Engrossed Substitute House Bill 1608

Summary

If a health care provider is acting in good faith, within the provider's authorized scope of practice and the relevant standard of care, a health care entity may not limit the health care provider's provision of accurate and comprehensive information and resources to a patient regarding the patient's health status, including diagnosis, prognosis, recommended treatment, treatment alternatives, information about available services and where and how to obtain them, and any potential risks to the patient's health or life; or information about Washington's Death with Dignity Act.

Status: Victory! Governor Jay Inslee signed into law 25 March 2020.
Read the final bill

What it means for Health Care for All-Washington

Many independent health provider systems have been absorbed into faith-based systems (i.e. Providence, CHI Franciscan). Patients are not always being told the range of health care options that violate the religious tenets, including Death with Dignity and abortion. This bill essentially stops religion-based health systems from limiting patient options and would allow a doctor or other provider to explain all options, without penalty from the health system. For HCFA-WA, we strongly support ensuring that patients know what their options are, both in terms of cost, but especially in terms of treatment – or not.

Bill changes during the legislative process

Weakened language requiring the actual provision of services in these health systems but strengthened language about providing treatment information to patients. 

Vote notes

The bill was strongly partisan in the House (65-33, most GOPs opposing), but passed with strong bipartisan support in the Senate (39-7). 

Second Substitute House Bill 2457

Summary

Establishes the Health Care Cost Transparency Board to annually calculate the total health care expenditures in Washington and establish a health care cost growth benchmark.

Status: Victory! Governor Jay Inslee signed into law 3 April 2020.
Read the final bill

What it means for Health Care for All-Washington

The Board will examine increases in total health expenditures and specifically to the highest cost drivers in the health care system. Importantly, this identifies providers and payers exceeding the health care cost growth benchmarks. This fits with HCFA-WA because we need to know what the total costs of care are in order to properly determine how much funding will be needed to cover health care. 

Bill changes during the legislative process

Strengthened significantly by adding the identifier of high cost/price gouging providers, expanded advisory board, added provisions that ensure no conflict of interest or self-dealing.

Vote notes

Bipartisan at every step (75-23 in House, 32-17 in the Senate).

 

Substitute House Bill 2464

Summary

Limits the maximum amount a purchaser of prescription medication may be required to pay at the point of sale.

Status: Victory! Governor Jay Inslee signed into law 25 March 2020.
Read the final bill

What it means for Health Care for All-Washington

This is government limiting the cost that patients pay out of pocket for prescription drugs. More, this is government requiring insurance companies to absorb the cost, which pushes insurance companies to lean harder on Pharma to negotiate lower prices. This is a big step. 

Vote notes

The bill was introduced by two rural Republicans, neither of whom are on health care committees, showing that drug costs affect everyone. This bill did not receive any “no” votes throughout its journey.


Rep. Chris Gildon (R, LD 25) introduces his bill; HCFA-WA President Marcia Stedman testifies in the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.


Passage of Other Bills of Note

6097: Will help keep insurance premiums more stable and health care more affordable by allowing the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to consider an insurance carrier’s surplus money and profit margins when an insurer applies to raise its premiums.
Read the final bill

5601: Creates greater transparency in health care by regulating benefits managers while also providing consumers recourse when they’re having trouble getting benefits to which they are entitled.
Read the final bill

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