What They’re Watching: Former Sen. David Frockt, Washington Legislature


Eli Kirshbaum


Former State Sen. David Frockt recently ended his time in the Washington Legislature, having served since 2011 and held leadership positions on several key committees. He was a critical supporter of progressive health initiatives like Cascade Select, the state’s public health insurance program. At our 2023 Washington State of Reform conference in January, the recently retired lawmaker discussed what he sees as the main issues persisting in the state’s healthcare system.

Despite significant increases in access to healthcare in recent years, Frockt believes the state still has work to do, especially pertaining to its behavioral health system.

“We passed the Medicaid expansion in Washington State with bipartisan support. Imagine that. That was 2012—in some states you can’t even get that done, but we did that 10 years ago. And we’ve also implemented really well all aspects of the Affordable Care Act, in my opinion, in terms of expanding coverage. So our coverage rates are really high now, relative to what they were just a dozen years ago …

But we have fallen down. There’s no question we’re behind on where we need to be on behavioral health access. I think it’s important, if you really want to get around on these issues and get knowledgeable, you have to listen to where everybody’s coming from. And usually there’s some truth, if not 100% truth, in what everybody’s saying. And I think you’ve got to be flexible in that regard, and that’s what makes it a challenging policy area to work in.”