Plenty to Do in '22
by Ronnie Shure, President
It’s summertime, and I thought that living was supposed to be easy. Yet there is lots of action on healthcare reform this summer. Our healthcare allies are dealing with really hot national issues. Our Health Care Authority is swimming in a sea of boards, commissions, and work groups that are changing the face of health care in our state. Candidates in midterm elections are talking about the moral values that will pave the road ahead. The pesky COVID-19 virus keeps mutating and leaving destruction in its wake. The pathway to universal health care will be jam-packed this summer.
National issues range from a devastating Supreme Court decision on abortion rights to threats to Medicare from profits being offered to third-party middlemen. We are strongly supporting efforts by allies like the Health Care is a Human Right coalition, Physicians for a National Health Program Washington, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, and a list of organizations that goes on and on. Healthcare advocates are taking to the streets across the nation to stand up for our rights. There is no rest for the weary this summer.
As the public health emergency from COVID-19 comes to an end, our state agencies have been able look ahead to reforms in our healthcare system. The Universal Health Care Commission has set its eyes on the real issues that act as barriers to the pathway to equitable, high quality, sustainable, affordable, publicly funded, publicly and privately delivered health care for all Washington residents. The Health Care Cost Transparency Board is setting benchmarks and addressing the underlying causes of our expensive system. The Washington Insulin Work Group has just kicked off their efforts to find solutions to the life-threatening costs of insulin and diabetic supplies. The Prescription Drug Affordability Board is waiting in the shadows to jump out into the bright lights later this summer. Efforts are being developed by state agencies who are responding to the bill to produce, distribute, and purchase generic prescription drugs and biosimilar insulins. We can support the Washington State Health Care Authority by participating in the meetings of these boards, commissions, and work groups to add our voices.
Democracy is not a spectator support. We can make sure that the candidates for the midterm elections address the policies that impact our health. We can ask each of them to support universal health care. We must keep our moral values in the front-and-center of the upcoming elections.
Of course, we must also take advantage of the lazy, hazy days of summer to rejuvenate ourselves … just keep in mind that there is plenty to do in ’22.