Opinion: Pro on Obamacare

December 18, 2013

NEW — 10:50 a.m. Dec. 18, 2013

In the past few years, you have most likely heard people around you discussing Obamacare. Chances are you haven’t really paid much attention to what they were saying. I mean, as a teen, it doesn’t affect you right? Think again.

Before I begin, what is Obamacare?

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City hosts health care insurance enrollment event

October 22, 2013

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Issaquah residents who don’t have health insurance can now enroll in affordable health insurance options online at www.wahealthplanfinder.org.

Still, enrolling might seem daunting for anyone who doesn’t have good Internet access, or who doesn’t feel comfortable signing up using a website.

That’s why the city of Issaquah and Public Health – Seattle & King County have teamed up for an in-person enrollment event from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Eagle Room at Issaquah City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way.

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King County unveils health care blog

September 24, 2013

The most common complaint about the new health care law is that it’s too complicated.

Figuring out what’s happening locally can be a challenge. The blog http://coverkingcounty.com, created by Public Health — Seattle & King County, should help.

It keeps track of the events, milestones and stories unfolding locally. The blog is also used to communicate with a network of local health and human services organizations that are assisting the uninsured get health coverage. It’s not targeted at a wide public audience.

 

State senator’s healthcare law marks milestone

September 7, 2010

Issaquah-area state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a registered nurse and Republican, sponsored a bill during the 2010 regular legislative session to establish pilot projects meant to make healthcare more affordable.

Group Health Cooperative has been selected as the lead organization for the projects, the Washington State Health Care Authority announced last week.

The effort encourages public and private healthcare systems to coordinate patient care and pay for results rather than treatments.

The programs must be developed and implemented by January 2012. State funding is not available to Group Health, but the Seattle-based system can seek federal funds, grants and donations.

“I’m excited to see the selection of Group Health as the lead organization,” Pflug said in a statement. “This next step will build upon their recent success with enhancing the coordinating role of the primary care provider. I look forward to substantial progress toward an efficient health system that is far more satisfying for patients and providers.”

State senator’s healthcare law marks milestone

September 7, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. Sept. 7, 2010

Issaquah-area state Sen. Cheryl Pflug, a registered nurse and a Republican, sponsored a bill during the 2010 regular legislative session to establish pilot projects meant to make healthcare more affordable.

Group Health Cooperative has been selected as the lead organization for the projects, the Washington State Health Care Authority announced last week.

The effort encourages public and private healthcare systems to coordinate patient care and pay for results rather than treatments.

The programs must be developed and implemented by January 2012. State funding is not available to Group Health, but the Seattle-based system can seek federal funds, grants and donations.

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Candidates vie to represent 41st District in state House

July 20, 2010

Three candidates will vie for a 41st District House of Representatives seat in the coming primary election, including the incumbent, Judy Clibborn. Issaquah and other 41st District voters will narrow the field to two candidates in the Aug. 17 primary election. Read more

Congressman talks trade during stop here

July 13, 2010

Congressman Dave Reichert emphasized trade as a prescription to revive the stalled economy during a meeting with Issaquah business leaders late last week.

Reichert, a Republican and former King County sheriff, stopped at Blakely Hall in the Issaquah Highlands on July 9 for a 90-minute discussion about how recent federal legislation affects businesses.

The congressman called on the federal government to make ports in trade-dependent Washington more attractive to businesses, because, he added after the Issaquah meeting, the state cannot afford to lose trade to ports in neighboring British Columbia.

Dave Reichert

“If our ports start to lose business, the businesses here that are supported by importing and exporting goods will begin to falter,” he said.

The fallout, he said, could impact businesses throughout the Eastside — the population center in the congressional district Reichert has represented since 2003.

President Obama appointed Reichert to the President’s Export Council in May. The group — lawmakers, federal department chiefs, and business and labor leaders — advises the president on trade issues.

Reichert offered support for a White House goal to double U.S. exports by 2015.

“His mission, which I applaud, is to double exports in the next five years,” Reichert said. “I’m going to bring some ideas on how we might be able to do that. One of those would be: We need to pass trade agreements.”

The congressman said a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and South Korea could help meet the goal. Though the Bush administration negotiated most of the pact, the proposal has been stalled since 2007.

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Congressman talks trade during Issaquah stop

July 9, 2010

NEW — 6:25 p.m. July 9, 2010

Congressman Dave Reichert emphasized trade as a prescription to revive the stalled economy during a meeting with Issaquah business leaders Friday afternoon.

Reichert, a Republican and a former King County sheriff, stopped at Blakely Hall in the Issaquah Highlands for a 90-minute discussion about how recent federal legislation affects businesses.

The congressman called on the federal government to make ports in trade-dependent Washington more attractive to businesses, because, he added after the Issaquah meeting, the state cannot afford to lose trade to ports in neighboring British Columbia.

“If our ports start to lose business, the businesses here that are supported by importing and exporting goods will begin to falter,” he said.

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County Council succumbs to red-blue divide in health care debate

May 25, 2010

The nonpartisan King County Council cracked along partisan lines, as members praised national health care reform in a narrow decision.

The symbolic measure supports the implementation federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed by Congress in March. The council adopted the legislation in a split decision. Democrats on the nine-member council backed the measure; Republicans dissented.

“It is time to reform our health care system,” Chairman Bob Ferguson, the prime sponsor of the legislation and a Democrat, said in a statement after the May 10 decision. “The health care act isn’t perfect, but it will help provide access to basic health care for the more than 150,000 King County residents who are currently uninsured.”

The council decision follows a resolution passed by the King County Board of Health last year urging Congress to enact health care reform. Issaquah Mayor Ava Frisinger serves on the Board of Health.

Republican council members — Jane Hague, Pete Von Reichbauer and Issaquah-area representatives Kathy Lambert and Reagan Dunn — blasted the decision.

“I am concerned that the health care legislation recently passed by Congress is not fiscally sound,” Lambert said in a statement. “The health care services begin several years after the new taxes start, so it funds about six years of service over the first decade of tax collection.”

The dissenters noted a $60 million county spending gap, and said nonpartisan reports showed the federal legislation could cost the county $18 million to $34 million.

King County voters approved a measure in November 2008 to make the council, county executive and county assessor offices nonpartisan.

Regence warns of vitamin coverage scams

May 18, 2010

Regence members in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Utah report they are seeing claims for services not received on their explanation of benefits.

The claims were filed on behalf of companies that sell nutritional supplements.

The members bought products from companies whose ads state: “Learn how you can get your nutritional supplements reimbursed up to 100 percent through your insurance provider.”

Regence issued a nationwide alert to all Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in April, after an investigation showed that parties filing for reimbursement were submitting fraudulent claims from providers involved in the scheme.

The fraudulent claims are coded for legitimate covered services, such as consultations, lab and X-ray, which members did not receive.

In addition, the supplement companies essentially advised consumers to disregard any notes on their health plan’s explanation of benefits about coding for services, alleging the health plan is attempting to pay less for the services.

The alert affects the more than one million Washingtonians served by Regence and 100 million people nationally who are members of a Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan.

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