Senate health-care leader says lawmakers will have ample time to address federal changes

OLYMPIA…Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center and chair of the Senate Health Care Committee, offered this statement today in response to claims by the governor and state insurance commissioner regarding the proposed federal American Health Care Act.

“Having served in Congress, the governor and the insurance commissioner both know better than to suggest that any major health-care policy bill, Democrat or Republican, would become law without undergoing many revisions first. No matter what may come out of Washington, D.C., our state’s legislators will have an additional two years’ time to address any changes that affect Washingtonians. This state has been a leader on health-care policy and health-care coverage for a long time, and that won’t change – there is more common ground and less political division in our Legislature than people may think.

“No one can say how many people bought health coverage through the state exchange to avoid the Obama tax penalty, and how many of those would be affected by a new federal health-care policy. Also, no one knows what lies ahead at the federal level concerning the women, children and disabled for whom Medicaid is intended – but I remain committed to them and know my counterparts in our state House are as well.”