Why shouldn’t state Obamacare exchange reveal employee salaries?

A new state law requires the Washington Health Benefit Exchange (WHBE), the state’s Obamacare exchange, to reveal employee salary data to the Legislature and the public. If you’re surprised it doesn’t do that already, you’re not alone. As everyone is aware, the exchange has had numerous issues since its Fall 2013 rollout to the public. […]

Social Security, Medicare will be insolvent soon without adjustments

Social Security and Medicare have long been called the “third rail” of federal politics because politicians who touch either one are liable to receive a fatal shock to their electoral prospects. Some of the easiest and most effective negative campaign ads start with a variation on “Candidate X will take away your Social Security.” For […]

Court invalidates shot at Catholic health care

Officials and government agencies often overstep their authority and assert their right to regulate matters that are actually beyond their mandate. The courts are supposed to be out last redoubt when that happens, though seeking resolution there can be lengthy and expensive. The state Supreme Court smacked down one such overreach Thursday, ruling that the […]

Washington’s treatment of the mentally ill is to our shame

You’ve seen the many headlines arising from our state’s mental health crisis: of a concentrated downtown crime problem; of shootings during delusional episodes; of police overwhelmed by their role on the frontlines. You’ve also seen the headlines when those matters are dealt with by the system: of competency hearings, insanity defenses, and lawsuits over the […]

Can state’s Obamacare exchange “live within its means”?

Eighteen months and two open enrollment periods since its launch, Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange continues to underperform. Enrollment and technical glitches remain a problem in year two, and the number of sign-ups lags expectations. That is threatening the exchange’s budget. “There are always startup costs,” an industry observer reassured the Seattle Times recently. “Most businesses […]

State health exchange still adrift, problem-filled

When Obamacare’s initial enrollment period opened in October 2013, the national exchange website was a disaster. As one of the states with its own exchange website, Washington’s site looked comparatively good – in that it wasn’t offline all the time. Problems persist After that problem-filled start, Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange got to work on making […]

Real alternatives to Obamacare

Obamacare flies in the face of many principles conservatives hold dear, including individual consumer choice and a belief that “massive government bureaucracy” and “efficiency” don’t belong in the same sentence. Despite the spin that Obamacare was about preserving the private health insurance market, the incredible number of mandates it imposes and its large expansion of […]

Health care is like the rest of life: financial incentives work

You’ve been meaning to get started on a fitness program to stay healthier, but you haven’t got around to it. That sounds like a lot of us. But what if it meant $125 a year off your insurance premiums? It’s not a lot of money. In fact, you might spend more on some workout clothes […]

OIC allegations raise question: why are “independent” judges supervised in house?

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler You may have seen the allegations: an administrative law judge in the state Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) is accusing Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s top deputy, Jim Odiorne, of pressuring her to make rulings that align with what Mr. Kreidler wants. Kreidler’s office has suspended the judge, Patricia Petersen, while the […]

Gov. Bobby Jindal, solutions-oriented pol, carves a different path on health care

Bobby Jindal, the Louisiana governor and a possible candidate for president, is clearly one of the brightest minds in the Republican Party. I’ve had the opportunity to meet Gov. Jindal a few times, including when he came out to campaign with me in Spokane in 2012. I came away impressed with his intellect and communications […]