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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Executive Constantine on U.S. Senate health care bill: Don’t take King County backwards

Summary

In their review of the health care plan released today by U.S. Senate Republicans, experts from Public Health – Seattle & King County determined it falls short on all four key priorities laid out by King County Executive Dow Constantine: maintaining or increasing coverage; preserving access to women’s health, mental health, and substance abuse services; ensuring stability for local hospitals and clinics; and funding programs that prevent and control disease.

Story

After a closed-door process, Republican leaders in the U.S. Senate revealed a health care plan today that would leave King County residents sicker, poorer, and less secure.

“This is what we have come to expect from the Republican Congress: major legislation that few lawmakers understand or have even read, rammed through before people realize the full ramifications,” said Executive Constantine. “This bill takes us in the wrong direction. It threatens to rob thousands of local residents of their health insurance, makes it harder to receive addiction and mental health treatment, and reduces our ability to prevent and respond to outbreaks of disease. At King County, we know there is a better way, and we will do everything we can to protect the gains we have made and push for common sense reform.”

King County embraced the Affordable Care Act, and has reduced the number of uninsured people in King County by more than half since 2013. The current uninsured rate is 7.7 percent – the lowest ever recorded. For children, the rate is close to zero.

According to Public Health – Seattle & King County:

• The GOP plan doesn’t increase or even maintain access to insurance coverage. Like the House bill, the Senate legislation kicks millions of people off Medicaid, which was expanded under the Affordable Care Act. In addition to rolling back expansion, it severely undermines the basic Medicaid program over the long term. More than 150,000 people in King County rely on Medicaid for their health coverage.
• The increased rate of uninsured people would undermine the finances of local hospitals and health clinics, which would see a greater demand for charity care.
• People who remain insured would experience a loss in coverage, as the bill removes guarantees for essential health care benefits that keep people healthy, such as behavioral and physical health screenings.
• The bill also undermines the public health system that keeps us safe. It guts funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carving a gaping hole in the Prevention and Public Health Fund. King County uses these funds to immunize middle-to-low income children and to support disease outbreak investigations and other prevention work.


Quotes

This is what we have come to expect from the Republican Congress: major legislation that few lawmakers understand or have even read, rammed through before people realize the full ramifications. This bill takes us in the wrong direction. It threatens to rob thousands of local residents of their health insurance, makes it harder to receive addiction and mental health treatment, and reduces our ability to prevent and respond to outbreaks of disease. At King County, we know there is a better way, and we will do everything we can to protect the gains we have made and push for common sense reforms.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography