This could be the year for a big push to expand health coverage to many of the estimated 600,000 Washington residents — including about...

Big push expected to cover uninsured

This could be the year for a big push to expand health coverage to many of the estimated 600,000 Washington residents — including about 73,000 children — who didn’t have insurance in 2006.

A bipartisan health-care panel headed by Gov. Christine Gregoire is expected to issue a long list of recommendations later this month.

Democrats want to provide health coverage to all children by 2010. Gregoire proposes to add about $31 million in Medicaid spending to cover 32,000 more low-income children.

Lawmakers also are expected to consider a proposal to require large employers to spend a minimum amount on health care, and another proposal to create a huge new public-private insurance pool that could offer less-expensive health plans to individuals and small businesses.

Key legislators on health care

Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent: Chairwoman, Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee. 360-786-7664 or
keiser.karen@leg.wa.gov

Rep. Eileen Cody, D-Seattle: Chairwoman, House Health Care and Wellness Committee. 360-786-7978 or
cody.eileen@leg.wa.gov