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.

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ObamaCare taxes now, services later

April 7, 2010 in In the News
Seattle/Local Health Guide
Source: 
Seattle/Local Health Guide
Date: 
Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The True Cost of ObamaCare

April 4, 2010 in Blog

ObamaCare was passed with a slim partisan majority and substantial bipartisan opposition. A considerable amount of accounting gymnastics was necessary to get spending for the program to match with new taxes and cost containment. In the end, the Congressional Budget Office ultimately scored the bill at $940 billion with many qualifiers and assumptions.

In less than two weeks, we are already seeing unintended (or ignored) financial consequences from the bill. A number of Fortune 500 companies are announcing significant write-downs because of the loss of the tax deduction for their retirees' drug benefits. Deere, Caterpiller, AT&T, as well as Boeing have all recorded multi-million dollar charges. These write-downs will ultimately be passed on to stock holders in the form of less dividends or less earnings. 

The next financial hurdle for the Administration will be explaining the "doc fix". The $940 billion price tag was balanced by allowing $271 billion to be cut from provider reimbursements for Medicare services. This has resulted in an immediate 21% decrease in Medicare fees for doctors. It is widely speculated that Congress and the Administration will "fix" this with a reinstatement of 2009 level reimbursements. If Washington, DC, does this fix, ObamaCare will suddenly be over $270 billion in the red.

Stay tuned. We are about to witness the ObamaCare budget go totally upside down, with the usual proposed increase in taxes and an obligatory increase in the federal deficit.

Sections of new health-care law violate the Constitution

April 2, 2010 in In the News
The Seattle Times
Source: 
The Seattle Times
Date: 
Friday, April 2, 2010

How Mandates Increase Costs and Reduce Access to Health Care Coverage

April 2, 2010 in Publications

In June 2002, the Washington Policy Center published a study showing how state-imposed mandates add to the cost of health insurance.  Since then state lawmakers have added new mandates, and the cost of insurance has continued to rise.

Secretary Locke to business: Just write it off!

March 29, 2010 in Blog

During last week's fallout from the ObamaCare vote, several large companies expressed concern that the new system will eventually cost their businesses, employees and shareholders, millions of dollars over the next decade. 

AT&T announced that it will be forced to make a $1 billion writedown due solely to the health care bill. Deere & Co. announced cost increases of $150 million, Caterpiller, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million. 3M, $90 million, et. al. As The Wall Street Journal points out, consulting firm Towers Watson estimates the cost this year at $14 billion, unless corporations cut retiree benefits. 

The response from Commerce Secretary Gary Locke? 

"...[Locke] took to the White House blog to write that while ObamaCare is great for business, 'In the last few days though, we have seen a couple of companies imply that reform will raise costs for them.' In a Thursday interview on CNBC, Mr. Locke said 'for them to come out, I think is premature and irresponsible.'"

In other words, businesses should just keep quiet about higher costs to come as a result of ObamaCare. This, despite the fact that corporations are required to immediately restate their earnings to reflect the present value of their long-term health liabilities, including a higher tax burden. 

Reminds me of this classic Seinfeld clip:

Health law’s heavy impact

March 28, 2010 in In the News
Spokesman Review
Source: 
Spokesman Review
Date: 
Sunday, March 28, 2010

McKenna v. health care reform, Part 2

March 24, 2010 in In the News
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Source: 
Spokesman Review (Spokane)
Date: 
Wednesday, March 24, 2010

National Health Care Reform Plan Will Have Troubling Consequences in WA

in Press releases

Spokane – The national health care reform plan signed into law by President Obama today will have far-reaching effects across the nation and right here in Washington state.

Washington Policy Center, a non-partisan public policy research organization with offices in Seattle, Olympia, Spokane, and Tri-Cities, is analyzing the new law.  Dr. Roger Stark, a retired surgeon and a health care policy analyst with WPC, has made some startling findings about its impact in Washington state: