Oregon Attitudes on Health Care

In February 2021, OSPIRG contracted with Strategies 360 to conduct a poll surveying Oregon voters on attitudes towards health care, particularly their reactions to a state public option. This report contains the results from that survey.

In February 2021, OSPIRG contracted with Strategies 360 to conduct a poll surveying Oregon voters on attitudes towards health care, particularly their reactions to a state public option. This report contains the results from that survey.

In Oregon, health insurance premiums have risen 71.5% since the ACA Marketplace was established. These premiums average $450 for a single 40-year-old non-smoker in the Portland metro area, and are invariably higher for families, older individuals, and those outside Portland.*
Over the past few years, the state has undertaken efforts to transform the health care system by looking at how to reduce health care costs. OSPIRG has advocated in favor of many of these efforts, from prescription drug price transparency to a health care cost growth target. We continue to advocate for further ways to reduce health care costs and spending, including support for HB 2010 (2021) which directs state agencies to create an implementation plan for a public option.
This report contains the results of a survey of Oregon voters on the cost of health care and a public option. Here are some of the key findings:

  • 30% of Oregon voters reported seeing an increase in their health care costs in the last 12 months.
  • A third of Oregonians are majorly concerned with their health care costs, particularly voters of color (38%) and those between ages 35-64 (40%).
  • Nearly 4 in 10 Oregonians reported taking at least one detrimental action, such as delaying or cancelling doctor’s appointments or skipping prescribed medications.
  • 66% of voters support a public option health insurance plan for Oregon, including strong support across age groups and race.
  • Half of Oregonians would consider buying a public option plan for themselves.

Oregonians are not getting enough for their health care dollar. As costs continue to rise, and insurance premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs continue to outgrow our ability to afford them, Oregonians need another option.

A public option can take many forms, but ultimately it is a high value, high quality product offered at a lower price so that individuals and families can get the health care they need without postponing treatment or going into debt. With two-thirds of Oregon voters supporting this concept and half willing to consider purchasing a public option plan for their own use, it is clear that this is a worthwhile endeavor that can help Oregonians struggling with the high cost of care.

*Analysis of insurance rates is based on average benchmark premiums for all approved carriers on the Marketplace from 2014 to 2021. Past filings are available through the Department of Financial Regulation’s SERFF system. https://dfr.oregon.gov/healthrates/Pages/index.aspx

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