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Building Bridges Between Oregon and Washington Healthcare Advocates

by Marcia Stedman

Washington and Oregon lead the nation in developing universal state-based single-payer healthcare, and we’re collaborating!

In mid-July, 23 health justice leaders representing 14 organizations across both states gathered in Seattle and virtually to discuss the current status of our single-payer efforts and develop a vision for building on our victories. We:  

  • Strengthened relationships, communication, and cross-state collaboration.
  • Shared information on policy, politics, and organizing.
  • Agreed on a strategy for contacting our Congressional Representatives to co-sponsor the State Based Universal Health Care Act (HR 3775) – *Take action here!

At our August 9th HCFA-WA 2nd Wednesday Speaker Series, 4 leaders shared victories and lessons learned

In addition, Chuck Pennacchio, the President of One Payer States, joined us to motivate other states to follow our pathway through reintroduction of the State-based Universal Health Care Act (HR 3775).

Organizations represented:

WA: Health Care for All-Washington, Health Care is a Human Right Washington, League of Women Voters WA, Puget sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Physicians for a National Health Program Washington, Seattle Indivisible, Whole Washington.

OR: Health Care for All Oregon, Health Care for All Oregon-Action, Mid-Valley Health Care Advocates, Oregon Health Policy Board, Oregon Nurses for Single Payer, Physicians for a National Health Program Oregon, Business Leaders for Health Care Transformation

Takeaways

Paths to Success:

  • Develop relationships with Legislators to find Health Care Champions.
  • Use lobbyists as facilitators.
  • Collaborate with other advocacy groups.
  • Educate the public, Democratic organizations, unions, business.

Challenges:

  • Writing and tracking legislation changes to ensure unwanted changes are not made, especially closer to final approval.
  • Frequent meetings and solid relationships with legislators are essential.
  • Not all advocates are on the same page.
  • Identify appointees to the Governance Board and other Boards/Commissions.

Signs of Hope:

  • The power that advocates bring
  • WA: The UHCC and FTAC, Health Care Cost Transparency Board, Insulin Work Group, Prescription Drug Affordability Board, relationships with legislators
  • OR: Governance Board, Constitutional amendment that guarantees access to health care, health care allies
  • A proposed meeting of legislators from Washington and Oregon

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