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.
Dr. Roger Stark, MD, FACS, Health Care Policy Analyst, March, 2012
Major health care reform (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) became law two years ago. The legislation passed with only Democratic votes and totaled a massive 2,700 pages. The Medicare and Medicaid programs, by contrast, were enacted in 1965 with broad support from both parties and totaled only 137 pages. Although the 2010 PPACA will not be fully implemented until 2018, we know much more about it today than was apparent two years ago.
Dr. Roger Stark, MD, FACS, Health Care Policy Analyst, February, 2012
The Spokane Journal of Business published this column on February 16, 2012.
The fundamental problem with the health care system in this country is its ever-rising cost. We spend 17% of our gross domestic product, or nearly $2.5 trillion, on health care each year. Most policy proposals attempt to control these expenses by imposing more top-down regulations, “better” medicine, and ultimately, a government-managed system.
Proposals to Impose Drug Take-back Mandate Would Increase Health Care Costs and Do Little for the Environment
Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, February, 2012
Proposals to force collection of unused pharmaceuticals claim such mandates are needed to protect ground water quality, stating: “Disposing of medicines by flushing them down the toilet or placing them in the garbage can lead to the contamination of groundwater and other bodies of water, contributing to long-term harm to the environment and to animal life.” There is no firm evidence, however, that this is an accurate description of how pharmaceutical elements end up in groundwater.
Roger Stark, MD, FACS, Health Care Policy Analyst, February, 2012
Officials in Washington state currently ban citizens from buying health insurance in other states, forcing consumers to choose among a handful of in-state insurers. They also require individual health insurance plans sold in Washington to contain 58 different benefit and provider mandates. Each mandate adds a small incremental cost to the plan, as little as 0.5%, but added together state mandates drive up the cost of health coverage significantly. A total of 58 mandates can increase the price of health insurance by 20 to 25%.