by Camilo Marquez of Portland, Oregon. Camilo is the chair of the Portland Jobs with Justice Healthcare Committee and an advocate with Health Care for All - Oregon.
Published in Blue Oregon 4-04-14
Oregon was the poster child for innovative health reform measures among the states, having received almost $2 billion in incentives from the federal government to streamline Medicaid expenditures. Now it is the bad boy, coming in last of all 50 states after its sorry Cover Oregon debacle. I do not have precise figures on how much money has been thrown at the effort to get an insurance exchange up and running, but it is safe to say it is in the hundreds of millions. Just go to the Lund Report and scroll down the articles and you will see how much has been wasted on efforts to promote “reform.” Insurance companies spent $39 million in the state to get people to sign up and we have less than 50,000 new covers to show for it, not to mention the millions paid to Oracle for the still closed internet portal. Now, we understand that Gov. Kitzhaber spent over $200,000 for a study to find out what went wrong.
Meanwhile, that amount would have been enough to fund a study authorized but not paid for by the legislature which would have answered the question of what is the best way to finance health care in the state, comparing several options (HB 3260 of 2013). That study is going begging to find sponsors and will not be completed in time for the 2015 legislature to consider. Of course, we could not expect the health industry stakeholders to be interested in seeing it funded because they most likely would not be the beneficiaries of such research. Comparable studies in other states have found that a publicly funded single payer system is the most cost efficient way to pay for universal health care. It would point to the elimination of private health insurance provided by profit making corporations which have lots of resources and lots of power and much influence over the legislature which balked at funding the study