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According to a recent article by Bill Graves in the Oregonian, the proposal would give every Oregonian access to a card that could buy complete health care coverage at a lower cost.

On the surface, it seems a terrific idea. As explained by Graves, the Senate commission's plan would require all employers and individuals to contribute money to a common pool called the Oregon Health Care Trust Fund, but people with low earnings relative to the federal poverty level would not have to pay (thereby "solving" the problems facing 600,000 uninsured Oregonians). The fund also would include public employee and federal Medicaid contributions.

But the devil, as they say, is in the details....and working out the details will not be easy but it is at least something, right? Still, questions fly: Is it workable? Is it affordable? Have we been down this (dead-end?) road before? How will it fit in with national proposals? Will it drive physicians out of state?...and so on.

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Dec 14, 2006 9:43:44 AM
Sara says

Why can't our politicians get together on these issues? Senator Wyden plans to introduce a bill in congress -- not just for Oregon but for the nation. "it is the most signficant reform proposal put before congress in many years....it will become the plan against which all others are measured..." check out the article in the oregonian: http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/index.ssf?/base/news/116606492261170.xml&coll=7

Dec 15, 2006 5:53:24 AM
L. Piechowski says

News events to be aware of:
1984---Bain Capital, LLC was founded by:
1. the governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney, elected in 2002;
2. Eric A. Kriss, who was Secretary of Administration and Finance in Romney's cabinet (January 2003 – October 2005);
3. A now-deceased accountant and former presidential candidate, Thomas Coleman Andrews. Of special note: Thomas took only his own state of Virginia and also Tennessee in that 1956 race.
The Bain company grew with the help of an El Salvadoran billionaire's money and now manages 17 billion dollars. Since 2005, Bain now has a China division and hired a manager directly from China. Bain is starting investing in China and helping China invest in the USA with the Haier takeover attempt of Maytag.
Dec 8, 2003:
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) were created by the Medicare bill signed by President Bush and are designed to help individuals (of note: also corporations) save for future qualified medical and retiree health expenses on a tax-free basis. Effective January 1, 2004, the HSA is replacing the MSA signed by Bill Clinton.
Bill Frist, of Tennessee, is holding office in the US Senate during this law's enactment.

March/April/ June 2004:
Bain Capital, LLC (owner at the time) bargained with Alliance Laundry of Ripon, WI (birthplace of Republican party) union for health savings/reimbursement accounts. Workers wages were near frozen and future wage increases were to be put into individual HSA's that are owned by the company. When workers retire, get fired, cease employment, HSA, accumulating tax free, reverts back to company. Workers coerced, otherwise their jobs were going to Mexico. Contract was extended 15 years by using the same Mexico lever.

Local health insurance Network Health Plan, part of the health care conglomerate, Affinity Health Systems, sold high deductible health insurance policies to Bain, while the Affinity conglomerate's facilities started raising prices 50%-100% per year. Alliance Laundry workers pay the regular uninsured price for health care out-of-pocket and out of stressed income because the only insurance benefit is a discount from the super inflated prices.

Late 2004 through much of 2005:
Bain Capital, LLC sold Alliance Laundry to competitor firm, Teachers' Private Capital, the private equity arm of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan. After the sale, Bain helped China try to invest in Maytag and ruin rival Canadian Ontario Teachers. Fortunately for Alliance Laundry, Bain's and China's Maytag bid failed. Whirlpool purchased Maytag. Haier Group of China therefore is not 'ruling' in the white wares market.

Bain earned $450 million from the sale of Alliance, plus made valuable contacts for China's investment cash. Bain made huge commissions trying to help Haier takeover Alliance Laundry.

Late 2005:
Bill Frist sells his stock in HCA, and is under investigation for insider trading. HCA, the Hospital Corporation of America, is one of the largest operators of health care facilities in the United States. The company runs 190 acute care, psychiatric and rehabilitation hospitals, along with some 80 ambulatory surgery centers, in 20 of the Unites States. It also has facilities in Switzerland and Britain. HCA was started by the Frist family in Tennessee who were good friends with originator of Bain, Thomas Coleman Andrews.

April 2006:
The Massachusetts legislature approved a bill that would require all residents to purchase health insurance or face legal penalties.
Gov. Mitt Romney (R) supports the proposal, which would require all uninsured adults in the state to purchase some kind of insurance policy by July 1, 2007, or face a fine. Their choices would be expanded to include a range of new and inexpensive policies -- ranging from about $250 per month to nearly free -- from private insurers subsidized by the state.

