A bill passed Monday by the Washington State Senate would expand access to Washington’s health care system by increasing Medicaid rates.

Senate Bill 6676, sponsored by Sen. David Frockt and Sen. Emily Randall, increases the Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care providers to at least 15 percent above the medical assistance rates in effect on Jan. 1, 2019. Reimbursement rates for pediatric critical care, neonatal critical care, and neonatal intensive care providers must be at least 21 percent above the medical assistance rates in effect on Jan. 1, 2019.

The bill also requires the Health Care Authority to direct Medicaid managed care plans to increase primary care rates through adoption of a uniform rate increase for network providers.

“In recent years many practices in both the adult and the pediatric space have stopped taking Apple Health clients,” said Frockt (D-Seattle). “This limits and delays the care available to these vulnerable populations.  Our goal is to stem the tide and expand access to the care that is so necessary for Washingtonians to live long, healthy lives.”

“Medicaid expansion saved my family. When my sister was born with severe disabilities, Medicaid alone allowed her to get the care she needed,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton). “That early experience — and stories from families like mine who depend on Apple Health, our state’s Medicaid program — inspire me every day. They’re why I was proud to introduce SB 6128, expanding post-partum Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 365 days, and why I’m so proud to be a sponsor of 6676, ensuring that the doctors who provide essential primary care services are able to continue doing so.  We are all striving to ensure that Washingtonians have reliable, secure coverage that gives them the peace of mind to care for themselves and their families.”

SB 6676 passed with a unanimous vote.

The bill now heads to the state House of Representatives for consideration.