Skip navigation

2023 Legislative Successes

We’re pleased to report that the Legislature met our two requests for additional funding in the 2023-2025 Operating Budget: ESSB 5187/HB 1140

Increased funding for the UHCC and its FTAC: an additional $466K for dedicated administrative support and actuarial expertise to increase the pace of the work and provide the econometric data analysis needed to establish universal publicly funded health care in our state. 

Increased funding for Immigrant Health: $53 million total to establish a Medicaid look-alike program for immigrants who do not qualify for other health care programs due to their immigration status.  When we say “Everybody In, Nobody Out”, we mean EVERYBODY in our state. 

Additionally, we’re thrilled to report that 4 of our priority bills were passed into law, many with bipartisan support! Thank you for taking action and signing in “pro” on these bills during Committee hearings.  

You made a difference!

PASSED: Bills we supported this session!

HB 1134 Implementing the 988 behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention system 

Sponsors: Orwall, Bronoske, Peterson, Berry, Ramel, Leavitt, Callan, Doglio, Macri, Caldier, Simmons, Timmons, Reeves, Chopp, Lekanoff, Gregerson, Thai, Paul, Wylie, Stonier, Davis, Kloba, Riccelli, Fosse, Farivar

What it does

  • Establishes an endorsement for 988 rapid response crisis teams and a grant program to support them. 
  • Directs the University of Washington School of Social Work to develop recommendations for the creation of crisis workforce and resilience training collaboratives to offer voluntary regional training for personnel in the behavioral health crisis system.  
  • Directs the Department of Health to develop an informational outreach campaign. 
  • Establishes liability protection related to the dispatching decisions of 988 crisis hotline staff and the transfer of calls between the 911 line and the 988 crisis hotline.
  • Expands and strengthens the ability to implement the 988 crisis response system.

Why it is important

  • Develops capacity for rapid response teams including providing for existing first-responders.  
  • Enhances public outreach and creates "hubs" to direct certain populations to access specialized services including indigenous, veterans, LGBTQ+, Spanish speakers, etc. 
  • Establishes crisis stabilization units. 
  • Adds person with lived experience to the CRIS steering committee with voting privilege. 
  • Extends various deadlines for implementation in part to incorporate more input from Tribal advocates.
  • Specifies crisis response times.

SB 5189 Establishing behavioral health support specialists

Sponsors: Trudeau, Wagoner, Conway, Dhingra, Wilson, C.

What this bill does

  • Requires the Department of Health to develop rules to certify a new behavioral health support specialists position. 
  • Requires the Health Care Authority to ensure services are covered under Medicaid.
  • Requires the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to ensure network coverage.

Why it is important

  • Responds to the behavioral health crisis. 
  • Addresses the behavioral health workforce gap. 

SB 5236 Concerning hospital staffing standards

Sponsors: Robinson, Keiser, Conway, Frame, Hunt, Kauffman, Lovelett, Nguyen, Nobles, Pedersen, Shewmake, Stanford, Trudeau, Valdez, Wilson, C.

What this bill does   

  • Requires hospitals to establish staffing committees, staffing plans, and minimum staffing standards. 
  • Mandates voluntary overtime and requires meal and rest breaks for all hospital employees.
  • Requires L&I to regulate and enforce plans and standards.
    • Hospitals may be fined a $25,000 civil penalty and/or $5,000 or $100 daily if they fail to submit standards and staffing plans or implement corrections in response to violations.

Why it is important 

  • Establishes minimum staffing, safety, and wellbeing standards for hospital professionals.
  • May minimize high turnover rates in the healthcare industry due to job-related stress and risk.
  • May lead to better patient care.

HB 1678  Establishing and authorizing the profession of dental therapy.

Sponsors: Riccelli, Lekanoff, Stonier, Morgan, Bateman, Macri, Ormsby, Slatter, Entenman, Ramos, Peterson, Tharinger, Chopp, Ryu, Pollet, Davis, Harris, Taylor, Simmons, Kloba, Gregerson

What this bill does

  • Establishes the new profession of dental therapy:
    • Dental therapists will work under the direction of a licensed Washington dentist.
    • Dental therapists will follow the national commission on dental accreditation's standards for dental therapy education.
  • Authorizes dental therapists to practice in federally qualified health centers (FQHC) and FQHC look-alikes.

Why it is important 

  • Expands access to high quality and timely dental care where it is most out of reach, in rural communities, low-income communities and communities of color, and to patients who are publicly insured or uninsured.
  • Dental therapists may expand dental health clinics. 
    • Adding just one dental therapist means a dental practice can take 2,000 to 3,000 more appointments a year. For every dollar they generate, a dental therapist costs less than 30 cents to employ. 
  • Dental therapists could save hospitals money by providing high-quality, routine care.


Some of our priorities did not pass this year, but we are advocating to have them re-introduced in the 2024 Legislative Session:

SJM 8006  Requesting that the federal government create a universal health care program 

Sponsors: Hasegawa, Cleveland, Billig, Kuderer, Lovelett, Nguyen, Shewmake, Stanford, Valdez, Wilson, C.

