As I was reviewing the new federal health care reforms, I decided to rummage through my old files on Wasington’s health care reform in 1993. Here are some excerpts from the State Legislature’s official report on what the new 1993 health care reform law would do:

Short-Term Health Insurance Reforms. … the act provides several immediate changes in health insurance practices. Current insurance practices are modified, effective January 1, 1994, to: restrict the use of pre-existing condition limitations; … improve disclosure to people whose policies are cancelled or modified; prohibit cancellation or nonrenewal policies because a person’s health deteriorates; and prohibit insurers from offering a new policy to only healthy people for the purpose of isolating unhealthy people in older and subsequently more expensive policies.”

Health Insurance Purchasing Cooperatives. Each cooperative must admit any individual or group within their region wishing to join, offer every certified health plan within its region to all co-op participants, be operated as a member owned and governed nonprofit cooperative, provide for centralized enrollment, billing and premium collection, and serve as an ombudsman for co-op members.”

Individual and Employer Participation Requirements. No later than July 1, 1999, all state residents must be enrolled in a certified health plan which may include the Basic Health Plan…”

Hmmm…the federal health care reform includes “short term insurance reforms” that limit pre-existing condition restrictions; includes “insurance exchanges” where people can join to buy insurance; and individual and employer mandates to buy and maintain coverage.

Of course the 1993 state law was far more ambitious and far more focused on health care markets and cost containment. The law included state authority to approve cooperative ventures among competing health care providers that would save money. Ironically, this state authority is still on the books, but has not been used for years. You can find the old state health care reform law here with all the official reports.