Financing Health Care Reform: Can Oregon Adopt Massachusetts' Method?
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Despite spending the most money per capita on health care, the United States is plagued with lack of access to quality health care issues. Over 16% of Americans are uninsured and the problem continues to worsen. The United States government spent over $2.3 trillion on health care in 2007. If such large amounts of money are already being spent on health care and 48 million people are still uninsured, how can a mandated health program be financed? Although a definitive answer to the issue of financing a mandated reform has yet to be discovered, the pursuit of a solution has already been initiated at the state level. In 2006, Massachusetts introduced its own health reform that would make coverage affordable to the uninsured. The plan relies on the redistribution of federal and state funds, employer contributions, existing hospital and provider assessments, and a mandate on individuals. As other states begin to look to Massachusetts as a model for reform, this paper examines the likelihood that a similar financing model will be successful in Oregon.