Sweeping Health Bill Signed Into Law in Washington State

<i> Reuters</i>

Washington state Gov. Mike Lowry signed into law Monday a sweeping health care package which advocates proclaimed to be a model for President Clinton’s overhaul of the national health care system.

Legislative proponents of the measure, which will establish a “managed competition” health care system, said it will provide every state resident with health insurance by 1999.

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton said that the legislation adopts aspects of the approach favored by her Task Force on National Health Care Reform.


“Many of the elements of the Washington Health Services Act mirror the essential elements of the national health care reform package that we are developing here,” Hillary Clinton said in remarks piped in live to the signing ceremony here.

“Now the rest of the country needs to join with you so that it doesn’t matter where you live, or where you work or what age you are or what your health condition is, every American will be given health security once and for all,” she said.

Under the plan, a state commission will draw up a basic health care package which all health care providers must offer at, or below, a price set by the commission.

This basic package will cover most routine medical and emergency care, prescription drugs, maternity and well-child care, along with some mental health services. Exact details of the basic benefits package will be defined by the commission.