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Universal Health Care Commission Meeting 8: Three Important Actions, Four Main Takeaways

By Marcia Stedman 

Three Actions

  1.     Voted to approve their Nov. 1st Baseline Report to the Legislature
  2.     Authorized the Financial Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) application process
  3.     Discussed their Work Plan for next year.

Four Main Takeaways:

  1. Having approved their Baseline Report to the Legislature, the Commission is ready to move to the “fun” part of their work: actually designing a universal health care system for Washington.   Rep. Schmick’s “no” vote prevented unanimous approval, but as he explained, it was a statement of his frustration at the slow pace of the Commission’s work: “This Report goes no farther than the Report of the preceding Universal Health Care Work Group on which I served for two years.”   We understand.  And we encourage the Commission to leverage the excellent work already done by its predecessor, the Universal Health Care Work Group. 

  2. The Financial Technical Advisory Committee (FTAC) will include two positions reserved for interested Commission members, providing opportunities for real-time interaction between the two bodies.

  3. The Commission needs more funding so that it may adequately support the new FTAC Committee’s scope of work.  Without funding beyond this year’s 1 FTE position, each body will meet only 6 times next year.  This is in stark contrast to Oregon’s Joint Task Force on Universal Health Care, which was supported by 5 staff positions. We will request funding to  adequately support the Commission’s work.

  4. The Commission’s next meetings will be devoted to developing a vision and a common understanding of their end goal, which has been a key request of advocates throughout the Commission’s first year.  They also pledged to ensure that any interim steps they recommend will lead toward that end goal, and to learn from the work of other states such as Oregon.  They could also consider HCFA-WA’s Washington Health Security Trust bill as a possible framework for the system design.

Additional notes on the meeting include: 

Commissioner Jane Beyer’s suggestion for how to think about the vision and implementation of a universal health care system should be supported at the next meeting. Her idea is, for example when discussing Eligibility,  the topic be framed by asking the following: 

  • What can we learn from other states who have tried to implement universal health care–  

    • OR, CA both have reports; MD has had success while Vermont failed 

  • What are the current programs in WA state - such as PEBB and Cascade Care 

  • Equity - addressing Social Determinants of Health 

  • What current efforts provide foundational support for universal health care, e.g., the Total Cost of Insulin Work Group or the Health Care Cost Transparency Board

Kudos to the Commission for meeting the requirements mandated by the Legislature!  We greatly appreciate their work and look forward to more robust discussions and decisions in the coming years.

At their next meeting on Dec. 15th the Commission will establish the Charter for the FTAC and continue to define their 2023 Work Plan.


Watch the Oct. 13th meeting recording

Read the meeting materials (10/13/2022)

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