Health Care Milestone Timeline

Governor Chris Gregoire believes all Washingtonians should have access to high-quality, affordable health care. Learn more about the actions the Governor has taken to position our state to lead the nation in disease management and prevention.

Year Initiative Short Summary Resources
2005 Gov. Gregoire introduces health care, prescription drug legislation Governor proposes legislation to set up a drug purchasing consortium; form a long-term care task force; allow private employers to purchase health insurance benefits for themselves, their employees and families; and authorize the state to license Canadian prescription drug wholesalers to help make prescription drugs more affordable. News release
2005 Governor commits to "cover all kids" With a commitment to "cover all kids," Gov. Gregoire directs the Department of Social and Health Services to return to 12-month eligibility review cycles to keep more than 19,000 children on health coverage. She also postpones collecting monthly premiums from most low-income parents of children covered by Medicaid.

News release
2005 In her first 100 days, Gov. Gregoire negotiates mental health parity bill, signs it into law House Bill 1154 requires mental illnesses to be treated with the same attention as physical ailments. Legislation phases in requirements that allow the same amounts and terms of coverage for mental health services as are provided for other medical services. News release
2005 Gov. Gregoire unveils major push to contain health care costs Plan based on 5 elements:
  • Using evidence-based medicine so patients receive health care that works;
  • Expanding chronic care management to better serve the 5% of patients who use 50% of health care resources;
  • Emphasizing health promotion and prevention;
  • Using health information technology; and
  • Increasing data transparency to give consumers better information about costs and quality.
News release
2005 Gov. Gregoire signs bill allowing importation of prescription drugs from Canada Law allows the importation of prescription drugs from Canadian wholesalers, part of the Governor's reform package to rein in costs and provide access to care. News release
2005 Governor’s Health Care Summit: It's time for courage, honesty to fix health care crisis Gov. Gregoire calls on providers, consumers, doctors, hospitals, nurses, public health professionals and government to come together for solutions. News release
2006 Gov. Gregoire brokers agreement on medical liability reform Governor announces breakthrough compromise agreement on HB 2292, the medical liability bill, bringing together doctors, lawyers and insurance companies. News release
News release
2006 Gov. Gregoire signs bill that helps families with childrens' medical coverage Law prohibits monthly premiums for children on state health plans whose parents are struggling to make ends meet. This will make health care available to 70,000 more children in 2007. News release
2006 Gov. Gregoire signs her bill to improve health information technology Law she requested requires the Health Care Authority to encourage the use of health information technology by hospitals and providers. News release
2006 Gov. Gregoire signs bill for Health Technology Assessment Program Law she requested creates a state-coordinated, evidence-based process for evaluating health technologies, the first law of its kind in the nation. News release
2006 Blue Ribbon Commission to build on Gov. Gregoire's plan to improve health care access, affordability Gov. Gregoire announces the creation of bipartisan Blue Ribbon Health Commission to improve access to affordable health care for all Washingtonians. News release
2006 Gov. Gregoire calls for review of health care licensing and investigation to ensure patient safety Gov. Gregoire requests audit of the Department of Health and 16 independent boards and commissions that regulate the health profession. She also issues an executive order that directs all health profession disciplining authorities to establish a consistent approach for addressing sexual misconduct. News release
Executive order
2006 Gov. Gregoire calls for proposals to increase health coverage The Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission calls for proposals to ensure all Washingtonians have health care access by 2012. News release
2006 Pharmacist rule proposed Gov. Gregoire proposes a new rule to be adopted by Washington Pharmacy Board following negotiations over Plan B emergency contraception. News release
2006 Governor comment on pharmacist rule Gov. Gregoire calls rules adopted by Washington's Board of Pharmacy Rules "much better" in protecting patients than rules adopted at the Board's previous meeting. News release
2007 Blue Ribbon Commission releases health care report Plan will expand access to affordable health care to children by 2010 and all residents by 2012. Recommendations also made to improve quality of the health care system and promote healthy lifestyles. News release
Executive order
2007 Comprehensive children's health care plan proposed Governor's plan is unveiled to expand access to health care to an additional 32,000 children, raise reimbursement rates for pediatricians, promote healthy lifestyles and establish a medical home for children to coordinate care. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire signs legislation to help seniors, others afford prescription drugs Law Governor requested allows Department of Social and Health Services to continue to use available funds to pay prescription drug co-pays for Medicare Part D. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire proposes Healthy Washington Initiative Governor urges legislators to pass a comprehensive health care bill based on recommendations of Blue Ribbon Commission, including extending insurance coverage to children under 25, setting up a public-private partnership to design an insurance exchange and reducing unnecessary ER visits. News release
