Legislature votes to codify some health care rules

Legislature votes to codify some health care rules

OLYMPIA, Wash. — A proposal to copy some of the Affordable Care Act's federal protections into state law has cleared Washington's Legislature.

The bill, which passed the House Monday morning on a 56-35 vote, would duplicate protections created by the health care law, known as Obamacare, including rules that insurers can't block patients with pre-existing conditions from purchasing their plans, and can't retroactively deny coverage except for fraud or misrepresentation.

The sponsor of the bill, Rep. Lauren Davis, D-Shoreline, said it was intended as a safeguard in case federal protections were repealed.

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Pre-existing condition rules are considered a key part of the Affordable Care Act, allowing many with chronic illness to buy insurance from companies that might otherwise have blocked them.

The bill imports other federal protections including yearly out-of-pocket maximums and a list of must-cover health benefits.

Having earlier passed the Senate, the measure now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

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