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Sun., Dec. 22, 2013

Insurers squeeze providers

Airing recently were obscene and disgusting TV ads paid for by the billionaire Koch brothers, showing a young woman with her feet in stirrups about to have a pelvic exam. Popping up was a scary figure of Uncle Sam with the warning that big government would now be making health care decisions for you under the Affordable Care Act.

The Nov. 24 front page article “Insurers exclude regional hospitals” exposes the truth about who is in the examining room with you. It’s not big government, and it never has been. Who comes between patients and their doctors are the insurance companies. Eastern Washington’s largest health insurer, Premera, is not only excluding the gem of Northwest hospitals, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, from its preferred provider network, but also excluding 500 doctors from 50 clinics, affecting buyers of individual insurance policies under the ACA.

Sacred Heart is the state’s largest hospital and occupies a critical place as a regional health care provider. If you need cardiac care, organ transplant surgery or in-patient psychiatric care, and want your care provided by Sacred Heart, you will first have to obtain permission from Premera.

Good luck with that.

Single-payer would have eliminated this deplorable, profit-motivated tactic. But single-payer was not supported by the Republican Party (which didn’t support any plan), and the Democrats caved.

Carol Johns


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