Dems roll out big health care plans in states

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - POLITICS -

SEAT­TLE — Rid­ing the mo­men­tum from Novem­ber’s elec­tions, Demo­cratic lead­ers in the states are wast­ing no time de­liv­er­ing on their big­gest cam­paign prom­ise — to ex­pand ac­cess to health care and make it more af­ford­able.

The first full week of state leg­isla­tive ses­sions and swear­ings-in for gov­er­nors saw a flurry of pro­pos­als.

In his ini­tial ac­tions, newly elected Cal­i­for­nia Gov. Gavin New­som an­nounced plans to ex­pand Med­i­caid to those in the coun­try il­le­gally up to age 26, im­ple­ment a man­date that ev­ery­one buy in­sur­ance or face a fine, and con­sol­i­date the state’s pre­scrip­tion drug pur­chases in the hope that it will dra­mat­i­cally lower costs.

Wash­ing­ton Gov. Jay Inslee pro­posed a pub­lic health in­sur­ance op­tion for peo­ple who are not cov­ered by Med­i­caid or pri­vate em­ploy­ers and have trou­ble af­ford­ing poli­cies on the pri­vate mar­ket.

Democrats in sev­eral states where they now con­trol the leg­is­la­ture and gover­nor’s of­fice, in­clud­ing New Mex­ico, are con­sid­er­ing ways that peo­ple who are unin­sured but make too much to qual­ify for Med­i­caid or other sub­si­dized cov­er­age can buy Med­i­caid poli­cies.

And in the na­tion’s most pop­u­lous city, New York Mayor Bill de Bla­sio an­nounced a pub­licly run plan to link the unin­sured, who al­ready re­ceive treat­ment in city hos­pi­tals, with pri­mary care.

It’s all in keep­ing with the main theme Demo­cratic can­di­dates pro­moted on the cam­paign trail in 2018.

They touted the ben­e­fits of for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s health over­haul — such as pro­tec­tions for peo­ple with pre-ex­ist­ing con­di­tions, al­low­ing young adults to re­main on their par­ents’ health in­sur­ance poli­cies and ex­panded cov­er­age op­tions for lower-in­come Amer­i­cans.

The ac­tions also rep­re­sent a push­back to steps taken by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion and con­gres­sional Repub­li­cans to un­der­mine the Af­ford­able Care Act.

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