Washington Gov. Jay Inslee backs public health care option

SEATTLE — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a likely Democratic presidential candidate, is proposing a public health insurance option for state residents as a step toward universal health coverage.

In an announcement Tuesday Inslee said he'll ask the Legislature to consider a plan that would direct the Washington State Health Care Authority to offer public health insurance across the state to anyone in the individual market. Inslee said reimbursement rates would be consistent with federal Medicare plans.

Inslee said there are 14 counties in Washington at risk of losing any access to individual health insurance options.

Washington Insurance Commission Mike Kreidler said the Trump administration has put up "real roadblocks" to health care access.

Supporters of the plan didn't immediately reveal cost estimates for the proposal, but Inslee said "we need to write another chapter of health care reform."

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