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January 2023 e.Bulletin

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2023 Legislative Actions and introducing the FTAC 

We are starting the year with a packed legislative agenda, and we have two ways to take action, detailed below:

  1. Sign in “pro” TODAY on 2 of our priority bills with hearings on February 1. Details below.
  2. Amplify your voice by joining the Take Action Network. 

We also have the main takeaways from the first Finance Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) meeting. This is a very important step towards Washington state implementing universal health care, as they will be creating advisory committees in finance, benefits and other categories to get this thing done! If you want to give public comments in support of their work the links are below. 

An announcement, as we have been so busy this legislative session, our February 2nd Wednesday Speaker Series has been postponed to March. Come join us on March 8 to hear more about the legislation we are supporting and how you can get involved.  

We are kicking off the 2023 legislative year with two bills that address strengthening the infrastructure for universal health care. 

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
  • Removes requirement for drug to have been on the market for 7 years 
  • Drops price increase requirement from 15% to 10%  per 12 month period
  • Drops Wholesale Acquisition Price requirement from $60,000 down to $25,000 per year/course of treatment
  • Removes the 90 day waiting period following the next legislative session to set upper payment limits for prescription drugs 
  • Moves the date up one year to establish an upper payment limit except in the case of drugs used to treat rare diseases/conditions.

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 

Sign In Pro by February 1  at 12:30pm

For this action, we'll be lobbying the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

  1. Click Here 
  2. From the drop down menu choose "Pro"
  3. Fill out the form.

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
  • Adds rule-making authority including enforcement

Why it is important 

  • Addresses the lack of transparency in health care costs 
  • Makes the board more representative of the public 

Sign In Pro by February 1 at 12:30pm

For this action, we'll be lobbying the House Health Care & Wellness Committee.

  1. Click Here 
  2. From the drop down menu choose "Pro"
  3. Fill out the form.

A Lot to Like: Main Takeaways from the Finance Technical Advisory Committee Meeting #1

 by Marcia Stedman

The Finance Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) remotely met each other and the public for the first time on January 12, 2023. We are encouraged by the experience that each member brings to this group tasked to develop the needed frameworks and subject-area recommendations to implement a universally financed health care system that covers all Washingtonians. Their findings will be presented to the Universal Health Care Commission (UHCC) for their consideration and discussed regularly in public meetings.   

Takeaway #1: The members of the Finance Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) are well-qualified for the work ahead. We are as impressed by their readiness to take on this huge and important task as we are by their expertise. You can meet the FTAC members by reading their bios and view the meeting itself

Takeaway #2: Public comments led the way at the top of the meeting, and were specifically referenced by Committee members throughout the meeting as they urged:

  • The UHCC to clarify their vision of the model they wish the FTAC to develop
  • The FTAC to pay attention to the conclusions of previous universal health care study groups in both WA and OR
  • The FTAC to consider HCFA-WA’s Washington Health Security Trust bill and Whole Washington’s version of this bill as potential models for the system design

Takeaway #3: FTAC member Roger Gantz (also an active HCFA-WA member) asked these important questions about how the FTAC will organize its work:

Takeaway #4: The clear and concise presentations on the Open Public Meetings Act and the  Public Records Act from WA Assistant Attorney General Dana Gigler were excellent and well worth a listen by anyone interested in learning more about the ins and outs of these important guidelines.

All in all, this first meeting was a good start to the FTAC’s work as they consider how Washington can provide all of its residents with the equitable and affordable health care they need, when they need it.

Mark your calendar for these upcoming meetings:

  •   UHCC – Thurs., Feb. 9th – 2-4 pm
  •   FTAC – Thurs., Mar. 9th – 3-5 pm

Got comments to share with the FTAC or the UHCC?   

Sign up to provide public comment during a meeting by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting occurs.

Email written comments 2 weeks before the meeting occurs

Pro Tip: Subscribe to receive announcements of future meetings in your own in-box.

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Have you ever wondered what the cost of giving birth is in other countries? Well, we got this covered. 

Health Care for All-WA presented Health Care in Norway accompanied by a lively discussion of lessons learned from the “Norwegian Way” of financing and providing health care.

In Washington, the average cost of birth without complications is $7,043.42 to $12,210.33 without insurance. A C-section costs $10,725.39 with insurance and $17,680.54 without insurance.

While if you are Norwegian, your prenatal, post-natal and delivery will be covered as part of the public good and you will receive either a flat 90,300 NOK ($9,000) or a 100% full pay for 42 weeks of maternity leave (whichever is highest) for having a child. 

