Washington Examiner: States are turning to the public healthcare option. They shouldn’t
As some states show interest in creating a public option, data from Washington state shows that the public option is unpopular and unaffordable.
Fewer than 800 Washingtonians signed up for Cascade Select, the state’s public option plan, in 2021, the first year it was available. Last year, enrollment grew to 6,335 — just 3% of the state’s exchange population.
Perhaps enrollment is lackluster because Cascade Select is not delivering the affordable coverage officials promised it would. Premiums for the public option typically cost more than $400 each month . Public option premiums were nearly 30% higher than private insurance premiums in some parts of the state in 2021.
That’s despite the fact that the public option has the power to dictate reimbursement rates to providers in an effort to keep costs down. Public option reimbursements are capped at 160% of what Medicare pays. For comparison, other health plans on the state’s individual exchange pay providers 174% of the Medicare reimbursement rate, on average.
Read the full op-ed from Pacific Research Institute President Sally Pipes in the Washington Examiner.