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Ten years ago, doctors called the shots when it came to health care in Spokane. Most owned their practices or plied their specialties in larger clinics. They freely referred patients to other doctors and hospitals, engaged in research trials and melded into a health care community where collaboration often trumped competition.
Health care reform should come with a Help Wanted sign: Nurses are needed to help care for 32 million people. That’s how many Americans are expected to gain health coverage starting next year.
Sometime this spring, the Washington Legislature has to enact a two-year budget that will address “Obamacare,” the federal government’s health care reform law. When it does, will partisan wrangling tie the Legislature in knots, as occurred in Congress?
Where can Americans find help with health insurance coverage? And P.S. – what’s it going to cost?
After Congress created Medicare in 1965, the program grew and changed. But since the ’60s, when courtly senators still referred to one another as “gentlemen,” the spirit in Congress has changed as well. What will happen when a need arises to reform the landmark health care law that Congress passed in 2010? Mike Kreidler, Washington state’s insurance commissioner and a former member of Congress, shakes his head as he recalls the regular reforms that turned Medicare into what it is today. The polarization of today’s Congress doesn’t bode well for the program-friendly reform that made Medicare work better as the years went by, he said.
From the outside, you’d never guess what’s going on in the nondescript old building across Capitol Way from the Starbucks in downtown Olympia. Within those painted concrete slabs, an agency few have heard of is completely reinventing the way people and small businesses will get a precious and often unattainable commodity: health insurance.
If “Obamacare” deserves a face, it’s not Barack’s. It’s a young Seattle boy named Marcelas Owens, whose mother, like thousands of Americans every year, died of a treatable disease.
Today Health care:
Health care, American-style, is about to undergo the biggest change since the enactment of Medicare 48 years ago. In quiet office buildings far from the glare of television cameras, officials worry that people who need these changes have no idea what’s coming. Health insurance is complicated, and there’s been no lack of controversy to obscure the emerging structure of reform.