February 2020 Legislative Update!

This legislative session has been a cascade (pun possibly intended) of health care legislation moving through committees.  The floodgates have opened, Health Care for All-Washington is here for it, and we are seeing fantastic results! We are so excited!

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February 2020 UHC Work Group - Developing the Criteria for Assessing Universal Health Care Models

Keep up the good work providing public comments! Thanks to all who shared their thoughts with the Universal Health Care Work Group. You doubled the number of comments for the December meeting. Listen to the February meeting and comment here. Let’s increase it again!

Please add the next UHC Work Group Meeting to your calendar. It will be April 22nd, 1-5 pm, in Seattle, location TBD. The Work Group needs to hear about your struggles to afford health insurance and health care in Washington state. Let’s be sure they know that Washingtonians are very interested in the Work Group and want it to make recommendations that could substantially improve our health care. When we get closer, go the Work Group website for the agenda, meeting materials, and meeting location detail.

OK, now on to the recap of the February Meeting attended by HCFA-WA and Work Group members Denny Dellwo, Kelly Powers, Ronnie Shure, and Lynnette Vehrs.  

Do you know how there are transitional scenes or episodes in a play or tv series? They are necessary to move along the plot but aren’t the most dramatic moments. Well, this third meeting was very much in that vein. We had work to do.

Our primary task was to develop the assessment criteria we will use to compare health care models we are considering for further study. Prior to the meeting, we were provided with a detailed list of potential assessment criteria to respond to.

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Making Insulin More Affordable for Washingtonians Now

Update January 22, 2020: Two insulin cost bills Health Care for All Washington worked to get introduced and testified for cleared the first legislative hurdle and unanimously passed the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee! HCFA-WA board members Marcia Stedman, Sherry Weinberg, and Ronnie Shure, and our amazing lobbyist Cindi Laws provided testimony at the hearing, in support of the bills.

Check out the video here. Click here to jump to HCFA-WA testimony on SB 6087 - don't miss the exchange between Sen. Rivers and Ronnie! Click here to see Cindi's testimony on SB 6113.

We're excited to see this demonstration of bipartisan support, proving that people can work together to address health care.

Thanks to all who testified or contacted committee members in support. Your grassroots support matters!

Next stop: The bills will now move to the Senate Ways and Means Committee on January 29.

The Ways & Means Committee is responsible for determining the financial impact of proposed bills, such as how much they will cost to set up and administer. Experts will testify to those points, but the committee needs to hear from you as well.

The reason these bills are so important and have such strong bipartisan support is the high cost of insulin. This impacts all of us, whether individually or as members of the broader society.

Your personal story about insulin affordability and its impact on your life will shine a light on the urgent need for these bills. It will be crucial to assuring that the Committee understands the need for these bills and votes to pass them.

★★★Email the Senate Ways and Means Committee in support of these bills here★★★

Thank you - and please join us at the hearing this Wednesday!

Ways & Means
1/29/2020, 3:30 PM
Senate Hearing Rm 4
J.A. Cherberg Building
304 15th Ave SW
Olympia, WA 98501


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Are Any of Your Legislators Healthcare Committee Members?

The very first hurdle for our new bills and amendments will be passing them out of their respective Healthcare Committees.

If you are a committee member's constituent, your contacts with your legislator are SUPERSIZED. Your calls, emails, letters and bill comments are vital! To find your legislative district, go here and enter your address.

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Report on the December Universal Health Care Work Group Meeting

Whack-a-mole is No Longer Working to Keep Healthcare Affordable
If it is Not Affordable, it is not Accessible

The Work Group needs to hear from us! Watch here and Comment here. Public comments accepted until 5 pm, Monday, December 30. We encourage you to share your story about unaffordable health care.

Thank you to all who traveled to Olympia to testify!

