Remove mandates and health insurance will be more affordable


More Oregonians should be able to afford health insurance. To help achieve that goal legislators should repeal onerous mandates and regulations that price insurance out of reach for many. Removing these restrictions would allow individuals and families the opportunity to buy coverage tailored to their needs, and also lessen pressure on the Oregon Health Plan.

In a Cascade Policy Institute report Randall J. Pozdena, Ph.D., points out, “Oregon is one of 16 states identified by the U.S. General Accounting Office as having implemented stringent health insurance regulations in the 1990s. Analysis suggests that the policies in these 16 states caused their private coverage rates to decline (get worse) relative to other states that had not embraced these restrictions. These restrictions have limited the availability to Oregonians of low cost, catastrophic care and ‘bare bones’ policies, and kept Oregonians from being able to buy health insurance over the Internet.”

In 1999, Oregon legislators passed a law mandating that all insurance policies cover mammograms (ORS 743.727). Though this can often be a life-saving test, the fact remains: the additional expense of mammogram coverage is added to every policyholders’ premium. The cost of one mandate may not be much, but Oregon has numerous mandates and their total cost adds up.

Oregon legislators should remove mandates and other burdensome regulations so more people can afford health insurance, and chose the coverage they want. Erasing these restrictions would help solve problems related to the Oregon Health Plan.

Kurt T. Weber is vice president of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland, Oregon based think tank.

© 2006, Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is hereby granted, provided the author and Cascade Policy Institute are cited. Contact Cascade at (503) 242-0900 to arrange print or broadcast interviews on this topic. For more topics visit the QuickPoint! archive.

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