A Good Deal for Washington

Medicaid Expansion infographicOne of the three key items that need to be resolved this year is the Medicaid expansion that is part of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare. (The other two are the overall budget and education funding increase as a result of the McCleary decision.) The policy choices are getting clearer and clearer as we go through the session, and the support has become more substantial as the numbers work themselves out.

In short,

  1. We will be able to provide coverage for almost 350,000 additional people in Washington.
  2. The federal government will pick up the tab, covering 100% of the cost of the newly eligible.
  3. The expansion will save the state money, with around $250 million in savings in the first two years.
  4. The benefits are spread throughout the state, with the biggest impacts in rural counties with high poverty rates.
  5. The expansion will generate about 10,000 new jobs in Washington, and bring lots of new cash into the state from Washington DC, instead of the other way around as it usually works.

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Workers Comp Fraud?

The New York Times ran an article a few weeks ago that a constituent sent me for comment. He wanted to know if the same fraud occurred in Washington.


In some states doctors providing care under workers compensation were running schemes that resulted in their making crazy money selling drugs directly to patients. You can read the article for details, but the question the article begs is “What about Washington?”

I rooted around a bit and found out that we stopped allowing this several years ago based on similar concerns. Running all the prescriptions through a single POS system allows us to track drug use, contraindications for multiple drugs, and to prevent fraud like what’s shown in this article.

I’m sure there are other ways inventive people come up with to scam the various state systems (Medicaid, Workers Comp, etc.), but we ride the data to try to prevent as much of it as we can.