2007 Governor signs bill to expand health care coverage for children Law she requested expands health insurance coverage to 38,000 more children. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire makes available free prescription drug discount card New prescription drug discount card saves all Washington residents 20% on brand-name drugs and 60% on generic drugs. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire signs mental health care parity bill Law extends mental health care insurance to small companies and individual insurance policies. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire signs her legislation to provide high-quality, affordable health care Law includes 20+ initiatives, many recommended by the Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care, to address cost, quality and access. News release
2007 Gov. Gregoire to sue over policy that prevents states from expanding children's health care program Governor announces that Washington is filing a lawsuit against the federal government to ensure that Washington children continue to have access to affordable health care. At stake is the health of 4 million children nationally who remain uninsured. News release
2007 Keep patients safe by building an effective, efficient health care system Gov. Gregoire proposes investing nearly $8 million in patient safety measures to improve professional training, licensing, investigation and disciplinary processes. News release
2008 Innovative partnerships to train more RNs Gov. Gregoire says Washington can address a severe shortage of registered nurses by working with hospitals, community colleges and unions to train other health care workers for those jobs. News release
2008 Agreement to improve patient safety and cut costs Gov. Gregoire announces the adoption of a resolution by three major state medical associations to help ensure that patients are treated fairly by the health care system in cases of serious medical error. News release
2008 Gov. Gregoire brings together groups on first-in-the-nation nurse staffing agreement Gov. Gregoire witnesses the signing of a landmark agreement between Washington state hospitals and major nurse organizations to enhance patient safety by improving hospital staffing policies. News release
2008 Governor urges federal lawmakers to fund children's health care Gov. Gregoire urges federal lawmakers to eliminate restrictions on access to health coverage for children. News release
2008 Gov. Gregoire’s statement opposing Bush administration proposal to limit women’s health care access Gov. Chris Gregoire issues a statement expressing concern about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' draft proposal on federal regulations for women’s health care. News release
2009 Federal funding for immunizations State Department of Health is awarded 3 grants totaling $5.6 million to boost immunization rates and prevent illness in children. News release
2010 Governor proposes reforming state health care programs Gov. Gregoire asks state lawmakers to approve her legislation to take a critical look at how the state purchases health care services, from physician care to prescription drugs and streamline purchasing practices, by consolidating state health care purchasing. News release
2010 Immediate steps to implement federal health care reform in Washington state Gov. Gregoire signs an executive order creating a Health Care Cabinet to implement health care reform. “Washington is going to lead the nation in implementing health care reform. We’re going to help more people get coverage, make sure our health care industry is ready and save taxpayer dollars.” News release
Executive order
2010 Gov. Gregoire joins other governors in support of health care reform Gov. Gregoire and other governors announce they have filed a joint motion to enter a federal lawsuit and present information about the benefits to their states by Affordable Care Act. “We need to move forward. This legislation not only provides necessary care to millions of Americans who desperately need it, it protects our taxpayers from the skyrocketing costs of health care.” News release
2010 Gov. Gregoire’s statement on Pharmacy Board’s decision to start new rulemaking process for patient access to prescription medicines “I am not in agreement with the state Board of Pharmacy’s decision to reopen the rulemaking process which currently requires pharmacists to provide all legally prescribed medications to individuals. The rule, which the Board arrived at in 2006 through a complete and transparent public process, assures adequate access to medication, especially to rural and low-income communities." News release
2010 Affordable health insurance for small businesses Gov. Gregoire announces that by the beginning of the next year, 1,100 employees of small businesses could be enrolled in a new state health insurance program through the Health Insurance Partnership. News release
