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September 2021 e.Bulletin

Hello! The e-bulletin took a little summer vacay. We hope our readers had a safe, healthy, and restorative summer. Let’s energize each other this fall with renewed momentum to learn, connect, and take action to make publicly funded and administered state-based health care for everyone a reality in Washington state.  

Today’s Quote

“Often, drug companies raise prices on life-sustaining products simply because they can.” --Drew Gattine, National Academy for State Health Policy


ICYMI: Recaps and links to our recent 2nd Wednesday Speaker Series monthly webinars
Action Alerts
Health Care News and Commentary
Upcoming Events

Gary Goldbaum, MD, MPH,  moderator, and Senator Karen Keiser

HCFA-WA’s “2nd Wednesday Speaker Series” is going strong! Our one-hour webinars over Zoom have proven to be a big hit, with excellent attendance and informative presentations, followed by great Q & A sessions. This series amplifies important voices and “movers and shakers” in health care, to inform us about challenges and opportunities in Washington state. This is an ongoing series, occurring the second Wednesday of every month. Tune in live for the next one on October 13, at 7 p.m.! The speakers and topic to be announced. 

ICYMI, here’s a roundup of some of our recent 1-hour webinar events!

September 8: Lowering Prescription Drug Prices in Washington State 

Policies to control high prescription drug prices have been proposed at the federal level, but very little effective action has been taken.(But now there’s an opportunity, with the #BuildBackBetter Reconciliation Package being debated right now! See below for ACTION you can take to get Congress to negotiate drug prices for Medicare!) Dozens of states have decided that their residents can no longer wait for Congress, and they’ve begun moving the needle on drug prices. Washington state is doing this on a number of fronts, all the while setting up infrastructure that paves the way for publicly funded and administered health care.

At our September 8 event, HCFA-WA was fortunate to have three state pharmacy leaders speak and answer questions about making prescriptions affordable and accessible for Washingtonians.

We heard from Donna Sullivan, the Chief Pharmacy Officer of the Health Care Authority (HCA), Jenny Arnold, Chief Executive Officer of the Washington State Pharmacy Association, and Janel Jorgenson from the Department of Health’s Office of Immunization.  The speakers then engaged in a great Q & A session, kicked off by questions from Senator Karen Keiser (LD 33).

Watch the video here, or read on for a recap. 

June 9: 2020/21 Session Legislative Recap

After another long summer of COVID-19, HCFA-WA thought to remind Washingtonians of the incredible health care victories in the 2020/21 session. In June, HCFA-WA hosted four health care champions to share their insights on this group of significant legislation. Highlights include Senator Emily Randall (LD 26) on SB 5399, as well as reintroducing SB 5142 in 2021/22. Senator Keiser on health equity zones with SB 5052, as well as her plans to reintroduce the prescription drug affordability bill, SB 6088. Senator David Frockt (LD 46) shared why SB 5377 is essential to increase the affordability of standardized plans on the individual market. Rep. Nicole Macri (LD 43), who championed  HB 1272, is looking to reintroduce Medicaid look-alike coverage for non-eligible immigrants, including undocumented residents of our state. These are just some of the highlights. Watch the full video here.

August 11: Tribal Sovereignty and Indian Health Care

We are very excited to share highlights of the presentation by Vicki Lowe, the Executive Director of the American Indian Health Commission of Washington State. Ms. Lowe discussed why it is important to include American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) voices in conversations about universal health care. This community lives with high rates of poverty and cultural, historical, and intergenerational trauma. These health disparities result in 75% of deaths being violent (unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide) for AIs/ANs in their 20s (Resnick et al., 1997). Rates of substance abuse disorders and other mental health disorders, particularly depression, are also elevated (Beals, et al, 2001). 

Ms. Lowe discussed the importance of embedding a community-led health care approach within any universal health care model so that these culturally specific issues can be overcome. She spoke of the validity of this approach with the success of the 1997 federally funded Special Diabetes Program for Indians. When this program was developed, tribal leaders were asked for input. Ms. Lowe stressed that any model must strengthen protective factors such as community, culture, and spirituality so that AI/AN communities can thrive. Watch the full video here.

Amplifying Health Care is a Human Right- WA calls to action!

Call Congress to require drug price negotiation for Medicare and use the savings to expand coverage!

Congressional Action:  Call Pelosi, Pallone, & Neal This Week 

These are the 3 leaders in the House with the greatest ability to advance health care gains in the #BuildBackBetter Reconciliation package. They need to hear from you!

Restore Public Benefits to Immigrants

Organizations Can Sign-on to Support Rep. Jayapal's New Lift the BAR Bill

In 1996, Congress passed restrictive welfare and immigration legislation that created unnecessary barriers, including an arbitrary five-year waiting period that delays access to critical benefits (Medicaid, CHIP, SNAP, and more) for lawfully present immigrants. These current restrictions interfere with the ability of immigrants to secure critical benefits that their tax dollars support. Rep. Jayapal's bill would restore the previous immigrant benefits.

There is no justice for families of color without justice for immigrant families. As the pandemic drags on, there is no more important moment to fix this injustice. Use this form from Rep. Jayapal's office for organizational endorsements. Organizations can also sign this letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sponsored by Protect Immigrant Families.

Sat., Oct 2nd, National Women's March to Defend Reproductive Rights. Details TBD.

In response to the Texas law essentially banning abortion, we must DEFEND our Reproductive Rights. The Women's March organization is calling for a Mass Mobilization Event in all 50 States on October 2, 2021. Pledge to march now and add it to your calendar. If you can, sign up to help organize a march. We will share details as they become available.



Sat, Sept. 18


The Pathway to Washington's Future Health care System: Conversation with Key Decision Makers, 5:00 - 7:00 PM Pacific by Zoom
5 pm Pacific
Register here

The panel hosted by the Alliance for a Healthy Washington will explore the future of Washington State's health care system. Confirmed panelists include: Dr. Ben Danielson - UW School of Medicine and former Medical Director, Odessa Brown Children's Clinic; Vicki Lowe - Executive Director, the American Indian Health Commission; Carmen Mendez - Senior Manager for Hunger Response, Northwest Harvest and former City of Yakima Councilmember; Bob Marsalli- CEO, WA Association for Community Health; and Washington State Rep. Nicole Macri

Tues, Oct. 12


AAUW WA Health Matters Webinars
7 pm Pacific

Reproductive Justice and Women’s Empowerment - FB event link

Wed, Oct. 13


2nd Wednesday Speaker Series by HCFA WA
7 pm Pacific
Zoom registration and Topic TBA

Tues, Nov. 9


AAUW WA Health Matters Webinars
7 pm Pacific

Improving Access to care in Washington State - FB Event link

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

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

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