Oregon Insurance Execs Dismiss Public Option
October 27, 2009 -- The public option debated in Congress won’t gain any traction with Oregon’s insurance executives who keep comparing the proposal to traditional Medicare, claiming it’s a broken system in need of serious repair.
That message was driven home when a group of insurance executives gathered at the Multnomah Athletic Club to discuss their ideas for reforming the system – many of which have been tossed around for several years. Their unspoken message was pretty clear – don’t blame them for higher costs – it’s our fault.
- Why not take a hard look at the 43 mandated insurance benefits required under law, suggested Ellertson, and use the public process to “mandate things we shouldn’t be paying for.”
- How about end-of-life care for people who are in their 90s, asked Friedman. “We’ve never had that conversation because politically it’s very difficult but it’s precisely what we have to do. All we’re doing now is bankrupting our children’s future.”
- People with chronic diseases such as diabetes need better management tools, said Hansen, who cited statistics showing that 10.7 percent of the nation has diabetes, while 25 percent of people remain undiagnosed. They should be identified and diagnosed early, he said, and given a wellness coach to manage their care.
- Oregon needs a sales tax, and cannot continue to jerry right the insurance tax subsidy because it simply excaberates the problem, according to McCulloch, referring to the 1 percent premium tax which is being passed onto consumers by the health insurers. “We need the political courage to enact a 2 percent sales tax and a constitutional mandate.”
- Insurers should come up with a collaborative process to credential physicians and other providers, suggested Ken Provencher, president and CEO of PacificSource Health Plans. “Each of us is collecting the same information and there’s just an incredible amount of duplication.”