Social and Economic Policy
Everyone should have access to affordable, quality healthcare across a full spectrum of services, from preventative care to inpatient hospitalization, with a workforce sufficient to provide these services with the goal of a publicly funded universal system.
The League at both the state and national level positions support access to affordable and quality healthcare for all including the full spectrum of reproductive healthcare. Abortion and gender affirming services being part of that care. Legislation was passed toward that end with five strong acts protecting this right. Restrictions to access, provider availability and cost as well as varying reimbursement levels for same service plague our healthcare system. Budgeting for immigrant healthcare, crisis centers, the 988 rollout, and better support for rural healthcare begin to address the number one cause of personal bankruptcy in this nation which continues to be healthcare. Inequity in the system is rampant, your zip code defines the healthcare available to you as well as the quality. The Universal Health Care Commission continues and was better funded to keep working to consider a universal healthcare system for Washington State. Our position on healthcare now supports that dream.
In this session, legislation was passed promising to increase the healthcare workforce, facilitating access to health services in underserved areas and for underserved populations. We have much more work to do!
|House Bills||House||Senate||After Passage|
|Bill #||Bill Name (Brief Title)||League Position||Take Action||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||In Committee||On Floor Calendar||Passed||Passed Legislature||On Governor's Desk||Signed|
|HB 1155||Addressing selling and sharing of consumer data
|HB 1222||Requiring coverage for hearing Instruments.||Supports|
Concerning actions by health professions’ disciplining authorities against license holders and applicants.
|HB 1469||Concerning actions by health professions' disciplining authorities against license holders and applicants.||Supports|
||Establishing and authorizing the profession of dental therapy.||Supports||
These weekly updates will provide you with a "deep dive" into the progress of each bill, along with more analysis of the potential impact of the bill if it should pass.
HB 1027/SB 5036 Concerning telemedicine.Extends the time frame (until 01/2027) in which real-time telemedicine using both audio and video technology may be used. In rural and underserved areas especially, telemedicine has been effective in providing access to care. This bill will continue to provide and support healthcare for underserved communities increasing equity.
SB 5236 Concerning hospital staffing standards. Sponsored by Sen. Robinson and fourteen others. Relating to improving nurse and health care worker safety and patient care by establishing minimum staffing standards in hospitals, requiring hospital staffing committees to develop staffing plans, addressing mandatory overtime and meal and rest breaks, and providing for enforcement.
SB 5278 Implementing audit recommendations to reduce barriers to home care aide certification. Sponsored by Sen. L. Wilson and eight others. Requires the departments of Health and Social and Health Services to address delays between training and testing, the lack of test sites, and performance and contract management processes, and submitting a report to the Governor and Legislature no later than June 30, 2024.
SB 5582 Reducing barriers and expanding educational opportunities to increase the supply of nurses in Washington. Sponsored by Sen. Holy and twenty others. Requires the state board for community and technical colleges to develop a plan to increase credential opportunities in nursing. Creates nursing education opportunities at community and technical colleges and within the Department of Veterans Affairs. Modifies program approval and training requirements under the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. Creates the High School Student Certified Nursing Assistant Pilot Program.
HB 1115/SB 5242 Cost Sharing for Abortion Care. Sponsored by Representative Bateman and seventeen others. This bill seeks to end the practice of copays and coinsurance preventing women from obtaining abortion care as it relates to cost. Pregnancy is a time sensitive condition requires action; and eliminating cost helps to expedite care.
ESHB 1155 Addressing the collection, sharing, and selling of consumer health data. Establishes consumer rights regarding health data; defines obligations of regulated entities that collect, process, share, and sell consumer health data. Prohibits selling consumer health data without a valid authorization. Prohibits implementing a geofence to track or collect data from consumers who enter certain health care entities.
HB 1222 Requiring coverage for hearing Instruments. This bill has expanded to include everyone who requires hearing instruments rather than children under18. It is an access to care issue the League has consistently supported.
HB 1281/SB 5179 Increasing access to the provisions of the Washington death with dignity act. (Previously Concerning Death with Dignity.) The bill expands the Act by including ARNPs and Pas to continue care for their patients who make this choice. It shortens the waiting period from 15 to 7 days and removes the 48 hour waiting period for the written request, and allows medications to be delivered by mail or courier. Importantly, it makes provisions for hospitals and hospices to submit their policies to DOH.
HB 1340/SB 5400 Concerning actions by health professions’ disciplining authorities against license holders and applicants. This bill protects healthcare providers from legal action for providing gender-affirming and reproductive services and does not constitute “unprofessional conduct” under the Uniform Disciplinary Act. It also protects healthcare providers from disciplinary action based on another states laws regarding the provision of reproductive or gender-affirming care in Washington state.
HB 1469/SB 5489 Concerning access to reproductive services and gender affirming treatment in Washington state. Sponsored by Representative Hansen and Thai. This bill explicitly defines protected healthcare services in Washington State to include gender affirming and reproductive care. It protects healthcare providers from legal action and protects them and those they serve. It is a complex legal bill. The bill analysis is here.
HB 1593/SB 5454 Concerning industrial insurance coverage for posttraumatic stress disorders affecting registered nurses. Sponsored by Sen. Cleveland and eleven others. Provides industrial insurance coverage for posttraumatic stress disorders affecting registered nurses.
SB 5103 Concerning payment to acute care hospitals for difficult to discharge Medicaid patients. Patients in hospitals in small communities are waiting to be discharged to other placement such as a nursing home bed. This bill will protect small hospitals and rural communities from losing hospitals they simply cannot afford to lose.
SB 5499 Concerning the multistate nursing licensure compact. A compact for registered nurses will open movement of nurses from one state to another when a compact or agreement has been agreed upon by both states. This will support recruitment of nurses to Washington from other states and vice versa. Compacts are a very effective tool for health professional practice.
SJM 8006 Requesting the Federal Government create a Universal Healthcare program. This joint memorial while requesting the federal government create a healthcare program it also requests that it partner with Washington to do that. It also requests that waivers are granted in order that Washington can create our own program funded by a single-payer system if the federal government is unwilling or unable to do so.