Spokesman-Review Editorial: Premera, Sen. Becker Ruin Good Bill

The Spokane Spokesman-Review published the following editorial today.

Premera, Sen. Becker ruin good bill that would trim health costs

If the insurance commissioner, business owners, consumer advocates, doctors, nurses and hospitals are all singing the same tune, government ought to listen up. But Washington House Bill 2572, which was backed by the governor and has passed the House, has fallen on deaf ears in the Senate.

The bill has several components aimed at cutting health care costs, but the controversy swirls mostly around the issue of making it mandatory to report all health care claims to a statewide database. The purpose is to provide price transparency and information on quality, so those paying for health services can make more informed choices.

As Rep. Eileen Cody, chairwoman of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, said, “It doesn’t matter if you’re buying a loaf of bread or a new car or bypass surgery – consumers should have access to critical information on quality and price before they make a purchase.”

But Sen. Randi Becker, chairwoman of the Senate Health Care Committee, is more amenable to the wishes of Premera Blue Cross, which has quietly lobbied against the bill. She stripped out transparent pricing and sent the bill to the Ways and Means Committee.

Note: Click here to read the rest of the Spokesman-Review editorial.