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2022 Legislation

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Our 2022 Legislative Agenda

1_GB_HCFA-WA_at_work.pngThe legislature passed eight of our top priority bills into law, including controlling the price of prescription drugs and increasing access to health care.

In 2022 we focused on state legislation that lays the foundation for publicly funded universal health care. We advocated for bills that enhance and support the work of the Universal Health Care Commission to:

  • increase health care transparency
  • lower health care costs and increase access to health care
  • achieve health equity with respect to race, gender, sexual orientation, disability and immigration status

We’re thrilled to report that these priority bills were passed into law, many with bipartisan support! !

Read on for brief synopses and links to status updates on the WA Legislature’s website.

SB5532 Establishing a Prescription Drug Affordability Board

PASSED with bipartisan support in the House.

Sponsors: Keiser, Robinson, Conway, Hasegawa, Nobles, Pedersen, Randall, Stanford, Wilson, C.

What this bill does:

  • Establishes the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB)
  • Requires the PDAB to identify prescription drugs priced above a certain threshold
  • Authorizes the PDAB to 
    • conduct affordability reviews of 24 drugs that have been subject to high price increases
    • set an upper payment limit for up to 12 of those 24 drugs beginning in 2027

Why it's important:

  • Builds infrastructure for a universal health care system by establishing procedures to evaluate medication and drug expenditures
  • Lowers the price of prescription drugs, saving money for individuals and the state

SB5546 Concerning insulin affordability

PASSED with strong bipartisan support & Signed into law

Sponsors: Keiser, Van De Wege, Cleveland, Conway, Frockt, Hasegawa, Hunt, Lovick, Nguyen, Pedersen, Randall, Stanford, Wilson, C.

What this bill does:

  • Limits out-of-pocket expenses for a 30-day supply of insulin to $35

Why it's important:

  • Lowers the price of insulin for individuals with health insurance and a valid prescription

HB1728 Reauthorizing and amending dates for the Total Cost of Insulin Work Group

PASSED unanimously in the House and with only 1 vote against in the Senate.

Sponsors: Maycumber, Cody, Callan, Eslick, Macri, Ramos, Griffey, Riccelli, Leavitt

What this bill does:

  • Includes members of the public living with diabetes
  • Provides a once yearly emergency 30-day supply of insulin

Why it's important:

  • Including the input of those living with diabetes brings an urgency to making this life-saving drug affordable

SB5610 Requiring cost sharing for prescription drugs to be counted against an enrollee's against an enrollee's obligation, regardless of source

PASSED unanimously in the House and with only 1 vote against in the Senate.

Sponsors: Frockt, Cleveland, Conway, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Honeyford, Keiser, Kuderer, Liias, Lovelett, Lovick, Randall, Robinson, Saldaña, Salomon, Stanford, Van De Wege, Wilson, C.

What this bill does:

  • Requires a carrier to count all cost-sharing amounts, regardless of source, for drugs without a generic equivalent, except for grandfathered plans

Why it's important:

  • Gives people credit for their out-of-pocket expenses for some prescription drugs by applying them toward deductibles, coinsurance and copays

SB5589 Concerning Statewide Spending on Primary Care

Passed unanimous except for 1 vote against in the House and 1 vote against in the Senate.

Sponsors: Robinson, Cleveland, Frockt, Randall

What this bill does:

  • Directs the Health Care Cost Transparency Board to measure and report

primary care expenditures with the goal of increasing expenditures to 12%

  • Authorizes the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to assess and

review carriers' primary care expenditures

Why it’s important:

  • By benchmarking primary care at 12%, it sets a infrastructure goal needed for a universal health care system
  • Authorizes oversight of insurance carriers' primary care expenditures by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner

HB1616 Concerning the charity care act.

Passed with bipartisan support in both the House and in the Senate.

Sponsors: Simmons, Cody, Bateman, Valdez, Davis, Macri, Slatter, Pollet, Taylor

What this bill does:

  • Increases the income threshold for patients to receive charity care or a discount dependent on percentage of the Federal Poverty Level
  • Requires hospitals to assist eligible patients to apply for health coverage
  • Prevents hospitals in Washington from:
    • transferring or denying emergency care to avoid having to foot the bill
    • denying in-patient services because the patient cannot pay the full amount
    • sending eligible charity care patients to collections agencies who utilize aggressive unethical tactics

Why it’s important:

  • Brings uniformity to charity policies across the state at no cost to taxpayers
  • Expands eligibility to more than 3 million Washingtonians and gives 4 million a legal right to affordable hospital care. Especially beneficial to rural communities and communities of color who are disproportionately underinsured
  • Provides peace of mind to millions that they will not be bankrupted or have their credit destroyed by an unexpected health emergency

SB5753 Enhancing the capacity of health profession boards, commissions, and advisory committees

Passed with bipartisan support in both the House and in the Senate.

Sponsors: Robinson, Lovick

What this bill does:

  • Updates the composition, quorum rules, and member qualification requirements for various health profession boards, commissions, and advisory committees

Why it’s important:

  • removes the requirement to be a United States citizen
  • increases diversity by providing compensation for travel expenses 

Priority bills that did not advance but may be reintroduced next Session

HB1813 Concerning freedom of pharmacy choice

Died: referred to House Rules Committee

Sponsors: Schmick, Macri, Graham, Chambers

What this bill does:

  • Imposes requirements on pharmacy benefit managers
  • Defines critical access pharmacy

Why it’s important:

  • Allows patients to use a pharmacy of their choice
  • Prohibits pharmacy benefit managers to:
    • coerce a patient to use a mail order pharmacy
    • use advertisements or promotions that are untrue or deceptive
    • provide monetary advantages or penalties for using one pharmacy over another

SB5620 Concerning Medicaid expenditures

Died: referred to Senate Rules Committee

Sponsors: Wilson, L., Braun, Dhingra, Gildon, Rolfes, Wilson, J.

What this bill does:

  • Directs the Health Care Authority to oversee Medicaid programs including temporary assistance for needy families and child welfare services
  • Requires HCA to update managed care contracts to include appropriate program integrity requirements
  • Creates the Medicaid Expenditure Forecast Work Group

Why it’s important:

  • It sets up vital infrastructure for running a prudent, efficient, and cost-effective statewide publicly funded plan


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