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J Health Polit Policy Law. 1999 Feb;24(1):147-60.

Oregon's bold experiment: whatever happened to rationing?

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  • 1Linfield College, USA.


In 1994 Oregon began rationing health care for its Medicaid population, offering health policy makers and analysts around the country a view of one alternative future for health care delivery. The question now, four years after the experiment began, is what does that future look like? The short answer is that it does not look all that different from the present, but it looks different enough to offer important lessons to other states and the federal government. The Oregon experiment, including the prioritization of services and the aggressive use of managed care, has facilitated the expansion of health care coverage to over 100,000 additional Oregonians, helped decrease the percentage of the uninsured as well as reduce uncompensated care in hospitals, reduced the use of hospital emergency rooms, and reduced cost shifting. By most measures, the Oregon experiment appears to be a success.

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