Washington state passes health reforms

Washington state governor Chris Gregoire (D) has put her John Hancock on a new law which should make some significant changes to the state's health system. Among other things, the measure will boost health coverage for children and young adults, in part by requiring health plans and state employee programs to cover unmarried children up to age 25 on parents' policies. The law will also encourage the use of EMRs. Perhaps most significantly, the bill will set up a pilot program to test a new model for small business health insurance, modifying Washington's existing program to echo that of Massachusetts. The pilot will probably lead to the expansion of the small business pool, giving the state more muscle to negotiate lower premiums. All told, there are more ambitious reforms under consideration in other states--and even at the federal government level--but the move does mark one more state's entry into the increasingly rapid health reform process.

To learn more about the new law:
- read this Daily Health Policy Report piece