Legislative Wrap Up: Our Work Together Sets the Table for 2019
Our initial goal for this year's short 60-day session was to get one hearing. We did that -- plus, we got a second hearing in the House.
Our Senate hearing saw over 80 people sign on in favor of our bill, and so many people showed up in support that there wasn't room for everyone. The bill came within one vote of being voted out of committee.
At our House hearing we testified about work at the Federal level to keep federal dollars flowing to states that choose to move forward with their own systems, and the strong relationships we're building with our congressional delegates, state legislators, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, Labor, and other coalition partners critical to enacting the Washington Health Security Trust (WHST).
We worked with the legislature to allocate funding for research on a single payer health care system in WA State to be completed by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy by December. This is the first time our State Legislature has ever funded research on single payer to this magnitude, and it will inform us as we sit down to redraft our bill for next legislative session in 2019.
We are ready to spring forward with renewed energy and hope for getting this done next year!
To keep this amazing momentum going, we need your support.
We want to hire more field organizers to spread our message, better educate citizens, and lobby legislators. Both of these activities will make the WHST more likely to be enacted and achieve universal coverage for Washingtonians. Our legislative and lobbying efforts are funded by the 501(c)4 branch of our organization. Donations to the 501(c)4 are not tax deductible.
Washingtonians are Ready for the WHST!
This spring and summer, HCFA-WA will fan across the state to converse with people about the state of healthcare and consider how universal coverage could bring much-needed relief to Washingtonians by bringing down costs and improving coverage.
Last week fifty people attended a League of Women Voters of Pullman Legislative Wrap Up and Q&A session (first image) with HCFA-WA Field Director Jessa Lewis. It was a diverse group with the bulk of the questions about rising costs, how to pay for coverage for everyone, and concerns over what would be covered.
Over 200 people showed up for a health fair in Metaline Falls in rural Pend Oreille County. We gave two presentations at the historic Cutter Theatre and had a booth. People were eager to find health care cost solutions and concerned over keeping their rural hospitals open. People in the area have to drive 60 miles to one of two hospitals in opposite directions. Conversations with our booth neighbor, Life Flight (helicopter ambulance), led to concerns that they already see layoffs at rural hospitals as a result of rising healthcare costs.
In November, Doug Nadvornick, KPBX Inland Journal host on Spokane Public Radio, sat down with HCFA members Lynnette Vehrs, Denny Delwo (second image), Cris Currie and Dan Shaffer. They discussed the advantages of a single payer healthcare system. Listen to a condensed version of that program here.
Volunteer with Us!
Health Care For All - WA needs volunteers going into the spring to help educate others about the need for single payer health care and what HCFA-WA has to offer to Washingtonians. We need speakers willing to share their experiences and tabling hosts for community and civic groups and fundraisers. As summer comes along, we can add farmers market booths, fairs, festivals, and parades to increase visibility and knowledge in each of our communities.
The HCFA-WA movement is getting larger and continuing to grow. We are now in need of a volunteer assistant bookkeeper who is experienced with non-profit organizations to work with our Treasurer.
If you are interested in volunteering or learning more about volunteering, contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Erica Nealious-Grall at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your legislative district (you can find it here) and what type of volunteering you're interested in. You can also see Erica at the Ballard Meaningful Movie Night on March 25th for the 3:00 pm showing of Now Is the Time - Healthcare for Everybody.
News You Can Use
This month, Rich Lague suggests:
HR 676, The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act has a new lead sponsor: longtime single payer advocate US Representative Keith Ellison.
A $17,850 urine test: Kaiser Health News and NPR are asking people to send in their most off-the-charts-outrageous medical bills and they highlight one a month. We should all send in our most outrageous healthcare bills to the Bill of the Month Club. Maybe they will select someone from Washington State!
You may have heard about a new proposal for a national alternative to a single payer system put forth by The Center for American Progress [CAP] called Medicare Extra for All. PNHP's Don McCanne explains why this is an unworkable idea meant to co-opt Medicare for All. In Margaret Flowers' Health Over Profit post she says "... [CAP] unveiled a new healthcare proposal designed to confuse supporters of Medicare for All and protect private health insurance profits."
Tues March 20: HCFA-WA on Spokane Public Radio, KPBX, Health Forum, Living in the Healthcare Maze
(6:30-8:30 pm, Spokane City Hall)
Wed March 21: PNHPWW Monthly Meeting - The I-1600 Initiative Campaign
(7:30pm, Swedish Medical Center/Cherry Hill Campus, James Conference Center, Room A, Seattle)
Sun March 25: Sustainable Ballard's Meaningful Movies - Fix It movie followed by
a Next Steps for Universal Health Care in Washington discussion
(5:30 pm, Royal Drummer Cafe in Ballard, 6420 24th Ave NW, Seattle)
Tues March 27: West Seattle Town Hall with US Rep. Pramila Jayapal
(6:00 pm, The Hall at Fauntleroy, 9131 California Ave SW, Seattle)
Wed March 29: Edmonds Town Hall with US Rep. Pramila Jayapal
(5:30 pm, Edmonds Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave, Edmonds)
Wear your HCFA-WA swag and come with your prepared questions, and speak up! Ask her about the status of her legislation about health care for all.
Our legislative efforts are underscored by the passion of constituents, and yours let Olympia know that Washington wants single payer healthcare, and they want it through our bills. We are making exciting, unprecedented progress. Thank you again for your support.