State Prepares Study of Health Care Payment Models

By Peter Wong of the Oregon Capitol Insider:

Different groups have differing expectations for a study of how Oregon should pay for health care — a study that lawmakers authorized two years ago but did not fund until now.

The Legislature set aside $300,000 in the new two-year budget to fund the study, which will be carried out through the Oregon Health Authority. House Bill 2828, which extends the study authorization for two years, also allows for donations.

Courtni Dresser of the Oregon Medical Association, which contributed, said: “The results of this study could serve to strengthen the existing coordinated-care organization (CCO) system, as well as identify other innovative strategies to provide cost-effective care to all Oregonians.

But Jenn Baker, speaking for the Oregon Nurses Association, envisions the study as a step toward a system under which the government pays all health care bills.

“They (nurses) also understand that the state must have an adequate and stable financing plan to move towards a statewide single-payer system,” Baker said.

The study will compare the status quo with a single-payer system, and also a public insurance option to the private insurance plans under the national health-care overhaul (Affordable Care Act), and a high-deductible insurance plan funded by a sales tax.

Oregon has an estimated 95 percent coverage.

But in a series of recent Oregon appearances, T.R. Reid — journalist turned activist — said Colorado aims to be the first state to provide 100 percent coverage.

“We beat you to marijuana and we will beat you to universal health care,” said Reid, the one-time Washington Post reporter who is now leading a campaign to qualify a payroll-tax measure for the 2016 ballot in Colorado.

Oregon voters, by more than 3-to-1 in 2002, rejected a ballot measure for increased income and payroll taxes to pay for expanded coverage. Similar bills have not advanced beyond legislative committee hearings.

Changes in Salem: From Kitzhaber to Kate Brown

From an email newsletter from CCO Oregon, " A member collaborative for coordinated care stakeholders."

There has been a lot going on in Salem in the past week. The big news is, of course, Kate Brown taking the Oath of Office as Oregon’s 38th Governor this morning. There are many questions with regards to the new governor’s health care policy.

Part of Governor Kitzhaber’s legacy includes the formation of Coordinated Care Organizations. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes Governor Brown makes to Oregon Health Authority and CCOs.

Her first speech as governor didn't touch on health care much.

The initial questions to be answered likely concern staffing, both in the Governor’s Office and at the Oregon Health Authority.

With Lynne Saxton serving as the acting director of OHA, when will the legislature confirm her appointment? Will the hearings be postponed?

The Transformation Center has not had a Director since Cathy Kaufmann departed in December 2014. How much longer will that role remain vacant?

Does Sean Kolmer stay on board as the Governor’s Health Policy Advisor?

This week, Governor Brown announced several new appointments, including Chief of Staff Brian Shipley: Kate Brown Sworn in as Governor, Announces Staff

Kate Brown Taps CCO Oregon Board Member Brian Shipley as Chief of Staff

Oregon Health & Science University Lobbyist and CCO Oregon Board Member Brian Shipley has been appointed to serve the state again. 

Most recently, Shipley was the Associate Vice President of Government Relations with OHSU. Previously, he served as Brown's Deputy Secretary of State from December 2012 to September 2013. He was once the Director of External Affairs for Forest Capital Partners, LLC, Legislative Director for Governor John Kitzhaber and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Ted Kulongoski. Prior, he held leadership roles within the Oregon Legislative Assembly, including the Senate Majority Office and the Office of the Senate President Peter Courtney.

Brian Shipley has served on the CCO Oregon Board of Directors for the past six months. We are proud that one of CCO Oregon's leaders has been chosen for such a critical position. We look forward to working closely with Brian and Governor Brown in the future.

See more coverage in The Oregonian, Willamette Week and other sources.