In the state Senate today, Sen. Steve O’Ban introduced legislation designed to help people who have lost their medical insurance due to Obamacare to regain affordable health-care coverage.
“Our state leaped headfirst into Obamacare before considering the potential for negative side effects. I have heard from many in and outside my district who were driven off the health-care plans they liked and Obamacare eliminated nearly all the low-cost plans many could afford,” said O’Ban, who represents west Pierce County. “It is a terrible tragedy. Families have lost vital healthcare coverage and can’t afford to replace it. Even the president has realized the mistakes of his plan and has offered the American people a way out. Unfortunately, the plans he said we can keep don’t exist in Washington anymore. Therefore, we need to let people buy them in other states to restore equity to our health-care system.”
Senate Bill 6464 would allow Washington residents to buy catastrophic health-care plans in other states. Primarily, the bill would require the state insurance commissioner, for a period of one year, to approve plans that do not meet the requirements of Obamacare; allow health carriers to continue offering certain individual or small-group health plans in the market outside of the health-care exchange, regardless of whether the plans meet the requirements of Obamacare; bar the insurance commissioner from prohibiting the continuation of these plans; and allow out-of-state carriers to offer insurance products in Washington.
“The insurance commissioner has not been supportive of allowing individuals to keep their pre-Obamacare plans, even restricting the availability of the typically lower-cost catastrophic plans Obama authorized in the health-care exchange,” O’Ban continued. “Under my bill, people could either keep their existing health-care plans or be exempted from the individual-mandate tax penalty and buy typically cheaper catastrophic-care plans.”
SB 6464 will be considered by the Senate Committee on Health Care in the coming weeks, and is co-sponsored by that committee’s chair. Rep. Matt Manweller, R-Ellensburg, has sponsored identical legislation in the House of Representatives (House Bill 2221).