Washington State offers first ever 'public option' for private insurance

State Senator David Frockt, who sponsored the bill, explains what the public option has to offer Washingtonians.
4:10 | 05/15/19

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Transcript for Washington State offers first ever 'public option' for private insurance
Turning now to a significant. Milestone in health care policy in this country we head out west are to Washington State where this week. That state became the first in the nation to introduce a universal public option. Inside the private health insurance system so it a government run. Health insurance plan that's available everybody governor Jay in flee the Democrat. Out there who is also running for president signed it into law. I'm we're joined have a state senator David frock who sponsored the bill and help design legislation car state senator great to see you. Joining us via Skype think you so much for coming end. Ops a lot of fascination with this plan the first of its kind in the nation a lot of discussion as to whether. It might be a model for the country tell us about it how you came up with it how works. Well who were based on Washington State's the same problems that here based Arab country in the individual market that's relatively small part of our. Health insurance market here in Washington we've done a good job of it standing under the Affordable Care Act. But basically. People who are in this market only about or 5% of our people. Art that are seeing really high up premiums and deductibles and the goal of this bill. Is two. Ringing in a state contractor plans that date with standardized benefits. That will drive down cost and so that the very simple bullets as I said. Throughout the debate in this bill as lower premiums and lower deductibles would people purchase this insurance prop. So is this is basically a response to lose to high prices on the Obama care marketplace isn't it would with the Washington State plan in effect be cheaper than the Obama care plan. Well we think it will drive down cost and and have some competitors fractures in the or exchange marketplace for sure. I would say that the you know where it's really in response in many ways to trump administration policies that we well. We're driving up costs in this market because in their reduce cost sharing. In reinsurance changes that they made. But we decided to take that step governance would propose that we had good. Support throughout and we are able to to get this through and are excited for what the prospects. Of lowering deductibles and cost sharing for people and also hopefully seeing premiums BR produced in this in this space. Hopefully two at least 10%. The project the projection certainly our interest in that it's uniting your state by some accounts did that the premium will be 10%. Cheaper than current plans that are out there because of those caps are talking about also this. Plan a be available for anybody and everybody to buy if they wanted to at any time. How's it been received out there Washington stated it is a blue state how folks spend nine and then they're talking about this plan. Well I think the main issue that we had really the only issue. That we had on the plan was how are we actually belong to you. Drive down cost and I think what the plan if you look at it in stick a step back what it really reflects. Is a larger sentiment that the government has to be more involved. In finding ways to reduce costs and helped her system we've done it through some pharmaceutical cost transparency programs are here as well. And this is another way for us you to drive down. Premiums and we've done it by pegging our reference rates opera provider reimbursement to Medicare but all at a much higher rate than Medicare. A 160% of Medicare on add on average that was the most controversial part about the bill. But we think I would look at the data we think that will work we don't think that's going to distort. The a small group market place and other marketplaces as well. I'm let me be clear we don't I don't think that this is the ultimately answer I do think we need to have a universal system. Nationally. And that's where I hope we're gonna go but for what we can do now given the administration Washington we think this is a very important first. Yes certainly it a steppingstone perhaps to some of the other proposals that governor Hensley and others have have put out there on the campaign tree on Anderson at eight other states. Are actually looking at following the proposal. David frock that you have laid out there's a very interest in stuff thank you so much state senator David proctor Washington State. Out now with the first. Ever state public health insurance option in the marketplace a great to see you sir thank you. Great thank you for having me.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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