For now, balance billing is perfectly legal in Washington state but there’s an effort under way to pass new legislation protecting consumers from this type of medical bill. Representative Eileen Cody chairs the State House Health Care Committee. She’s also leading negotiations already underway for a second attempt at new legislation.
Estimates vary, but as many as 29 million Americans – about one in 10 – lack coverage. Five million people are eligible for Medicaid, but not signed up. Another 13.5 million people are split between eligibility and ineligibility for tax credits. Most people who lack health insurance say that costs are the main reason they don’t have it.
A three-judge panel of 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that the state has failed to comply with its own goals but said an order issued last year by U.S. District Judge Pechman in Seattle setting a seven-day deadline for competency evaluations went beyond what the Constitutional requires.