health care

People from three Pacific island nations have the right to live and work in the United States, thanks to a unique 1986 treaty. But a separate Congressional action 20 years ago means that they are not eligible for Medicaid -- even those who become taxpayers.

Many have settled in Oregon, where lawmakers will consider a bill in February that would require the state to subsidize medical care for people from these nations.

The Marshall Islands are an independent nation made up of more than 1,000 small islands near the equator, about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii.

MathTeacherGuy / flickr

With the start of a new year comes an increase in health care costs for many local employers and workers. The average increase for 2016 health plan premiums reviewed by the state insurance departments of Oregon, Washington and Idaho significantly exceeded the rate of inflation. So, what's driving health care costs in 2016?

Washington prison inmates who suffer from “serious and painful medical conditions” are often denied adequate healthcare. That’s the allegation contained in a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court in Seattle this week.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Faced with a shortage of primary care doctors, more and more clinics are relying on nurse practitioners to fill the gap. But that creates another gap, in the level of training providers bring to the job. Residency programs--once reserved for physicians--are popping up for nurse practitioners as well.

By 2018, the state of Washington should have a treasure trove of data on the cost and quality of health care.

Carline Jean MCT / Landov

The nonprofit community health centers of Washington are concerned about the latest action by lawmakers dealing with money from marijuana sales in the state.

Initiative 502, which legalized recreational marijuana, mandated that 5 percent of tax revenues from pot sales go to nonprofit community health centers.

But the public policy director for Community Health Network, Molly Belozer Firth, said the House and Senate have both proposed budgets that divert that money elsewhere, rather than to what they see as a priority, serving the uninsured.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers will introduce a bill Wednesday that will allow people to use some oils extracted from cannabis plants. Idaho currently does not allow any form of medical marijuana. But other states without medical pot have passed exemptions similar to this new bill.

AndreyPopov / Flickr

The ACLU of Washington is launching an effort to ensure that hospitals are following the state’s abortion rights laws.

Thursday the ACLU filed a lawsuit seeking to have Skagit Regional Health comply with Washington’s Reproductive Privacy Act, or RPA.

The ACLU’s Doug Hoening says the public hospital has a policy of not providing abortion services, in violation of state law.

Hoening says The ACLU also has sent letters to three other public hospital districts in Mason County, Jefferson County, and Whidbey Island that have the same policy:

Centers for Disease Control

Some Northwest lawmakers want to make it harder for parents to opt out of vaccinating their children.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

There's a small but growing trend in healthcare--a trend where doctors are paid differently, so they can focus on a relationship with their patients, and where patients are able to see doctors without worrying  about the cost.

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