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.
Roger Stark, MD, FACS, Health Care Policy Analyst, February, 2013
The existing Medicaid entitlement program began in 1965 as a government safety net to help poor children and their families earning less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Congress has steadily expanded the program to include aid for disabled and long-term care patients. By 1975, 10 percent of Americans were enrolled in Medicaid. This number grew to 20 percent last year. Medicaid enrollment in Washington state has grown 50 percent faster than the overall population since 1993 and now totals 1.2 million people.
Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, January, 2013
Although it was intended to reduce health care costs, the federal Obamacare law contains a broad series of new taxes now taking effect in advance of full implementation of the mandatory program in January 2014. For example, a new 2.3 percent tax on medical devices started this month, which will raise the price of all medical supplies, from thermometers to pacemakers, used by doctors and nurses. Medical suppliers must pay the tax even if they don’t make a profit.