Category Archives: Work Group

Support Universal Health Care in WA? Deadline for Public Comment Nov. 11

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We’re sharing this Action Alert from Health Care for All – Washington, one of HCHR-WA’s sponsoring organizations. Read on for an excellent summary and call to action for the Universal Health Care Work Group:

At meeting #8, the last meeting before the Work Group sees the draft report from the actuaries, the struggle between what is needed and how to get there was painfully apparent. Some threw up their hands saying it can’t be done, others had a non-universal preferred pathway even while noting that Medicare is the only truly transparent system that keeps costs lower. Representatives from the health insurance and small business communities seemed genuinely bewildered at the idea of a health care delivery system other than the current one.

Once again, public comments opened the meeting, from 12 of the 42 who had signed up. To a person, they strongly supported Option A: Universal healthcare covering all residents with the benefits package and delivery system rules set by the state and the state contracting directly with providers.

A few highlights:

  • Hearing coverage is an essential health benefit. The speaker noted that she has spent $50,000 on 16 different hearing aids during her lifetime, and that 1,000,000 Washingtonians suffer hearing loss (1 in 3 by age 65)
  • Unions now solidly support universal health care, and 100,000 Washingtonians have been laid off due to COVID-19, losing employer-sponsored health insurance along with their jobs, according to HCFA-WA member David Loud
  • The Work Group needs to remember why they are here: to study and make recommendations to the legislature on how to create, implement, maintain, and fund a universal health care system that may include publicly funded, publicly administered, and publicly and privately delivered health care that is sustainable and affordable to all Washington residents.

Now it’s your turn. Let the Work Group members know why you also support Option A.

Provide public comment in this survey, by Wednesday, November 11 

Watch the full meeting

Watch a breakout session

We can’t get to universal health care without you!

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Submit Your Comments on the September Universal Health Care Work Group Meeting

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At the September meeting we got our first peek at how the fiscal study is shaping up by the Optumas Consulting team. We are eager for a lot more details on the assumptions that will be used in the study.

HCA and the Work Group are accepting public comments until this Wednesday, September 30th.

Links to watch the meeting are here.

Provide public comment by Wednesday, September 30th. Personal stories are important. We are particularly concerned about Washingtonians suffering the double-jeopardy of losing their job and their health insurance.

Please be sure to let them know if you support Option A:

Option A​: Universal Health Care (UHC) system with coverage managed by the state, with care provided by private and by public providers, clinics, and hospitals as it is now. All Washingtonians would be covered.

Option B​: UHC system designed by the state but outsourced to private insurance companies to manage, much as Medicaid is run now. It keeps the insurance middleman in the equation.

Option C​: The current system that strives incrementally to fill in the gaps and increases affordability for the underinsured, the uninsured, and the undocumented. It leaves us to continually scramble for ways to patch the system, offer equitable coverage, and make it affordable.

We believe Option A is an investment in our long term security:

The novel coronavirus pandemic, now coupled with crippling wildfires and smoke, has made it clear that we need a health care system that provides affordable health coverage for ​all​ Washingtonians. A universal system will assure that anyone who is concerned about their health, has COVID-related symptoms, or needs treatment will face no financial barriers to getting that care in a timely fashion. This will better protect us all in this public health crisis and the next. Such a system will also reduce the inequitable access that plagues our current system, where people from communities of color face greater barriers to getting the right care at the right time from the right provider. Just as Social Security was enacted in response to the Great Depression, these crises call for bold action, not austerity, and enacting a universal health insurance system is one such action that will not only save lives now but save money down the road.

Plan on attending the next UHC Work Group meeting Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 1 pm. RSVP link expected next week.