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.
Tanya Karwaki, Director, Center for Health Care, October, 2006
Since Massachusetts enacted its comprehensive health care legislation in April 2006, other states have been looking closely at the Bay State to determine what, if anything, their state can learn from Massachusetts’ endeavor. The purpose of “An Act Providing Access to Affordable, Quality, Accountable Health Care,” is to expand access to health care for Massachusetts residents. While the Act is expansive, this Policy Note focuses on one noteworthy conceptual element - the creation of the Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector. In Washington, many proposals submitted to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access identified an interest in further examining the Connector. This document identifies those elements of the Connector that could be adapted to improve access to health insurance for Washingtonians and possibly correct some of our current market deficiencies.
Kay H. Jones Ph.D, Adjunct Scholar, August, 2006
The Washington Chapter of the American Lung Association’s (WALA) announcement of their “State of the Air in Washington” Report in May 2006 states that “on average the air quality is unhealthy one day per week” in all urban areas of the State. Their headline data show poor, that is, unhealthy, air quality for 111 days in King County, or about one poor or unhealthy day in every three. The report goes on to tout the virtues of numerous mitigation strategies that are being taken or pushed by regional air pollution agencies to reduce ozone and particulate matter (PM) levels.
Tanya Karwaki, Director, Center for Health Care Reform, August, 2006
Accessing health care and being able to afford health insurance premiums are challenges facing many Americans and Washingtonians. Almost 85 percent of health care in the United States is purchased through health care insurance. Health insurance has three separate markets: the large group market (employer based insurance for 51 or more employees, and association memberships); the small group market (employer based insurance for 50 or fewer employees); and the individual market (individual insurance purchased outside the workplace). Nationally, the private health insurance market is composed of approximately 65 percent large group, 25 percent small group, and 10 percent individual. Each of these markets has a different type of product, with economic and legal distinctions.
Washington Policy Center, the state's premier public policy research and education organization, published a new pocketbook guide for employers who want to know more about Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).
Anna Carroll, Research Assitant, June, 2006
Over 250 state policymakers, physicians, business owners and industry association members attended Washington Policy Center’s Fourth Annual Health Care Conference on June 6th. The conference featured a keynote breakfast with Nina Owcharenko, Senior Policy Analyst for The Heritage Foundation’s Center for Health Policy Studies. After her address on current federal and state health care reform efforts, panel discussions were held on consumer driven health care, prescription drugs and biotechnology issues, and trends in health information technology. The conference concluded with a lunchtime panel on health care reform featuring key Washington State policymakers.
Liv Finne, Adjunct Scholar, and Tanya Karwaki, Director, Center for Health Care Reform, June, 2006
Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) present a new opportunity for consumers to save for health care expenses and directly control more of their health care dollars. Under the current third-party payer system – whether the third-party payer is an employer, government program, or an insurance company – the consumer is removed from decisions of quality, cost, and necessity. HSAs, financed with pre-tax contributions and available to anyone covered by a high deductible health plan, provide consumers with more control and responsibility for their health care decisions.
WPC held its 4th Annual Health Care Conference, "Moving Health Care Forward: Tools and Techniques for a Healthier Washington," last Tuesday and featured keynote speaker Nina Owcharenko of the Heritage Foundation. The Conference was attended by over 250 people including business owners, legislators, agency and legislative staff, patients, doctors, and industry representatives. Debates on long-standing and newer health care issues invoked frustrations and an eagerness for action among attendees and participants.
Seattle - Washington Policy Center, the State's premier public policy research organization held it's 4th Annual Health Care Conference, "Moving Health Care Forward: Tools and Techniques for a Healthier Washington," today in SeaTac. At the sold-out Conference, attended by over 250 people, business owners, legislators, agency and legislative staff, patients, doctors and industry representatives debated long-standing health care issues as well as newer challenges arising because of developments in medicine and technology.
Seattle - Washington Policy Center, the state's premier public policy research and education organization, is sponsoring their 4th Annual Health Care Conference, "Moving Health Care Forward: Tools and Techniques for a Healthier Washington," a half-day conference, Tuesday, June 6th from 8:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the SeaTac DoubleTree Hotel, 18740 International Blvd. SeaTac.
Tanya Karwaki, Policy Analyst, May, 2006
Regence Blue Shield’s recent announcement that they were dropping almost 500 physicians from one of the health plans Boeing offers its engineers, illustrates the fundamental problem with our current third party payer system of financing health care. Third party payers, such as Regence, are payers that front most of the cost of medical services. Other third party payers include employers, the government, or any payer who is not the patient. The person receiving the care is removed from the basic decisions in health care – what treatment to get and from whom – because those decisions are made by the bill payer.