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HASSO HERING

A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Another health care study?

Written May 18th, 2013 by
The council at a work session in April. Monday's agenda includes a health care issue.

The Albany council at a work session in April. Monday’s agenda includes a health care issue.

Haven’t we had enough of studies of our health care system? At a work session on Monday (May 20), the Albany City Council will consider a request by a local group to show support for a bill pending in the legislature.

That’s HB 3260-A, which has cleared one committee and has had a hearing in the Ways and Means subcommittee on human services. Proposed by several Democrats including Sara Gelser of Corvallis, the bill calls on the Oregon Health Authority to commission a study of the best ways of paying for health care, but only if grants or donations cover the study’s estimated $600,000 cost. The options to be studied under the bill include a publicly funded single-payer system of private health care, perhaps financed by a sales tax.

Meanwhile, Obamacare is coming down the road, with its many complexities, some of them administered by — God help us — the IRS. And Oregon is launching its coordinated care organizations and a private insurance “exchange.” The one thing that is missing from the financial aspects of American health care is simplicity. And it seems the more Oregon and the Feds try to improve and refine things, the more complicated and expensive the system gets.

We need a breakthrough idea that makes it simple again, so that citizens know who pays how much for what, which would be an incentive to spend less. I doubt that a $600,000 study will get us any closer to that goal. (hh).



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