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

ObamaCare: What Happens Now?

March 17, 2010 in Publications

The much anticipated health care summit was held recently in Washington, D.C. President Obama controlled the microphone and served as moderator, timekeeper, and chief negotiator with the Republicans.

Voters will see right through 'deem and pass'

March 16, 2010 in In the News
Olympia Business Watch
Source: 
Olympia Business Watch
Date: 
Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Senate passes small biz tax credit (for some)

March 11, 2010 in Blog

Last night the Senate passed ESSB 5899, which will provide a B&O tax credit up to $4,000 for each newly hired employee for businesses with fewer than 20 employees. It passed unanimously

The catch? The business doing the hiring has to also offer health insurance to its employees in order to qualify for the credit. The language in the bill states,

"The credit equals: Four thousand dollars for each qualified employment position with wages and benefits greater than forty thousand dollars annually, and for which the business offers a health care plan, that is directly created in an eligible business..."

That seems reasonable but the unfortunate side of things is that only 59% of businesses in Washington with between 2-9 employees offer health insurance. Only 73% of businesses with between 10-24 employees offer health insurance. 

This B&O tax credit certainly won't harm economic growth, and the idea behind it is solid (if somewhat overly optimistic). However, cutting off almost 40% of the very small business firms in the state from this benefit because they do not offer health insurance to their employees artificially curtails job growth that could have taken place based solely on the tax credit. 

Some of the small firms simply are unable to afford the cost of health insurance and this tax break could have helped them rectify that situation.

Polling for ObamaCare

March 10, 2010 in Blog

For essentially the past ten months the public polling on ObamaCare has been remarkably unchanged. Roughly 55% of the Americans polled are either moderately or strongly opposed to the Democrats' health care reform while 40% of the public is in favor of the reform. Scott Rasmussen of Rasmussen Reports, a large national polling organization, and Doug Schoen offered a coherent reason in today's Wall Street Journal (here).

Most Americans (perhaps as many as 85%) are happy with their health care and their health insurance. The vast majority of Americans, however, are concerned with the economy, jobs, and the federal budget and deficit. Rasmussen and Schoen argue that the majority or people in this county feel the Administration's health care reform proposals will make the economy worse, will increase the federal budget and will enlarge the deficit.

Consequently, no matter how many speeches Obama gives nor how vigorously the Democrats argue for health care reform, the American public isn't buying it. Expanding the government's involvement in health care while claiming to not increase taxes or add to the deficit does not pass the credibility test with the American public.

ObamaCare: What happens now?

March 9, 2010 in In the News
Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal
Source: 
Kitsap Peninsula Business Journal
Date: 
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

ObamaCare: What happens now?

March 8, 2010 in In the News
Lake Stevens Journal
Source: 
Lake Stevens Journal
Date: 
Monday, March 8, 2010

ObamaCare: What happens now?

March 3, 2010 in In the News
Auburn Reporter
Source: 
Auburn Reporter
Date: 
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ObamaCare - What Happens Now?

March 3, 2010 in In the News
The Snohomish Times
Source: 
The Snohomish Times
Date: 
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

State Abuse of the Medicaid Program

March 1, 2010 in In the News
National Center for Policy Analysis
Source: 
National Center for Policy Analysis
Date: 
Monday, March 1, 2010

Interstate purchase of health insurance would cut costs, insure more

February 26, 2010 in Blog

In the wake of yesterday's Health Care Summit, and the lack of progress towards any sort of compromise on the issue (as if we expected something different) comes a reminder that while the big guys duke it out back in D.C., there are still people waiting for reform.

Some of those who would benefit most from meaningful health care reform are the owners and employees of small businesses. The number of small businesses that can afford to provide health insurance to their employees continues to drop and is at a level that is far less than larger businesses. 

Even though the issue is grandiose, there are small steps that policymakers on both sides of the aisle have talked about -- even here in Washington state. One of the steps is to allow for purchase of!
health insurance across state lines
. This would help create more competition and drive prices down. 

Alan Reynolds of the Cato Institute points out that up to 11 million previously-uninsured Americans could gain health insurance through such a move, and without costing taxpayers anything.  

Why isn't this happening already? Because, according to Reynolds,

"Because the main barrier to choice and competition has nothing to do with 'market dominance' or the health insurers' anti-trust exemption that Congress is targeting as this week's scapegoat. Rather, much of the 'national' access-to-insurance problem is that states like New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and West Virginia impose burdensome mandates and regulations that push premiums sky-high."

HB 3015, sponsor!
erning health savings accounts (another great way to
control medical costs and shift towards consumer-oriented health care) to incorporate the language from 3015. Look for further debate on the issue of both HSAs and interstate purchasing of health insurance.