Research Reports, Articles and Opinions
Kathleen has authored numerous articles over the years. Many of them are not online. However, her columns from 2000-2004 from The Seattle Times are included below:
These articles have been published in the Seattle Times and other publications.
War of Words: A Call for New Direction for Nation’s Health Care
February 13, 2000
Doctors are unionizing, surgeons are leaving Regence Blue Shield and now, you can pay extra money to Virginia Mason to buy time we all used to have with our doctors.
Vice President Al Gore and Sen. Bill Bradley are duking it out on who has the best health-care plan, who they are going to cover, and what it costs.
In Olympia, insurers, consumers, employers and elected officials are duking it out over individual insurance policies. This war of words is only going to get worse. Why? Because, simply put, we do not have a health-care system. We have armed camps. Here are six core facts that contribute to this divisive climate. More…
Health care for the economy
October 14, 2003
What if health-care reform were a straightforward question of jobs, America’s national economic interest and our international competitiveness? It is. Just look.
Here’s the quick end of the story first. Administrative expenses devour a 150-percent larger share of America’s health-care spending than our competitors in the Economic Group of Eight. More…
Public Deserves Better Than a Prescription-Drug Charade
July 10, 2003
Congress is doing it again: making political sausage in the form of a Medicare prescription-drug benefit.
If there is one issue that the public—voting public—wants, it is a Medicare prescription-drug benefit. It’s not just seniors, but their adult children hovering on the brink of Medicare. More…
Medicare Appeal Process Should Not Be Weakened
May 7, 2003
With our focus riveted on Iraq and the state’s dramatic budget shortfalls, virtually no attention is being paid to the proposed, ominous changes in Medicare.
No, not the Medicare prescription-drug benefit that hogs headlines. It’s something more dramatic, more important. More…
Community Comes Together to Take Back Health Care
December 30, 2002
The national Committee on the Cost of Medical Care said our costs were so high because we had too many medical specialists; too many infectious diseases; a disease-based system versus a preventative one; and lack of community-focused health-care delivery. Regrettably, this is all still too true — except this report was not written in this century. More…
Balancing the Budget on the Voiceless, the Sick
September 19, 2002
State after state is doing the same thing: balancing their budgets off the backs of the poor, the frail and the old.
Missouri cut 32,600 adults from Med-icaid this year and cut some women’s health services, such as postpartum care. Kansas reduced home health services. The Mississippi Legislature at one point proposed balancing the budget by cutting 13,000 Medicaid nursing home beds and even overrode the governor’s veto, until they reached a compromise after session. They are back now in special session.More…
Where Health-Care Dollars Go
July 11, 2002
While businesses and individuals are paying more and more for often fewer health-care benefits, we thought we would take a look at where some of those health care dollars go. More…
We Can Corral Health Costs by Keying on Prevention
June 07, 2002
Several years ago, I sat next to a veterinarian from Yakima. His specialty was the care and treatment of beef and dairy herds. When I asked him if ranchers had health insurance for those herds, he simply replied: “No. We have to rely on prevention to avoid the high costs of treating sick animals.” More…
Healthcare in Need of a Fix
April 8, 2002
From so-called “sons of Jackson Hole groups” to the latest Blue Cross and Blue Shield initiative, we are drowning in calls for new studies on healthcare costs and access. We don’t need new studies. We need systemic change. More…
The Health-Care Shipwreck II
March 5, 2002
Let’s not kid ourselves about the impending state and federal health-care budget cuts. Here is what they mean:
- No more interpreter services for clinics and hospitals; they won’t take people who speak different languages — too many liability issues without informed consent.
