universal health care plan for Oregon that it will ask the 2007 Legislature to approve.