Making health care more affordable

Reminder: I am hosting a legislative town hall at the MAC this Saturday, March 16 together with Rep. Timm Ormsby and Sen. Andy Billig.
Hope to see you this weekend!

Breaking down a trifecta of barriers to affordable care

There is no one hurdle to achieving affordable health care for every Washingtonian; it’s an entire obstacle course. Yet I firmly believe access to affordable health care is a right, not a privilege. So I’m pleased to report that this week in the House, we made great strides by passing three bills addressing some of the top issues around health care affordability facing Washington families right now:

Surprise billing

Have you ever left a medical visit after paying your usual co-pay, only to receive a surprise bill later on? If so, you are not alone. Simply visiting a hospital within your network is not always a foolproof way to avoid these fees, as the individual physician could still be out-of-network. As a result, struggling families find themselves in the middle of billing disputes, forced to pay the difference between what a provider expects to be reimbursed from an insurer, and what the insurer believes they should be paying. That is why I co-sponsored House Bill 1065 to ban surprise billing, which passed off the House floor by an 84-13 vote. You can click here to track the bill as it makes its way through the Senate.

Medical debt

The number one cause of bankruptcy in the U.S. is medical debt, and that’s why I co-sponsored House Bill 1531. It offers important consumer protections for families struggling with medical bills. This legislation lowers the pre-judgment interest rate, requires that patients be informed about opportunities to apply for charity care, and prohibits these debts from being sold to collections agencies for at least 120 days after the initial billing. I believe it will make a big difference in helping people avoid a spiral of debt from which they can’t get out. It passed off the House floor with a strong 90-4 vote, and you can track its progress in the Senate here.

Prescription drug transparency

The rising cost of prescription drugs is forcing too many Washingtonians to make choices like whether to pay for groceries or for their medications. That’s why I voted for House Bill 1224, which passed last week.

It requires reporting by drug manufacturers on drugs that increase in price, and the justification for the increase. This something the public wants and is asking for: more transparency from drug companies about how they decide on prices. This bill is an important step toward improved transparency and price control, and I will continue to support efforts that bring down the cost of prescription drugs so people can afford the medications they need for themselves and their family members. You can track the bill’s progress in the Senate here.

It’s an honor to serve you. Please don’t hesitate to email me if you have questions, feedback, or concerns.

Best regards,

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