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.

What's New

A Capitalism Prescription

June 16, 2007 in Publications

Everyone, it seems, is talking about health care. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and John Edwards all have plans. Michael Moore has a documentary. No wonder – corporations fret rising health premiums, which have doubled since 2000, and families have seen their income stagnate in recent years because of rising costs. The situation will precipitously worsen in the next seven years as health spending is projected to rise to $4 trillion dollars a year, up from $2 trillion. What’s to be done with American health care? Congress needs to administer a strong dose of capitalism.

WPC's 5th Annual Health Care Conference

June 14, 2007 in Events
Date: 
Thursday, June 14th, 2007
Time: 
8:30 am - 1:30 pm
Place: 
Doubletree Hotel
SeaTac

WPC’s Center for Health Care Reform sponsored its 5th Annual Health Care Conference on June 14th. The conference was attended by over 260 of Washington's top business owners, legislators, agency and legislative staff, patients, doctors and industry representatives.

2007 Health Care Conference - Emerging Trends in Health Care

June 8, 2007 in Publications

Held on June 14, Washington Policy Center’s fifth annual half-day conference on Health Care provided a valuable forum for the discussion of an undeniably important subject. Bringing together over 260 attendees—from legislators and physicians to businesspeople and insurance industry leaders—the conference began with a briefing on the relevant activity of the state legislature and moved through panels on public opinion, new trends in health care, and Medicaid reform.

Washington State Barriers to Health Savings Accounts

June 8, 2007 in Publications

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a crucial tool for bringing consumerism to health care. An HSA allows an individual or family to put tax-free dollars in a savings account to use for future health care expenditures. Coupled with a high-deductible insurance policy, an HSA encourages individuals and families to consider price and quality when making health care decisions, and discourages over-consumption of health care.

Washington State Barriers to Health Savings Accounts

June 8, 2007 in Publications

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) are a crucial tool for bringing consumerism to health care. An HSA allows an individual or family to put tax-free dollars in a savings account to use for future health care expenditures. Coupled with a high-deductible insurance policy, an HSA encourages individuals and families to consider price and quality when making health care decisions, and discourages over-consumption of health care. HSAs also compel health care providers to compete for the business of patients. This results in innovation – finding ways to make health care both less expensive and more convenient for the patient.

Health Care Conference Tomorrow Will Feature Interactive Elway Polling and Address Medicaid Reform and other Cutting Edge Health Care Issues

in Press releases

Seattle - Washington Policy Center, the state's premier public policy research and education organization, along with the state's leading business organizations and health care companies, is sponsoring their 5th Annual Health Care Conference, "Emerging Trends in Health Care,"  a half-day conference, tomorrow, June 14th from 7:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

Limited Benefit Plans

March 1, 2007 in Publications

One of the main areas policymakers are focusing on is moving people without insurance to join those with coverage. Forty-six states have found one proven way to provide health insurance to thousands of their uninsured citizens. With a simple change in state law, Washington can join nearly every other state and offer what is called a fixed or limited benefit plan. These plans are one of the fastest growing segments in the health care market across the country. For most people, this is their first type of health insurance.

Price Controls Threaten Popular Drug Discount Program

February 16, 2007 in Publications

We have all heard the saying if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Well that is exactly what Congress is planning to do to the new Medicare drug benefit. The House of Representatives just passed H.R. 4, which says the Secretary of Health and Human Services "shall negotiate" prices for the Medicare Part D drug program.

The Revamped "Fair Share Act" is Still Wrong in Principle and Practice

February 1, 2007 in Publications

Two new proposals would require all companies in Washington with 1,000 or more employees to provide health insurance benefits to their employees or pay compensation costs or a fine to the state treasury if an employee receives health insurance from the state. Employers would be required to report the number of employees to the Health Care Authority and the Department of Social and Health Services, which would then cross-reference the roster with those appearing on the state’s Basic Health Plan (BHP) and Medical Assistance (MA) program rosters but companies would not know which employees are on the state’s lists. Both programs are taxpayer-funded systems that help subsidize health care for low-income families. Companies with employee names on the BHP or MA list would be required to either pay a fine or pay the employee’s health care costs to the state. In some cases the state could levy both assessments.

Analysis of the Health Care Connector Bill

February 1, 2007 in Publications

The intent section of this proposal expresses laudable goals – to create a state-run Connector agency to link more people in Washington to affordable health care coverage. The major weakness of the proposal, however, is that it forces its targeted population to drop any coverage they may already have, and choose among just four or five pre-determined plans, even though a simple internet search already provides information about hundreds of existing health plans. Given these limits, the new agency runs the risk of becoming better known as The Constrictor, rather than a connector.