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Washington insurance commissioner lauds health bill

Mon., March 22, 2010, 11:26 a.m.

What Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler is saying Monday about the House’s passage of health care overhaul:

“For decades, our health care system has failed millions of people – driving them and their families into bankruptcy, letting treatable diseases fester into health crises, and invisibly leeching billions of dollars from our economy. The health care reforms passed today will transform our country and our state.”

In a press release Kreidler said the bill will:

• Lower the number of uninsured people in Washington state by 500,000.

• Help hospitals and other providers in the state save $500 million in uncompensated care.

• Outlaw the denial of insurance coverage for children with pre-existing medical conditions.

• Award state government with $13.8 billion in federal dollars to offset the cost of coverage for Washington residents who can’t now afford insurance.

• Erase co-pays for preventive care.

• Allow parents to keep children on their insurance plans to age 26.

• Create a high-risk coverage pool and help people pay for it through government subsidies.

• Give Medicare beneficiaries a $250 rebate to help pay prescription drug costs once they hit the “doughnut hole,” a gap in coverage after the first $2,830 a year in benefits. Starting next year, seniors will get a 50 percent discount on brand-name drugs. The gap will be eliminated by 2020.

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