May 2006:
Vermont's governor (Howard Dean) signed a bill on Thursday that would make the state the second in the nation with near-universal health-care insurance by extending coverage to as much as 96 percent of its residents by 2010. (Universal health care is a spin term meaning "everyone-must-buy-health-insurance")
The law comes a month after neighboring Massachusetts passed the nation's first near-universal health-care reform plan. (again spin for everyone-must-buy-insurance)

July 24, 2006:
Biggest management led buyout in history---the purchase of HCA for $33 billion dollars.
Owners of HCA will be:
Henry Kravis, George Roberts (first cousins in Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co.);
***** Bain Capital, LLC;**********
Merrill Lynch assisting;
and also *******Thomas F. Frist Jr. (brother to Bill Frist),********* quietly mentioned after the big three.

(Okay, what is happening here? There is a direct conflict of interest surrounding laws. Remember that the main problem of health care PRICES isn't being attacked with any of these new laws that Mitt Romney, Howard Dean, and Bill Frist pushed. The problem of health care was always about prices even way back in the days when Hillary sat in her husband's cabinet meeting pushing the "big fix" HMOs and PPOs. I'm telling you, what happened in Ripon, WI was a big experiment and a training ground for Bain and similar leverage buyout companies. What happened in Ripon is not an isolated case. HCA will superinflate their prices just as Affinity Health Systems did to obtain the HSA money before the owning companies will get it. HSAs will be popping up all over this country putting the American labor force on fixed incomes. Not only will the paychecks of people be locked up, public money will be locked up as well. Massachusetts (correction: health care conglomerates) will be receiving $385 million annually of federal assistance. Their health care conglomerates who'll all be selling only coupns/discounts from super-inflated prices for their benefits, will be raising prices to grab onto a portion of the HSA money.

With stressed incomes come account receivable defaults. Businesses will be failing left and right. And guess who'll be waiting to gobble them up with all that China money? Bain who has hired a permanent China division manager just since 2005 in anticipation. This is the very beginning of America being sold to China. Mitt Romney, a potential presidential candidate in 2008, all those at Bain, and the Frists should be hung. They aren't good for our country and are not statesmen.)

And then comes Sen John Kerry of MA
July 31, 2006:
Sen. John Kerry proposed requiring all Americans to have health insurance by 2012, "with the federal government guaranteeing that they have the means to afford it."

Summary article found in Forbes.com July 2006:

"Health Is Wealth Parmy Olson, 07.24.06
Hospital operator HCA is set to be bought by a private equity consortium in one of the largest leveraged buyouts of all time…The buyers, according to the Wall Street Journal, include Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts, Bain Capital and Merrill Lynch, along with members of HCA's management. The family of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, a former stakeholder whose relatives founded HCA, is also part of the consortium. The group is paying a relatively slim premium of about 6.5% over the hospital chain's closing stock price of $47.87 on Friday. Merrill, Bank of America Corp., Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan are understood to be helping to finance the bid.
Based in Nashville, Tenn. Hospital operators like HCA have been struggling to beef up their profit margins thanks in part to new restrictions from Medicare, the rising cost of labor and medical technology, and the growth of uninsured patients.
!!!!!!Even so, some believe that HCA's buyers could see a leveraged buyout pay off without too much trouble. Apart from betting that economic conditions in the U.S. will remain stable, the suitors will be hoping that the aging American population continues to prompt higher spending on health care, and that the government eventually resolves the problem of uninsured patients.!!!!!!!!
With a relatively modest premium now on the table, observers haven't ruled out competing bids from other big hitters such as Goldman Sachs and Blackstone Group. In 2004, Blackstone purchased HCA's rival, Vanguard Health Systems, for $1.75 billion. Texas Pacific Group snapped up Iasis Healthcare for $1.4 billion.
Private equity groups have been sitting on a veritable cash mountain over the last 18 months and are now vying for increasingly large targets. Globally, 2,700 funds are raising half a trillion dollars in cash to invest."

Dec 4, 2006
News article in Boston Globe announces an 8 to 13% increase in health insurance price in the state of Massachusetts starting the same time as the new law that everyone-must-buy-health insurance.

Oregon is now chiming into the sell America to China as well?

What are you thinking? What are you REALLY doing?
Who is REALLY behind your answer to the crisis?
What will your plan REALLY do?

Are you people American still?

Dec 15, 2006 9:58:03 AM
S. Hobbs says

Fascinating post above. gets at a core question: why are we as a nation or state (OREGON?) ignoring the issue of health care COSTS when we consider reform? Why the exclusive focus on the side of the equation (consumer/insurance). Possibilities: 1) universal insurance is the quickest fix; 2) a big reason for rising health care costs is the cost-shift due to high numbers of uninsured needing free care; 3) focusing on health care costs smacks of gov't market intervention (so politically there is no will) 4) the issue of rising costs are an intractable unfixable mess 5)there are powerful business forces afoot...

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I think health care and health care insurance has been down this road in the past. If you give someone something for free it gives them zero incentive to better themselves. Why work long hours for little pay just to get something, when you can sit at home and get the same thing. I don't think that hard working individuals should cover the cost of health insurance for those of us that are unable to afford it. I think it is the U.S. Governments responsibility to help those of us in this situation.

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