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Jayapal unveils universal health care bill

State-based plan would allow flexibility for states to create own plans


SEATTLE (June 12, 2018) — U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-7th), joined by elected officials and community leaders, unveiled the State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2018 on Monday. This bill would allow states to develop their own plans to provide access to health care for all of their residents. It would provide states with access to federal funding streams and regulatory flexibility to support affordable, universal health care plans.

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“The Trump administration is on a mission to strip health care away from millions of people, and now, with the latest news about the uncertain future of coverage of pre-existing conditions, it is clear that our current health system is peril. We need to make a change so that all people — regardless of race, age, gender, socioeconomic status or any other factor — are able to access lifesaving care.” Jayapal said. “That’s what the State-Based Universal Health Care Act is all about — serving the people. States have always been at the forefront of innovations that work for their residents, and this bill puts that principle to good use by giving the people who seek medical access a strong voice in the future of their care. Expenses like chemo, check-ups and complex surgeries aren’t optional, so they must be affordable. It’s time for a change.”

“As a healthy, insured woman, it is unreasonable for any insurer to charge patients $500 for preventive services,” said Erica Lee, a 7th District resident. “These costs are prohibitive and, at this point, I have to consider whether I want to pay another $250 out of pocket for a follow-up, against the doctor’s recommendation. These charges act as a barrier to those who cannot afford it. Prevention saves lives and saves money in the long run.

“I contacted Congresswoman Jayapal’s office for help, and now I’m telling you my story. My mother died of colon cancer and my father has melanoma. Preventive services are very important to me and should be covered for everyone, even for those without insurance. That’s why this bill that will lead to universal access to health care is so important. No one should not get the preventive services they need,” Lee added.

“This is a bill to champion, not just for Washington State, but for any other state that is ready to take universal access to coverage into their own hands. We have been working for years to establish a state-based universal health care plan for all our residents and Congresswoman Jayapal’s legislation could help make that a reality.” Bevin McLeod, Program Director, Healthcare for All – Washington.

“We are grateful for Congresswoman Jayapal’s leadership to advance our shared belief that everyone deserves quality, affordable health care,” said Michael Erikson, CEO of Neighborcare Health, the largest community health center in Seattle serving low-income and uninsured families and individuals. “For 50 years, the center of our mission has been to remove barriers to health care, striving toward 100 percent access and zero health disparities. This legislation would allow our state and region to continue the progress we’ve made toward those goals, to create healthy and vibrant communities.”

The State-Based Universal Health Care Act would require participating states to propose their own laws and implementation plans to provide access to health care for 95 percent of their residents, with no more than five percent spending over 10 percent of their annual income on coverage. After five years, participating states would be required to demonstrate that they reached these targets and provide a plan to cover the remaining five percent of their population. States that do not reach the 95 percent target after five years would have to revise their plan to achieve the targets. Technical assistance would be made available for states seeking help in developing these plans.

Jayapal’s bill makes clear that benefits provided by states would have to be equal or greater than what beneficiaries receive now. To minimize political interference, an independent panel of health care experts and officials would evaluate for the Secretary of Health and Human Services whether a particular state’s proposal meets the requirement of providing as much as or more coverage than the individual streams.

The regulatory flexibility provided and funding streams combined include: (1) the requirements for the establishment, creation and maintenance of health benefit exchanges; (2) cost-sharing reductions under the ACA; (3) premium tax credit and employer mandate under the ACA; (4) Medicare; (5) Medicaid; (6) CHIP; (7) FEHBP; (8) TRICARE; and (9) ERISA pre-emption provision.

Full text of the bill is available HERE.

Section by Section Summary as well as a Frequently Asked Questions document is available HERE.

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