The health care debates of 2017 taught us that any conversation about the supposed premium impact of a specific drug or medical condition can be turned into an argument that people with pre-existing conditions should be pushed into high-risk pools or pay condition-specific premiums.
Health care cost legislation should avoid triggering stigma or workplace discrimination against people with disabilities or chronic medical conditions.
Oregon’s House Bill 4005 does the opposite. It directs insurers to tell the public that certain conditions are causing increased “spending.” And it bases its reporting on a definition—“‘Price’ means the wholesale acquisition cost”—so patently misleading that it’s tempting to believe HB 4005’s central purpose is to insert it into Oregon law, to prevent people harmed by insurers’ dual pricing from recognizing or taking action on their injury.
Oregon’s leaders know that insurers are negotiating low rebated net prices for themselves, while forcing patients to pay much higher list prices. They know insurers are leaving rebates out of the equation when they calculate the premiums we pay. Our lawmakers should now be demanding transparency and public reporting on the harm caused by insurers’ drug-pricing practices and the impact of those practices on individual cost-sharing and premium valuation—not passing a blame-shifting bill that’s opaque where transparency would do the most good.Read More