Washington state lawmakers looking to address staggering health care cost increases / Public News Service

Olympia lawmakers launched a set of measures to handle one of many largest issues dealing with Washingtonians: rising well being care prices.

Survey As of November, greater than 4 in 5 individuals within the state have been discovered involved concerning the potential to afford well being care sooner or later.

Elevated prices are affecting the well being selections individuals make, mentioned Jim Friborg, government director of the Affected person Coalition of Washington.

“It is the individuals who cannot afford their treatment, and they also skip doses, or they delay care, simply because they’re so scared about getting the invoice,” Friborg famous. “We solely see instances like this on a regular basis.”

The actions introduced on this session will tackle prices on numerous fronts. They embrace payments to fight the rising variety of Well being system integrationtest up Treatment costs and strengthening authority Healthcare Value Transparency Councilwhich was created in 2020.

The rising prices are hurting the enterprise, too, mentioned Invoice Kramer, government director of well being care coverage for Purchaser’s Well being Enterprise Group. He famous that employers present protection to greater than half of Individuals and defined that offering protection is effective to staff, however is changing into much less sustainable.

“Excessive well being care prices crowd out jobs, wages, and enterprise funding, and are an actual drag on the economic system,” Kramer famous.

One can measure in Olympia scale back drive Massive healthcare programs have to barter charges with insurers.

Sen. John Robinson, D-Everett, one of many invoice’s sponsors, mentioned well being care programs typically take an “all or nothing” strategy the place they are saying they are going to solely contract with a specific facility if the suppliers contract with all services in a state or area.

“In some locations, this will not be one of the best or least costly possibility accessible,” Robinson famous. “So they’re utilizing their market share to drive up the price of well being care.”

Robinson added that the Senate invoice would restrict anti-competitive practices when negotiating costs. She has a public listening to in Olympia on Friday.

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