Monday, February 14, 2011

Health Care Hearings

The Oregon Senate Committee on General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection chaired by Chip Shields is meeting on Wednesday to hear testimony on Drivers of the Cost of Health Care.

This will be the third such meeting dealing with health care, the prior two dealt with Oregon’s insurance regulation framework and a review of how other states regulate health insurance. Both hearings were highly informative and are worth listening to (podcasts are available on the committee web page).

The speakers scheduled for Wednesday are:

  • Leanne Gassaway, Senior Regional Director for State Affairs, America's Health Insurance Plans
  • Ken Provencher, Chief Executive Officer, PacificSource Health Plans
  • Aaron Crane, Senior Vice President of Operations and CFO, Salem Hospital Regional Health Services
  • Dr. Rick Wopat, Oregon Academy of Family Physicians
  • Linda L Morley, RN, MN, PMHNP
  • Sean Colmer, Deputy Administrator, Office for Oregon Health Policy and Research

Why health care costs are rising is the $64,000 question when it comes to health insurance reform.  Here are the questions I want asked:

  1. Oregon health care costs are rising by approximately 12% a year.  Why?  What cost increases are you seeking from insurers in your contract negotiations, and where is the extra money going?
  2. Please provide a walkthrough of how your rates are set, from start to finish.
  3. How much cost shifting occurs, and what oversight is there of that specifically in the rate setting process?  (Side note:  compare and contrast the doctrine governing insurance rate making and hospital ratemaking).
  4. Do you offer discounts to people who pay their bills immediately with a  credit card?  (Side note: At least one Portland metro area hospital did as of 2009, taking up to 20% off the bill.)

I look forward to hearing this.

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