- Cuts of $70 million from already underfunded nursing homes. More…
The Health-Care Shipwreck
February 6, 2002
We can argue as much as we like about single payer, the marketplace and universal coverage or we can sit down and talk about our impending health-care shipwreck. Front pages from Chicago, D.C. and Seattle are the same: depleted Medicaid budgets; more uninsured and unemployed; meltdown in mental-health care clinics and hospitals. More…
Let’s Look at the Cost Before We Leapfrog
July 26, 2001
Like the Stealth Bomber, The Leapfrog Group has been gliding under the health-care radar screen busily preparing for an assault to improve patient safety and quality care in hospitals. While well intended, this new marketplace directive promises as much havoc as any government mandate. More…
State’s Health-Care Arena Pits Poor Against the Weak
June 08, 2001
While people seem to want insurance, their interest dwindles, presumably, when they learn about the costs. And now, the employers and insurers want the people in the Washington State Health Insurance Pool to pay larger premium increases. More…
Health Care’s Death Dance
March 22, 2001
I had lunch in January with a very nice man whose manufacturing company employs 100 people. His health-care costs increased 30 percent a year for the past two years. He is getting another 30-percent increase this year even though his employees have had no major medical claims. More…
Drug-Discount Program Won’t Help the Poor
February 16, 2001
We all know about the road to Heaven’s opposite being paved with good intentions. Well, that’s what we have with the governor’s proposed AWARDS program for prescription drugs. It is a token program that is a bandage on a gaping wound. More…
Our Health Care is Great, Just Don’t Get Sick
January 23, 2001
We have some of the world’s best medicine and the finest technologies. We enjoy some of the world’s finest physicians, nurses and health-care professionals. People come from all over the world to get care here – the University of Washington Medical Center; Virginia Mason; Children’s Hospital and Medical Center – not to mention Harborview, Swedish and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I cannot even begin to name the physicians and clinics that provide some of the best health-care services money can buy. More…
The Travesty of Choosing Roads or Public Health
December 29, 2000
In this time of some unprecedented economic growth and prosperity, we are forced into making choices about whether we will fix transportation systems or assure that our elderly have access to home care, adult health care and other services. More…
Health Care’s Strange Bedfellows Needed Here
December 14, 2000
Strange bedfellows breezed into town recently with a workable solution to expand insurance options for the uninsured. No less than the heads of the Health Insurance Association of America (HIAA) and Families USA, formerly arch enemies who are now tromping around the country showing how they found mutually agreeable ways to get affordable health insurance for the 43 million uninsured Americans. More…
Gore vs. Bush on Health: System has Become Captive to Political Ideologies
October 15, 2000
If there is one clear choice in this election, it is health care. At stake is the future direction of American health care. Republican candidate George W. Bush relies on medical savings accounts at the commercial, Medicare and long-term care levels. Democratic candidate Al Gore leverages existing programs to expand coverage. Here’s how their proposals work and what they would mean. More…
A Lame Health-Insurance Plan
September 21, 2000
Tomorrow, the Washington State Health Insurance Pool (WSHIP) Board will meet at the Westin Hotel in Seattle to continue its work to restore individual private insurance policies in the state. Their work has gone very wrong.
The deal that was cut to get insurers back into the market will take the sickest 8 percent and put them into a special pool funded by all insurers so the cost burden would not fall just on the three insurers that offered individual policies. But under current thinking, individuals in the pool will be subject to a system that grades applicants by rate of disease and weight. More…
Cut Off: HMOs Trim Elderly for Profit
July 30, 2000
It’s simple economics. Medicare HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations) are not making enough money. They whine they can’t make money given what Medicare pays. So, they dump seniors and try to con the governor and others into suing the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) that oversees Medicare to get better rates. More…
Rolling Snake Eyes with Health Care
May 31, 2000
Not being a gambler, I nevertheless joined friends at a casino. I took $10. After five minutes and five lost dollars, I quit blackjack to try craps.
I thought craps was a simple roll of dice. Roll a 7 or 11 and you got money. But no, craps is laden with rules–use one hand; keep your hands inside the table; double your money if you place chips in a certain box, and so on. I stopped listening, shook my head and laughed about so many rules over a simple toss of two cubes.
I lost $10, but physician groups are losing more, much, much more in the benefit-management crapshoot. One clinic has lost $16 million in the past two years. It is not alone. More…
Rx for Prescription Drugs
April 30, 2000
TV ads show buses trucking seniors to Canada to buy drugs they can’t afford here. Others show buses trucking Canadian seniors here for services they can’t get there.
Prescription-drug ads burst from magazine pages and TV commercials on the latest drugs.
Politicians rail against drug costs for seniors and lament our costs in comparison to Mexico’s or Canada’s.
This is the climate of charges and counter charges that surrounds the debate over the costs of prescription drugs in America. More…
Why Health-Care Insurers Keep Changing the Rules
April 07, 2000
Premera Blue Cross, the state’s second-largest health insurer with nearly 756,000 members and over 7,000 employers, has quietly been converting some of its business from nonprofit to for-profit status. More…
Insurance Not Just for Healthy, Wealthy
February 29, 2000
Hidden behind the gibberish of insurance terms like pre-existing conditions, guaranteed issue and portability, is the fight to restore insurance options for individuals. Because insurers could stem their financial losses in the one market they could close, they simply stopped offering new individual policies. Now, 600,000 people – roughly the population of Seattle – have no chance of buying insurance in 31 of our 39 counties. And 250,000 people with individual policies live in fear of losing theirs. More…
Health Care’s Fatal Flaw: A new view for a new century: Making health care work.
Cover Story, April 1999
(Leading Washington State Business Magazine.)
The Consumer Focus
(Industry leader on information system technologies and health care organizations.)
Seeing is Believing: The Multicare Claims Management Story
Rural America: On the Outskirts of Managed Competition
(Official magazine of the American Association of Health Plans)
The Consumer Revolution Arrives
Health Mess: An Epidemic of Mistrust Strikes Health Care Sectors
Birth Control Coverage: Productivity vs. Reproductivity
San Francisco Business Times
March 29, 1999
Think Contraception Is Costly? Try Maternity
Puget Sound Business Journal
March 22, 1999
Describing the Elephant
Viagra and Contraceptives: Gender Equity
July 20, 1998
Putting Doctors Back Into Health Care
A Disaster on the Healthcare Horizon
Linking Up for the Future
No Silver Bullets
Privacy: Are There Any Guarantees?
Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center