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Oregon Health Care

Oregon's Health Care Lottery and Desperation for Doctors

This week Oregon is holding a lottery for the remaining 3,000 slots in their state health care system. That's right: a lottery. While the health care story dominating the headlines recently is the Hillary/Barack mandate debate, far more shocking stories just like this are plaguing the U.S. medical scene. The diagnosis is grim.

In Oregon, more than 80,000 people have signed up for the chance to win access to a health insurance plan designed for those who don't qualify for Medicaid, but are too poor to buy their own coverage. The Oregon Department of Human Services estimates that 600,000 Oregonians are currently without insurance.

But wait. There's more. The buried story on 60 Minutes (behind the flashier Clinton/Obama frenzy) was about a group called Remote Area Medical (RAM). The group was designed to parachute triage care into remote areas like the Amazon. Now, they're doing almost 60 percent of their work within the United States. In one mission — to Knoxville — the group saw 920 patients and had to turn 400 away.

With news like this, one wonders if any health care solution can possibly be a salve at this point. Debating the finer points of a mandate seems futile. Is the real problem not with price of health care, but the insurance system itself? What if instead of trying to buy people insurance we concentrated on making trips to the doctor affordable? And does holding a lottery for a life-saving service seem below an allegedly civilized society?


milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
And this is exactly why I will be voting for Obama.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
It's disgusting that a country with so much wealth as ours and so much presumed great "quality of life" should have such a dilemma. A few years ago, when I was quite young and on my own, and couldn't afford health insurance, I had the misfortune of breaking my arm very badly. The ambulance took me to a hospital that wouldn't even admit me because I didn't have health insurance. I ended up in the county hospital. I waited 9 days without my arm being set--the break was too large to set, and I needed surgery--in horrible pain, being given morphine every few hours just to shut me up. Then the actual operation only took a couple of hours. And guess what? My bill from the county hospital was many times higher than what it would have been at the first hospital, where they could have operated on me the same day or at least the next day, instead of keeping me confined for 9 days and charging me for the bed and all that morphine. I am a passionate Obama supporter precisely because of his plans to fix health care.
juju4 juju4 9 years
"What if instead of trying to buy people insurance we concentrated on making trips to the doctor affordable?" Obama's plan confronts this issue head on. There are so many factors that contribute to our high premiums and high co-pays and deductibles: monopolization of the insurance industry, the high cost of prescription drugs, the high cost of malpractice insurance for doctors (they pay hundreds of thousands a year, and pass the expense on to the patients), etc. Obama's plan works because he doesn't just focus on getting people covered, he also focuses on the multitude of issues that are causing prices to sky-rocket in the first place. The situation in Oregon is really sad. I am sure there are people going into major debt if they have an emergency and don't have coverage.
amers230 amers230 9 years
wow, this makes me feel pretty bad about complaining about my 20 dollar co-pay for my dermatologist appointment this morning. lol @ verily
verily verily 9 years
They should take care of the health care system with a real lottery. 3000 win slots and they stone the rest to death. That will take care of Oregon's health care crisis.
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