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There’s a growing movement to address the high cost of health care with policies moving at the state and federal level.  We’ll post developments and news here.

Health Care Bills that passed the legislature this year – and what you can do for your health

Read columnist Dr. Debra Glasser’s overview of the 2024 Washington legislative session and her 9 suggestions for how people can improve the health care system.

New National Report Shows Many Washington Nonprofit Hospitals Provided less community benefits than received in tax Breaks

Washington’s nonprofit hospitals lag behind most of the country when it comes to fulfilling their community obligations, according to Lown Institute’s new Fair Share Spending report.

What will it take to Get Rising Health care Costs Under Control?

In this edition of “Inside Olympia,” host Austin Jenkins discusses Washington State’s Health Care Cost Transparency Board with Sue Birch, the Director of the Washington State Health Care Authority, and Eileen Cody, a board member who was a long-time state legislator focused on health care issues.

more states are adding protections against big ambulance bills

More states are jumping in to shield patients from large, unexpected bills for ambulance rides in the absence of federal protections.

The Corporatization of Healthcare: Why Consolidation Matters to All of Us

“Consolidation of healthcare is happening everywhere and in every part of our healthcare system.” Find out the promise, the reality, and what we can do about it, with Dr. Debra Glasser’s latest column.

WA Bill Would Add State Oversight to Hospital Mergers

Consolidation in the health care market has become a growing concern for some in Washington state. A bill in Olympia aims to protect Washingtonians against restricted health care access and rising costs from hospital mergers.

What you Missed 2024: Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference

See highlights from the State of Reform conference featuring Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Patient Coalition of Washington Executive Director Jim Freeburg, “Health care is extremely complicated. Getting everybody together in the same room is really where you can make a difference and move the dialogue forward.”

Washington state bill seeks to regulate hospital mergers, care access

Health care advocates are celebrating the Washington State Senate’s passage of the Keep Our Care Act. Bill sponsor, Sen. Emily Randall, (D-Bremerton) said the policy was about ensuring Washingtonians had meaningful access to their legally enshrined reproductive rights. “A right without access is not a right,” Randall said.

Fat Joe Advocates for a More Honest, Equitable, and Affordable Health Care System Through Price Transparency

In this ad during the Super Bowl, Fat Joe demands the existing rules on hospital price transparency be enforced, saying “prices are now a patient’s right and they’re breaking the law whenever they hide them.”

Jelly Roll, Lainey Wilson, and Valerie June Demand Health Care Transparency

In this ad during the Super Bowl, 2024 Grammy-winning Best Country Album Artist Lainey Wilson, 2024 2x Grammy-nominated break-out country music star Jelly Roll, and 2023 Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Valerie June call for a more affordable and equitable healthcare system through price transparency.

Controversial Proposal to regulate hospital mergers advances in Legislature

Hospitals and health systems may have to report more information about how mergers would affect the care they provide if a controversial bill that passed the state Senate on Thursday becomes law. 

Op-ed: Health Care Costs are Increasing but there’s a way out

They say that it’s impossible to tackle the high cost of health care, but Washington Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch and Washington Health Alliance Executive Director Drew Oliveira disagree and chart a path for public and private organizations, employers, health plans and providers to help us achieve improved access, better quality, and more affordable care.

Letter to the Editor: We are Being Treated as Fools

Dr. Bob Crittenden acknowledges that reducing the cost of insulin, hearing aids, and cancer screenings is a step in the right direction, but “we need more real changes if we’re going to have affordable health care for all of us.”

Our Healthcare System is Broken: Part 1

Dr. Debra Glasser, a retired internal medicine physician in Olympia, offers her perspective as on how our healthcare system got here and how our healthcare can be responsive, accessible, available, and affordable for all.

New reports identify consolidation as a primary cause of rising healthcare costs in washington

Health care costs have become consistently unaffordable for many Washingtonians, according to two new reports that identify consolidation as a primary cause. Read Patient Coalition of Washington Executive Director Jim Freeburg’s recommendations to lawmakers for how they can address it.

Health costs are soaring in WA. Here’s What may be behind the climb

Over the past decade, health insurance premiums for Washington workers covered through their employers rose 49% while the costs of individual plans more than doubled. Those were among the key findings in a preliminary report prepared by the state Insurance Commissioner’s Office delivered to the legislature this month.

Health Care (Un)Affordability: the Challenge For Small Businesses

Patients and consumers aren’t the only ones hurting. This presentation describes how small businesses are also deeply affected by high health care costs.

Issue Brief: Unpacking Our Health Care Costs

This brief answers the question, “Why are health care prices so high in Washington?”

WA Advocates take on sharply rising health care Costs

Based on reports from the Insurance Commissioner’s office and the state Attorney General, the Economic Opportunity Institute is asking state lawmakers to do more to address consolidation and sharply rising costs.

New Reports Spotlight the Big business of health care

Consumers and businesses say reports issued by the Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner and the Attorney General provide the legislature with tools to take the action needed in the next legislative session.

Ground Ambulance Balance Billing Report

The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner presentation to the Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee on ground ambulance balance billing practices.

Issue Brief: The True Price of Health Care

This brief examines how high health care prices are affecting Washingtonians.

What states can do to get rising health-care costs under control

Washington State Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch co-authors a commentary outlining how working with providers, payers and other stakeholders to set statewide cost growth targets can have an impact on health care costs.

Health insurance rates are about to jump for thousands of WA residents

Health insurance premiums paid by more than 200,000 Washington residents will increase by an average of nearly 9% next year, with some rising by as much as 17.8%.

