While a recent article in Willamette Week seemed to imply that hospitals have never had it so good (http://www.wweek.com/2016/04/13/the-five-things-hospitals-dont-want-you-to-know-about-obamacare/), there is ample reason for serious concern regarding the long term economic stability of our healthcare system.
Following up on my last post, private insurance coverage is down in Oregon while public insurance coverage (Medicaid/Medicare) has risen dramatically (http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPR/RSCH/docs/Uninsured/OHIS2015TrendsFactSheet1.pdf, page 2). But persons with public insurance coverage are the most likely to face access to care issues – in its 2015 data, the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) reported that around a quarter of individuals aged 19-64 with public insurance reported that a health provider were not accepting patients with their coverage type (http://www.oregon.gov/oha/OHPR/RSCH/docs/Uninsured/OHIS2015Access%20FactSheet.pdf, page 4). In what I think is an understatement, OHA acknowledges that one “possible reason for this finding is that public insurance programs typically have lower contracted payment amounts for health care than commercial insurers. Providers that accept public insurance may limit the number of patients they serve with that type of coverage.”
So, we already have a shortage of providers. More and more Oregonians are on Medicaid. Medicaid is the type of coverage where access to care issues are most prevalent. And then on top of that, federal dollars currently sustaining Medicaid will begin to shrink (http://www.wsj.com/articles/obamas-medicaid-budget-trap-1460070725). That doesn’t even begin to address concerns about costs skyrocketing in the private marketplace (http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/276366-insurers-warn-losses-from-obamacare-are-unsustainable).
Serious public policy issues call for serious and responsible public servants. I will work with individuals of whatever party in a deliberative manner to address the continuing threats to our healthcare system.