Additionally Norway has a very low live birth mortality rate of 1.8 deaths/1000 live births while in the USA that number is 5.4 deaths/1,000 live births. It gets even more interesting when delving into individual states, with Mississippi in the lead at slightly over 8 deaths/1000 live births and we in Washington hovering at 4.51 deaths/1000 live births. Please note that while Washington does have one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the USA, we are still over double that of Norway’s.  

To learn more you can watch it all on our YouTube channel as we talk to a Norwegian physician, a dentist, and a public health expert!

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Bill of the month or why we need universal health care like Norway!  

A $4 Million NICU Bill: The Price of Prematurity  As the number of preterm births rises, families are shouldering unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

And then a study showing  that Majority in U.S. Still Say Gov't Should Ensure Healthcare

And finally, the role of venture capitalists and insurance companies  

Dr. Venture Capital: Insurance companies are supposed to cover high-quality care for patients. What happens when they dabble in investing?

Mission and Money Clash in Nonprofit Hospitals’ Venture Capital Ambitions

They are even in our Nursing Homes

Private Equity Companies Continue Buying Nursing Facilities

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Take Action Network (TAN): We are working to enhance our legislative advocacy positions and actions by using TAN, a web platform developed by Daniel Weise in cooperation with Washington Indivisible Network.  TAN provides a web-based platform for anyone who wants to be more actively engaged in Washington State legislative actions.

We invite you to join TAN.  You'll be provided with an initial profile that will allow you to follow Health Care for All-Washington legislative advocacy work and those of other advocacy organizations that most relate to your primary issues as well as events and civil actions of interest to you.  Some of the organizations using TAN include the Faith Action Network (FAN), Environmental Priorities Coalition, RE Sources, Fair Vote Washington, 350.WA, and many more.

Please click to join the Take Action Network.

TAN also allows you to customize the information you receive.  We hope that you will include actions and events from Health Care for All-Washington in your TAN list of sources.

Federal actions - 

Stop ACO-Reach program 

  1. Urge Congress not to sign the annual AHIP letter 
    Please send this request to your representative and senators using this One Click Politics link.
  2. Urge the Senate to hold hearings on the ACO-Reach program 
    Remind members of the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee to hold hearings on ACO-REACH and stop the privatization of Medicare.

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Thurs, Feb 9

 

Universal Health Care Commission
2-4 pm

The agenda has yet to be published but click and scroll down for the Zoom link. 

Public comment

All Universal Health Care Commission meetings are public meetings, and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to share their input. All feedback is shared with commission members.

Share your input

  1. During a commission meeting (there is a designated time for public comment). Sign up to present public comments by 5 p.m. the day before the meeting occurs. 

If you want your written comments to be included in an upcoming  meeting, email your comments two weeks before that meeting occurs.


Wed, Feb 15
 

Health Care Cost Transparency Board Meeting
2-4:00 p.m.

Health Care Cost Transparency Board

The agenda has yet to be published but click and scroll down for the zoom link. 

Public comment

All Health Care Cost Transparency Board meetings are public meetings, and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to share their input. All feedback is shared with commission members.

Share your input

To provide public comment during the designated public comment period, please use the raise hand function in Zoom.  

If you want your written comments to be included in an upcoming meeting, email your comments 10 days before that meeting occurs.

Wed, Feb 15

 

PNHP - Washington  Monthly Meeting
7:00 p.m.

Since 1987 Physicians for a National Health Program has advocated for reform in the U.S. healthcare system. Check their website for program details.

Fri, Feb 17

 

One Payer States Third Friday Meeting
9:00 a.m.

Sat, Feb 18

 

One Payer States Third Intergenerational Justice Summit
12-2:00 p.m.

Come help build Communication, Trust, and Activism Across Generations. The focus will be on the intersection of Climate Emergency, and Faith-based Social Justice movements.  

Register HERE.

Mon Feb 20

 

NAMI Washington Lobby Day
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Yes, in person!

NAMI members and supporters are the most effective people to educate legislators about mental illness and the need to change our current "mental illness" system to a "mental health" system.

Mon, Feb 20

 

Planned Parenthood Lobby Day
8 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Yes, in person!

Defend reproductive rights! Meet our team down in Olympia to lobby your legislators in favor of our important legislative priorities!

Wed, Mar 8

 

Health Care for All-WA's 2nd Wednesday Speaker Series: 2023 Legislative Session Priority Bills
7-8:00 p.m.

Please support our work.

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