SB 5178 is the right direction to lower health care costs but doesn’t go far enough

By SUSAN CERO  | 
Feb 18, 2021
LEGISLATIVE MEMO

Introduction

Senator Annette Cleveland (D-Vancouver) has introduced a bill, SB 5178, that would move our health care system in the right direction by lowering costs and increasing access, but the proposed bill does not go far enough in providing adequate health services to the people of Washington. The measure would remove Washington’s harsh Certificate of Need limitations that impede access to care, but only during times when the Governor has declared an official State of Emergency. If an idea is good policy during an emergency, why not let people benefit from it all the time? Besides, many would argue that our health care system is already in a state of emergency when it comes to run-away costs and limited patient access to services. The decades-old CON rule is a barrier to entry that hinders patient access to care. Washington state should not need a declared State of Emergency to abolish CON restrictions. Several other states and the federal government abandoned their 1960s-era CON laws long ago.

Read the full Legislative Memo here.