2010 Gov. Gregoire proposes health care, pension modernization Gov. Gregoire unveils legislation to modernize the state’s health care and pension systems to cut costs as part of her work to transform Washington’s budget. “The promise of reform is a day when no one goes without health care coverage – but making that promise real will require us to drive down the costs of coverage." Keeping inflation to 4-5% per year will save billions. News release
Policy brief
2011 Gov. Gregoire celebrates first anniversary of federal Affordable Care Act “Since this law was enacted, Washingtonians have had more freedom and control over their health care. Insurance companies can’t deny kids coverage due to pre-existing conditions. More than 45,000 Washington seniors received a $250 rebate this year on prescription drugs after falling into the ‘doughnut hole’ in Medicare drug coverage. Small businesses will get tax credits that make it possible for them to retain employees and offer health insurance." News release
2011 Gov. Gregoire signs health care reforms into law Six laws will transform health care to improve patient care and reduce health care costs. News release
2011 Gov. Gregoire signs health insurance exchange bill Law creates a health insurance exchange to limit health care inflation to 4% over the next 10 years. This would save citizens $26 billion in health care costs while improving quality. She also announces that Washington is the recipient of a grant worth nearly $23 million to help the Health Care Authority design the state’s new insurance exchange. News release
2011 Gov. Gregoire signs legislation consolidating Health Care Authority, Medicaid program House Bill 1738 combines the state’s 2 largest health care purchasers, Medicaid and the Health Care Authority, to make public health care programs more effective and efficient. News release
2011 Gregoire, Sebelius announce Medicare-Medicaid savings
Gov. Gregoire and Health and Human Services Secretary Sebelius announce a partnership that will allow the state to access greater savings for patients who use both Medicare and Medicaid, also known as “dual eligibles.” News release
2011 Governor issues executive order on HIV/AIDS Executive Order 11-02 updates and reforms the Governor's Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Executive order
2011 Gov. Gregoire thanks docs for Generics First savings Generics First is a huge success, saving the state up to $56 million annually in Medicaid drug costs. News release
Fact sheet
2011 Washington named first “Innovation State” Washington is chosen as the first state in the nation to join forces with a national partnership that uses emerging research on child development to support better outcomes for vulnerable children and families. News release
2011 Gov. Gregoire files petition to reclassify marijuana Governor files a petition with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration asking the agency to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule 2 drug, which will allow its use for treatment as prescribed by doctors and filled by pharmacists. News release
2011 Gov. Gregoire names 9 to governing board of state’s health benefit exchange Health benefit exchange is a new health insurance marketplace that will be available to individuals and small businesses beginning in January 2014. News release
2012 Governor's statement on amicus brief she filed in support of Affordable Care Act “Today I joined elected officials, doctors and advocates from across the nation in filing an amicus brief in support of the minimum coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act. This provision is the cornerstone of the ACA, and is necessary to control the skyrocketing costs of health care." News release
Amicus brief
2012 Appeal of Stormans v. Selecky ruling Gov. Gregoire explains decision to appeal the Stormans v. Selecky decision: "My position has always been clear: Patients should be provided with lawful and lawfully prescribed medications in a timely manner." News release
2012 Gov. Gregoire signs health benefit exchange bill into law Law she requested creates Washington's health benefit exchange website with comprehensive health care information for prospective buyers. News release
2012 Washington awarded $128 million grant to implement new health benefit exchange Gov. Gregoire announces that the state will receive a $128 million federal grant to develop and implement the state’s health benefit exchange, which will help residents find, compare and enroll in health care coverage in 2014. Washington is only the second state in the nation to qualify for this grant. News release
2012 Gov. Gregoire’s statement on the Affordable Care Act’s 80/20 rule “The Affordable Care Act has already shown tremendous relief, help and peace of mind for thousands of Washingtonians. Now, under the 80/20 rule, insurance companies are being held accountable for spending a majority of the premium dollars that consumers pay on health care, not on sales, marketing and administration. In Washington state, that means more than 7,600 consumers will benefit from a rebate with an average rebate per family of $185." News release
2012 Gov. Gregoire’s statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act “Since the Affordable Care Act was signed by the president, we have worked tirelessly to implement it in our state, with my firm belief that it was constitutional and would ultimately withstand legal challenge... . The real winners today, however, are the millions of Americans and Washingtonians who have and will now continue to benefit from this Act." News release
Amicus brief