sen. steve o'ban

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

In response to a rash of nursing home closures in Washington, a Republican state senator is calling for an increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates and other steps to stave off additional closures.

“We are in a crisis of skilled nursing facilities and beds,” said Sen. Steve O’Ban, a Pierce County Republican.

Austin Jenkins / Northwest News Network

Washington is poised to become the first state in the nation to offer a public health insurance option, as well as a new, employee-paid long-term care benefit.

Gov. Jay Inslee, a Democrat who is running for president, signed both landmark measures into law Monday at a packed bill signing ceremony in the State Reception Room at the Capitol in Olympia.