BILL REQ. #: H-2517.1
|State of Washington||59th Legislature||2005 Regular Session|
READ FIRST TIME 03/07/05.
AN ACT Relating to health insurance coverage for children; and adding a new section to chapter 74.09 RCW.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1 A new section is added to chapter 74.09 RCW
to read as follows:
(1) The legislature finds that:
(a) The health of the children of Washington state is critical to their success in school and throughout their lives. Children with health insurance coverage have better health outcomes than those who lack coverage. Children without health insurance coverage are more likely to be in poor health and more likely to delay receiving, or go without, needed health care services;
(b) Access to preventive and well-child health services for children is a cost-effective investment of both public and private dollars that improves the health of children and of our communities at large; and
(c) Health care coverage for children in Washington state is the product of critical efforts in both the private and public sectors to help children succeed. Employers are an integral part of children's health insurance coverage. In 2004, almost sixty percent of children in Washington had employer-sponsored or other private coverage. This coverage is complemented by public programs that meet needs of low-income children whose parents are not offered health insurance coverage through their employer or who cannot otherwise afford the costs of coverage. In 2004, thirty-five percent of children in Washington state had some form of public health coverage. Yet, even with the efforts of both the private and public sectors, too many children in Washington state lack health insurance coverage. In 2004, almost one hundred thousand children were uninsured. Two-thirds of these children are low income.
(2) It is therefore the intent of the legislature that all children, including immigrant children, in the state of Washington have health care coverage by 2011. This should be accomplished by building upon and strengthening the successes of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage, other sources of private coverage, and publicly supported children's health insurance programs in Washington state. Access to coverage should be streamlined and efficient, with reductions in unnecessary administrative costs and mechanisms to expeditiously link children with a medical home.
(3) Beginning in the 2005-07 biennium, the appropriate policy and fiscal committees of the legislature shall work together to meet the goals of this section. Any plan developed by the committees shall make incremental progress towards expanding coverage to all children by 2011.