Celebrating Two Big Healthcare Wins for Washington!
by Marcia Stedman, HCFA-WA President
As 2021 begins and pandemic restrictions continue into their second year, I would like to take a moment to celebrate two big healthcare wins for Washington residents and the role that HCFA-WA played in achieving them: the $100 insulin copay cap, and the release of the Final Report of the Universal Health Care Work Group (UHCWG). HCFAWA worked with our Health Care Champions in the Legislature and others to draft, amend, and pass both measures.
The $100 insulin copay cap, now in effect through 2022, provides immediate relief for those with insurance who depend on this life-saving drug. HCFA-WA brainstormed and researched the original proposal, worked with key legislators to draft several bills, testified at numerous public hearings, found strong allies, lobbied robustly, and saw ESSB 2662 pass with overwhelming bipartisan support.
The second achievement is the release of the UHC WG Final Report in mid-January. Here again, HCFA-WA was instrumental in drafting the bill (ESSB 5822), strengthening it by adding key members to the Work Group (including 6 HCFA-WA members), and lobbying extensively, together with our organizational allies, for its passage through the Senate and the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, and funding in the House budget (HB 1109). Once the Work Group was up and running, we alerted supporters to the public comment procedures and published timely summaries of each meeting’s deliberations – viewable in the “blog” section on our website. After 16 months and 9 meetings, the economic studies clearly show that a publicly funded and administered healthcare system would provide statewide healthcare savings of more than $2.4 billion in the first year, and $5.6 billion in each subsequent year, while also providing affordable, high-quality, comprehensive healthcare to all state residents. Three-fourths of the Work Group members are on record in favor of such a system. You can view the full report and reports of each Work Group meeting here.
Look for more legislation to be introduced this session to carry forward the recommendations of the UHC Work Group and provide additional relief from high pharmaceutical drug prices.
Of course, none of this would have been possible without you, our dedicated members and volunteers, our highly effective contract lobbyist, our part-time Communications Specialist, and your generous financial support. To all who contributed to our efforts throughout the year and during our special end-of-year appeal, thank you from the bottom of our hearts! If you missed our call, there is still time tocontribute via our Donation page.
Have more time than money? Are you passionate about single-payer? Volunteer with us!
We’re eager to talk with you!