Forbes: Washington’s Public Option Is Nothing To Cheer About
As some states look to Washington state’s public option plan as an example of a successful state public option plan, Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes points out that Cascade Care is not a win. Initial data shows that public option premiums are higher and enrollment numbers are lower than anticipated.
Despite having the power to dictate reimbursement rates and mandate participation, public-option plans are failing to out-compete private plans on premiums. In some parts of the state in 2021, public option premiums were nearly 30% higher than other private insurance premiums.
That’s not what state officials had in mind when they implemented the public option. Gov. Inslee’s office estimated that premiums for the state-sponsored plans would be up to 10% lower than privately administered ones.
Officials also said the public option would dramatically reduce the number of uninsured Washingtonians. But just 2,630 individuals newly enrolled in a public option plan last year. Even if we assume that all those new enrollees were previously without insurance—a dubious assumption—that amounts to a reduction in the uninsured population of no more than 0.6% from 430,000 in 2021.
Read the full op-ed in Forbes.