Saturday, January 30, 2010

Health Care Reform in the Other Washington

Like Washington, D.C., in Washington State the executive branch (Governor) and both houses of the legislature are firmly in Democrat hands. The similarity does not end there. Take health care reform as an example. House Republicans have proposed "10 Solutions for a Healthier Washington" and introduced eight implementing bills in the 2009 regular session of the Washington State House of Representatives but no action was taken other than refer them to committee. The same bills were carried forward to the 2010 special session and remain in the Health and Wellness Committee, chaired by Representative Eileen Cody (D-34th District), where they still have not received a public hearing. A minority party may have good ideas but the public will never be able to consider them if they are buried in committee.

The history and status of the below listed House Bills may be tracked on the Washington State House of Representatives web site.

HB 1865 - Exempts health plans offered to small employers from certain statutory requirements.

HB 1866 - Establishes parameters for carriers to design health plans for adults between the ages of nineteen and thirty-four.

HB 1867 - Abolishes the certificate of need process established in chapter 70.38 RCW.Directs the code reviser, by November 15, 2009, to recommend to the legislature appropriate legislation that effectuates the purposes of the act by removing references to the certificate of need process in sections of the Revised Code of Washington not repealed by the act.

HB 1868 - Modifies provisions regarding access to health insurance for small employers and their employees.

HB 1870 - Authorizes employees, as defined in RCW 41.05.011, to receive the monthly value of their health care benefit in a pretax account for the purchase of a core benefit plan from a private vendor.

HB 1871 - Regulates health insurance coverage provided by out-of-state health carriers.

HB 1872 - Provides tax incentives for the purchase of health care plans by a person conducting business as a sole proprietorship and small employers.

HB 2169 - Authorizes the Washington basic health plan administrator to provide an enrollee a stipend sufficient to provide the same level of subsidy as would have otherwise been available through the basic health plan for enrollees who wish to purchase coverage through the individual health insurance market, including a high deductible health plan in conjunction with a health savings account

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