Healthcare Reform Transcript

Americans pay more for health coverage than anyone else in the world. Yet in rural communities like ours we struggle with access and affordability. Our medical centers too are having a hard time. In our district alone we’ve lost one hospital, and we’re in danger of losing two more. It’s time to have a courageous conversation about covering everyone in Washington State, no matter why they’re here. It will lower our costs in the process, and it’s the right thing to do.

As I’ve talked to people around our district, I’ve heard from doctors and patients alike that they’re frustrated! As someone who has worked in public health for several years, serving the needs of the people of our district is my full time priority. We cannot wait for Congress to act. As your state representative I’ll identify the gaps in coverage that keep people from care. I’ll work to break down barriers to access, and I’ll explore all options for making our system sustainable.

Everyone, in every corner of our state, deserves quality healthcare. It’s time for government to engage us, the people. It’s time for Everett Maroon for State Representative of the 16th District.

Policy Details

A number of bills have been proposed in the most recent legislative sessions, in both chambers, but they did not move forward very far and have all failed. Additionally the I-1600 from the Health Care for All group did not garner enough signatures to make it to the ballot for the general election this fall. That said, a similar bill to the ones proposed by Rep. Appleton and Sen. Frockt will likely be introduced again in January 2019 at the start of the next session.

Meanwhile, the legislature did appropriate $100,000 for a study by UW researchers to look into models of universal care and single-payer systems for their potential implementation in Washington State. This study is due to be released on December 1, 2018.

In working on some of the front lines in public health and in rural communities, I am invested in making sure that our needs in Southeast Washington are a part of these efforts. We cannot afford to let health care and health care coverage continue to be a partisan issue. Too many of us are caring for ailing parents, supporting adult children with developmental disabilities or mental illness, dealing with the effects of a runaway opioid crisis, or trying to make ends meet despite our own health conditions.

I support the implementation of a single-payer health care system for the State of Washington that is inclusive of all residents in the state, and that takes into specific account the different needs and issues for residents who live in rural, geographically isolated, medically underserved, or exurban communities. I respectfully submit that we can use a mix of cost savings from moving away from our expensive patchwork of insurance programs and health care systems and create a system that guarantees everyone in the state has coverage, possibly shifting employer payments (from covering part of employee premiums, to pay into the state program, and based on the size of its corporation), and innovation waivers from the federal government.

We should have health care access when we need it, to protect our health, our lives, our homes, and our communities. I am troubled when I hear that provider administration is so difficult that doctors give up and close their practices, or that patients are scheduled for extra visits just so providers can get paid. We can do better and we have to do better.