Governor Kitzhaber To Pursue Strengthened Scrutiny for Health Insurance Rates

Governor Kitzhaber just announced that his administration will take an important next step in making health care work better for Oregon. By instituting some common-sense measures to hold health insurers accountable, Oregon has a great opportunity in the next year to start making progress in cutting the waste out of our health care system--estimated to make up as much as 1/3 of every dollar we spend on health care.

In a report OSPIRG Foundation released in April, we showed that the measures Oregon has taken in the past few years to scrutinize health insurance rates have seen some success, cutting over $80 million in waste and unjustified costs out of premiums since 2010. We also showed that opportunities remain to use Oregon's health insurance rate review process to create greater transparency and push insurers to cut waste and focus on prevention. Over the past few months, we have also talked to thousands of Oregonians across the state to raise awareness and build support for taking action.

At a recent Oregon Health Policy Board meeting, officials from the Governor's administration went public for the first time with his plan to explore and take action on these recommendations. (See here for the details of the Governor's plan--start on page 72.)

We are encouraged by this progress, but the work is far from over. We will be there every step of the way to make sure the consumer voice is part of the discussion, and we will be sure to keep you updated every step of the way.

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