Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent and a key health care policy maker in Olympia, today applauded the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 King v. Burwell decision to uphold Obamacare subsidies but warned that budget maneuvers could still undermine the success of health reform.
“While the law I sponsored to establish our state’s health care exchange was a compromise crafted with bipartisan input and support, we now must deal with a majority party that seeks to undermine and hobble the success of our exchange. Budgets that shift insurance premium assessments into the general fund instead of supporting the original intent of the law — which was to use those assessments to sustain the operations of the state’s exchange — are a backdoor effort to undermine our public-private exchange that should not be adopted in our final budget. Without those funds, the exchange will have to increase premiums on those with little ability to accommodate unexpected increases.
“I also expect the threat of hostile budget maneuvers to continue in Congress, where the Republican majority has made it clear it will not stop its endless efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act by either legislation or budgetary means. The Republicans still intend to defund key provisions of Obamacare in the federal budget.
“Washington state has been a leader in health, including and especially with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, extending health care to Washingtonians while dramatically reducing the cost to the state by hundreds of millions of dollars annually. As a result, Washington now has the lowest uninsurance rate since 1987 and health care cost inflation is at a 15-year low.
“We need to continue in this direction and further improve access to health care, not undermine it with legislation that returns us to the days of unaffordable health care.”