Inslee Committed To Medicaid Expansion

Jan 10, 2013

Democrat Jay Inslee made his first public appearance since he won the election. The governor-elect spoke yesterday (Wed) at a health care policy conference in SeaTac. As Ruby de Luna reports, Inslee reiterated his commitment to change health care in Washington state through the Affordable Care Act.

Governor-elect Inslee appeared at a gathering of health care providers, insurance companies, and policy analysts. He did not announce any major plans. But he made it clear he wants the state to stay on track when implementing the Affordable Care Act. He says it’s an exciting time to be governor on this issue…

Inslee: "Governors in the next several years are going to succeed or fail, largely dependent on their ability to be successful in advancing health care reform. And the reason is, is that these budgets are going to be extreme pressure and that their ability to solve this mystery of health care reform in a way that’s cost effective and improves health is absolutely pivotal to the success of any governor in any state. So this is absolutely one of the top things in my agenda to work with you to figure out how we do this.”

Inslee says he looks forward to working with lawmakers on both sides of the isle to come up with solutions to bring down health care costs. One of his priorities is to expand Medicaid in Washington. He says that would provide coverage to people who currently have no health insurance. He estimates that doing so would save the state $100 million in the first four years. Inslee says those savings would help the state pay for other priorities like education.

Inslee’s assessment of Medicaid expansion is in line with what some policy experts are saying at the conference. But there are some caveats. The new leadership in the senate could change that. And as the Legislature grapples with budget issues later this month, one question likely to come up is the long term cost of Medicaid expansion.

Copyright 2013 Northwest Public Radio