Health Care Public Option Approved By Washington State's Legislature

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The Washington government will subsidize affordable health care plans available for consumers to purchase.

According to the Associated Press, Washington State lawmakers passed a 'public option' for health insurance last night. Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Senate finally approved a version of the bill in a 27-21 vote after variations of the bill moved back and forth between the House and the Senate. The legislation now heads to Governor Inslee’s desk for approval.

The so-called “Cascade Care” would make a state-contracted health insurance option available by 2021 and would be an insurance plan at a discounted rate.

Gov. Inslee officially requested the bill, though sponsors carried and backed it in both chambers of the legislature. Its passage is a win for Inslee, who announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election last month.

The proposal requires officials to plan—but not necessarily execute upon—larger subsidies for private insurance and require private companies to also offer standardized plans on the state exchange, The State reports.

During the marathon late-night voting session on Saturday, the bill’s advocates stressed the key reason supporting the bill: that it lowers costs for consumers.

"This bill has a lot of support from many of the major health care associations," said Seattle Senator David Frockt. "This is going to have better cost-sharing, and Washingtonians will be much better off for it."

The bill mandates that the state hire insurance companies to offer two separate health insurance options with differing coverage levels. The state government would set the terms of the plans, and the companies would be responsible for getting citizens on board and paying claims.

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