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.
A surprising variety of organizations back the bill, including Molina Healthcare of Washington (health insurance companies aren't supposed to like single-payer!), Doctors for America, Planned Parenthood, the entire City of Seattle, the Washington State Council of Firefighters, the American Indian Health Commission, the Teamsters Joint Council No. 28, and many more.
A few Republicans have even nodded in support of the bill, and not apparently disingenuously. When the bill passed out of the House's Health and Wellness committee last week, Rep. Paul Harris (R-Vancouver) said, "It always bothers me to continue to vote 'no' on these issues and it will continue to bother me until I see something...that is affordable, and that will cover many individuals," he said, adding that health care coverage was his second largest expense as an employer. "I look forward to that dialogue."
Rep. Mike Steele supported the bill when it passed out of the House Appropriations on Monday.
With two House Republicans, a health insurance company, and a whole mess of unions supporting the bill, the likelihood of House Democrats quickly passing this one through to the governor seems high. After all, funding a study to better understand a policy that has broad, bipartisan support and that served as a rallying cry for 2018's blue wave is the least lawmakers could be doing in this arena at the moment.
That's right, nothing in recent memory leads me to believe that House Democrats will [mess] this one up due to cowardice or ignorance of their district's needs. Seems like this one will sail through. No reason at all to pretend like the bill doesn't exist, or to water it down as a proviso in the budget. I mean, you'd have to be a real big dummy to look at our current health care system--with its unconscionable inequities and its massive costs--and not want to study a way to fix it? Right?
WA is One Floor Vote Away from a Pathway to Universal Healthcare
"....All of these threads of the health care delivery ecosystem come together in SB 5822, which
would help Washington state map a deliberate path towards a system for universal health care
Like the planned investments in our state’s behavioral health system, 5822 would involve an
intensive stakeholder process and rigorous actuarial analyses to understand the impacts,
outcomes, and savings related to a state-wide, or regionally-based program through a publicly
financed, privately delivered health care system for all residents.
Further, the cost of this effort amounts to little more than nine one millionths of the total state
budget – a drop in the bucket when you consider the possible costs related to adverse
consequences that could stem from taking the wrong action at this crucial moment in our state’s
health care journey.
While the state legislature allocated funding in 2018 to study up to 10 different international
health care delivery systems, the passage of SB 5822 would allow Washington to capitalize on
that momentum and continue to innovate in its approach to health care policy-making around
much needed reforms.
SB 5822 has passed both House and Senate committees with unprecedented bi-partisan
support, and we urge leadership to bring the bill to the floor to secure final passage. These
critical few weeks 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.
For all Washingtonians, it’s vital that legislators take the next step towards securing a reliable
system for universal health care coverage."