Upcoming Conference | 2019 Re-Wire Policy Conference, Dec 10, 2019 Register

Op-ed: Rep. Schmick on passage of public option bill in the House

Representative Joe Schmick, ranking member of the House Health Care and Wellness Committee, wrote the following statement in response to the passage of the public option bill (HB 1523) off the House floor. 

Make no mistake: this is health care, government-designed and government-run.  This is a big step toward socialized medicine.

Instead of trying to keep health care costs down by reducing mandates, or allowing the purchase of cross-county plans, we’re subsidizing more and more people at 60 percent of the actual costs of service.  What is this going to do to the individual, small- and large-group markets, self-funded plans, or Taft-Hartley plans?  It will continue to put pressure on them, raising costs for some to subsidize others.

If this bill makes it all the way to the governor’s desk, and he signs it – which there’s no reason to think he won’t, as it’s his brainchild and something he seems intent on ramming through for his own reasons – it will be an illusion of care.  Just because you have insurance doesn’t mean you have care.  You have to have someone willing and able to give that care.

This bill seems intent on ruining rural health care.  While it may work in Seattle, it doesn’t work in rural Washington where providers are already difficult to find.  No one is going to jump at this opportunity to be paid 60 percent of their costs.

In the end, this bill will do nothing to give better care for more people.  It will continue to put pressure on the individual market, costs will rise, plans will decrease and care will become more difficult to find.