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April 12, 2019

Keep the Pressure On: Act Now on Public Option and Wrongful Death Bills

[Note: Article updated April 12, 2019]

We need you to take action on two important bills being considered by Washington lawmakers: Tell your lawmakers "no" to Senate Bill 5526, the public option bill with physician rate setting, and urge them to support an important amendment to Senate Bill 5163, the wrongful death bill, that would limit a defendant’s liability to only their proportional fault. Your voice is crucial to this debate - please act today!

Public option: NO on SB 5526

Lawmakers in Olympia this year have been considering legislation to establish a public option health insurance plan that would be offered for sale on the state’s health insurance exchange. Affordability of health insurance is an important issue, and the WSMA has been actively participating in these negotiations, trying to increase and improve the insurance options available to our patients while vehemently opposing any public option solution that relies on rate setting for physician reimbursement.

In its current form, SB 5526 would establish a public option that caps reimbursement to physicians at a percentage of Medicare (150 percent, based on an insurance carrier’s aggregate reimbursement to health care providers and facilities). The bill would also direct a study of how physician participation in the plan could be mandated in future years. Finally, the current version of the bill removes a provision limiting how much carriers can profit from offering the plan—meaning that only physicians and hospitals would be asked to sacrifice to make the public option viable.

Act today: Contact your state senator and urge them to oppose SB 5526 and any public option that includes a rate cap for physician reimbursement.

Take Action

Wrongful death: Support amendment to establish reasonable limit to liability

SB 5163, pertaining to wrongful death lawsuits, would broadly expand who can sue in cases of wrongful death and what types of damages they can recover—and as a result, dramatically increase physicians’ liability.

The WSMA and a broad coalition of health care industry partners support an amendment to SB 5163 that would limit a defendant’s liability to only their proportional fault, rather than apply the current joint and several liability law to this new group of people who would be able to bring a suit. We think this amendment is a much more reasonable approach: It allows accountability for those who have not been able to sue under existing law but holds defendants responsible for only their proportion of fault.

Act today: Contact your state House representatives and urge them to support the amendment to SB 5163.

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