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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

February 18, 2015 at 11:55 AM

Medical transparency needs to become one of the nation’s top priorities

Recently, Gov. Jay Inslee proposed two new bills pushing for health-care cost transparency [“Make medical providers compete on price as well as quality,” Opinion, Feb. 6]. HB 1437 and SB 5084 would create an all-payer claims database that provides public access to cost and quality information about health-care providers and services. This means that consumers, employers, medical providers and policymakers would have the information they need to make informed decisions about buying and using health care.

While Inslee continues to push for medical health-care cost transparency, I can’t help but wonder why the nation has not done so as well. According to Roger Stark, retired cardiothoracic surgeon and a health-care analyst with Washington Policy Center, “The overwhelming majority of health care in this country is paid for by employers or the government, with money channeled through heavily regulated insurance companies.” As a result, “patients are largely barred from shopping and have become isolated from true costs they incur.”

Additionally, Castlight Health estimates that $300 billion is wasted in the U.S. annually in avoidable health-care costs. I fully support Inslee’s decision to endorse these bills. But, beyond the state level, I strongly feel that medical transparency needs to become one of the nation’s top priorities.

Jacob Biagini, Seattle

Comments | More in Health care | Topics: Gov. Jay Inslee, health, health care

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