Blog

Dr. Paula Lantsberger on why we need health care for all NOW

"No one should sacrifice their life so that their family doesn't become homeless and bankrupt from the cost of medical care." 

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The Role of Health Care Centers in Medicare for All

By Richard Kovar, MD - Community Clinic Physician

Editor's Note: According to the Washington Association of Community Health, community and migrant health centers in Washington serve more than 1,092,000 residents at over 300 clinic sites, offering primary, preventive and supportive health services. These clinics are directed by local consumers and respond to the needs of the community, serving all without regard to economic or insurance status.

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As the US. continues to struggle with healthcare reform, it is vitally important to prioritize the central role of our nations community health centers (otherwise known as Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and ensure they are not weakened in the process. As the African expression goes, “when elephants dance, the grass gets trampled." The debate regarding Medicare For All brings to the surface the simmering question of whether the FQHCs are a central part of the solution or a 50-year old finger in the dike. I believe it is strongly the former and there must be a win-win going forward.

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Victory! The Pathway to Universal Health Care Work Group Funded

 

> Note: To see the amendments HCFA-WA fought for and won, scroll down.

Thanks to your full court press last week, the Pathway to Universal Health Group Work Group is becoming a reality. There is now funding for the work group in the state budget that is on the Governor's desk to sign. Work continues with the Governor's office to issue an additional Executive Order for the work group. 

The path to the Pathway was dramatic and full of twists and turns, but with perseverance, together we made it happen.

We also achieved some other very important wins that will serve us well moving forward:

★ We formed a tight-knit coalition with our allies. Working together we were able to resurrect the Pathway bill in the nick of time at the Universal Health Care Forum in January.

★ We presented crucial amendments to SB 5822 (see below) that were incorporated into the bill and remain in the budget proviso.

★ We forged strong relationships with legislators and legislative staff. We even garnered bi-partisan support for the bill in the House.

★ We testified several times and helped form compelling panels at the hearings.

★ We worked the legislative process.  We persevered when the Pathway bill SB 5822 stalled in House Rules, the final hurdle for passage.

★ We were able to call on our supporters to let their voices be heard at each stage of the bill's advancement.

All of this will be fruitful moving forward as we continue to build the coalition with our supporters and allies and work to achieve true universal health care for Washingtonians.

Thanks to you, the momentum for single-payer is growing!

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Action Alert ★ We're So Close! Your Pressure is Needed Now

We are in the last couple of minutes of a tied championship game -- anything could happen. We cannot let up. We're so close!

We are pursuing all available avenues for making the elements of the Pathway to Universal Health Care bill, SB 5822, a reality in whatever form it takes. The legislators are still duking it out, so we need to continue to pressure the House and now the Executive branch as well. Our best option now is a budget proviso and/or an Executive Order from the Governor.

Update: It would be super helpful for small business owners, doctors, nurses, pharmacists to email today! Especially our friends in Eastern Washington.

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Action Alert: The Pathway Bill is a Floor Vote Away from the Governor's Desk!

 

If you're following the journey of SB 5822: A Pathway to Universal Healthcare, you know it's making history: it is the first bill in Washington state history to declare healthcare a human right. It has sailed through the Senate, out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and the Appropriations Committee. That's history-making by itself - but this bill also has bi-partisan support!

Now, SB 5822 sits in the House Rules Committee, where it is just one floor vote away from landing on the Governor’s desk.

This is why this action - five minutes, tops - is so important.

 

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Latest Press on the Pathway Bill

To get you fired up about what's happening in Olympia, we are sharing the latest press on the Pathway bill. From now until April 28th "will define our state’s health care destiny for a generation to come, and we can’t afford to miss this opportunity to move forward."

What Can You Do Now? See this post on our House Rules Committee Action Alert: Pathway Bill is a Floor Vote Away from the Governor's Desk.

"The Pathway to Universal Health Care Bill Is Passing with Bipartisan Support, The Stranger | April 10, 2019
by Rich Smith

Over the last few days a bill that will put Washington state on the pathway to implementing a universal health care system passed out of two committees ~with bipartisan support~ and is now sitting in the Rules committee, just waiting to be pulled to the floor by any ol' House Speaker named Frank Chopp.

The bill, SB 5822, would convene a workgroup to study and recommend to the Legislature various forms of state-based single-payer health care. It would also look at forming a regional single-payer system encompassing the states of Washington, Oregon, California, and Hawaii. If passed in its current form, the bill would also codify into state law the notion that health care is a human right. Which is cool.

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The Pathway Bill, SB 5822, Passes Out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee!

Next Stop: Appropriations

Thanks to your sustained efforts, we are thrilled to announce that SB 5822, the Pathway to Universal Health Care bill, passed out of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee -- with our amendments -- by a vote of 10 in favor, and 3 opposed. Watch the powerful testimony, including testimony from HCFA-WA president Marcia Stedman (SB 5822 testimony starts at 1:28:00; Marcia's testimony begins 1:32:55). 

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Healthcare Debt is a Pot of Gold for Debt Collectors. Our Supporter Has a Suggestion

What happens when patients can't pay their health care bills? Eventually, patients are sent to debt collection and are given two choices: pay up, or go into debt. This Seattle Times article reports that Medical Debt Collection is so lucrative that there is little incentive anymore to work out payment plans.

How big a business? Last year, Americans borrowed $88 Billion to pay for health care expenses, The New York Times reports.

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Let’s Take Health Care Off the Bargaining Table

Unions do not serve their members well by trying to circle the wagons around an unsustainable model of employment-based health care. That is why the AFL-CIO, the Washington State Labor Council, and dozens of unions have called for a social insurance model like Medicare for All.  The time has come to take health care off the bargaining table by making it a right for all Americans.

- Larry Brown, President of the Washington State Labor Council

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2SSB5822 Pathway to Universal Healthcare Voted out of Senate!

On Thursday March 14, 2SSB5822 The Pathway to Universal Healthcare went to the Senate for debate and vote - and passed 28-21! You can watch the debate and vote here.

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