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WA Lawmakers Look to Sort out Staggering Well being Care Value Will increase / Public Information Service

Lawmakers in Olympia have launched a bunch of measures to handle one of many greatest points dealing with Washingtonians: rising well being care prices.

A survey from November discovered greater than 4 of 5 folks within the state apprehensive about having the ability to afford well being care sooner or later.

Jim Freeburg, govt director of the Affected person Coalition of Washington, mentioned growing prices have an effect on the well being choices folks make.

“It is folks that may’t afford their drugs and so, they skip doses, or they delay care, simply because they’re so scared about getting the invoice,” Freeburg noticed. “We simply see cases like this on a regular basis.”

Measures launched this session would sort out prices on numerous fronts. They embody payments to fight the growing variety of well being system mergers, study prescription drug costs and strengthen the authority of the Well being Care Value Transparency Board, which was created in 2020.

Invoice Kramer, govt director of well being care coverage for the Purchaser Enterprise Group on Well being, mentioned elevated prices damage companies, too. He famous employers present protection to greater than half of People and defined offering protection is efficacious to workers, however is turning into much less sustainable.

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

One measure in Olympia would scale back the ability massive well being care programs have when negotiating with insurance coverage corporations on costs.

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

“In some locations, that may not be the very best or lowest-cost choice obtainable,” Robinson famous. “So, they’re mainly utilizing their market share to drive up the price of well being care.”

Robinson added the Senate invoice would limit uncompetitive practices when negotiating costs. It has a public listening to in Olympia on Friday.

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