Bad bedside manner: Bank loans signed in the hospital leave patients vulnerable – Seattle Times/Kaiser Health News

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.

The Gathering Threat to Abortion Rights – NY Times

Here we go again.

Mr. McConnell is set to hold a procedural vote this week on a bill that would ban abortion at 20 weeks of pregnancy. The so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, is part of a long-term legislative effort by the anti-abortion movement to gut Roe v. Wade and severely curtail abortion access nationwide.

Where a divided Washington can find common ground: Health care

Our own Jefferson Healthcare is a rural designated hospital.

The Critical Access Hospital lifeline was established in 1997 in reaction to a flurry of rural hospital closures, mostly in Midwest and southeastern states. Some of those closures and consolidations in areas of dwindling populations were healthy, but it threw a scare into small hospitals all over the country.

Despite Prod By ACA, Tax-Exempt Hospitals Slow To Expand Community Benefits – Kaiser Health

Interesting article that has implications here on the Peninsula, especially for Jefferson Health Care.

The federal health law’s efforts to get nonprofit hospitals to provide more community-wide benefits in exchange for their lucrative tax status has gotten off to a slow start, new research suggests. And some experts predict that a recent repeal of a key provision of the law could further strain the effort.

The increased emphasis on community-wide benefits was mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The health law required hospitals that meet federal tax standards to be nonprofits to perform a community health needs assessment (CHNA) every three years, followed by implementing a strategy to deal with issues confronting the community, such as preventing violence or lowering the rates of diabetes.

A study released Monday in the journal Health Affairs shows spending in these areas has remained relatively stagnant.

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.

WA St. Medical Association Responds To Potential Repeal Of The Individual Mandate

Given the depressing state of the local Jefferson County Medical Society, this is good news. Our local docs can’t seem to get worked up over anything other than a qualified woman running for political office, whom they denounce internally with misinformation.

SEATTLE, Nov. 27, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) President Donna Smith, MD, issued the following statement today:

“The Washington State Medical Association is troubled once again that the Senate is threatening health insurance coverage for millions and greater market instability by repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate. We stand with the coalition of the country’s top health care organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, the Federation of American Hospitals and America’s Health Insurance Plans in urging Congress to maintain the mandate and to pass measures to stabilize the insurance market to help ensure our patients have access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage.

“Too many Washingtonians and too many Americans who are simply trying to access needed care are facing rising premiums and uncertainty regarding the future of their coverage. It’s time to set aside our fractious debate and come together to pursue bi-partisan fixes to the Affordable Care Act so that we have a health care system that works for everyone.”