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What's next? Discussing the future of health care and possible ACA repeal

Hundreds attend the inaugural “Public Health Portland Style” forum hosted by OHSU-PSU School of Public Health
2017 Public Health Portland Style: Health Care Reform
Hundreds attended a public forum to discuss the possible repeal of the Affordable Care Act at first in a series of monthly forums sponsored by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, January 19, 2017 at the Lucky Lab on Quimby St. in Portland. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

There is a new president. Changes have been promised.

“We are here to discuss and prepare for what those changes might mean to Portland, to Oregon and to our nation,” said David Bangsberg, M.D., M.P.H., as he raised a pint Thursday evening to a standing-room-only crowd at The Lucky Lab Beer Hall in Northwest Portland

2017 Public Health Portland Style: Health Care Reform
David Bangsberg, M.D., M.P.H., dean of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health (left) listens as Bruce Goldberg, M.D., senior fellow at the OHSU Center for Health Systems Effectiveness speaks about possible changes to the Affordable Care Act under a Trump presidency at the Lucky Lab on Quimby St. in Portland. The event was the first in a series of monthly forums to be sponsored by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. (OHSU/Kristyna Wentz-Graff)

Bangsberg is the founding dean of the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health. His mission is to end local public health disparities. One of his first steps was to kick off “Public Health Portland Style,” a series of monthly forums aimed at extending public health conversations beyond school walls. The first discussion topic ranks high on the list of uncertainties for many Americans: health care reform, or the transition from Obamacare to Trumpcare.

“The Affordable Care Act began to build a bridge that allowed people to go from being uninsured to insured. From uncertainty to security,” said Bruce Goldberg, M.D., a senior fellow with OHSU’s Center for Health Systems Effectiveness, as he addressed the group. “What will it look like under a Trump administration? The answer is: I don’t know.”  

Bruce Goldberg, M.D., suggests 6 things to look for when evaluating possible health care reforms:

  • Does it provide comprehensive health care benefits?
  • Will it make us healthier?
  • Is it affordable for all Americans?
  • Will it decrease disparities across the U.S.?
  • Is it honest and transparent?
  • Will it make things simpler?

Hints from President Trump and his congressional supporters lead Goldberg to believe it is probable that Medicaid expansion could be replaced by block grants, or fixed amounts of money designated to provide health care to low-income citizens in the Medicare program. Insurance regulations also may be rolled back, limiting requirements for broad access to insurance. This could spark opportunities for competitive low-cost health plans that will provide fewer benefit to the sickest and most vulnerable patients, he said.

Throughout the evening, the discussion focused on health care monopolies and complementary medicine. Presentations were given  by OHSU-PSU School of Public Health faculty members Peter Graven, Ph.D., and Richard Lockwood, Ph.D. Hints from President Trump and his congressional supporters lead Goldberg to believe it is probable that Medicaid expansion could be replaced by block grants, or fixed amounts of money designated to provide health care to low-income citizens in the Medicare program. Insurance regulations also may be rolled back, limiting requirements for broad access to insurance. This could spark opportunities for competitive low-cost health plans that will provide fewer benefit to the sickest and most vulnerable patients, he said.

“To the extent that 18 million people may lose insurance coverage under a Trump administration, the conversation about how to stay healthy without health insurance becomes relevant,” warned Lockwood.

Click here to watch footage from “Health care reform: Obamacare to Trumpcare.” 

Hosted by the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health, “Public Health Portland Style” is a monthly series of community forums designed to discuss key issues that affect residents of Oregon and Southwest Washington. The next session, "Oregon on Opioids,” will take place Thursday, Feb. 16, at the Lucky Lab on N.W. Quimby in Portland.
 

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