Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review has been on the web since 1995. See main page for full contents

July 10, 2009


Kyung M. Song, Seattle Times - In what is becoming an annual ordeal for policyholders, Regence Blue Shield is raising premiums for 135,000 individual health-plan members in Washington by an average 17 percent on Aug. 1.

It is the third consecutive year that the state's largest provider of individual coverage has boosted rates by double digits. And it comes after two other insurers, Group Health Cooperative and LifeWise Health Plan of Washington, recently imposed similarly steep premium increases.

North Seattle resident Gail Petersen said having more choices won't make health plans any more affordable. Petersen, 55, and her husband pay more than $1,400 a month to Regence to cover their family of five and will pay $300 more starting in August.

Don McCanne, Physicians for a Public Health Plan - Once Congress passes a mandate for individuals to purchase health plans, presumably non-profit Regence Blue Shield, as the largest provider of individual plans in the state of Washington, would be a provider of those plans. Also, Group Health Cooperative is the co-op that has been proposed to serve as a model for the public option.

Group Health has been shifting more costs to patients through consumer-directed high deductible plans and HSAs, and still has a double digit hike in premiums. Some model.

Can anyone seriously state, with a straight face, that mandating purchase of these plans will somehow magically end the double digit increases in premiums for these plans?

The answer to this question is actually quite complex, but the fundamental truth is that the cost containment measures under consideration in Congress will have very little impact in slowing the escalation of health care costs.

All other nations have health care financing systems that are much more effective in containing costs and without leaving people out, as we do.


Anonymous robbie said...

I think that Congress should give up their universal single-payer health care system if they can't figure out a way to provide that to average Americans. Of course, then they'll want a much larger yearly salary.

July 10, 2009 4:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in British Columbia and medical premiums for a family of three or more work out to just under $1300 a year (although I'm pretty sure I feel oppressed under the heel of this socialism).

July 10, 2009 11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you think that Co-op health care providers hold down the cost of health think again. Group health is a large Co-op in Washington. It is part of Kaiser Permanents. So let's all look to California and Washington State to see how much cheaper health care is her.

Well it is not cheaper in Washington. Our Washington insurance plan has gone up over 100% in the last 8 years. You can well imagine what that has done to or budget.

July 11, 2009 10:04 AM  

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