Senate GOP: More taxes, more bureaucracy = higher costs

Oregon Senate GOP Office Release:
New taxes, new bureaucracy means higher healthcare costs for families, small businesses
Oregonians need community solutions and increased access

Salem, OR — Oregon small businesses and families, already struggling to pay the rising costs of healthcare, will have to shoulder an additional expense in their monthly premiums and co-pays if the Oregon Health Fund Board’s proposal is adopted. The plan suggests funding government healthcare through a new tax on hospitals and doctors and creating a government bureaucracy to replace Oregon’s market-based healthcare system.

“It doesn’t make sense to increase the costs of healthcare for families and small businesses,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “We should be reducing healthcare costs by limiting frivolous lawsuits, focusing on efforts to expand community based healthcare and working to recruit quality doctors and nurses to all corners of Oregon to increase the supply of healthcare services. A centralized, government-run healthcare bureaucracy is not the solution Oregonians need.”

According to a recent study by the Mercer consulting firm, healthcare costs will increase this year by 5.7 percent for workers and employers. Between 2003 and 2007, the average deductible for an individual increased from $250 to $400. For a family, it grew from $1,000 to $1,500. Since the beginning of this year 19 health insurance providers in Oregon have filed for rate increases, according to the Office of Oregon Health Policy and Research. Blue Cross Blue Shield has announced that their rates will increase by 26 percent.

“The cost of healthcare is increasing enough without the burden of new taxes,” said Jeff Kruse (R-Roseburg). “To reduce costs we should be focusing on increasing access and choice. This proposal simply amounts to bigger, more expensive government, which is the last thing Oregonians need in this tough economic environment.”

The Oregon Health Fund Board has also proposed the creation of a powerful Oregon Health Authority with far-reaching command. Their powers would allow them to restructure Oregon’s healthcare system, mandate new methods of care and to set arbitrary price controls. This socialized healthcare model has proven ineffective in providing quality care in other countries.