Tag Archives: Universal Health Care

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

Universal Health Care Work Group Roster & Meetings

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Work Group Members

Work Group Roster

Past UHC Work Group Meetings

1) Friday, September 20, 2019, Olympia
Watch the TVW recording of the first UHC Work Group meeting. Read the budget proviso and meeting materials.

For more details, see the Health Care Authority UHC Group website

Future Meetings

The Health Care Authority has revised the original schedule of meetings. There are now two fewer meetings scheduled.

* Changes are starred.

All meetings are from 1-5 pm.

2) Monday, December 9, 2019, Olympia, TBD*
3) February 2020, TBD
4) Wednesday, April 22, 2020, Seattle, TBD
5) Wednesday, June 24, 2020, Spokane, TBD
6) Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Olympia, TBD
7) September 2020, Olympia, TBD*
8) Thursday, October 15, 2020, Olympia, TBD

Updated October 9, 2019

The Universal Health Care Work Group Budget Proviso

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The budget proviso contains the directions for the formation of, and the work of, the Universal Health Care Work Group. The budget proviso, which is like a line item in a budget, was passed in the House Budget HB 1109, Section 211, on pages 135 & 136 at the end of the 2019 Legislative Session:

(57) The health care authority is directed to convene a work group on establishing a universal health care system in Washington. $500,000 of the general fund—state appropriation for fiscal year 2020 is provided solely for the health care authority to contract with one or more consultants to perform any actuarial and financial analyses necessary to develop options under (b)(vi) of this subsection.

(a) The work group must consist of a broad range of stakeholders with expertise in the health care financing and delivery system, including but not limited to:

(i) Consumers, patients, and the general public;
(ii) Patient advocates and community health advocates;
(iii) Large and small businesses with experience with large and small group insurance and self-insured models;
(iv) Labor, including experience with Taft-Hartley coverage;
(v) Health care providers that are self-employed and health care providers that are otherwise employed;
(vi) Health care facilities such as hospitals and clinics;
(vii) Health insurance carriers;
(viii) The Washington health benefit exchange and state agencies,including the office of financial management, the office of the insurance commissioner, the department of revenue, and the office of the state treasurer; and
(ix) Legislators from each caucus of the house of representatives and senate.

(b) The work group must 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 including, but not limited to:

(i) Options for increasing coverage and access for uninsured and underinsured populations;

(ii) Transparency measures across major health system actors, including carriers, hospitals, and other health care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and provider groups that promote understanding and analyses to best manage and lower costs;

(iii) Innovations that will promote quality, evidence-based practices leading to sustainability, and affordability in a universal health care system. When studying innovations under this subsection, the work group must develop recommendations on issues related to covered benefits and quality assurance and consider expanding and supplementing the work of the Robert Bree collaborative and the health technology assessment program;

(iv) Options for ensuring a just transition to a universal healthcare system for all stakeholders including, but not limited to, consumers, businesses, health care providers and facilities, hospitals, health carriers, state agencies, and entities representing both management and labor for these stakeholders;

(v) Options to expand or establish health care purchasing in collaboration with neighboring states; and

(vi) Options for revenue and financing mechanisms to fund the universal health care system. The work group shall contract with one or more consultants to perform any actuarial and financial analyses necessary to develop options under this subsection.

(c) The work group must report its findings and recommendations to the appropriate committees of the legislature by November 15, 2020. Preliminary reports with findings and preliminary recommendations shall be made public and open for public comment by November 15, 2019, and May 15, 2020.