Gov. Jay Inslee (also running for president) just signed the first state level public option into law. It reminds us that states remain places where progressive policies can actually be implemented. It is also a good road map for something that should theoretically be an easy win for the MA veto proof legislative.
The WA plan provides a rate capping mechanism for the state’s regulatory agencies that cover public and private insurance. It is then combined with a fully publicly funded plan offered on the exchanges. Inslee predicts this will drive down costs and lead to a lot of consumer buy in.
As he described in detail, it is easier to implement this system on a state level than the Medicare for All proposal he has endorsed in his presidential run.
It has a couple benefits. It really is a public option in the sense that we have a public umbrella of benefit to all Washingtonians. It is a public guarantee for the first time in the nation for access. It’s a legal benefit.
As far as how do we engage with the procedural aspect, going through private carriers, that’s okay as long as you restrain your cost. The important thing about this is for the first time we are restraining costs in a meaningful sense. There are rate caps that are first in the nation, I believe, throughout the system.
The two most elemental things are universal access and the cost containment mechanism. We thought it was easier to get done, which is a good thing.
There is no reason MA cannot pass this with a veto proof majority. The trick is to push for single payer and make DeLeo offer this as the moderate alternative.