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Vermont's Loss Over Health Care Data Will Affect Oregon Too

<p>Public health officials want more students at the University of Oregon to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease now a seventh case has been confirmed.</p>

CDC

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Public health officials want more students at the University of Oregon to get vaccinated against meningococcal disease now a seventh case has been confirmed.

The U.S. Supreme Court told the state of Vermont on Tuesday it can’t force health insurers to hand over data on the amounts they pay for various medical claims.

The ruling means large self-insured companies like Intel, don’t have to give the state their data. In Oregon, about 23% of the population get their insurance through such companies — that’s the combined populations of the cities of Portland, Salem and Eugene.

A decision over health care information may not sound like a big deal, but finding patterns in big data is how Vermont, the Obama administration and Oregon aimed to reduce healthcare costs.

Jesse O’Brien specializes in health care for the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group and said the court's ruling will affect the efficacy of Oregon's data gathering.

“It doesn’t completely undercut the ability to collect this data, or the usefulness of this data," said O'Brien. "I think it makes the data significantly less representative of the reality of what’s going on."

Copyright 2016 Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kristian Foden-Vencil is a reporter and producer for Oregon Public Broadcasting. He specializes in health care, business, politics, law and public safety.