LETTER: We've been waiting for decades
The time is right to have a serious conversation about universal healthcare. Healthcare should not be dependent on employment status - as many have found out in the last year, there are no employment guarantees, and there is 100% certainty that each of us will need health care at some point in our lives.
Senator Bob Hasegawa (WA-11) deserves thanks from every one of us. Last week, he introduced SB-5204 into committee, the first step to making healthcare access universal in Washington. The bill will create a statewide healthcare trust to fund affordable access to healthcare, vision, dental, and even mental health.
We’ve been waiting for a bill like this for decades. When the federal government cannot find the moral and political courage to fix healthcare, our state needs to exercise the sovereignty of the 10thAmendment and do what we need at the state level.
My own experience with healthcare has been from the point of view of someone who has access to insurance. When my husband was hospitalized with a life threatening health crisis, ‘all’ I had to worry about was potentially losing the love of my life. I did not have the additional fear of losing my financial solvency, and as I looked at the growing pile of insurance paperwork, I could not fathom a world in which my ability to find full time employment was the only thing that kept us from being shouldered with the entire bill, an immediate path to bankruptcy. The unfairness of it is staggering.
SB-5204 is the right and moral thing to do. We are getting crushed under an avalanche of constantly rising healthcare costs — over the past twenty years, cost-sharing alone has risen eight times faster than wages. A third of us carry medical debt. Even more put off seeing doctors or filling prescriptions because of cost — and our health suffers.
White Center and West Seattle fall into the 34th District, represented by Representative Cody. Cody currently serves as chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, which will be the gatekeeper of SB 5204 when it comes to the House. She has expressed skepticism toward the bill and an intention of not allowing it out to the vote. Surely she won't put the needs of campaign donors ahead of constituents who vote? Eileen Cody needs to hear from as many constituents as possible, that this measure should become law. Will you contact her if she is your rep? https://housedemocrats.wa.gov/cody/contact/ call or email, and tell her you want a vote on making SB 5204 into the law of the land.
Why should we subsidize the healthcare of legislators who look the other way when it comes to our health needs? SB-5204 would end this travesty. We need to ask Representative Eileen Cody (D-34) to pass SB 5204 when it comes to the House. Surely she won't put the needs of campaign donors ahead of constituents who vote?
As a taxpayer and voter, I ask our legislators and governor to serve Washington residents — and pass SB-5204.
RECENT DEVELOPMENT: a bill that would merely form a commission HAS been granted a hearing, but SB 5204l that would actually begin the transition to universal healthcare was frozen out. Rep Cody will tell you that it isn't possible at the state level, that it's too costly during COVID, but that she's hopeful now that there's a new administration. Her arguments are incorrect. The bill was written with the hurdles in mind and the solutions to move forward. This bill was introduced last session and ignored. It's been updated and vetted by the Dept of Revenue and the Employment Sec Dept and still ignored. But a thin bill, submitted 3 weeks after 5204, that merely creates a commission & includes intentional language, gets a hearing. This can only say that no one wants to do the work we need to do right now. This would be a meaningless win, a lull, more time to coast. I don't understand how this is not an all-hands-on-deck, hair on fire discussion right now. Who can possibly be ok with trying for a win or checking a box right now. Why aren't we hammering out details and pulling in experts and starting enrollments? Instead, we'll talk about a commission. Parlor games like this are the reason people are so incredibly disappointed in their government. But to be clear, it is party leadership that makes these gate-keeping decisions. So disappointing.