May 12, 2009 -- The threat of a lawsuit hangs over the Public Employees Benefit Board after it rejected Regence BlueCross BlueShield's bid to provide health coverage to state employees. Providence Health Plans won the multi-million dollar contract by a 5-3 vote when the board met on April 21.
May 13, 2009 -- Earlier we reported that a deal had been struck on a provider tax, however Sen. Alan Bates (D-Ashland) now says that was incorrect. Negotiations are very close to being wrapped up on a hospital and insurance tax to cover more uninsured Oregonians.
May 12, 2009 -- After backing down from banning drug company gifts to physicians, Democratic lawmakers succeeded in passing a narrower version that requires manufacturers to report such gifts to a state agency.
May 12, 2009 -- You know the main argument: “Yes, a single payer system does make a lot of sense, but it’s not politically possible.” What this says, of course, is that a single payer system would be too radical a change.
Despite all the talk of change, most of the noise emanating from inside the Beltway suggests that in health care, we are going to get more of the same: Employer-based care, more cost, and more government subsidies so the insurance industry can continue to profit from an inefficient delivery system.
May 8, 2009 -- State insurance regulators approved another wallet busting premium increase today. Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon will be allowed to increase premiums on individual health plans by 14.7 percent in July.
Bryan Boehringer has become the policy and government affairs director for the Oregon Medical Association. Since 1998 he worked in the government affairs department at Oregon Health & Science University, rising through the ranks from government relations associate to government and community relations director in 2005. In his new role, he will direct the federal and state-level advocacy efforts of the OMA, and lead the government affairs staff.
Ree Sailors has joined the National Governors Association in Washington DC as program director of its health division. She spent three years in Oregon as health policy advisor to Governor Ted Kulongoski, then later as advisor to the Oregon Health Fund Board. Earlier, Sailors was the executive policy advisor to Washington Governor Gary Locke. She has more than 25 years of experience in the health and human services arenas.
May 8, 2009 -- Negotiations over a provider tax that could potentially insure 180,000 Oregonians appear stalled after lawmakers cancelled a legislative hearing scheduled for Thursday morning (May 7) because an agreement had not been reached with the hospitals and health insurers.