Advocacy Alert

Urge Your Lawmakers to Support Essential Health System Designation

Expanded Washington Charity Care Program Lacks Hospital Funding

Julie Kozminski
July 19, 2022

Washington lawmakers in 2022 expanded the state’s charity care program to extend discounted hospital care to about 1 million additional residents and mandate zero out-of-pocket costs for another million who already qualified for discounts. However, the legislature did not include additional funding to cover the extra uncompensated costs for hospitals.

The amended law creates a two-tiered system that requires different patient discounts for large health care systems and for smaller, independent hospitals. Large health care systems may not charge out-of-pocket costs to individuals or families with income up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL). Smaller hospitals may not charge out-of-pocket costs for individuals or families with income up to 200 percent of the FPL.

Contact Director of Policy Rob Nelb, MPH, at rnelb@essentialhospitals.org or 202.585.0127 with questions.

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