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Oregon: Health Care Politics at Play

Posted Feb 22 2012 1:49pm
I've been following plight of the Oregon Nurse Practitioners regarding reimbursement rates. It seems that back in 2009, NP reimbursement rates from insurance companies were arbitrarily cut by up to 55% for no apparent reason. An attempt to correct that was introduced in the form of legislation . While it appears that the bill itself contained some flaws, it is now destined to flounder in committee once again.

The sad thing here is politics at play. Heavy lobbying from the insurance companies and from organized medicine guaranteed the bill's demise. The lobbyists relied on the "costs will go up" tagline to shoot down the bill. This is laughable. Did those who were insured costs go down when they saw a nurse practitioner? Nope. The NPs diagnosed and treated the patients as they were educated and trained to do - not from some alternative medicine crack pot cookbook. It came from recognized health care standards, procedures, and guidelines. Yet, the insurance companies want to reimburse NPs less for the same work done and reap the rewards. Not fair.

I am not debating the whole physician versus nurse practitioner compensation argument here - we can save that for another time. This reaks of greed and is putting patient lives at risk - especially those in rural areas where these NPs are practicing and are often the sole provider in that area. Unfortunately, it seems as if this practice will continue unabated and those having the power to do something about it will sit idle and hope that maybe someone else will pick up the slack.
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