Thank you to the HCFA-WA members serving on the Work Group: Dennis Dellwo, Pete McGough, Kelly Powers, Ronnie Shur, Lynette Vehrs, and Sherry Weinberg


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We're Ready for 2020! Annual Meeting Re-Cap

A packed room of supporters heard our panelists Ronnie Shure, HCFA-WA Vice President, Ken Fabert, MD, Health Care is a Human Right - Washington's Co-Chair David Loud, Aaron Katz from the UW School of Public Health and Raleigh Watts, Executive Director of Country Doctor Community Health Clinics. Nancy Amidei, Retired UW School of Social Work Faculty and tireless policy advocate, was the moderator for the panel. Items discussed included:

★ Results of the Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPP) report

★ Information on Federal legislation: HR 5010 State-Based Universal Health Care Act

★ Lessons learned from other countries' health systems

★ The importance of community-based health care clinics

State Representative Nicole Macri (D-43rd District) spoke about the successes of 2019, HCFA-WA's effectiveness getting wording in last years' legislation about universal healthcare coverage and agenda items for the short 2020 legislative session.

HCFA-WA was instrumental in creating and passing the legislation (SB 5822) that established the Universal Health Care Work Group, and worked to ensure funding for an econometric study was included. There are five HCFA-WA members on the Work Group: Denny Dellwo, Kelly Powers, Ronnie Shure, Lynnette Vehrs, and Sherry Weinberg.

HCFA-WA appreciates your support and depends on your donation to continue the fight to make healthcare and prescription drugs accessible and affordable for all. I hope you can help us to continue the progress we have already made!

Please include HCFA-WA in your annual giving. A monthly recurring donation is a high-impact way to sustain our work. ~ Marcia Stedman, President

Rep. Khanna Introduces HR 5010 "The State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2019"

Jump to Press Release

HR 5010 "The State-Based Universal Health Care Act (SBUHC) of 2019  is a landmark step toward empowering states to expand health coverage to every resident. Recognizing the unique position of American states to lead the push for universal health care, Rep. Ro Khanna's bill provides states with historic access to federal funding streams and regulatory flexibility necessary to implement and support affordable, universal health care plans."

THANK YOU to all HCFA-WA supporters who wrote Rep. Khanna earlier this summer, encouraging him to introduce the bill this fall. Together, Health Care for All - WA, One Payer States, and Health Care is a Human Right - WA have helped shepherd HR 5010 for consideration by the 116th Congress.

We are delighted that it has 15 original co-sponsors, including Reps. Pramila Jayapal and Adam Smith from Washington state, as well as many Progressive leaders: Rep. Jayapal (WA-07), Rep. Blumenauer (OR-03), Rep. Bonamici (OR-01), Rep. DeFazio (OR-4), Rep. Garcia (IL-04), Rep. Grijalva (AZ-03), Rep. Lee (CA-13), Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Rep. Omar (MN-05), Rep. Pocan (WI-02), Rep. Pressley (MA-07) Rep. Raskin (MD-08), Rep. Schakowsky (IL-09), Rep. Adam Smith (WA-09), Rep. Watson Coleman (NJ-12)

Our task now is to increase the support for the bill, starting in our state. Every chance we get, we need to be asking Rep. Suzan DelBene (CD-1), Denny Heck (CD-10), Derek Kilmer (CD-6), Rick Larsen (CD-2), and Kim Schrier (CD-8) to sign on to the bill and to support it.

Below is the Press Release from Rep. Ro Khanna's office announcing the introduction of the bill including remarks from HCFA-WA President Marcia Stedman and Vice-President Kelly Powers:

"Health Care for All-Washington salutes Rep. Khanna and his staff for their work on this important legislation that will ensure Washington state can achieve the innovative healthcare system that a solid majority of our state's residents need, want and deserve. Thank you!" Marcia Stedman, Health Care for All-Washington and Health Care is a Human Right-Washington.

"Rep. Khanna's State-Based Universal Care Act of 2019 is vital to getting state legislators to embrace state-based single-payer health care plans. Legislators need to be reassured that the federal waiver process will be streamlined and that federal health care funds will be available for state-based plans," said Kelly Powers, Health Care for All -- Washington.