What this bill does

Calls on the Federal government to resolve our national healthcare crisis in one of 3 ways:

  • Create a national universal health care program.
  • Pass California Rep. Ro Khanna’s State Based Universal Health Care Act HR 3775  (2021) that allows states to create universal health care programs.
  • Grant the Federal waivers that Washington needs to fully implement our own publicly funded universal health care system, now being created by the Universal Health Care Commission.

Why it is important

If acted upon by the Federal government it would: 

  • Provide the Federal regulatory and financial support needed to establish a single unified health care system, whether nationally or state-by-state.
  • Enhance the ability of our Universal Health Care Commission to design and fund the universal health care system envisioned and mandated by our State Legislature under SB 5399 (2021).


HB 1269   Amending the prescription drug affordability board.

Sponsors: Riccelli, Stonier, Macri

What this bill does   

  • Removes RX drug industry representation from the advisory board.
  • Establish prescription drug upper payment limits.
  • Lowers the threshold for review of treatment costs to $25,000 or more a year.
  • Triggers review of treatment costs for increases of more than 10% per year or 25% over 3 years.
  • Removes delays in the adoption of rules. 

Why it is important 

  • Lowers the price of prescription drugs, saving money for individuals and the state.
  • Makes the board more patient focused.
  • Makes more drugs more affordable more quickly. 


HB 1508  Improving consumer affordability through the health care cost transparency board.

Sponsors: Macri, Riccelli, Simmons, Fitzgibbon, Berry, Alvarado, Bateman, Ormsby, Doglio, Reed, Callan, Stonier, Tharinger, Bergquist

What this bill does   

  • Expands patient voice and adds labor and small business representatives to the advisory committee. 
  • Expands data collection to include: 
    • disclosure of data from Pharmacy Benefit Managers 
    • Financial earnings of health care providers and payers, including profits, assets, accumulated surpluses, reserves, and investment income.
    • Analysis of underinsurance in Washington. 
    • Analysis of the impact on prices when providers choose to stay out-of-network in Washington. 
    • Additional committees for next steps after data collection.
  • Allows sharing of data between other Boards and state agencies.
  • Adds rule-making authority including enforcement. 

Why it is important 

  • Increases the power of the this Board to enforce transparency in pricing. 
  • Makes the board more  inclusive by adding additional representative voices. 


SB 5393 Addressing affordability through health care provider contracting.

Sponsors: Robinson, Dhingra, Hasegawa, Keiser, Randall, Valdez, Wilson, C.

What this bill does 

  • Health plans, including public employee plans and a provider contracts between a hospital and a health carrier may not include: 
    • All-or-nothing clauses: contracts with hospitals owned by a single entity.
    • Anti-steering clauses: incentives use specific providers.
    • Anti-tiering clauses: tier hospitals with the lowest cost-sharing amounts.
  • Requires the Office of the Insurance Commissioner to study approaches used by other states to limit consolidation and increase affordability of health plan rates.

Why it is important 

  • Prohibits some anti-competitive health plan contracts. 
  • Increase types of strategies that WA can use to address affordability of health plan rates and limit anti-competitive behavior.


HB 1313 Improving health care affordability for older adults and people with disabilities on medicare.

Sponsors: Farivar, Macri, Tharinger, Harris, Alvarado, Mena, Thai, Berry, Ryu, Orwall, Callan, Waters, Wylie, Ortiz-Self, Stonier, Cheney, Chopp, Riccelli, Bergquist, Bateman, Morgan, Lekanoff, Reeves, Davis, Senn, Doglio, Santos, Reed, Goodman, Kloba, Pollet, Fosse, Ormsby, Chapman

What this bill does

  • Requires the Health Care Authority to offer eligible clients 4 Medicare Savings Programs:
    • Qualified Medicare Beneficiary Program 
      • Helps with Part A and B premiums, deductibles, and copayments. 
      • Eligible income is no more than 100% Federal Poverty Limit (FPL).
    • Specified Low-Income Medicare Beneficiary Program 
      • Helps with Part B premiums. 
      • Eligible income is no more than 120% FPL.
    • Qualifying Individual Program 
      • Helps with Part B premiums. 
      • Must apply every year and approval is first-come first-serve. 
      • Eligible income is no more than 135% FPL.
    • Qualified Disabled Working Individual Program 
      • For people with disabilities who work and lose social security disability benefits and Medicare premium-free Part A. 
      • This program only pays for Part A premiums. 
      • Eligible income can be no more than 200% FPL.
  • Prohibits the Medicare Savings Programs from requiring a resource test.
  • Authorizes the HCA to establish income limits higher than the FPL.

Why it is important 

  • Makes health care more affordable for Medicare recipients (older adults and people with disabilities) by expanding the availability of Medicare savings programs.




Your contribution to Health Care for All Washington is more than just a donation—it’s an investment in your community.