How to sign up for healthcare with the ACA.

You can sign up in Washington state until January 15th, for coverage that would start February 1st. Questions? see other post here for more instructions .

There is also help available from certified navigators on Mondays in Port Townsend (9-5 at the DSHS office at 915 Sheridan). People should call Sandra Padilla at 253-280-9880 or email her at SandraPadilla@SeaMarCHC.org.

Everyone (that means you!) can play a roll here to get the word out. There are a lot of myths out there, especially with the Trump administration determined to undermine “Obamacare.” Contrary to popular belief, benefits are in place and will not change for 2018.

One way to slash drug prices: Leave insurance card at home | The Seattle Times

This outrageous situation points to the fact that the cozy relationship between pharmacies and drug manufacturers has to change. That a pharmacy industry representative would say that people on high deductible plans are going to pay more for their prescriptions is frankly absurd. Why bother with these companies at all?
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/one-way-to-slash-drug-prices-leave-insurance-card-at-home/

Spread the word: Get Everyone Insured!

If you gather a random group of 16 people in E Jefferson County, one of them doesn’t have health insurance. You probably come in contact with several over the course of a week (a son or daughter, a neighbor, someone who does work at your house?). So do them a favor. Let them know that they owe it to themselves and their loved ones to check out coverage through the Affordable Care Act.

For many lower income folks, coverage is very affordable, thanks to the subsidies that remain in place. The deadline for signing up for coverage effective January 1st is just ONE WEEK AWAY, December 15th. (However in WA the open enrollment extends to January 15th for coverage effective 2/1/18.)

It is easy to check out options on line.

Go to “Shop for a Plan” on the official website: wahealthplanfinder.org.

There is also help available from certified navigators on Mondays in Port Townsend (9-5 at the DSHS office at 915 Sheridan). People should call Sandra Padilla at 253-280-9880 or email her at SandraPadilla@SeaMarCHC.org.

Everyone (that means you!) can play a roll here to get the word out. There are a lot of myths out there, especially with the Trump administration determined to undermine “Obamacare.” Contrary to popular belief, benefits are in place and will not change for 2018.

Republican Congresswoman Seeks Health Care Relief for Pacific County Residents Who Will Lose Options – The Chronicle of Lewis County

The posturing over the continued destruction of the ACA continues. Republican WA Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler, after voting to end the mandate on the ACA, now expects Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler  to fix the problem she and her colleagues are creating. Her expectation of  the State needing to fix this issue, while her constituents lose their health care coverage in Pacific County after her party’s work to destroy the healthcare act, is pathetic. Does she not understand how insurance works? Where was she educated? 

There is no free lunch. You voters in Pacific County elected this fraud to Congress. She promised you the end of Obamacare, and has fought to destroy the Affordable Care Act, with dire warnings issued by the insurance companies that without a mandate for care, they cannot guarantee affordable insurance rates, nor even the ability for the middle class constituents that counted on her to help them find affordable care. So now you are going to pay for the outcome of your vote. It is not up to Mr. Kreidler to fix a problem that Congress has been hell bent on creating. If Representative Beutler wants to see a fix for the problem, perhaps she can support a universal health care option that can give all of her constituents a chance to see a doctor, or other healthcare provider, as every other developed country in the world has already done. America is currently 27th in the world in it’s indices of health, not number one.  Representative Beutler is helping us not only stay that way, but fall even further behind the rest of the world.

She wants to blame it on the State, but she is complicit in the problem’s creation. You can’t have it both ways.

http://www.chronline.com/congresswoman-seeks-health-care-relief-for-pacific-county-residents-who/article_2ab006f6-dc9e-11e7-af5c-03e954cea74d.html

Port Townsend City Council Approves Continue funding to CHIP

The PT City Council voted to continue funding support for city involvement with the Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). The City has previously voted in favor of funding some of CHIP’s goals, but was waiting on the hospital to hire a program manager to run it. That person is now hired, and the council needed to amend the budget to reinstate the funding, as they had let it lapse in the 2018 budget. There was no debate and a unanimous vote to approve.

This is worth noting because in the race for hospital commissioner, the Jefferson County Medical Society had come out (internally) against CHIP goals, using these goals as reasons to not vote for one of the candidates. It should be noted that both candidates supported the goals of CHIP, including low income housing, which has been shown to help promote mental health goals. We can only hope that the new CHIP manager starts with educating our medical professionals that their assumptions were not in alignment with the 100 or so other community members, including Mike Glenn, who created and supported the CHIP goals .

‘Pill Mill’ Docs Only Partly to Blame for Opioid Epidemic – US News & World Report

Finally, a study has come out in the journal Addiction, with some real data to counter the hysteria at the Federal and State level that has been shutting down high volume opioid providers, a class of doctor that was created and supported by the very Federal Government that is now shutting them down with no warning. This crisis, which was created because just twenty years ago because the medical establishment was urged to provide opioids as pain relief, now finds itself resorting to lies and raids on doctors that usually have ended up, after years of court time, having the Feds drop all the charges. Rather than treat these physicians and pharmacies like criminals, they should be working cooperatively to rein them in and offer their patients relief.

The study also found that “opioid shoppers” — people who obtain prescriptions from multiple doctors and pharmacies — accounted for just 0.1 percent of opioid users in the study.

Our local physicians here on the Peninsula have often been complicit in this behavior, shunting high pain patients to the one doctor who was willing to work with them, then talking behind his back about how he was somehow “a renegade” and not coming to his defense  when he was raided. They had nothing to say  when the charges were finally dropped.

All prescribers of opioid pain medications — not just high-volume prescribers — play a role in the U.S. epidemic of opioid abuse and overdoses, a new study says.

“This crisis has been misconstrued as one involving just a small subset of doctors and patients,” senior author Dr. G. Caleb Alexander said in a Hopkins news release. “Our results underscore the need for targeted interventions aimed at all opioid prescribers, not just high-volume prescribers alone,” Alexander added.

https://health.usnews.com/health-care/articles/2017-11-30/pill-mill-docs-only-partly-to-blame-for-opioid-epidemic

full abstract and article available at

http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14068/full

Heated And Deep-Pocketed Battle Erupts Over 340B Drug Discount Program – Kaiser Health News

This is an ugly story from both sides of the issue. The big Pharma companies are looking to claw back some of their profits, and some hospital districts, such as Jefferson County Healthcare, may be using the system in a way it was not intended, meaning that it is unclear that the patients who were intended to benefit from this, actually are seeing benefits. JHC has a relationship to somehow share these discounts with Safeway, where they send patients for filling the discounted drug.  Is the patient actually seeing a discounted price or is the hospital somehow using this to generate more profits? I am under the impression that Kitsap County is using the program more as it was originally intended, meaning that the monies are passed directly to the consumer who benefits from the discount. Is that not true here? It appears not to be.

The program, known as 340B, requires pharmaceutical companies to give steep discounts to hospitals and clinics that serve high volumes of low-income patients.

Under 340B, named after the section of the Public Health Service Act that authorizes it, eligible hospitals buy drugs at a discount from the pharmaceutical companies and then are reimbursed for those purchases from Medicare. The drugs are purchased under the Part B program, which covers expensive chemotherapy and other treatments in a hospital, doctor’s office and clinics.

Heated And Deep-Pocketed Battle Erupts Over 340B Drug Discount Program