Our Voice: Thumbs up to Columbia Basin College's women's basketball team

Bench filled with talent

Columbia Basin College's women's basketball team took the NWAACC championship Tuesday at the Toyota Center.

CBC is the fourth school in state history to win four women's basketball championships.

Even more impressive than the record is the performance of this special team. The entire team contributed to the tournament, making teamwork more than just a slogan.

"You never knew who would step up," said Hawks head coach Cheryl Holden. "You just knew that somebody would."

Every player on the CBC roster saw minutes in the championship game, not just token appearances in the final seconds but during minutes that mattered.

These remarkable women got much more than a trophy from the experience. Congratulations to all.

Unhealthy decision

Thumbs down to Republicans in the state Senate for caving to pressure from the health insurance industry to gut a bill aimed at revealing health care price and quality information to consumers.

The conflict focuses on House Bill 2572, which passed the state House of Representatives and came up for a hearing in the Senate Health Care Committee. After some fiery testimony, committee Chairwoman Randi Becker, R-Eatonville, stripped the bill's most controversial section and passed it on to the Ways and Means Committee for further action. She did so without explanation.

Removed from the original bill was a provision to create an "all payer claims database," The Associated Press reported. Loaded with statewide health insurance claims, the database would allow people to compare what health care actually costs and how well it turns out -- procedure by procedure, hospital by hospital. According to the AP, it would answer questions like these: What would a knee replacement or childbirth cost, and who does it best?

A lobbyist for Premera stepped to the microphone and thanked her, but said little about the reasons for his gratitude, according to the AP.

Contacted by The Spokesman-Review, Premera spokesman Eric Earling explained the company's point of view: "We support transparency. We'd like to see more of it." But, he said, price information is not "actionable" for a particular consumer unless it is presented together with information about the consumer's own coverage details such as deductibles and co-pays.

The battle about the provision pits Premera Blue Cross, the state's largest health insurance company, against a broad coalition representing just about everyone who buys, uses, provides or shapes health care, The AP reported.

Among the coalition -- small and large businesses, consumer advocates, tribes, hospitals, doctors, nurses, the governor, the insurance commissioner, the agency that governs insurance for state employees and the poor, and even Premera's competitors.

If information that lets consumers compare insurance options turns out to be bad for Premera Blue Cross, that's on Premera.

Shame on lawmakers who didn't support this useful tool.