Healthcare

The Oregon Health Insurance Experiment

A 2008 lottery extending Medicaid to selected residents allowed for a randomized study on the impact of Medicaid coverage. While enrollment increased the probability that people reported themselves to be in good to excellent health (compared with fair or poor health) by 24 percent, certain objective measures of physical health did not show significant signs of improvement.

The ACA and Insurance Rate Hikes

For two years Obama pretended premium rates are the only health insurance costs that matter – ignoring high deductibles or out-of-network costs to which the much-ballyhooed ACA tax subsidies are inapplicable. If premiums go up, it’s a failure attributable to the architecture of the ACA, not the foreseeable failures of state regulation.

Washington Supreme Court: Health Department Overstepped Authority on Hospital Deals

A Washington State Supreme Court ruling Thursday found the state’s health department overstepped its authority in trying to more closely regulate hospital deals. A new rule passed in January 2014 meant that, before completing an official affiliation or partnership, hospitals would have had to go through lengthier state health department reviews. The court decision today invalidates that rule.

Washington Uninsured Rate Drops Dramatically Post Obamacare

Washington state was also just one of two states with a decrease in the number of people who enrolled through the state exchange from its first year to its second year. Despite falling short of that enrollment goal, Washington managed to cut the uninsured rate in the state to 8.65 percent this year.

Small Businesses Hail Ruling That Protects Association Health Plans

Thousands of Washington’s small businesses can feel confident their health-insurance coverage is here to stay, thanks to a decision issued Wednesday by a judge with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner. “While I am disappointed with the ruling, I will not appeal it,” Commissioner Kreidler said in a statement.

House Republicans Hesitant About Tax Break Closures

All 15 Republicans on the Washington House Appropriations Committee voted Tuesday against a bill that would close several tax breaks and raise $356 million. And the committee voted 23-10 — five Republicans crossing the aisle — to support a Democratic bill that would delay implementation of Initiative 1351, which mandates smaller class sizes in public schools, from 2015-2017 to 2017-2019.

It’s Official: Obama Axes Trans Fat

The FDA issued a final decision Tuesday that gives the food industry three years to phase out partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of trans fat, which are still used in a wide variety of products from microwave popcorn to cake frosting. The government’s goal is to prevent cardiovascular disease and advocates are cheering the move as a historic win for public health. But class-action attorneys are eager to use the ruling — before it takes effect— to file lawsuits against food companies that have continued to use trans fat.