Why Washington should act now to fix the health insurance gap

Nearly 1 million Washingtonians are uninsured; more than 155,000 residents are on the wait list for Washington’s  Basic Health Plan (BHP), which shares costs for basic health insurance between participants and the state.

In 2014 the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cover those eligible for BHP, along with hundreds of thousands of others who are now without health coverage, funded with federal dollars. But unless Washington extends BHP coverage  now, local workers and families will face two more years of unaffordable care, and the state’s economic recovery  will suffer as a result.

There is a better alternative – one does not require raising taxes or diverting funds from other public priorities:  Legislators can expand Basic Health enrollment by authorizing revenue bonds for a portion of ongoing revenues  from the state’s Tobacco Settlement fund.

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