House passes AG Ferguson, Rep. Simmons bill to ensure that 4 million Washingtonians get help with their hospital bills

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Bob Ferguson, WA State Attorney General
OLYMPIA — The Washington state House has passed Attorney General Bob Ferguson’s bill to increase access to affordable health care for millions of Washingtonians by a bipartisan 63-33 vote. 

The measure now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Ferguson is working with prime sponsor Rep. Tarra Simmons, D-Bremerton, and Reps. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle, and Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, on the bill, HB 1616

The bill more than doubles the number of Washingtonians eligible for financial assistance with their out-of-pocket health care costs at hospitals to about 4 million — an increase of 2.2 million Washingtonians over current law.

“Too many Washingtonians are just one hospital bill away from financial crisis,” Ferguson said. 
“Under current law, a single parent working two minimum wage jobs at 50 hours per week is not eligible for financial assistance at Washington hospitals — that’s not right and it needs to change. This bill ensures that help is there for those who need it.”

Rep. Simmons said. “It will guarantee that a trip to the emergency room will not result in families losing their home or not being able to put food on the table. Washingtonians deserve access to essential care without having to worry if they will be bankrupted by a trip to the hospital.”

Nationwide, about two-thirds of individuals who file for bankruptcy cite medical issues as a key contributor, and more than half of collection items on credit reports are for medical debts.

Read more here


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