Inslee signs measure to codify some health care rules

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has signed a measure to ensure that some of the Affordable Care Act’s federal protections are protected in state law.

Inslee signed the measure Wednesday. It duplicates protections created by the health care law, known as Obamacare, including rules that insurers can’t block patients with pre-existing conditions from purchasing their plans, and can’t retroactively deny coverage except for fraud or misrepresentation.

Pre-existing condition rules are considered a key part of the Affordable Care Act, allowing many with chronic illness to buy insurance from companies that might otherwise have blocked them.

The bill imports other federal protections including yearly out-of-pocket maximums and a list of must-cover health benefits.

Inslee and state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler note that the new law won’t offer full protection if the ACA is repealed, since Medicaid expansion and low-income subsidies would be eliminated.