May 13, 2021
OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON — On May 13, 2021 Gov. Jay Inslee signed legislation setting up a permanent universal healthcare commission to begin work within ninety days on transitioning the state to a universally financed healthcare system. The commission will implement necessary programs and key design elements including benefits packages, reimbursement rates, and financing mechanisms which will prepare Washington State to transition to a unified financing system once the federal authorities are realized. The bill further requires WA State Health Care Authority to begin the application process for federal waivers within sixty days of their availability, while also allowing state agencies, within their statutory authority, to implement any recommendations from any of the reports issued by the commission.
“Parents, nurses, neighbors, business owners – people from Pend Oreille to Point Roberts to Purdy – agree. We deserve access to the healthcare we need when we need it. And we deserve that healthcare at a cost we can afford,” said Sen. Emily Randall (D-Bremerton), the sponsor of SB 5399. “That’s why I was proud to work with Alliance for a Healthy Washington to establish the Universal Healthcare Commission that will coordinate local and federal efforts to build a system that covers everyone. Together we’re laying the groundwork for a healthier Washington, a healthier future for all of us.”
“COVID-19 has been a stress test on all of our institutions and has shone a bright light on the inequities and unsustainability of our current fractured system. States have long been incubators for lasting systemic change in the U.S., and I truly believe that Washington State will lead the way in transitioning to a universal healthcare system,” said Alliance for a Healthy Washington’s Board President Bevin McLeod.
Alliance for a Healthy Washington (AHW) is a 501(c)(4) non-partisan, non-profit advocacy organization for health care system reform in Washington State.