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Monday, March 30, 2009

Basic Health is a core component of the state's commitment to ensuring affordable access to health insurance for all Washingtonians. It is more important than ever in this economy.

The Senate budget proposes reducing the number of people receiving health insurance through Basic Health from 100,000 to 60,000 (see graph).

Often, cuts in Basic Health are reached by closing enrollment; when people leave the program, the state does not open that slot for new applicants. By doing so, the state restricts the availability of public health insurance, but does not immediately kick people off the program.

Contrary to some claims, it is unlikely that limiting new enrollments and other measures will be enough to cut enrollment to 60,000. The Senate budget documents acknowledge this by giving the Health Care Authority the ability to "disenroll" members with incomes as low as $18,310 (for a family of three).

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