There have been questions raised here in Jefferson County about the issues that are covered in this article. A good example is the following statement:
A study in the journal Health Services Research examined the impact of the 340B program on the cost of cancer care. It found that hospital participation in the program is associated with a shift of patients’ care from more affordable physician offices to more expensive hospital outpatient care centers, contributing to market-wide increases in per-patient spending.
Just when we think the American healthcare system can’t get any worse, hospitals and banks figure out a way to take us further into debt. Just what a person who is brought into the ER wants to see, a banker show up. It’s like a sick joke.
Here’s a very telling stat from this article: In 2016, the federal government estimates, consumers spent $352.5 billion out-of-pocket on health care.
We *think* we have it good. We could have paid for universal healthcare with that amount. You are essentially being taxed on that money, but it accrues to the sickest of us and the bulk of that money is spent in the last 6 months of life. To put it in perspective the US spent $584 B on defense, $588B on Medicare and $368B on Medicaid.
With the failure of Prop 1 to find supporters in Jefferson County, including some within the board of Hospital Commissioners and medical society who can’t seem to make the connection between homelessness and health, the question remains: “How are we going to address the growing issue of homelessness in our county before it overwhelms us?”
Yesterday I talked to one of the local leaders helping run our Food Banks. He said that they are feeding about 250 people a week. Some of these are homeless, some are on the verge of homelessness, perhaps a paycheck away from the streets. I’ve personally talked to a waitress in town with four children who had to choose between feeding them or paying for medical support when they had ear infections. She couldn’t afford to take her sick children to the hospital ER. She was embarrassed about accepting Medicaid. So putting food on the table won out and the children cried for days fighting the infection. This is our town.
I’ve stayed in a hotel in San Francisco, listening to the cries of homeless mentally ill people on the streets below throughout the night. It was like being in Dante’s Seventh Circle of Hell. This is our country.
Somehow, we as a society have to help address this issue and find a way to give these people shelter. They can’t help themselves. They have been trying . If Prop 1 isn’t the answer, then those that voted against it have to come to the table and help us all figure out what the answer really is.
Today, the Seattle Times looked at the problem. It’s immense.
The headline says it all. And the tie in to our local Hospital District is that this is likely to push us financially from black ink to red. And what were our local physician’s medical society doing about such a looming crisis, with more to come in the Medicare and Medicaid cuts? Were they coming out and deciding they were going to sound the clarion call and warn the population of the looming crisis? Ask them to call their legislators to ‘save the children’? Nope. They were getting together to vote to endorse a man with no significant health care experience over a woman with a lifetime of policy and medical background. Just like the voters last year that voted for Trump, who is putting the local hospital in jeopardy by endorsing these cuts. Did these same physicians feel compelled to get together last year in the run up to the election to warn the population of the impending disaster that Trump likely would bring to healthcare at both the national and local scene? Nope. Have they ever endorsed a candidate before? Apparently not. But I digress, I’ll cover that tale of our local petty politics in another post at a later date. Here’s our latest medical fiasco on the national level.
Last Saturday, Congress failed to reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), jeopardizing systems that provide low-cost insurance for almost 9 million kids and hundreds of thousands of pregnant women in families that make too much money to qualify for Medicaid but still need assistance. Legislators failed to renew other safety net programs as well. But missing the window on CHIP was a particularly egregious fumble, and one of the clearest signals to date of how desperate this Republican-led Congress is.
This was sent out by the Jefferson Healthcare on their concerns to changes to the 340B program. This program has been used to theoretically fund low cost prescriptions. There are a variety of points of view about what the program has actually achieved, but the hospital is adamantly opposed to the cuts to it. We likely can discuss this more at the next Citizen’s Healthcare Access group meeting in September in Port Townsend.
340b letter PDF file. Here’s the first page so you can decide if you want to read the whole PDF.
Another downside to the options the Republicans are considering behind closed doors.
It’s well known that the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) now making its way through the Senate would deny coverage to tens of millions of Americans. Less well known is that it would also hit the brakes on “delivery system reform,” the work of doctors and hospitals to improve quality and reduce costs. In other words, it would make quality of care worse.
So here comes the first of many negative changes to the health care from the Republican dominated Congress. There is still a chance this won’t be implemented, but don’t bet on it. Americans have put these people into office, they have taken away the government’s ability to negotiate drug prices and now are going to take away the funds needed to protect the most helpless of us from losing their medications.
PORT ANGELES — In the first six months of 2017, Olympic Medical Center reported a $1.1 million loss in revenue, and it could face more financial setbacks next year if Medicare weakens a discount drug program, Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis said.
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