WA House introduces Single-Payer Bill

House Bill 1026 has been introduced  by Representative Sherry Appleton (D-23rd)and co-sponsored by Representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger, among 17 others. No companion bill is yet in the Senate. That usually means the bill won’t have a chance of actually passing. The bill has been put forward for the last three years, with no action. So if you want to see it get moving, call the office of Representative Eileen Cody (34th) and request a hearing on the bill. Her admin is Kindra, the direct dial number is (360) 786 – 7978. It would be good, given the possibility of what is coming from the Feds, to keep this in play and build momentum for a possible larger push next year. This is how bills get passed. It’s all about momentum. You might also email Representative Appleton’s admin and press for a hearing. Sherry.Appleton@leg.wa.gov. But there are likely better bills to put your energy into that stand a chance of passing.

The bill authorizes the creation of an agency to  require the submission of a waiver to the federal government to create the Washington health security trust;  add a new chapter to Title 43 RCW; creating new sections;  repeal RCW 82.04.260 and 48.14.0201; provide contingent effective dates; and provide an expiration date.

The bill states:

There is a crisis in health care  accessibility, affordability, and choice in Washington state. Healthcare through insurance companies has failed to control costs,  increase access, or preserve choice. More than six hundred thousand Washington residents have no health care coverage. Individual plans  are unavailable or unaffordable in most counties. Many clinics,  physician practices, and emergency departments, especially in rural  areas, are failing. Employers, faced with fewer choices and more  expensive premiums, are reducing employment-based health care coverage. Simplifying health care financing and eliminating administrative waste inherent in multiple insurance plans can create  sufficient savings to extend health care coverage to all residents and enhance fairness in the system.

The people of the state of Washington declare their intention  to create a single health financing entity called the Washington H-0415.1 HOUSE BILL 1026 State of Washington 65th Legislature 2017 Regular Session By Representatives Appleton, Tharinger, Robinson, Stanford, Lytton, Ormsby, Jinkins, Wylie, Goodman, Sells, Farrell, Doglio, Riccelli, Fey, Pollet, Fitzgibbon, Dolan, Chapman, and Frame Prefiled 12/07/16. Read first time 01/09/17. Referred to Committee on Health Care & Wellness. p. 1 HB 1026 1 health security trust. Through public hearings, research, and 2 consensus building, the trust will: (a) Provide fair, simple, and 3 accountable health care financing for all Washington residents using  a single health care financing entity; (b) cover a comprehensive  package of effective and necessary personal health services; (c) make health care coverage independent from employment; (d) eliminate excessive administrative costs resulting from the current fragmented  system of multiple insurers; (e) generate savings sufficient to  ensure coverage for all Washington residents; (f) integrate current 10 publicly sponsored health programs into the health security trust; 11 (g) preserve choice of providers for Washington residents; (h)  protect patient rights; (i) keep clinical decisions in the hands of health professionals and patients, rather than administrative  personnel; (j) promote health care quality; and (k) control excessive health care costs.

This is the link to the bill. One particular odd passage is section 28, which repeals  the taxes on manufacturers and processors of various 27 foods and by-products—Research and development organizations—Travel 28 agents—Certain international activities—Stevedoring and associated 29 activities—Low-level waste disposers—Insurance producers, surplus 30 line brokers, and title insurance agents—Hospitals—Commercial 31 airplane activities—Timber product activities—Canned salmon 32 processors. I am unsure what that means in relation to this bill and why they want to do that.

Click to access 1026.pdf

Photo credit: Truthout.org via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

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