Washington State Enacts Health Care Reforms

Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington State signed a bill into law yesterday that implements recommendations by her Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access. It is designed to provide high-quality health care for state residents. “We have a responsibility to ensure that all Washingtonians have access to quality health care that fits within their budget, but the current system is not working for too many of our citizens,” said Gregoire. “The recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission are the foundation for this bill, and this is a significant step to increase access to high-quality care.”

The new lawl includes some 20 initiatives, creating the Health Insurance Partnership to assist small businesses with insurance and also health record banks to connect providers and patients with their health information. It expands coverage to dependents up to age 25 and sets up a Quality Forum to evaluate trends in procedures statewide.

“Access to quality health care is a national problem. Families and businesses across the country are struggling to afford the care they need for their family and employees,” she said. “We cannot just keep throwing more money into a broken health care system; we actually need to fix that system. This means we need to pay for care that we know works, focus on prevention, better manage chronic illnesses, help patients get more involved in their health care, and build a more efficient system. This bill does just that.”

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