Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - Friday, August 23, 2019 


A federal court ruling changes how the President is elected, and Florida Democrats trigger a special session vote on guns. Those stories and more in today's news.

Daily Newscasts

Gov. Inslee Proposes Public-Option Health Plan in Wash.

Lawmakers will introduce Gov. Jay Inslee's public-option health plan when the 2019 legislative session begins next week. (Office of the Governor)
Lawmakers will introduce Gov. Jay Inslee's public-option health plan when the 2019 legislative session begins next week. (Office of the Governor)
January 9, 2019

SEATTLE - Gov. Jay Inslee has proposed a public-option health insurance plan in an effort to expand coverage to all Washingtonians.

The state's Health Care Authority would contract with one or more carriers in each county to offer qualified health plans on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange. Fourteen counties only have one health insurer. With premiums rising and the Trump administration chipping away at the Affordable Care Act, the proposal aims to contain costs for Washingtonians.

Ashley Sutton, health-policy associate for the Economic Opportunity Institute, which helped develop this plan, known as "Cascade Care," said it could make calls for "Medicare for All" in Congress a reality in the Evergreen State.

"So many legislators ran on a platform of health care, and one of the top priorities for constituents is addressing health-care affordability," she said. "The issue is that no one really knows how to get there, and Cascade Care offers a way to get to universal coverage."

The goal of the plan is that patients spend no more than 10-percent of their income on premiums, with subsidies to help those who need financial assistance. Implementation would begin in 2021 and, by 2025, every plan in the state would meet that 10 percent threshold.

Sutton said the strength of the proposed model is that it would leverage federal subsidies under the ACA to help bring down costs as well.

"We're actually using existing infrastructure right now through the exchange that's already set up," she said, "to help with cost control and also increase affordability and access to our communities that are being hurt the most because of the exorbitant costs of health care that continue to rise."

Sen. David Frockt and Rep. Eileen Cody, both D-Seattle, joined Inslee on Tuesday for the announcement and plan to introduce the public-option legislation on Monday, the first day of the session.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - WA