Oregon Plan Raw Score
Oregon Health Plan, which is abbreviated as OHP, is a Medicaid program provided by the Oregon Health Care authority. Medicaid, which differs from Medicare, endows low-income earning families with medical assistance. The expenses for the Medicaid program are catered for by both state and federal funds, provided by the government in states that have decided to offer the program. As per the federal government requirements, a set list of service individuals, such as needy children, are to be offered the Medicaid program by the states providing it. With the approval of the federal government, a state can decide the eligible people, and what other services they can afford to offer (Oregon.gov, 2011) This Health Care Plan of the Oregon was conceived, realized, and founded by Dr. Ralph Crawshaw, who was a Portland activist and an emergency room doctor by the name John Kitzhaber.
The intentions of the Oregon Health Plan were to increase the availability of health care the working poor populations of different states, while it rationed benefits. The introduction of the plan, led to the consideration of Oregon as a national leader in health care reforms. In its starting phase, the law passed in Oregon was incompatible with federal law; therefore, its review had to be done. In March 20, 1993, President Bill Clinton approved the plan, but he required the plan’s revision to the concern about whether all disabled persons would obtain equal access. Currently the Medicaid program covers 240,000 Oregonians (Pear, 1993). The program's costs inflated from 1.33 billion America dollars in 1993 to1995 to 2.36 billion dollars in 1999 to 2001. Oregon Health Plan had to make significant cuts to their budget in 2003 to help contain the cost. Enrollment of new individuals in the Medicaid program was closed from June 2004 and was re-opened in early 2008, with the introduction of a lottery-based system of eligibility.
To further help in cost containment, the Oregon Health Care Authority introduced two new plans OHP Standard and OHP Plus. In the OHP Plus plan, adults and children who were eligible for Medicaid were offered full benefit package. This package extended too, to children's Health Insurance Program. In OHP Plus package, no premiums were paid, but some adults were required to submit small copayments for medical services such as drugs prescriptions and outpatient services. OHP Standard program has limited benefits. The package covers a set number of adults how are neither insured nor eligible for Medicaid. When OHP Standard plan began to require payment of premiums by most adult participants, about 40,000 Oregonians could be able to pay (Oberlander, Marmor, and Jacobs, 2001). This led to their disqualification from the program. The payment of copayments was eradicated, but monthly premiums are still required.
In my opinion, I advocate that the Oregon Health Plan should be adopted nationwide. Critics, opponents, and rhetoric may argue that the program has failed to deliver on its founding principles. Some say that it has simply failed to work, but the truth is that about 100,000 low-income Oregonians who were previously not insured, have been give health cover by the Oregon Health Plan. The main advantage of this plan is that it has two operational plans, that is HOP plus and standard, which provides a wide scope for the coverage of deserving individuals. If such plans were not put in place, it would prove very expensive for the poor to pay for medical expenses. A vast majority of individuals below the poverty line now have access to insurance in Oregon courtesy of the plan. An indicator of its worth, is that, the Washington County Mental Health Organization has adopted the OHP Mental Health Benefit for Washington County dwellers enrolled in Oregon Health Plan. This implies that the plan can be used nationwide.
The difficulties that would be encountered in attempting to garner nationwide acceptance of this approach would be unanimous acceptance of the plan by all states, proper inclusion of the total number of services in the list and their medical value. Establishment of an explicit limit on service coverage, and general management in care are also difficulties that might be encountered in trying gunner nationwide acceptance for the plan. The fact that OHP barely made a dent for Oregon’s uninsured is because of an increasing part-time, a drift in Oregon’s industry temporary labor force and the ability or willingness of employers to go on with giving insurance coverage (Pinney, 2010). The consideration of the poor and less fortunate of the society for health care insurance coverage is an ethical and just act. The plan makes the low-income earners feel that they have a place in the society and that their rights to receive Medicaid services is possible.
The federal government has to effectively control the cost of care incurred in funding health care for those who cannot afford it. It has acknowledged that such a rich nation cannot continue to leave people especially the children, without a medical health cover. It approved a 24 billion, US dollar taxation on tobacco, to be targeted at giving health coverage to children under 19 years and of incomes of under 200 percent of the federal’s poverty level. Oregon receives 40 million US dollars annually for five years to implement their program. Involvement of nongovernmental agencies such as the United Nations can help to provide some funds for the running of such programs. Programs such as the Oregon Health Plan needs every persons support, especially the taxpayers. As a program that depends on the taxpayer support, it demands the citizen’s vigilance. It requires everyone’s advocacy as a promise of a healthier and better tomorrow for all the needy.
Pinney, E. (2010). The Oregon Health Plan: Boon or Bust. Alternative Resources for Cultural Creativity. Retrieved from http://www.alternativesmagazine.com/04/pinney1.html
Oberlander, J., Marmor, T., & Jacobs, L.(2001). Rationing medical care: rhetoric and reality in the Oregon Health Plan. Journal of Canadian Medical Association. 164(11): 1583–1587.
Oregon.gov. (2011). Oregon Health Plan. Retrieved from http://www.oregon.gov/OHA/healthplan/about_us.shtml
Pear, R. (1993). U.S. Backs Oregon's Health Plan for Covering All Poor People. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1993/03/20/us/us-backs-oregon-s-health-plan-for-covering-all-poor-people.html