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Legislative proposal could bring back lower-cost health insurance to Washington

OLYMPIA - Sen. Steve O’Ban this week told members of the Washington State Senate Health Care Committee that his legislation represents the best hope for people who have lost their medical insurance due to Obamacare.

Backed by supporters, and following a Tuesday morning news conference addressing the merits of Senate Bill 6464, the Republican from west Pierce County shared stories from many people who have been fighting to regain affordable health care coverage for themselves and their families.

“The fact is, tens of thousands of Washington citizens have been kicked off of the medical care plans that they liked, despite the promise that ‘if they liked their plan, they could keep it’,” O’Ban said.

“And it only gets worse because the state insurance commissioner specifically prevented residents from purchasing affordable care from other states, even though the president allowed states to obtain exemption waivers. Now those plans - catastrophic and group plans primarily - don’t exist in Washington. My bill will give people back their freedom of choice,” O’Ban said.

In addition to allowing Washington residents to buy catastrophic health care plans in other states, SB 6464 would require the state insurance commissioner, for a period of one year, to approve plans that do not meet the requirements of Obamacare. The bill would also allow health carriers to continue offering certain individual or small-group health plans in the market outside of the health care exchange, regardless of whether the plans meet the requirements of Obamacare; bar the insurance commissioner from prohibiting the continuation of these plans; and allow out-of-state carriers to offer insurance products in Washington.

Rep. Matt Manweller (R-Ellensburg) has sponsored identical legislation in the House of Representatives.

SB 6464 could be approved by the Senate Health Care Committee in the coming weeks.

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