Building bridges between Oregon and Washington
by Ronnie Shure, President
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.” Healthcare leaders in Oregon and Washington are building bridges across the Columbia River to connect our victories that are leading to universal health care. We are building on the idea that the pathway to universal health care is through the states. We have built relationships with legislators and community members in each of our states to create meaningful steps toward a healthcare plan that brings EVERYBODY IN and leaves NOBODY OUT. We can be a beacon of light to lead the rest of the nation along this pathway.
Washington state has passed legislation to create a permanent Universal Health Care Commission. Oregon state has passed legislation to create a permanent Governance Board for their Universal Health Plan, and Oregon has passed a constitutional amendment to guarantee access to affordable health care. These actions required time and effort from each of the healthcare advocacy groups in our states. Each group has learned from the successes and the challenges that we meet along the way. We are working to share those lessons and build on our victories.
We took an important step on the pathway to universal health care by holding a summit in the middle of July. The leaders of advocacy groups in Washington and Oregon gathered at the Washington State Labor Council office in Seattle. We shared the key steps that provided success, the challenges that occurred along the way, and celebrated our victories. We know that we are all responsible to make sure that everybody has access to this basic human right of health care. We have started on the path, but we still have a long way to go.
After Labor Day, Representative Ro Khanna from California will reintroduce the State-based Universal Health Care Act. During the August recess of the US Congress, we will have an opportunity to convince our Congress members to sign on to the bill. Go to town hall meetings while your Congress members are in town. Go to small group meetings. Go to community events. Give them a phone call or send them an email. Ask them to support the pathway to universal health care through the states.
Health Care for All-Washington has been working closely with state legislators to lead our Commission to develop transitional solutions and the long-term goal of access to health care for everybody. Share this work with your member of Congress.