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.

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.

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

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.”

With Federal Children’s Health Coverage Uncertain, Washington And Oregon Consider Options – NW Public Radio

States preparing for the worst from the outcome of our Republican Representatives and Senators in Congress. Those of you in districts with Republicans representing you should contact your congressperson if you don’t want to see your neighbor’s children thrown off healthcare. This is the outcome of your voting for these people.

Washington and Oregon are making contingency plans in case Congress doesn’t reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is for low-income families that earn too much to qualify for Medicaid

Cheri Van Hoover narrows gap to Bruce McComas

While still trailing Bruce, Cheri has narrowed the gap to 113 votes. It is  certainly not impossible for her to win, as there are still contested ballots and mail in ballots that will be counted as one batch (for protection of voters’ privacy) on Nov. 28th.  A huge number of ballots cast in the election did not vote for either candidate, likely voting for Prop 1 or a Port candidate. This shows, again, why getting out the vote is so important and that every vote counts in local elections. It could come down to a single vote or two.