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October 2023 e.Bulletin


It’s scary out there, from world headlines to health care horror stories: patients unable to afford their healthcare while going bankrupt over medical debt, even when insured; independent pharmacies threatened by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); medical fraudsters and Medicare so-called “Advantage” scams undermining Medicare’s solvency.  

In all that, HCFA-WA is proud to be involved in creating innovative solutions for all our residents.  Read on for the latest and to learn how you can participate in bringing universal health care to Washington state.

UHCC Advocacy Pays Off; eternal vigilance is the price

By Marcia Stedman 

With 2 years and 14 meetings under their belts, the Commissioners have finally found their voices. Nearly half of the Commission members were absent from the recent October 12th meeting, but those who did attend engaged in substantial conversations that led to sound decisions:

  1. Set aside ERISA and Medicare considerations for now and focus on designing the new system’s benefits and services, enrollment, and provider enhancements.
  2. Incorporate other Boards’ recommendations and build from other work such as Oregon’s Universal Health Care Task Force report.
  3. Engage with a variety of communities, especially the rural and underserved.
  4. Make their meetings more efficient.

We advocates had been instrumental in securing an additional $1 M for additional staffing for the Commission in the 2023-25 biennium, as acknowledged on p. 99 of the meeting materials. We expected this added funding would result in longer and more frequent meetings, but HCA staff objected, citing lack of staff resources, despite the increased funding for staff. We were extremely disappointed and are hopeful that further discussions will produce a solution that matches the urgency of our state’s health care crisis. 

Meanwhile, the Commissioners pivoted to discussing ways for staff to make their meetings more efficient, whatever the frequency or length.  Beginning with the next meeting, staff will clearly highlight key action items in the Summary of the previous meeting and send videos of presentations in advance so that Commissioners can come prepared for discussion.  We’ll be there! 

We really need your voice in public comments to call for more frequent and longer meetings.

Plan now to attend the next UHCC meeting on Thursday, Dec. 14th, 2-4 pm.

The next meeting of the FTAC is Thursday, November 9, 2023, 2-4 p.m.

Listen to the recording or read the slıdes at the FTAC Past meetings page.

Watch past meetings and read the meeting materials.

To get our take, you can read past meeting recaps on our website. 

These meetings continue to welcome public comments. 

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

Pro Tip: Subscribe to Health Care Authority (HCA) email updates to receive announcements of future meetings in your own inbox.


Do we have the power to negotiate drug prices?

Highlights from the HCFA-WA 2023 Annual Educational Conference and Meeting

By Consuelo Echeverria

An unprecedented increase in pharmaceutical drug prices has left many Washingtonians unable to pay for their medications. On the other hand, Pfizer topped the $100 billion mark in annual revenue, a biopharma record. In this landscape, we asked, do we have the power to negotiate drug prices? 

Senator Karen Keiser laid out her 2024 legislative agenda with bills that control the price of insulin and EpiPens as well as a Constitutional Amendment for Reproductive Rights. 

Our presenters led a conversation on federal and state solutions to control drug prices, including state based manufacturing of generic drugs to bypass Pharmacy Benefit Managers and change the balance of power. 


  • Gabriel Levitt from Prescription Justice who has guided patients to overcome regulatory barriers to import personal prescriptions.
  • Dana Brown from The Democracy Project who has developed a toolkit for states on public drug manufacturing
  • Karen Keiser, the President Pro Tempore of the Washington State Senate, longtime healthcare champion leading our state efforts, including Washington’s new Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

Do we have the power to negotiate drug prices? 

Read more to learn why the answer is YES!


Medicare Advantage insurers are plundering Medicare for their own profit and harming seniors and those with disabilities in the process

PNHP Report: Predatory costs of Medicare Advantage overcharges taxpayers by $88 to $140 billion yearly 

PBMs threaten Seattle area independent pharmacies 

PBMs Are Inflating the Cost of Generic Drugs. They Must Be Reined In 

Dingell, Merkley, Welch legislation to end price gouging and align US pharma prices with other developed countries


Take action now! 

  1. Call your Representative and Senators (202-224-3121) today. Tell them not to stand in the way of states that want guaranteed health care for all by co-sponsoring and passing the State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2023.
  2.  Reach out to them through social media (X, Facebook, Instagram, etc.).
  3. Use the One Click Politics to send that message to your Congressperson. 

CA Rep. Ro Khanna’s “State-Based Universal Health Care Act'' (SBUHCA) is a pathway for Washington to create its own universal, simple, affordable health care system for all its residents. SBUHCA will: 

  • Enable states to implement universal healthcare systems
  • Provide innovative models for the nation as a whole
  • Establish a path to national single-payer universal healthcare

Thanks for all you do! 


Wed, Nov. 8


Second Wednesday Speaker Series: Health Equity for Immigrants
with Sasha Wasserstrom
7:00 p.m.

RSVP here

Thurs, Nov. 9  

UHCC Finance Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC)
2-4:00 p.m.

Meeting link and materials here

Tue, Nov. 14


One Payer States Office Hours
Focused on bringing young people into the single-payer movement.
5:00 p.m.


Wed, Nov. 15


PNHP WA: National Annual Meeting Report
7:00 p.m.

Check PNHP Washington website for details

Fri, Nov. 17


One Payer States General Meeting
9:00 a.m.

Check website

Thurs, Nov. 30


Senate Health & Long Term Care Work Session on OR/WA Universal Health Care work
10:30 a.m.

To view the meeting click on the day

In-person: J. A. Cherberg Building, hearing room 4, Olympia WA

Mon, Dec. 4


Dr. Claudia Fegan, “Is Medicare Advantage Preying on People of Color?”
5:00 p.m.


Wed, Dec. 13


Health Care is a Human Right General Meeting
5:15 p.m.



Please support our work.


 Editor: Consuelo Echeverria ★ Graphics & Communications Specialist: Sydnie Jones 
★ Health News: Rich Lague  & Cris Currie  
  President: Ronnie Shure ★  

Health Care for All-WA

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