Health Equity, the Underinsured, and Advantages of Single-Payer

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Takeaways from First Universal Health Care Work Group

What You Can Do: Watch the TVW recording of the first UHC Work Group meeting. Read the Budget Proviso that funded the Work Group, and posted meeting materials

Provide public comment by Friday, September 27 at 5 pm.

Next meeting: November 1, 2019 in Olympia.  More Meetings here.


We are excited to report that the first Universal Health Care Work Group met last Friday in Olympia. Health Care is a Human Right-WA has three Steering Committee members on the 33 member UHC Work Group: Sybill Hyppolite (SEIU 1199), Bevin McLeod (Alliance for a Healthy Washington) and Kelly Powers (Exchange Consumer). It was energizing to see so many medical, community and labor allies from around the state on the committee and in the audience.

Rep. Nicole Macri (LD-43) , Senators John Braun (LD-20) and Emily Randall (LD -26) attended the meeting. Rep. Schmick (LD-9) was not in attendance.

After discussing the Work Group’s directive from the legislature in the Budget Proviso, there were two presentations: Health Coverage in Washington State and the Washington State Institute of Public Policy (WSIPP) Studies, Single-Payer & Universal Health Care Systems.

Here are key takeaways from Kelly Powers, Washington Health Benefits Exchange Consumer (the ACA) serving on the Universal Health Care Work Group & representing Health Care for All – WA on the HCHR-WA Steering Committee:

1) Work Group members offered the following additional Single-Payer advantages that were not presented during the WSIPP presentation:

  • Controls costs by negotiating reimbursement rates and drug prices
  • Alleviates the high costs of delayed health care
  • Reduces the need for expensive legal action to recover medical costs
  • Ends medical debt
  • Ends job lock

2) Information about underinsured Washingtonians, and the impact of health care expenses on the family budget was lacking. We believe the Work Group members need this information to inform our work.

3) There are important things to learn from initiatives around the state, such as Accountable Communities of Health and tribal health systems.

4) Several Work Group members brought up health equity and affordability. Note: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation says, “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.”

Members encouraged the Work Group to be culturally attuned.

5) Public testimony urged the Work Group to look at the Basic Health Plan work in the 1990s to see what could be learned and used.

An oncologist from Spokane also gave public testimony that patients and doctors agree our health care system is broken.

6) The Work Group needs to hear from you! We need more voices of people struggling with current health care system

All in all, it was a solid start at laying out the issues and coming together to work through the challenges.

updated Sept 27, 2019

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