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December 2020 e.Bulletin

Universal Health Care Work Group Final Meeting Recap, HCFA-WA's Rollercoaster 2020, & More!

“At the end of the day, the moral case for action requires no strategic justification."- Briahna Joy Gray

Happy Holidays!  With a COVID vaccine roll-out beginning, Congress closing in on a COVID relief bill, and a new administration in the other Washington about a month away, are we daring to hope that in 2021 we can begin to come back, even come back stronger than before.  In the case of healthcare reform we are seeing some signs that the political will for publicly funded universal health care is building more than ever, in states and nationally.

We sincerely hope you’ll have a safe and happy holiday season.  

In this Issue

  • UHC Work Group Meeting December 9 Recap
  • 2020 HCFA-WA Year End Reflections
  • Legislative Update- sneak peak at new legislation on prescription drugs, the Governor’s budget, and HCFA-WA’s legislative agena
  • Call to Action:  Comment deadline for the UHCWG is fast approaching December 21!
  • Healthcare News and Commentary
  • Upcoming Events

UHC Work Group Final Meeting Recap: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Model A 
by Elaine Cox, e-bulletin editor

The final December Universal Health Care Work Group meeting brought more clearly into focus the work that lies ahead for advocates of state-based publicly-funded universal health care.  While many of the challenges, excuses and resistance are familiar to those of us who have been in this effort for years, we are seeing greater consensus on the urgency to provide affordable healthcare to all, which is illuminated so tragically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This final meeting had significant discussion around Model C* (see detail at the end for a reminder of the features of the 3 models)  possibly being a short-term remedy to address the urgency of people in need of affordable coverage right now, many because of the COVID pandemic.  Model C was discussed as a transitional step, as a means to continue building the feasibility- the political will, financing mechanisms, price controls, and administrative and regulatory infrastructures that would be necessary to implement Model A (such as funding the Prescription Drug Affordability Board).  

This is our opportunity to show our legislators, the state, the country: in no uncertain terms, the time is now, we have the will, and we must pave the way. 

For more on the meeting and what’s coming next for the Work Group and what you can do, click/tap here.

2020 – A Rollercoaster of a Year!
By Marcia Stedman, HCFA-WA Board President 

Over the past year, everyone has learned new ways of surviving, communicating, and maybe even thriving in our COVID-altered universe.   For HCFA-WA, it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster.  

 From the heights of our legislative wins – passage of our “core four” bills addressing the high cost of insulin and other pharmaceutical drugs with bipartisan support plus other important healthcare bills – to the low of the Governor’s COVID-forced veto of the Drug Affordability Board bill, we have kept a steady focus on the deliberations of the Universal Health Care Work Group this year.  May the results reflect the passion that all of us have put into this effort!

Check out the recap of our 2020 here.

January 11, 2021 The Legislature will convene for a Regular Session.  

Senator Karen Keiser has introduced an important bill, SB 5020 that would assess a penalty on unsupported prescription drug price increases.

Governor Inslee's 2021-2023 budget proposal will provide COVID relief, strengthen public health data systems and emergency response to outbreaks,  and preserve state healthcare programs using capital gains and health insurance company taxes.  

HCFA-WA’s 2021 Legislative Agenda

In August 2020 HCFA-WA updated its strategic plan, identifying our broad legislative goals, understanding that the outcome of the national and state elections and the COVID situation would have a bearing on the specific legislation we would pursue in the next session.   As the session draws near, the Policy Committee is now developing our legislative goals. 

Here is the current legislative agenda:
Monitor and participate in the Universal Health Care Work Group to ensure that true publicly funded, universal health care is one of the recommendations of the work group, introducing elements of the Washington Health Security Trust. 

Protect advancements in health care coverage during this time of COVID-19 budget challenges, such as Cascade Care work group, insulin affordability work group, and other legislation. 

Research and support legislation to provide revenue to fund the UHCWG outcome, and to improve health care coverage. 

Work with legislators to advance promising legislation that died in 2020 but would have provided funding and advanced healthcare coverage. 

Comment on the Final Universal Health Care Work Group Meeting. Support Model A! Tell your health insurance story and why our current system is not meeting your needs and why this is urgent.

We want Everybody In...under our umbrella! 
And Nobody the cold without our scarf!

Perfect gifts for winter: cold, wet, we've got you covered! Our cozy scarf and handsome umbrella combo is available now with a $60 donation - while we have them! We have 65 combos left so give your donation today and we'll ship ASAP! Shipping included!

Our scarves are:
Union made
100% acrylic
9"x72"+ fringe
Navy, yellow, and white
Toasty warm!

Care: Hand wash warm; dry flat

Our umbrellas are:
Union made
Navy blue and yellow
35"L, 40" diameter when open

Donate here and check out our other Swag here - including a special on t-shirts!

HCFA-WA wishes you happy holidays and good healthcare!

To shop smart for health insurance, it pays to untangle the jargon | Provided by Washington Healthplanfinder-- Helpful information for anyone needing to enroll in health insurance through the Washington Benefit Exchange during the open enrollment period underway now through January 15.

The Case for Forcing a Floor Vote on Medicare for All

Fostering Civic Literacy – an overlooked pathway to achieving health and racial equity

Black volunteers give COVID-19 vaccine trials a shot in the arm

Becerra Supports ‘Medicare for All,’ and Could Help States Get There

Jan 6-7 

Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference
Early bird registration Dec 23.

Jan 11 

The Legislature will convene for a Regular Session

Jan 12-18 

March is on Jan 18. MLK Day Seattle

Jan 13 

Save the Date! HCFA-WA virtual seminar on the Universal health Care Work Group report to legislature and what’s next.
7-8 pm PT
Details TBD.

Jan 23-24 

2021 Medicare for All Strategy Conference
This conference will be an important place to meet with other labor and healthcare activists to strategize how to win this fight under a new administration and a new Congress. Register here.

Jan 30 

Faith Action Network Eastern Legislative Conference: “Beyond Words: Doing Justice” via Zoom.
Information on registration here.

Did we miss an event, perhaps virtual, coming up in a month or so? Let us know ASAP and we’ll post it on Facebook!

Did you know you can help us achieve our goal — with no additional cost to you — when you shop with Amazon? If you shop at Amazon, simply use our Amazon Smile Link and Amazon will contribute to our education efforts.

 The perfect gift for every universal health care supporter, any time of year: Everybody In, and Nobody Out t-shirts, winter scarves, and umbrellas.

Wishing you all peaceful, healthful and convivial holidays!

 Editor: Elaine Cox ★ Graphics & Communications Specialist: Sydnie Jones
★ Health News: Rich Lague  & Cris Currie  
 Spokane & Video: DW Clark   President: Marcia Stedman ★  

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