Dear friends and neighbors,
On January 1, a 20-percent increase in the Business and Occupation Tax (B&O) will go into effect, increasing the tax burden on health-care providers, veterinarians, providers of affordable housing and others. This big tax increase was enacted, over my objection, at a time the state is receiving record tax revenues.
That is wrong.
I met with doctors of small practices and other small business owners who will be directly affected by this tax. This e-newsletter is the first in a series of messages in which I will share with you those conversations so you hear, firsthand, just how the B&O tax increase could affect your family.
As I began my deep-dive into the new tax, I started with independent doctors — the ones who don’t work for big health-care companies. Typically, independent physicians have more flexibility in their schedules, can provide care at a lower cost, and know their patients well. They are likely to treat a patient’s whole family.
Many of these independent practices are facing the real possibility of closing down because the cost of doing business in Washington has skyrocketed. They simply can’t cover their overhead when their fixed costs keep going up. Unlike most businesses, which can pass their costs onto consumers, they can’t raise prices because they are limited by contracted fees with insurance companies. And they shouldn’t have to.
We began the conversation by looking at the impacts to their practices and, ultimately, their patients. I met with Dr. Girolami and Dr. Label from King County (pictured above). Click below to watch one-minute video shorts that asks them these questions:
- Why are so many doctors closing their practices?
- What impact will taxing independent doctors have?
- Why are private practices important to the larger health care system?
You can also watch the full three-part interview.
Join me again next week as we continue the conversation about how the new B&O tax could result in less access to care, particularly in rural communities, widening of the urban versus rural divide, and less access to care for those on Medicaid (coverage for low-income individuals) and Medicare (coverage for seniors).
Please share this newsletter with your friends and family so everyone is aware of how their access to care is threatened.