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It’s Time for Single-Payer Health in Washington

What does a single-payer health care system look like?

• Health care will be financed in a way that benefits us. We all pay into a system that is managed by one entity. Instead of lining the pockets of insurance company executives or funding company advertising, our money goes where it should–toward our health care.

• We all participate in the decision that affect our health. Single payer takes the power from insurance companies and puts it in our hands and the hands of our democratically elected representatives. No longer will insurance companies decide how much we pay for health care services and which services we can get.

• Everyone has access to quality health care. Single payer guarantees universal coverage–there are no more financial barriers. This promotes equality and equity in our health care system, meaning everyone has a fair shot at being healthy.

• We will have freedom of choice in our health care. There will no longer be doctor’s offices that don’t take your insurance. You can choose which doctor you see or which hospital you go to.

We are calling on lawmakers to make Washington a leader in health care reform innovation by establishing a single payer system that guarantees all Washington families. Call you legislators today and tell them it’s time to create a single payer health care system in Washington State. Call the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000

 

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Help pass the Basic Health Option!

BHO

Last Monday, the Basic Health Option passed the House! The vote was 54 yes, 43 no, and 1 excused. We’re one step closer, but there’s still work to do.

Now, we need to motivate the Senate Health Care committee to pass it, so that it can reach the Senate floor. Two lawmakers are of particular interest, Randi Becker (chair) and Bruce Dammeier (vice-chair) who are in the 25th and the 2nd districts.

These districts are in Pierce County, which has the highest number of people who would be eligible for the Basic Health program (more than 3.5% of the total population of the county would be eligible).

 Take action TODAY by calling your Senator today and urging them to stand strong with the Basic Health Option (SB 6231). Washington Legislative Hotline: 1-800-562-6000.

 

 

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Update on Proactive Racial Equity Agenda

Legislative session started last Monday and we have already made some big steps towards equity. See below for a legislative update that highlights the status of some of the bills on our proactive racial equity agenda (click here to see the full agenda and information about what the bills would accomplish). Ways to take action are highlighted in bold below.

Youth Opportunities Act (SHB 1651): This bill will be heard in the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government on Wednesday, Jan. 29th at 3:30. Please email legislators on this committee before the hearing to emphasize your support of this bill and any positive fiscal impact you think it will have (increased employment, decreased criminal justice involvement, fewer juvenile records sealing cases, etc.). See below for the list of legislators/contact info. for the House Appropriations Subcommittee on General Government:

  • Zack Hudgins (D) (Chair): zack.hudgins@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)
  • Kevin Parker (R): kevin.parker@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)
  • Vincent Buys (R): vincent.buys@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)
  • Leonard Christian (R): leonard.christian@leg.wa.gov (New to the legislature)
  • Hans Dunshee (D): hans.dunshee@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)
  • Sam Hunt (D): sam.hunt@leg.wa.gov (Sponsored bill)
  • Laurie Jinkins (D): laurie.jinkins@leg.wa.gov (Sponsored bill)
  • Larry Springer (D): larry.springer@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)
  • David Taylor (R): david.taylor@leg.wa.gov (Voted for YOA last year)

If anyone would like to testify, or know of someone who could give compelling testimony, please contact Casey at Columbia Legal Services: casey.trupin@columbialegal.org. Please also be in touch with Casey if you hear back from any legislators with their position on this bill.

Washington State DREAM Act (HB 1817): Passed out of the House the first day of session! The bill is now in the Senate Higher Education Committee, and will need to be voted out of committee to go to a full floor vote. We’ll let folks know when it would be helpful to reach out to Senators in support of the bill.

Voting Rights Act (HB 1413): The Voting Rights Act will be voted on in the House Rules Committee on January 27th- Location/Time TBA. Allies are asking partners to help pack the room – please contact Shankar Narayan at the ACLU (snarayan@aclu-wa.org) or Emily Murphy at One America (emily@weareoneamerica.org) if you’re interested in attending.

Paid Sick Days (HB 1313): Folks in the Work and Family coalition have been urging House leadership to pass a statewide paid sick days bill, but their vote count is still a little short – and one of the uncommitteds is Eric Pettigrew. We are urging individuals in the 37th district to take a minute to email Representative Pettigrew (eric.pettigrew@leg.wa.gov). Let him know that as one of his constituents you strongly support paid sick days for everyone in Washington and urge him to help lead the effort to pass HB 1313. Here is the message we would like to convey: No one should be forced to go to work sick, or lose a paycheck because they stayed home with a sick child or took their ailing parent to the doctor. But over 1 million working people in Washington state don’t get a single day of paid sick leave now. HB 1313 is modeled after Seattle’s successful Paid Sick and Safe Leave policy, co-written by small business owners, health professionals, and working family advocates. Assuring that all workers in our state can earn paid sick leave will help rebuild the middle class and restore our economy. Paid Sick Days passed through the full committee process last year, and could brought to the floor of the House immediately. The session is short, and it’s important to move this bill quickly.

Continue reading »»

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America’s Hidden Recession

Job gap cover

We hear in the media that the United States is experiencing an economic recovery. GDP is up. Productivity is as high as it has ever been. Even the stock market dances with new records in trading. The data tells a different story. This ‘recovery’ has exacerbated the divide between the wealthiest in America, and everyone else:

  • 7% of America’s wealthiest households are enjoying a 28% increase in their net worth.
  • The net worth of the remaining 93% of households declined by 4%.

While national jobs numbers do indicate the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs every quarter, the vast majority are low wage jobs. Jobs paying mid-range salaries are in a steady decline. Full-time work doesn’t pay enough to sustain an individual, let alone a family.

Instead, we have a recovery that ignores the majority of American households whose productivity drives it. A Hidden Recession lives beneath the numbers and indicators, behind the data and the drumbeats. It lies within the gap between having a job, or having a job that pays.

Here in Washington:

  • There are 547,634 job seekers compared to only 122,930 job openings
  • The job gap (ratio of job seekers to living wage jobs available) is: 8:1 for a household of one, 11:1 for a household of two, and 22:1 for a household of four
  • The living wage for a single adult in Washington is $16.04

With eight job-seekers for each projected living-wage job opening for a single adult (and 22 for each job that supports a worker, his or her spouse and two children), more jobs need to pay better wages, or working families will not be able to afford to cover their basic needs.

Read more in the Alliance for a Just Society’s 15th annual Job Gap study.

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Join us, December 3rd at the first Legislative Summit on Racial Equity!

SavetheDate FINAL

Join the Race and Social Justice Community Roundtable and community partners as we share out 2014 Legislative Agenda for Racial Equity with state legislators on Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013!

Click here to register for the event in advance!

 

The Legislative Summit on Racial Equity will bring together state legislators and community members to discuss issues impacting communities of color and low-income communities in Washington.

Members of the community will share their personal stories and together we will outline a proactive policy agenda that will move our state towards racial equity.

Legislators will have time to talk with community members, hear people’s experiences and gain a deeper understanding of 2014 policy pieces that will advance racial equity.

Finally, there will be a call to action/commitment from the larger group to work on these issues, and we’ll be asking legislators to be champions for the various bills we’re advocating for.

 

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