Washington’s April unemployment rate was near 15%. About 273,000 people across Washington lost their coverage in five weeks Across the United States, more than 43 million Americans lost their jobs, and 27 million of those lost their health insurance as well. Those who remain on their existing health plans often find themselves with reduced incomes and unable to access health care due to high co-payments and deductibles. Some who can’t afford health insurance simply go without. And, these burdens are falling disproportionately and inequitably on Black, Hispanic and Native Americans.
For many years, Health Care for All-Washington has focused on achieving state-based single-payer healthcare. In the past few years, together with our allies, we have successfully passed several bills and are taking important steps toward universal health care for our state. But that was before the COVID-19 pandemic. In the midst of our current economic and healthcare crisis, we need bold action now. And, when state budgets are decimated by the pandemic, with an estimated $8.8 billion shortfall here in Washington, that means action at the Federal level.
Health Care for All-Washington strongly supports the HCEGA. Joined by 71 other grassroots, labor union, and community organizations who signed on to it, we recently sent a letter to the entire Washington Congressional delegation, urging them to support and co-sponsor the HCEGA, HR 6906 & S 3790. We also sent a copy of the letter to Gov. Jay Inslee, noting that the HCEGA would provide immediate health care access to everyone in the U.S. without further straining state budgets, and urging his support of the Act, both with our Congressional delegation and with other members of the National Governors Association.
We greatly appreciate the support of these organizations and our allies in the Health Care is a Human Right-WA Campaign, who collaborated on this project.
You can view the letter and list of the sign-on organizations here.
The HCEGA is the only healthcare proposal in Congress that adequately responds to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The HCEGA would:
• take effect immediately and remain in force until a coronavirus vaccine is approved and widely available to the public.
• empower Medicare to cover all medical costs for the uninsured and all out-of-pocket expenses for those with insurance, including diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
• ensure that everyone is able to get the health care they need, regardless of their income, employment or immigration status.
Your Members of Congress and Senators need to hear from you! Please take action and tell them to support and consider co-sponsoring the HCEGA. Find your legislators here. Copy and paste this sample text into your own email:
Dear Rep. ______ /Senator ______
I urge you to support and co-sponsor the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act (HCEGA), HR 6906 & S 3790.
The HCEGA is the most important health care proposal in Congress to respond to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Once enacted, the HCEGA would
- remove cost barriers to health care regardless of income, employment, or immigration status during the pandemic
- leave existing private and public health plans in place, postponing the need to settle debates about how to achieve universal health care at the national or state level
The HCEGA is important to me because [your personal story of how this act would impact you and your family. Your story matters!]
Many Americans have lost or suffered reduced employment due to the COVID pandemic, and as a result lost health insurance. They find themselves in a coverage gap: not eligible for Medicaid, but priced out of ACA marketplace plans. Others with reduced income cannot afford cost sharing and deductibles even if they remain on their existing health plans. These burdens are falling disproportionately and inequitably on Black, Hispanic and Native American peoples.
The HCEGA is supported by major Washington labor unions and community organizations, including SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, the Washington State Nurses Association, NAACP Seattle King County, NAMI Washington, and the League of Women Voters of WA.
Other health care proposals such as those in the HEROES Act (HR 6800) contain important protections, but they fail to provide affordable health care to everyone in our country and do not address health inequities related to disproportionately higher uninsured rates among people of color. Until we have an effective vaccine for COVID-19, no one’s health is secure while others have no health care access and may be spreading the infection.
Please support and consider co-sponsoring the Health Care Emergency Guarantee Act, a proposal that will provide affordable health care to everybody during the pandemic.
As always, we greatly appreciate your support of our work to bring everybody the health care they need when they need it.