Public health care option clears Washington Legislature

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A plan for a limited public option has cleared the Washington state Legislature, and now heads to Gov. Jay Inslee for his signature.

The proposal would create a state-contracted insurance option that would be offered at a discounted rate by 2021.

It would also require officials to plan expanded subsidies for private insurance, including for part of the state’s middle class.

After trading versions of the bill between the House and Senate, lawmakers in the state Senate approved a compromise version of the bill 27-21 Saturday evening after the same version was earlier approved by the state House.

The bill has provoked both concerns over costs and criticisms that it doesn’t go far enough, bringing to Washington state a national debate over the best way to provide health care — and help more afford it.