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2024 SOLUTIONS

We are fighting for measures to make medical treatment, ground ambulance services, and health insurance more affordable.

Policies We Are Supporting

There isn’t one solution to fixing our health care system.
That’s why we need a multi-pronged approach

Increasing Oversight to Lower Health Care Costs 

This bill would increase the capacity of the state’s Health Care Cost Transparency Board (the Board) to investigate where our health care dollars are going and take steps to limit excess spending by health care players like hospital chains, investor-backed provider groups, and insurance companies. In the 2023 session, there was significant support for this bill, which passed the House but didn’t pass in the Senate. However, another bill passed that gives the Board rulemaking authority and the final budget allocates funds for more staff to support the Board’s important work.

Improve Ground Ambulance Billing Practices

Washington state prohibits “surprise” balance billing in most scenarios. That is when a patient receives a bill from an out-of-network provider for extra charges that are not covered by insurance. But ground ambulance services are not covered by existing balance billing laws, nor are there any statewide limits on what can be charged. This bill prohibits surprise billing by ground ambulance providers and establishes default payment rates to manage consumer costs.

  • In 2022, the legislature directed the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to convene a work group to recommend how to prevent surprise bills for ground ambulance services. The work group’s report issued in October 2023 includes several recommendations that are included in this bill.

improving Accountability Through Fair Contract Negotiations

This bill would restrict big consolidated health systems from anti-competitive bargaining when they negotiate pay rates, to make sure there’s a level playing field that rewards higher-quality, lower-priced providers. This bill attracted significant media attention and educated lawmakers and the public about the unfair contracting that occurs between insurers and providers. While the bill didn’t pass in the 2023 session, the budget directed the Attorney General and Office of the Insurance Commissioner to study the effectiveness of provider price or rate regulation strategies used in other states.

Preventing anticompetitive mergers 

The Keep Our Care Act would improve state advance review of proposed health system mergers and consolidations to ensure that affordable care continues and the needs of marginalized communities are considered. While the bill was ultimately unsuccessful in the 2023 session, a portion of the state budget will be used by the Attorney General and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to examine policies to address horizontal and vertical integration of health care entities.