Washington is a leading state in terms of healthcare reform legislative efforts. In the 2019 session, the Legislature passed legislation to provide a public option health insurance plan (HB 5526) to brings its residents a step closer to universal healthcare. The state also enacted bills to tackle surprise and balance billing (HB 1065) and promote transparency in network adequacy (HB 1099) and prescription drugs pricing (HB 1224). In healthcare markets, the Legislature enacted HB 1607 to give the state attorney general additional merger review authority of healthcare entities. Additionally, HB 1870 would protect against pre-existing conditions and provide essential health benefits in the case of repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
In 2018, the state introduced a number of price transparency and cost control bills aimed at tackling prescription drug costs. Notably, the legislature passed a bill to promote telemedicine in the state. SB 6399 would establish a telemedicine payment parity pilot program to provide parity in reimbursement for certain health care services and requires certain health care professionals to complete telemedicine training.
In the 2017 legislative term, Washington actively built upon its legislation promoting price transparency by continuing to pass legislation related to the creation of the state’s APCD. The state legislature passed SB 5084 in 2015, which established an APCD in the state. The Washington All Payer Health Care Claims Database (WA-APCD) is administered by the state’s Office of Financial Management through its lead organization, the Center for Health Systems Effectiveness (CHSE) at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). In July 2018, the state launched the new public face of the WA-APCD program, named Washington HealthCareCompare. The site will aggregate health care claims information of over 4 million Washington residents to present informative cost comparisons for consumer, as well as statistical reports and data access for health care industry insiders.
2020 Legislative Session: 1/13/2020 - 3/12/2020 (2019-2021 term). *Current session bill updates are ongoing. Check back weekly for updates.
Washington enacts budgets on a two-year cycle, beginning July 1 of each odd-numbered year. Washington’s new Biennial Budget will take effect on July 1, 2019 and is valid through June 30, 2021. To view Washington’s enacted 2019-2021 Budget, click here.
REGULATION & ENFORCEMENT
- Washington was one of 16 states to file an amicus brief supporting the FTC’s winning position in the Ninth Circuit appeal of St. Luke’s Health Care Sys. v. FTC, No. 14-35173 (March 7, 2014), decided February 10, 2015. The States’ brief stated that the acceleration of health care costs due to the growth of large health care provider systems had become a matter of grave concern for the states.