Issue Team Chair: Susan Eidenschink – susaneiden [at] harbornet.com – (253) 365-4005
Assistant: Jo Rodman – rodmanjo45 [at] gmail.com – (253) 358-3622
Issue Paper: Health Care (PDF)
The LWVWA board endorsed I-1600, the initiative that would require the establishment of a comprehensive state program to pay for health care for all Washington residents by November 2019, funded by premiums and taxes on employers, individual income, and capital gains. Find out more about this initiative here.
The following bills were supported by the League during the 2018 Legislative Session, and they were passed to become law.
- HB 1523 Requiring health plans to cover, with no cost sharing, all preventive services. This bill requires a health plan to provide coverage for the same preventive services required to be covered under Federal rules or guidance in effect on December 31, 2016. On February 27 HB 1523 passed in the Full Senate by a vote of 27-22. The governor signed HB 1523 on March 9, 2018.
- SB 5179 Requiring coverage for hearing instruments under public employee and Medicaid programs. Medical devices for hearing were covered prior to 2011, but during the economic downturn, this assistance was removed from coverage. This bill would restore that coverage. On February 28 SSB 5179 was brought to a vote of the Full House and passed with a vote of 80-18. The governor signed SB 5179 on March 9, 2018.
- SB 6273 Concerning state charity care law. These bills require third-party coverage to be exhausted before a patient becomes eligible for charity care. Hospitals would be required to prominently display charity care notices throughout the hospital and on its website, and hospital billing statements would need to include a statement notifying patients that they may qualify for a discount. On February 28 the Full House passed SSB 6273 by a vote of 98-0. The governor signed SB 6273 on March 9, 2018.
The following bills were supported by the League during the 2018 Legislative Session, but did not pass.
Bill dealing with abuse of opiods and other drugs with legislation for treatment, Prevention and transparency: SHB 1426, 2SHB 1541, SHB 1340, SHB 1339, HB 2272, HB 2489, SB 5586, SB 6050, SB 6147.
Bills dealing with health care coverage and behavioral health car for children, young adults, and families: HB 1565, SB 6013, SB 6047, SB 6084, and SB 6225.
Bills dealing with Medicaid, Public Health, and the Affordable Care Act: ESHB 1432 / SB 5353, HB 2660 / SB 6304, and SB 5163.
Bills dealing with single payer health care: HB 1026 and SB 5701.
Bills recommended by the Insurance Commissioner dealing with surprise billing and reinsurence: ESHB 2114 and HB 2355 / SB 6062.