Washington AG’s Wish List: Expanded Access to Free Health Care for Indigent Persons

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson proposed an Attorney General Request bill designed to increase access to free or affordable health care to indigent and low-income Washington residents.
  • The bill, House Bill 1616, seeks to amend Washington’s charity care law—which requires hospitals to provide free care to indigent persons—to expand eligibility for full write-offs of out-of-pocket hospital costs from 100% to 300% of the federal poverty level. In addition, those with incomes between 300% and 400% of the federal poverty level will be eligible for reduced-cost health care at hospitals and affiliated clinics.
  • The bill also expands the definition of “charity care” to encompass care provided in clinics affiliated with hospitals in addition to care provided in hospitals.