OHSU Reform Experts Weigh in on Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act was expected to revolutionize healthcare in the US. But is access to healthcare easier? Have costs gone up or down? A Portland City Club forum puts tough questions to Oregon Health & Science University professors.

The Lund Report, January 27, 2015
by Jan Johnson

Healthcare is a $3 trillion industry in the U.S. with one out of every $5 passing through the hands of someone working in the industry, Dr. Samuel Metz of Physicians for a National Health Program, told a City Club audience Monday night.

And, everyone agreed costs are not going down. ”The best forecast I’ve seen shows healthcare (costs) will rise faster than GDP by about one percent,” a year said John McConnell, an economist who heads OHSU’s Center for Health Systems Effectiveness.

New, high-cost drugs put additional cost pressure on the system, and the stock market sees more money to be made in high-tech solutions that don’t give what McConnell called a “return on health.”

“Competition between large health systems causes us to acquire more technology,” said OHSU’s Dr. Paul Gorman. If one hospital systems buys the latest cardiac technology, competing systems buy it too – and hire staff to use it, creating what he calls “overproduction of capacity” that leads to “some cities having 10 times more procedures than other cities, not because it’s needed. We do overdo quite a lot of things.”