As David Loud, Co-Lead of Health Care is a Human Right-WA explains, "Rep. Khanna's State-Based Universal Health Care Act of 2019 is an important asset to the movement for a universal national health plan and Medicare for All. There is strong movement in a number of states to achieve universal and affordable health care at the state level. As we work towards Medicare for All, the SBUHC Act will enable some states to transition to universal, single-payer systems that can serve as models for national Medicare for All. This will build our national movement and will help us win concrete victories along the way."

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Trump's Ghoulish Attacks on Medicare and Medicare for All

Pro-Corporation Rather Than Pro-Patient 
Republished from our friends at Health Care is a Human Right-WA plus a Section-by-Section Review

Trump’s most recent Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors is the worst kind of evil: the evil you don’t see coming. Disguised as an effort to “save Medicare,” it is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is a giveaway to corporate insurers who sell Medicare Advantage plans. Now, these corporate insurers have the green light to cherry-pick the healthiest of seniors and others relying on Medicare, and to use all of their tricks to avoid paying the bill — narrow networks, no out-of-state coverage, high deductibles, etc.

It is no surprise that Trump would go after Medicare. It is something he campaigned on, after all. But don’t be fooled by the spin! It is actually an attempt to weaken Medicare by allowing Big Business to compete with Medicare and charge more, and make a big profit while they’re at it — and it is subsidized by the majority of beneficiaries who are in traditional Medicare.

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Takeaways from the First Universal Health Care Work Group Meeting

Health Equity, the Underinsured, and the Advantages of Single-Payer

The inaugural Universal Health Care Work Group met last week and it was energizing to see so many medical, community, labor, and business allies from around the state on the committee and in the audience.

Health Care for All - WA  has three Board Members on the 33 member Universal Health Care Work Group:  Kelly Powers (Exchange Consumer), Ronnie Shure (Pharmacist) and Sherry Weinberg, MD (Pediatrician) and several supporters from HCFA-WA Spokane are also members of the Work Group: including Denny Dellwo (former legislator who chaired the WA State House of Representative Health Care Committee which achieved Basic Health Care in the 90s) and Lynnette Vehrs (RN, President of the Washington Nurses Association).

Rep. Nicole Macri (LD-43) , Senators John Braun (LD-20) and Emily Randall (LD-26) attended the meeting. Rep. Schmick (LD-9) was not in attendance. See the Work Group roster.

After discussing the Work Group’s directive from the legislature in the Budget Proviso, there were two presentations: Health Coverage in Washington State and the Washington State Institute of Public Policy (WSIPP) Reports on Single-Payer & Universal Health Care Systems. Watch the entire TVW recording of the meeting or the Health Coverage presentation is at 1:06:16 and the WSIPP Report begins at 2:21:00.

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Part 1 - WA Insurers Raise ACA Premiums <1%, but Trump Due to Inject Another Shock to Costs in 2020

Premiums are ratcheting up, up up like a roller coaster, but without any drops.

We read in the news every day that America’s healthcare crisis endangers people’s lives. Stories about people avoiding going to the doctor, cutting pills in half, buying insulin on the illegal market, waiting in the hospital parking lot to see if they avoid an ER visit, begging bystanders to not call the ambulance, losing insurance due to divorce or job loss. Americans are walking the tightrope between staying alive and staying financially solvent. 

We know that many of us fear an immediate financial threat. But what about the long-term impact on inter-generational financial stability and prosperity due to the cost of the insurance? 

Part One of this two-part series explores the impact of the increases that have happened in the individual market in Washington state since the inception of the Affordable Care Act in 2014, including a second round of Trump Shock to health care costs expected in 2020. Part Two will examine the economic realities families face, and *spoiler alert* we learn that if the premium increases continue, it won’t be long until ACA health care coverage will be unaffordable.


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