Inslee signs nation's first public-option insurance bill

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeAndrew Yang ends presidential bid Bloomberg, Steyer focus on climate change in effort to stand out Our government and public institutions must protect us against the unvaccinated MORE (D), a 2020 presidential candidate, signed off Monday on a first-in-the-nation public-option insurance plan. 

The state will offer public health care plans that cover standard services to all residents, regardless of income, by 2021, Inslee said at a press conference. 

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The plans will still be administered by private insurance companies, but the terms will be set by the state.

Inslee called the bill a "template" for the U.S.  

"While our state continues to lead in the national fight for health care for all, this is a way our state is taking action right now," he said. 

Other states like Colorado and New Mexico have proposed public options, but Washington is the first to pass legislation, a "tremendous accomplishment," Inslee said. 

The plans are expected to cost up to 10 percent less than private insurance, mostly due to caps on payments to doctors, hospitals and health care providers.

As presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersWinners and losers from the South Carolina debate Five takeaways from the Democratic debate Sanders most searched, most tweeted about candidate during Democratic debate MORE’ Medicare for all bill continues to dominate the 2020 debate over health care, Inslee's plan represents a more modest approach to expanding access to coverage.

While Sanders's bill would largely eliminate private insurance, Inslee’s bill would expand the industry’s role in the state’s health care system.