Washington state is the latest to jump on the single-payer bandwagon, with Democratic Governor Jay Inslee announcing that Democratic lawmakers in the state would be proposing legislation to provide state residents a public health insurance option—thus pushing Washington closer to single-payer health care.
According to Inslee, the bill will tell Washington’s Health Care Authority to contract with health plans throughout the state to offer coverage on the Washington Health Benefit Exchange; the exchange guarantees coverage to anyone in Washington on the individual insurance market.
Reimbursement rates, according to Inslee, will be consistent with Medicare rates. And since Democrats control the state legislature, the measure is likely to pass.
Inslee isn’t the only one challenging the insurance status quo, with California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom having just applied for a waiver from the Trump administration to create a single-payer system. In addition, Newsom has proposed reinstating the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act within California.
Meanwhile, in New York City, Mayor Bill DiBlasio has proposed a $100 million plan that he said would provide affordable “healthcare for all,” reaching about 600,000 people, including undocumented immigrants, low-income residents not enrolled in Medicaid and young workers whose current plans are too expensive.
And it’s not just states and cities pushing liberal health care ideas. According to The Hill, House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-KY, has now requested information from the Congressional Budget Office about single-payer health care proposals—yet another step closer to a single-payer program. Rather than being an evaluation of a single plan—as the analysis of Senator Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan was in 2018—this analysis, a precursor to hearings in the Budget Committee, will provide information on various decisions Democrats will have to make on single-payer.
“The House Budget Committee will soon schedule hearings to review potential ways to achieve affordable, high-quality health care coverage for everyone, including Medicare for All,” Yarmuth said in a statement. “To begin that work, I have requested that the Congressional Budget Office provide a report on the design considerations that policymakers should consider in developing proposals to establish a single-payer system in the United States.”
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