Health Care

WPC's Center for Health Care develops patient-centered solutions to reduce costs and improve the availability and quality of health care for businesses and individuals, providing the only detailed, independent critique of health care issues available in the Northwest.

Health Care Blog

Huge Blow to Obamacare Today

July 22, 2014 in Blog

In a potentially huge blow to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), or Obamacare, the U.S. Appeals Court for the D. C. Circuit today ruled in a 2-1 decision that the I.R.S. lacked the authority to allow subsidies to be provided in health insurance exchanges not run by individual states (Halbig vs Burwell). (Here)

Greater Use of Over-the-Counter Drugs for Consumer-Driven Health Care

July 15, 2014 in Blog

One issue that is often overlooked in the discussion of patient-driven health care is access to therapeutic drugs. Specifically, should patients, as consumers, have greater choices in over-the-counter (OTC) drugs?

As recently as thirty years ago patients only had access to very basic OTC drugs such as aspirin, Tylenol and anti-acids. Now people can freely obtain a wide variety of drugs to treat ulcers, colds, the flu, as well as a much broader choice of pain medication.

The Truth Behind the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers

July 11, 2014 in Blog

The Commonwealth Fund recently reported that as of May 1, 2014, 20 million people now have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare. A follow-up paper by the Heritage Foundation puts that number in perspective, however.

Obamacare Tax on Drug Manufacturers Will Result in Fewer or More Costly Drugs

June 19, 2014 in Blog

Part of the funding for Obamacare comes from a $2.3 billion per year tax on drug manufacturers. The tax is assessed based on the share of all drug sales for each company that specific year. The money to pay this tax will either come from higher drug prices passed on to consumers or will come from research and development budgets.

Is It Time To Close the V.A. Hospital System?

May 21, 2014 in Blog

For years, proponents of a single-payer health care system in the U.S. have pointed to the V.A. Hospital System as the example of how government-run health care can work in this country. It is now being revealed that the V.A. system has some terrible flaws. (Here, Here, Here)

Liberal Think Tank Says Obamacare Employer Mandate is "Regressive" and Should Be Scrapped

May 14, 2014 in Blog

At WPC’s annual Health Care Conference yesterday, panels of experts discussed the impacts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on individuals, employers, insurers and providers.  A common theme throughout the presentations and Q&A sessions centered on the uncertainty of how employers will respond once the controversial employer mandate begins to take effect next year.

The controversy, confusion and uncertainty over the new requirements has prompted the Obama Administration to delay implementation of the employer mandate and soften requirements during the first year.

Even If You Like Your Employer-sponsored Health Insurance, You Probably Won't Be Able To Keep It

May 1, 2014 in Blog

Almost half the people in the U.S. have employer-sponsored health insurance. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, taxes or fines employers with more than 49 employees if they don't provide health insurance to their employees. The financial penalty is set at either $2,000 or $3,000 per employee per year, depending on whether the employer offers health benefits. Both numbers are significantly less than the cost of the average employee health insurance plan.

Insurance Commissioner Kreidler's New Rule

April 24, 2014 in Blog

Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is in the process of creating a new rule for health insurance companies selling policies in the state exchange. (Here) In an interesting turn of events, hospitals and insurance companies are lining up together to oppose the ruling, but for very different reasons.

A bit of background is needed.

What Do the Obamacare Sign-up Numbers Really Mean?

April 2, 2014 in Blog

The final (sort of) numbers are out and the Obamacare supporters are doing the Happy Dance. The "official" enrollment number for the health insurance exchanges is 7.1 million people, which has been the goal since enrollment began on 10/1/13. The "sort of" comes from the fact that the Obama Administration has allowed an extention for people experiencing "hardships" in signing up. These hardships are self-reported, so essentially the Administration has extended the open enrollment period indefinitely.

Oversight of the Office of Insurance Commissioner

March 27, 2014 in Blog

It's been said there are two things you never want to see being made - sausage and legislation. In many cases, proposed legislation morphs into a totally different bill when finally passed. Fortunately, this was not exactly the situation with SB 6458.