Don’t let companies divide the pool
Letter to the Eugene Register Guard 7-11-15
by Marc Shapiro, Eugene
Fifteen Oregon insurance plans for the individual and small group market have submitted premium rate requests ranging from a 1.9 percent decrease to a 52 percent increase. It’s clear the intent of the Affordable Care Act has been lost amid most insurance companies’ attempts to maximize their profits.
The underlying question as to whether the federal government had the authority to require people to buy health care insurance from private companies was resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court, which sided with the Obama administration.
The significance of that ruling hinged on insurance industry claims that if the pool of insured people wasn’t expanded to include “everybody,” it wouldn’t be economically feasible to comply with many of the ACA’s requirements — including covering people with pre-existing conditions, removing annual and lifetime coverage caps and allowing children to stay on their parents’ policies through age 26.
Now we’re finding that instead of pooling their customers, the insurance companies are separating them so they can unjustifiably raise premiums for certain segments of the pool.
To properly evaluate the requested rate increases, the state Insurance Division should require the insurance companies to combine all their insured into a single pool before deciding on the validity of the proposed increases.
Health Care Study for Our Future
Letter to the Eugene Register Guard by Lou Sinniger, Elmira
Also submitted to the Eugene Weekly by Marc Shapiro, Eugene
July 24, 2015
On July 6th, the legislature passed HB2828, which was signed by Governor Brown on July 22. This bill is one of the most important bills to pass the legislature in this session. Among other things, it will provide the legislature and the public a solid economical basis to make decisions regarding health care in the future.
It will fund a study to determine the most effective and economical way to finance health care services for all of Oregon's residents. The implementation of the results of the study will have the potential to be transformative. It could end the economic and emotional terror that is associated with needing health care that is unaffordable.
Health Care related bankruptcies in Oregon could become a thing of the past, and implementation in Oregon could lead to change nationally.
Oregon has implemented many innovative health care programs, but the splintered non-comprehensive approach, seems to continually leave the end product, universal comprehensive health care services for all residents, out of reach.
This passage of this bill is a major step toward making this long sought-after care a reality in Oregon.