The Lund Report

Single Payer System Continues to Draw Interest in Oregon

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A grassroots campaign is forming to build public support for a ballot measure in 2013

January 19, 2012—Healthcare advocates, medical professionals, and legislators are developing a state-wide grassroots campaign to start educating the public about a single payer health system to provide universal coverage for everyone.

“It’s really the only way that we can assure affordable, high quality healthcare for all,” said Rep. Mike Dembrow (D-Portland), who introduced such legislation during the 2011 session which received a courtesy hearing in the House Healthcare Committee, but never came up for a vote.

Managed Care Plans Have $252 Million in Their Reserve Accounts

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The big question is what happens to these reserves held by the 14 plans that provide healthcare to Oregon Health Plan members

January 19, 2012—Oregon’s preparing to launch a major healthcare transformation that will lead to the creation of coordinated care organizations (CCOs) and integrate physical, mental and dental care for more than 600,000 people on the Oregon Health Plan.

But an important question hangs in the balance. What will happen to the millions of dollars in reserve funds now held by the managed care plans that currently provide such services?

Legacy Health System Cuts Work Force by 400

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Oregon is expected to save $3.2 billion over the next five years by transforming its healthcare system with many of those reductions coming from hospitals

January 18, 2012 -- Legacy Health System is preparing to reduce its work force by 400 employees because of a $40 million budget gap that includes $30 million in Medicaid payment reductions. Employees will be notified by February 15.

Dr. Charles Kilo Believes Competition Drives Up Healthcare Costs

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Calling himself a dyed in the woods capitalist, he suggests we focus on the social determinants of health rather than spending more on healthcare services

January 18, 2012 -- As policymakers wrestle with transforming Oregon’s healthcare system to control costs and improve quality, competition stands in the way, according to Dr. Charles Kilo, chief medical officer at Oregon Health & Science University.

Consumer Groups Begin Showing Support for Insurance Exchange

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Last session, when Senate Bill 99 passed the Legislature, consumer groups expressed disappointment because the exchange wouldn’t have the ability to negotiate insurance rates

January 12, 2012 — Leaders of some of Oregon’s most progressive consumer groups signed onto a letter this week advocating for six priorities the staff and board of directors of Oregon's health insurance exchange should have this year as they work to create the exchange.

OSPIRG Says Regence BlueCross BlueShield Must Justify Proposed Rate Increase

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If approved by the Insurance Division, small businesses will see their rates increase by 4.5% in April and, jump by 8 percent starting in July

January 12, 2012 -- Before the Insurance Division approves the rate request for small employers by Regence BlueCross BlueShield, it needs to justify those increases, according to Laura Etherton, healthcare advocate for OSPIRG Foundation.

Legislators Expect to Consider Malpractice Reforms in February Session

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Three consultants from Harvard Kennedy School of Government are looking at the role of defense medicine and overutilization on medical costs

January 12, 2012— Malpractice reform has caught the attention of healthcare professionals at the national level because of its economic impact on reducing costs. A study conducted in 2010 by Amitabh Chandra, PhD, an economist and professor of public policy at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, estimated that 2.4% or approximately $60 billion annually could be attributed to malpractice claims.

Salem Health Hires Mark Nelson

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He’ll represent the two-hospital system in the February legislative session

January 11, 2012 -- Mark Nelson, president of Public Affairs Counsel, has been hired to represent Salem Health, a regional two-hospital network that includes Salem Hospital and West Valley Hospital.

Healthcare Remains the 2012 Election Riddle

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Healthcare costs are the primary driver of the federal budget deficit. Congressional Budget Office projections for 2020 show that healthcare spending will consume more than 27 percent of federal budget.

OPINION: January 9, 2012 -- This election ought to be about one issue, a referendum on health care reform.

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