On March 16 the LWVWA board endorsed I-1600, the initiative that would require the establishment of a comprehensive state program to pay for health care for all Washington residents. If approved, this coverage would be effective by November 2019, funded by premiums and taxes on employers, individual income, and capital gains. Find out more about this initiative at www.yeson1600.org.
In the 2017-2018 Legislature a number of universal health care bills were introduced. Four had public hearings: HB 1026, SB 5701, SB 5747, and SB 5957. None of them were passed out of the committee of origin. As a result, a grass roots organization, Whole Washington, decided to ask the Washington Secretary of State to approve the initiative that has been in the works for about a year.
Dr. Gerald Freidman, a national economist, was hired to do a funding study that would enable Washington State to cover health care costs for all residents. Friedman has worked with other states to study funding for health care plans that would cover all state residents. He designed the health care proposal that Bernie Sanders presented. I-1600 is similar to universal, single payer, legislation that has been introduced in the Washington State Legislature for many years.
The League of Women Voters has a long standing position on universal health care.
In 1990 Washington State established a Health Care Commission, to which League members monitored and provided input. After studying the health care issue, the League of Women Voters of Washington (LWVWA) agreed on the following position on health care in 1992:
Position HC-1: The League of Women Voters of Washington supports policies, as part of comprehensive reform of the existing health system, which
- Ensures universal access for all residents to a comprehensive, uniform, and affordable set of health services. These services shall be available regardless of one’s health status or financial status.
- Provide “seamless” coverage and continuity of care, to the extent possible, regardless of changes in the life circumstances such as change in employment, marital status, financial status, or health status.
- Establish a mechanism to adequately control total system expenditures for health services while maintaining quality standards of care.
- Assure that no one shall be forced into poverty because of medical or long-term needs.
I-1600 would establish a comprehensive state program to pay for health care services, prescriptions, and medical equipment for all Washington residents.
Your help is needed to gather enough signatures for I-1600 to be approved for placement on the November 2018 ballot. Donations are needed to enable positive communication of this initiative and for signature gathering costs. At the present time there are no paid staff members working on this initiative, only volunteers working on a grassroots level. Please help as much as you are able. Below are some links with additional information to help you communicate with others.
If you have questions, contact Susan Eidenschink via email or at 253-365-4005.