[Welcome Kaiser Network readers!]
It is an election year and once again, candidates are promising anything to get elected. Odd thing is, they never tell you how they plan to implement the sweeping changes or tell you how much it will cost.
This is especially true when it comes to health care. Both candidates are promising sweeping reform to lower costs (though they have no clue how to accomplish this) and cover everyone (clueless here as well).
But sometimes the difference in how they say they will effect change is as different as black and white.
Take the race in Washington for example.
Incumbent governor Chris Gregoire and challenger Dino Rossi have two very distinct approaches. Each has their own merit.
Gregoire wants more government intrusion while Rossi wants to encourage free market competition.
And despite a looming budget crunch, she has not backed down from her goal of providing health care access to everyone in the state by 2012.
Deficits be damned, this is an election year.
Rossi has promised to try to reduce the state's mandates for coverage
No doubt, mandates add to the cost of coverage which drives up the premium.
Here are a few of the Washington mandates that are added to premiums for their citizens.
Mandated coverage for denturist's and marriage counseling. Only 2 states cover denturist's and Washington is one of them.
Somehow folks in other 48 states manage to get along just fine without that coverage.
Here are some oldies but goodies that are only shared by a handful of states outside of Washington.
Accupuncturist's and chiropodist's. Lay midwives, naturopaths and the ever popular massage therapists.
No decent insurance plan would be caught dead without those covered.
Newborn hearing testing. Now that is an expensive item. Washington is one of only 2 states that require coverage to remove port wine stains.
Mandates cost money. Everyone pays even though only a few will benefit. Many of the mandates add 1 - 3% to the premium but add them up and you are suddenly paying an extra 20 - 30%.
It doesn't take long.