I believe the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and I have joined fellow legislators objecting to Attorney General McKenna's decision to challenge it. My constituents have already seen significant gains in access to healthcare, such as coverage for our children up to 26 years old, a 50% discount for purchase of Medicare Part D prescriptions, and preventive healthcare service including important access equality for women.
I'm very proud to have participated in helping the Legislature to pass HB 2319 to implement the Washington healthcare exchange and other key aspects of the federal law in Washington. I worked to ensure that high-deductible, low-cost plans were not offered in a discriminatory manner outside the exchange to "cherry pick" healthy, younger people, and ensure that insurers charge the same premiums inside the exchange as for those policies sold outside.
Washington residents will be entitled to "essential health benefits" for any policy, ending numerous cases where people paid for coverage but did not have basic coverage they expected -- from preventive service to rehabilitation services. In our state, it was important for us to strive to ensure coverage via our Basic Health Plan for residents with incomes up to 200% of the federal poverty level. It was also important for us to simultaneously work to ensure that our budget funded Basic Health for this level of access. As a result of these steps, we will make tremendous strides in providing access to health coverage for all. However, to fully reform and control costs, I believe we should work for a single payer system in Washington. If the Supreme Court strikes down the federal law, this will be the most logical step for states to take.