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.
Health Policy Consensus Group, April, 2009
President Obama repeatedly has reassured the American people, “If you’ve got health care already, and probably the majority of you do, then you can keep your plan if you are satisfied with it. You can keep your choice of doctor.” Research shows 82 percent of Americans rate the health care they receive as good to excellent.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, March, 2009
SB 5945 would create a Washington Health Partnership plan intended to provide comprehensive coverage to all residents of the state. However, the plan proposed in this bill is not the same as the one outlined in SB 6333 from 2008. The current bill calls for a further study group to select “a health care reform proposal to be considered for legislative action.”
Paul Guppy, Vice President for Research, March, 2009
The legislature is considering a bill, SB 5892, that would allow state program managers to alter a doctor’s prescription for patients covered by state-subsidized health programs when a cheaper substitute is available. The bill would also prolong patient suffering by requiring them to fail to respond to a state-prescribed drug before being allowed access to the medicine prescribed by their doctor.
Carl Gipson, Director, Center for Small Business, March, 2009
Legislators are proposing to expand and fund the Paid Family Leave Act, which was passed into law in 2007. As originally passed, the program would send qualified recipients a check for $250 per week for up to five weeks—$1,250 total. Beneficiaries of the new entitlement would be eligible if their family had recently given birth to, or adopted, a baby.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, February, 2009
The legislature is considering a bill, SB 5052, designed to reduce the number of uninsured in Washington by lowering the cost of private health insurance for people ages 19 to 34, the age group most likely to lack health coverage. The bill would allow people in this age group to access a core benefits health plan in Washington. The bill was introduced, but not passed, in the 2007 and 2008 sessions, and has been reintroduced in slightly revised form for 2009.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, January, 2009
Change is coming to the health care system in this country. At $2.1 trillion per year, or 17% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), cost should be the driver for this movement to reform our current system.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, December, 2008
Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has proposed a universal, state controlled, high-deductible health insurance plan for all Washington residents who are not covered by another government program, such as Medicare and Medicaid.
Eli Lehrer, Adjunct Scholar, November, 2008
Insurance is heavily regulated in Washington. Some level of state regulation is essential for insurance to be effective and to protect consumers against fraud. At the same time, too much regulation drives up prices, stifles competition and reduces choice and affordability for consumers. In the heat of these policy debates, the real meaning of insurance is often lost, and it becomes easy for policymakers in Olympia to forget why people need insurance in the first place.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, September, 2008
The fundamental problem with the health care system in this country is the cost. We spend 17% of our gross domestic product, or nearly $2.2 trillion, on health care each year in the United States. Most proposals to reform health care delivery offer a way to control these expenses through the use of more regulations, “better” medicine, and ultimately, a government managed system.
Roger Stark, Health Care Policy Analyst, August, 2008
Since the failure of HillaryCare at the national level in the early 1990s a number of states, including Washington, have made attempts at health care reform of their own. Each of these have been based on some form of government-managed system, generally including an open-ended taxpayer funding commitment combined with a generous set of mandated benefits.