This week’s decision by the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to allow Trillium Community Health Plan to begin enrolling Medicaid members in the Portland area starting on September 1 threatens to disrupt important care relationships in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic. Of even greater concern is the fact that this decision seems to have been made in a vacuum that ignores both the need for patient protections in a very vulnerable population and the intensified call for equity in our health care system
Without bringing some degree of financial support and certainty to the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs as a direct result of the necessary efforts to contain the spread of COVID 19, we risk unleashing the darker consequences of panic, blame and desperation that haunt those who cannot meet their most basic needs and see no hope for tomorrow—the loss of social cohesiveness and the disintegration of our communities.
I am adding my voice to those of my colleagues in the medical community, as well as many other Oregonians, in support of the immediate issuance of a strong and unambiguous statewide order to shelter at home. Given our current lack of both an effective vaccine or the capacity to conduct widespread testing for the virus, such an order offers the most aggressive intervention action available to prevent, or at least delay, hospital overload.
The spread of the coronavirus in Oregon is a true emergency and yet it offers us an opportunity—an opportunity to remember that we are truly all in this together, that the virus does not respect income, partisanship or political ideology; and that by facing this challenge together, as a caring and compassionate Oregon community, we will surely weather this storm and emerge stronger and more united than when we began.
The Democratic debates demonstrate how central health care will be in the 2020 election. Whether this debate leads to meaningful relief for the millions of families struggling under the financial burden of medical care depends largely on how the issue is framed and on the clarity with which we see our policy goal. Here are five observations that may help.
For decades, the national health care debate has focused largely on our acute care medical system; and gridlocked because neither Republicans nor Democrats assume any change in the health care delivery model: we either pay for it or we don’t, creating a false choice between cost and access. Moving beyond this gridlock requires a new way to both frame this challenge and to evaluate the various proposals being advanced to address it.
Remarks at the Oregon Health Forum on the stakes involved for Oregon’s CCO care model over the next five year contract period.
Sixty-six million years ago an asteroid hit earth, bringing about the extinction of the dinosaurs, and wiping out roughly seventy-five percent of life on the planet. Don’t look now but there’s an asteroid approaching in the rearview mirror of the U.S. health care system. We need to step back from the political gridlock and pay […]
Over the past five years, Oregon’s Coordinated Care Organizations have demonstrated how to expand access while lowering the cost trend and improving quality and outcomes. The next five years will pose a new set of challenges and opportunities which was the subject of an Oregon Health Forum panel on June 21.