State to Rein in Healthcare Costs

 State Senate Bill 889 recently passed in Oregon would establish Oregon as the fourth state to set a spending benchmark to rein in the rising costs of healthcare. Modeled after a program in Massachusetts, SB 889 creates the “Oregon Health Care Cost Growth Benchmark Program”.

The program will set a state spending growth target that all insurance companies, hospitals, and healthcare providers would have to agree to in order to stay within the target.

Research shows that residents in the state pay more for healthcare and have higher deductibles than residents in other states. Oregon has the third highest health insurance deductibles in the country and is in the top ten highest states for family budgets spent on out-of-pocket hospital costs.

The state has already established a 3.4 percent growth rate for public programs, but there isn’t a similar target for the private market, where almost half of Oregon residents get their health insurance.

Senate Bill 889 establishes a citizen and stakeholder-led Implementation Committee selected by Governor Kate Brown under the supervision of the Oregon Health Policy Board. The Implementation Committee will study the details of the program and how the total cost of care should be measured and designed.



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