HCA Will Implement SSB 6430 (2016) as Scheduled
As you are all aware, on March 9, 2017 the Health Care Authority (HCA) announced that it would not be able to implement the program to suspend, rather than terminate, medical assistance benefits for persons who are incarcerated by July 1, 2017. Rather, they announced that they would be “pausing” the program, specifically for the implementation in jails, based on a lack of funding.
This was extremely disappointing, especially after all the work that had been done to pass the bill, SSB 6430(2016), that created this program and all of the work that went into the HCA work group sessions in which we were involved over the interim.
We sent a letter to the Governor’s Office, also signed by the Association of Washington Cities and the Washington Association of Prosecuting Attorneys, expressing our frustration that HCA had chosen not to begin the program by July 1, 2017, as required by statute. We also drafted a proviso that, would require HCA to implement the program, that they are already required to implement, within existing funds.
After many meetings with legislators and advocates, we can finally say that HCA has agreed to put the program back on track with a start date of July 1, 2017. Furthermore, the proviso was included in the Senate budget that was released on Tuesday the 21st.