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.
Greg Scandlen, Director, Center for Consumer Driven Health Care, Galen Institute, June, 2003
For too many years Americans have been divorced from the consequences of their health care decisions. Third-party payment has enabled us to see a doctor, purchase medications, and receive surgery, without a thought about cost. In some minds this is a wonderful thing – get all the health care services you need without agonizing over affordability.
Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, April, 2003
We all know the cost of health care coverage is rising fast, and the trend is hitting the state's small firms particularly hard. Many small business owners would like to offer health coverage to their workers but simply can't afford it. The National Federation of Independent Business reports that in 1993 65% of their members provided health coverage to all their employees, but only 47% do today.
Eric Montague, Policy Analyst, April, 2003
The primary function of government is to protect the lives, liberty and property of its citizens. Public safety is thus essential to the continuance of civil society. Public safety depends on a reliable and effective criminal justice system, and central to the administration of justice is a humane, secure and efficient prison system.
Eric Montague, Policy Analyst, March, 2003
The cost of health care is rising across the nation. Washington is one state where it is rising the fastest. A major component of growing costs is Washington’s tort system, which allows juries to award unlimited non-economic damages to patients injured by the negligence of a doctor. The growing prospect of multi-million dollar payouts has spawned tremendous growth in the size of claims against our state’s doctors, forcing them to spend millions of dollars each year to defend against costly and often frivolous lawsuits.
Linda Gorman, Ph.D., Adjunct Scholar, February, 2003
Over the last four decades, state and federal officials have routinely under-estimated Medicaid costs. Now that it is the second largest item in most state budgets, state officials desperate for budgetary relief are embracing centralized prescription drug controls. Proponents of these programs claim that forcing patients to use less expensive medications will substantially lower health care costs by reducing the amount paid for prescription drugs.
Linda Gorman, PhD, Adjunct Scholar, February, 2003
Over the last four decades, state and federal officials have continuously expanded the scope of state Medicaid programs and consistently underestimated the associated costs. Medicaid began in 1966 with an expenditure of less than $1 billion. By 1971, annual spending was $6.5 billion, more than twice the projected figure. In 2001, total expenditures were $228 billion, not including spending on children’s health insurance. Long-term care, primarily for the elderly, consumes almost half of current Medicaid budgets. With the baby boomers beginning to retire in 2009, some experts predict that without fundamental changes in the program’s structure, a quadrupling of long-term care costs will bankrupt state governments by 2020. At present, Medicaid is second only to education in most state budgets. In FY 2001, Washington state reported spending $2.1 billion on the Medicaid program.
Seattle - A new study by Washington Policy Center Adjunct Scholar Linda Gorman, Ph.D. examines existing state drug formulary policies as lawmakers in Olympia consider creating a similar program in an effort to reign in rising public health care costs.
The study, titled "Treatment Denied: State Formularies and Cost Controls Restrict Access to Prescription Drugs," examines formulary programs in Florida, Oregon, Michigan and other states for lessons that may help Washington lawmakers as they debate the merits of such programs.
Among the study's major findings:
Daniel Mead Smith, President, January, 2003
The average cost of employer-sponsored health insurance increased by 14.7 percent per worker in 2002. That is the largest single-year increase since 1990, and the forecast for 2003 is an additional 14.6 percent increase.
Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, October, 2002
Blaine, Washington is one of the busiest border crossings in the world. In the shadow of the Peace Arch, which commemorates the longest non-militarized international border in the world, thousands of Americans enter Canada every day. Among the throngs of business travelers and tourists, however, a small but growing number of shoppers represent a quiet invasion that Canadians might not find so friendly; bargain-hunting Americans seeking the low-priced, subsidized prescription drugs available under Canada's socialized health system.
Eric Montague, Policy Analyst, September, 2002
More than 170 health experts, policymakers and media gathered at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Seattle on August 14th for Health Care 2002, a half-day conference sponsored by Washington Policy Center. The conference consisted of three expert panels exploring the impact of mandates and regulations on health care costs, consumer access to prescription drugs and free market solutions to the rising cost of health care. Congresswoman Jennifer Dunn delivered the keynote address and nationally recognized health care expert Dr. Merrill Matthews served as keynote panelist.