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February 2020 e.Bulletin

A Cascade of Legislative Successes, We're In the News!, UHC Work Group Update, and more!

Greetings fellow Health Care Travelers!

This e-bulletin finds us awash in a cascade of legislative successes! Torrents of health care legislation have been moving through committees in the legislature. Health Care for All-Washington is here for it.

  • We have legislative updates for you!
  • We’re in the news! And we bring you news of interest.
  • The Universal Health Care Work Group progresses toward identifying a viable state-based universal health system.
  • Our collective civic engagement, through these portals of lobbying, advocacy, grassroots collaboration, and organizing, is making a difference that will improve healthcare affordability and access for Washingtonians.

Legislative update on Our “Core 4”

Core 4: All four of our proposed bills (three aimed at lowering the cost of insulin and one creating a drug affordability board) passed their committees thus far with strong and often bipartisan support, two are now on the floor calendar (woo-hoo!). The other two remain in play in the Senate Rules Committee. Shout out to Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber (R) of the 7th LD who sponsored the House version of the insulin cost-sharing bill, which passed the House Health Care and Wellness Committee unanimously!

Check out a detailed update on the bills and HCFA-WA’s successful lobbying efforts.

Thanks to everyone who tirelessly lobbied, testified, or contacted committee members in support. Please thank the legislators who supported our bills and stay tuned, there will be more action to take when the bills go to floor votes!

We’re in the News: HCFA-WA Proposed Bills and President Marcia Stedman State Senate testimony

Read all about it! HCFA-WA President Marcia Stedman was quoted by Crosscut in her testimony during a Senate Health and Long Term Care committee meeting. She testified on legislation relating to bills addressing the high cost of insulin. Click here to watch HCFA-WA's testimony on SB 6087 with Sherry Weinberg, Marcia Stedman, and Ronnie Shure. Click here (video cued to testimony at 1:02) to watch the powerful testimony of diabetes patients and their families at the hearing for SB 6087. Marcia shares more of her thoughts on the bill here

The Seattle Times also supported the insulin bills in a January 29 editorial. We noticed the article used some of the same points that HCFA-WA members brought up in their testimony, such as that the original discoverer of insulin, Frederick Banting, intended for it to be made a public good, not only for those who could afford it, but for all who need it, by selling the patent for only $1. In the absence of federal action, Washington, a state known for innovation, is in an ideal position to solve this insulin affordability crisis.

Universal Health Care Work Group Update

The third Universal Health Care Work Group meeting was on February 7, and was attended by HCFA-WA members Denny Dellwo, Kelly Powers, Ronnie Shure, and Lynnette Vehrs. The focus of the meeting was to develop the assessment criteria to be used to compare health care models. For example, does the model provide health care that is: universal, affordable, sustainable, high quality, culturally-relevant. Criteria such as these and others will be used to evaluate various US and international health systems, including the Washington Health Security Trust (WHST, HB 1104).

For Kelly Powers’ excellent reflection on the meeting and a link to the audio click here.

Comment on Universal Health Care Work Group

The Work Group needs to hear about your struggles to afford and access health insurance and health care in Washington state. Let’s be sure they know that Washingtonians are very interested in the Work Group and want it to make recommendations that could substantially improve our health care. Listen to the February meeting and comment here.

Calls to Action

Thank you notes to legislators

PROGRESS. PROGRESS. PROGRESS. The kind of healthcare we envision is starting to come into focus. Let’s thank the legislators who pushed our Core-4 bills to the next level. 

Please thank the committee members here for supporting our bills. To attach the image above to your Thank You email, right click on the image, select copy, and then right click in the body of the email and select paste.

State Healthcare News

Uninsured rate drops by 8% in Lewis County since ACA
In 2011, before the Affordable Care Act, 17.1 percent of people living in Lewis County were uninsured. By 2017 that number dropped to 9 percent uninsured, according to Washington Healthplanfinder. Despite these gains, even with the ACA many people continue to struggle to afford health insurance. We consider 9% uninsured to be 9% too much.

Barriers to affordable, accessible healthcare in Eastern WA
“Families one catastrophe away from choosing between medication and rent. Transportation options severed, cutting off access to health care. Children’s dental care only accessible more than 50 miles away."
Lewis-Clark Valley Healthcare Foundation engaged a study of community needs and opportunity assessment covering 3 rural Idaho counties, along with Asotin and Garfield counties in Washington and Wallowa County in Oregon.

