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King County Council passes motion supporting federal health care reform



The Metropolitan King County Council today recognized the benefits of federal health care reform with its approval of a motion supporting the recently adopted landmark federal legislation.

“It is time to reform our health care system,” said Council Chair Bob Ferguson, prime sponsor of the legislation. “The Health Care Act isn’t perfect, but it will help provide access to basic health care for the more than 150,000 King County residents who are currently uninsured.”

“Far too many King County residents work hard to support their families but do not have access to affordable healthcare coverage, which is why King County will benefit from national health care reform,” said Councilmember Larry Phillips. “Without reform, uninsured King County residents end up at places like Harborview Hospital for emergency care that must be paid for by King County taxpayers.”

The adopted motion acknowledges the benefits of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and supports its implementation. It follows up on a resolution unanimously passed by the King County Board of Health last year urging Congress to enact health reform with the principle of giving all people access to affordable, comprehensive health care services on an equitable basis.

“Federal Health Care Reform will allow the thousands of uninsured King County residents to receive the basic health care that many of us take for granted,” said Councilmember Larry Gossett.

“The positive impacts of the federal legislation will be felt right here at home, because better access to healthcare will translate into less pressure on our public health and community health programs in King County,” said Councilmember Jan Drago.

Over 150,000 King County residents, approximately 12 percent of the population, lack health insurance. Many more are underinsured and have insufficient coverage. In addition to providing access to insurance for these King County residents, the legislation notes that implementation of reform will strengthen community health centers and provide tax credits to small businesses that contribute to provide health insurance to their employees.

“Health care reform means more than just insurance coverage,” said Dr. David Fleming, Director and Health Officer for Public Health - Seattle & King County. “It's about helping people stay well in the first place -- through preventive care like immunizations and mammograms and public health work to make healthier choices easier, like giving kids more safe places to walk and bike. These are straightforward strategies that will improve everyone’s quality of life and reduce their overall health care expenses.”

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