Washingtonians demand action as health care costs spike for 2024

In the wake of the OIC announcement of an 8.9% average health insurance rate increase for 2024, consumer groups call on the legislature to take action.

We CAN Lower Health Care Costs

This video series highlights high health care prices and the impact they have on health care costs and affordability and the policy solutions that can make a difference.

He visited the US for His Daughter’s Wedding — and left with a $42,000 Medical Bill

The emergency appendectomy would have cost the retired teacher and expatriate ten times less in Switzerland.

In 2023 Session, WA Bills Tackling Health Costs Fall Short

Bills aimed at reducing health care costs faced significant industry opposition, setting a foundation for change in the next session, according to Rep. Nicole Macri (D-Seattle).

Patient Coalition of Washington is Bringing the Consumer Voice to Health Care Decision Making

FInd out why Jim Freeburg, Executive Director of Patient Coalition of Washington says “Everyone in health care has a lobbyist except for patients and we’re trying to change that.”

Are Nonprofit Hospitals earning their tax breaks?

In its latest Hospitals Index report, Lown Institute asks “How much are hospitals giving back to their communities?” and finds they are getting $14.2 billion more in tax breaks than they are paying out.

Hospitals keep losing money, but lawmakers may soon pass a plan to help

Olympia is considering a plan that helps hospitals collect higher payments for Medicaid patients.

Big Med’s Spread

Hospital mergers are touted as improving efficiencies, increasing capabilities, and addressing inequities, but new research finds no benefits to the hospitals involved or the communities they serve.

Health care spending continues to outpace inflation-driven by prices

How can Washington do to curb 6.7% growth per year in overall health care spending? Increase transparency and accountability with HB 1508.

Letter to Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee: Help Us Bend the Cost Curve

Calling the increasing cost of health care “the most important issue facing patients,” advocates ask the Senate to put consumer affordability at the center of healthcare spending.

Stakeholders debate washington healthcare cost transparency bill

Supporters urge the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee to pass ESHB 1508 and build proactive and constructive accountability in the health care system.

Here’s How You Can Support Fair Health Prices Washington

The Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO takes a stand to support Fair Health Prices WA’s legislative agenda to reduce health care costs.

a surprise billing law loophole? Her Pregnancy Led to a Six-Figure Hospital Bill

What is a “participating provider”? A Seattle patient learns about a new provider category that makes it impossible to know whether they’re actually in or out of network.

McKinsey Wants Poor People to Pay Those Damn Hospital Bills

The latest on how nonprofit hospitals are forcing patients to pay bills they can’t afford-now the Senate wants answers.

How to Get to Lower Healthcare Costs in Washington State

Economic Opportunity Institute’s Senior Policy Associate Sam Hatzenbeler discusses how legislative solutions can reduce Washington’s high health care costs.

WA Legislators Weigh Mandating Nurse-to-Patient Ratios In Hospitals

Health care workers say they have hit a breaking point, a bill offers some ways to help address the crisis.

The Long Reach of Catholic Hospitals in WA Hospitals

A political cartoon that illustrates the dilemma of the increasing number of hospitals in Washington affiliated with a Catholic health care system.

States’ Uphill Battle to stop runaway health Care costs

The lesson learned from Massachusetts, “setting a target alone isn’t enough to drive down spending for the long run.”

Navigating Care in a Catholic Hospital System

Hear how the Keep Our Care Act will affect mergers and acquisitions in Washington state.

Fair Health Prices Washington Urges HCCTB to Retain Benchmark

Consumer groups urge the Health Care Cost Transparency Board to hold down state health care spending.

Catholic health care restrictions lead WA legislature to Eye Changes

How more oversight of mergers and acquisitions can improve health care access.

the Medicine is a miracle, but only if you can afford it

Patients are forced to be creative about affording the outrageous costs of new drugs.

Washington Consumer Groups Take Aim at High Health Industry Prices

Advocates urge House Health and Wellness Committee to pass HB 1508 to uncover the reasons for high health care costs and hold the industry accountable.

Salve Lucrum: The Existential Threat of Greed in US Health Care

How profit and self-interest are ruining our health care system, a view from Don Berwick.

WA Lawmakers Look to Tackle Staggering Health Care Cost Increases

Lawmakers in Olympia have introduced a host of measures to address one of the biggest issues facing Washingtonians: rising health care costs.

Legislature Must Address WA Nursing Crisis

Learn how a new bill will address the nursing shortage.

End Medical Debt: Fight Grows to Stop Hospitals from Suing Patients, Garnishing Wages, Ruining Credit

More patients are speaking out about the medical debt that drives more than 500,000 people to file bankruptcy every year.

Everett Clinics’ spat with Premera ‘lifts the curtain’ on price increases

When The Everett Clinic acquired Eastside Family Medicine, rates went up 50%. Find out why Northwest Health Law Advocates’ Senior Attorney and Policy Advisor Emily Brice says “If the courts and insurance companies can’t stop price increases, then who can?”

Consolidation, underlying cost, and a lack of healthy competition contributing to Washington’s rising healthcare costs

Find out the causes of high health care costs with this State of Reform panel discussion, moderated by Patient Coalition of Washington Executive Director Jim Freeburg.

Washington Residents Struggle to Afford High Healthcare Costs; Worry About Affording Healthcare in the Future; Support Government Action Across Party Lines

A recent survey of more Washington residents finds that more than 60% experienced at least one health care affordability burden in the past year and more than 80% worry about affording health care in the future.

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