In Eastern Washington, young children needing immediate mental health care often have few options

National Headlines

Affordable Care Act Has Narrowed Racial and Ethnic Gaps in Access to Health Care, But Progress Has Stalled
Expanded Medicaid has improved coverage for Black people, but without true universal health care, the racial and ethnic gaps will persist. 

Buying Health, Not Just Health Care: North Carolina’s Pilot Effort
Traditional health care, which treats us once we are sick, is necessary and saves lives, but is not sufficient to prevent disease and maintain optimal health. 80% of our health is determined by factors outside the health care system, the social determinants of health. Healthy Opportunities Pilots provides services authorized under an 1115 waiver that allows Medicaid funds, as part of value-based payment arrangements, to pay for services in four domains that make a difference to health outcomes: housing, interpersonal violence/toxic stress, food, and transportation.

To Boost Bottom Lines, Single-Payer May Be Just What These Restaurateurs Ordered
This article highlights the business case for Single Payer, with a focus on small business — something HCFA-WA believes is crucial in the fight to get universal health care.

“The beef is not just about the financial burden. “I could make a lot more money if I didn’t have to pay that,”... It’s also the confounding choices and hours of administration for which Mark feels, at best, underqualified. Though he tries to pick a good option, he reflected: “I have no idea if it’s a good [health] plan or a bad plan, in comparison to everything else.”

Beyond Burnout: Docs Decry ‘Moral Injury’ From Financial Pressures Of Health Care
We frequently examine the impacts of our current health care financing system on patients. However, that system also has effects on the people who work in health care. They see the effects everyday and they are also the people who know that, “The health system is not set up to help patients. It’s set up to make money.”

U.S. health system costs four times more to run than Canada’s single-payer system and the gap is growing 
An article in the LA times features this study, showing administrative costs associated with multiple private payers In the United States are four-fold of Canada’s single payer system, and growing, as more public insurance programs have increased their reliance on commercial insurers to manage government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid.

In Historic Shift, Second Largest Physicians Group in US Has New Prescription: It's Medicare for All
The American College of Physicians has come out in favor of single payer, recognizing that “Major changes are needed to a system that costs too much, leaves too many behind, and delivers too little."

For an inspiring discussion on civic engagement, here’s a link to Brooke Gladstone of On the Media interview with Eitan Hersh. They explore what it takes to get engaged and examines who is responsible for broken politics. He and Brooke talk about the lessons he's learned from organizers around the country, and what civic engagement really means.

Legislative Deadline Calendar

Feb. 19 - last day to consider bills in house of origin - 5 p.m.
Feb. 28 - last day to read in committee reports from opposite house, except House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees
Mar. 2nd - Last day to read in opposite house committee reports from House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means and Transportation committees.
Mar. 6 - Last day to consider opposite house bills (5 p.m.) - except for fiscal matters & interim & session-closing business
Mar. 12 - last day allowed for regular session under state constitution.

Upcoming Events

Wed, Feb. 19

Documentary: Big Money Agenda: Democracy on the Brink
Physicians for a National Health Program – Western WA Monthly Meeting
7:30 PM

Big Money Agenda: Democracy on the Brink' details why Americans are sicker than they should be, poorer than they ought to be, and less safe than they deserve to be. This documentary explores the effects of money in politics, dark money, Citizens United, the politician/lobbyist revolving door as well as common sense solutions that will get our democracy back on track. It supports limiting political contributions, PACs, and calls for public funding for elections.

Seattle Swedish/Cherry Hill, Auditorium and Livestreamed via ZOOM.
or by phone 1 669 900 6833 - Meeting ID: 920 269 748
Check here for updates.

Wed, Feb 19

Ninth Democratic Primary Debate
9–11 p.m ET

Las Vegas, Nevada
NBC News and MSNBC

Sat, Feb 22

 Puget Sound Advocates for a Retirement Action Forum:  Black Panther Party 
2 pm

Washington State Labor Council
321 16th Ave S

Thurs, Feb 25

Tenth Democratic Primary Debate
Time TBA

Charleston, South Carolina
CBS News

Sun, March 8


Medicare for All: Why We Need it Now
2 PM

HCFA-WA is co-sponsoring this presentation with Indivisible Sequim. Join with other advocacy groups for this presentation on the Olympic Peninsula. Click here for more details.

Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
1033 N Barr Rd
Port Angeles, WA 98362
United States

We're looking forward to a new year - and decade - of Everybody In, Nobody Out Health Care!

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.

Regular Contributors - Editor: Elaine Cox ★ Content: Kelly Powers ★ Communications  Specialist: Sydnie Jones Health News: Rich Lague  & Cris Currie  
 Spokane & Video: DW Clark   President: Marcia Stedman ★  

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