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Tuesday, March 11th 2008

Roll The Dice For Healthcare

I’m not getting all bleeding heart, but this is kind’ve a weird situation as thousands apply for a drawing for cheap access to health care.

Tens of thousands of Oregonians queued up quickly for a chance at the state’s latest lottery, but this one is no game.

Officials began drawing names last week for a chance at some rare openings in the state’s healthcare plan.

Announced in February, the lottery drew 91,675 hopefuls in 30 days. The winners will receive a postcard notifying them that they can apply for the Oregon Health Plan.

Budget limitations capped the Oregon Health Plan standard benefit package in mid-2004. Now the plan has room for a few thousand people. The lottery winners will be the first new applicants since the cap was imposed.

Perhaps reflecting some of the obstacles and limitations in/of trying to implant social assistance health programs in the United States, the Oregon program is kind’ve drifting clumsily along. And far from achieving the original goals envisioned for it.

When it was fully funded, it was considered a trailblazing program. In 1996, the benefit package enrolled five times as many people as are enrolled today, and only 10.7% of Oregon’s population lacked insurance, compared with about 16% today.

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