Ensuring Social Justice
Health Care, Behavioral Health, & Reproductive Rights

Ensure access for all residents to comprehensive, uniform and affordable set of health services. These services shall be available regardless of one’s health status (ie pre-existing conditions) or financial status.

Issue Team Chair: Kim Abbey, kabbey@lwvwa.org, (206) 387-6134
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2020 Legislative Session Expectations

(Interested in the 2019 Session Recap? Click Here)

During the first week of the session public hearings concerned the establishment of the prescription drug affordability board and creating a central insulin purchasing program were held. Now, in the second week, many new bills regarding post-partum care extension and protecting Medicaid coverage and regulation of vaping products will be heard in committee. These bills will need support from constituents to pass into law. 

Click on Bill # for detailed information.  See UPDATES below.

Bills the League Supports
  • HB 1023 Allowing certain Adult Family Homes to increase capacity to eight beds. There is a need for people to get care in their communities and this bill seeks to find a way for experienced adult family home providers to increase their capacity. DSHS has safety requirements for adult family homes that ensure the home can only accept individuals for which they are able to adequately give care. UPDATE:  Has passed a 3rd reading in the House and may come to the floor for a vote this week.  Write to or phone your legislators in support of this bill.

  • HB 1240 Relating to youth suicide review teams.  Write or phone your own legislators to express support for this bill.

  • HB 1317 / SB 5392   Establishing the Profession of Dental Therapist. Thanks to the LWV-Whatcom Co. health committee for their research which shows that at least nine other states have Dental Therapists which assures adequate dental care in rural and under-served areas and on Tribal lands. Dental Therapists act like physicians assistants to dentists and can perform certain procedures when a dentist is not present. Training and licensing is required. LWVWA joined the WA Dental Access Campaign Coalition to support this bill.   UPDATE: write or phone your legislators in support, this bill may come to the floor for a vote this week. 

  • HB 1551 Modernizing control of communicable disease (HIV). States that HIV is now considered to be a lifelong disease. The wording will change requirements for counseling and change the age of consent for testing for HIV. Modifies crimes related to transmission

  • HB 1562  Concerning Health Benefit Managers. This bill proposes standards for regulating and oversight of Health Benefit Managers who are employed by insurance carriers. They act as intermediaries between carriers, health care providers, and patients. They exercise broad discretion to affect health care services recommended and delivered by providers and the health care choices of patients and need to be licensed and regulated.  UPDATE: Will have a public hearing this week on Tuesday, January 21st at 1:30 PM. Comment on this bill on leg.wa.gov and write or phone in support.
  • HB 1608 Protect Patient Care. Patients need access to full and complete information so they can make informed decisions. About 50 % of Washington hospitals are religious based. Many patients have reported that they cannot get access to information regarding Death with Dignity. Patients report being denied care or having care delayed when they are bleeding, cramping, and miscarrying. This bill aims to correct that.  UPDATE: Write or phone your legislators in support of this bill.

  • HB 1697/ SB 5814 Concerning health coverage for young adults. Concerning health coverage for young adults. Requires the Health Care Authority to seek federal funding to defray state costs associated with providing coverage to those low-income persons, age 19-25 regardless of immigration status. This bill had a public hearing in the first week of the session, on Tuesday, Jan. 14, but no Executive action or a vote yet.  UPDATE: Write or phone your legislators offices to state your support for this bill this week. .

  • SB 5345 Concerning health plan coverage for contralateral prophylactic mastectomies (CPM). Contralateral prophylactic mastectomy (CPM) is the removal of a breast in the absence of a malignant disease, which is sometimes used to reduce the risk of breast cancer occurrence, or in the case of high-risk genetic markers. This bill had a public hearing before the Senate Health and Long Term Care committee but no action was taken in 2019. 

  • SB 5483 Improving services for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Requires the Health Care Authority (HCA) to hire or contract with specialists in developmental disabilities to participate in behavioral health crisis teams, subject to the availability of funding for that purpose. Certain patients currently become housed in emergency rooms or hospitals during a short term crisis, this bill aims to stop that practice. This does have a fiscal note attached.  Make comments, write emails, or phone your legislators in support and to request another public hearing this year.

  • SB 6088 Relating to establishing a prescription drug affordability board.  UPDATE: Had a Public Hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Continue to support this bill by commenting on the leg.wa.gov website, or write and phone your legislators.

  • SB 6110 Relating to the importing of prescription drugs from Canada. The Health Care Authority shall, in consultation with the pharmacy quality assurance commission and relevant federal agencies, design a wholesale prescription drug importation program. Ensure that all imported prescription drugs meet the United States food and drug administration's safety, effectiveness standards. Only import prescription drugs expected to generate substantial savings for Washington consumers.  UPDATE: Had a Public Hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020.
  • SB 6113 Relating to creation of a central insulin purchasing program. The legislature intends to pursue a central insulin purchasing program to leverage the buying power of all insulin purchasers in the state and with the goal of lowering the cost of insulin.  UPDATE: Had a Public Hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020
  • HB 6128 Extending coverage during the postpartum period. In October 2019 the maternal mortality review panel recommended ensuring funding and access to postpartum care and support through the first year after pregnancy. Postpartum medicaid coverage currently ends sixty days after pregnancy. UPDATE: Has a public hearing in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee on Monday, January 20th at 1:30 PM. Comment on this bill using leg.wa.gov or phone and email your legislators in support of SB 6128.

  • SB 6254 Protecting public health and safety by enhancing the regulation of vapor products. The legislature intends to ban the sale of flavored vapor products and enact additional regulatory protections to protect the health of youth and young adults in Washington state. UPDATE: This bill has a public hearing in Senate Health and Long Term Care committee on Wednesday, January 22 at 1:30 PM.

    Bills the League is Watching

    Two State based Single payer/Medicare for All bills

    ·      SB 5222 Creating the Whole Washington Health Trust. Sponsor: Sen. Hasagawa

    ·     HB 1104 Requiring the submission of a waiver to the federal government to create the Washington Health Security Trust.  Sponsor: Rep. Appleton

    In 2019 both State-based Single Payer bills only had readings before Committee and did not receive Public Hearings. What is a ‘health trust’? When the federal government grants waivers to individual states so that all federal Medicare and Medicaid funds are transferred to the state, then individual states are free to pass Single Payer/ improved Medicare for All health coverage plans. In WA State, if either of these bills were to become law, that would allow the creation of a Health Security Trust from which all providers and hospitals would be paid. The health trust would also collect funds from employers and residents, expected to be lower than employer based medical insurance is costing companies currently to cover their employees. Residents would receive comprehensive, uniform coverage directly paid by the WHST and would no longer need to purchase plans from for-profit Insurers, and would eliminate deductibles or co-pays. League members may write emails or phone your legislators starting right now to ask them to continue to sponsor these bills in 2020 and beyond.

    TWO bills protecting women from adverse practices:

    ·      SB 5257 Restricting the practice of female genital mutilation. Simply states that it is 'unprofessional conduct for a licensed health care provider to perform female genital mutilation and disciplining actions include fines, license revocations, and restrictions on practice can occur'. In 2019 this bill was voted DO PASS in the Health and LTC Committee but became stuck in Rules.  

    ·      SB 5282 Requiring informed consent for pelvic exams while under anesthesia. In 2019 this bill was voted DO PASS in the Health and LTC Committee but became stuck in Rules.  

    Bills the League Opposes

    ·      HB 1526 Enacting the Washington pain capable unborn child protection act. 

    ·      HB 1560 Concerning restrictions on types of abortion.

    ·      SB 5185 Requiring parental notification for minors to obtain abortion.

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