3 Decades of Accomplishments

For the past 30 years, Washington CAN! has worked to promote quality, affordable health care, economic justice, and racial justice for all in our state. Over the past decade, our policy victories include:


Protecting our State Health Care Safety Net. Everyone should be able to see and communicate with their doctor when they need to. We are currently working to protect funding for the state Basic Health Program and medical interpretation services for limited-English speaking Medicaid patients.

Promoting New Revenue in Washington State. Because of our state’s regressive tax system, low-income working families in our state are paying more in taxes as a percentage of their overall income compared to affluent families.  Raise new revenue in our state by requiring everyone to pay their fair share.

National Health Care Reform. Washington CAN! is working with the national Health Care for America NOW! Campaign to ensure quality, affordable access to health care for everyone living in the U.S.


Ballot initiatives. We worked to defeat Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1033, and to support Referendum 71 to guarantee domestic partner benefits in our state.

State legislative victories. We successfully fought for funding for the Health Insurance Partnership, and worked to restore voting rights for former felons.

National health care. We won the reauthorization and Expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), including the removal of the five-year bar for legal permanent resident children.


Rate Hike Accountability. Washington CAN! led a 2-year effort to give the Office of the Insurance Commissioner oversight over health care premium increases in the individual health insurance market.

Health Care Working Group. Washington CAN! fought to create a working group to study comprehensive state health care proposals.

New Americans Initiative. Washington CAN! was pleased to help advance the New Americans Initiative to determine how the state can more effectively integrate immigrants into Washington’s communities.


Health Insurance Partnership. Washington CAN! led a campaign to create the Health Insurance Partnership (HIP) which will make quality health insurance coverage affordable for small businesses and their low-income employees.

Insuring all Children by 2010. Washington CAN! assisted in ths major victory to guarantee health care coverage for all children by 2010.


Improved Health Care Access. Washington CAN! worked with the state legislature to pass several key pieces of legislation that have expanded health care access for Washington residents, including increasing enrollment and cutting waiting lists for Basic Health and the Children’s Health Program.

Prevented Voter Disenfranchisement. New federal voter “matching” requirements threatened to disenfranchise thousands of voters, disproportionately low-income people and people of color, whose information did not match records held in state computerized databases. Washington CAN! was a lead plaintiff in a successful lawsuit that protected the right to vote for all registered Washington voters.


Reduced the Price for Prescription Drugs. Washington CAN! led the campaign to expand Washington state’s prescription drug purchasing pool. Implemented in 2007, the Washington Prescription Drug Program has helped more than 100,000 residents save millions of dollars on prescription drug costs.

Defeated Dangerous Co-pays in the state budget. Washington Citizen Action joined with the Statewide Poverty Action Network (SPAN) to lead the charge to defeat provisions that would have mandated prescription drug co-pays for Medicaid recipients.


Registered more than 52,000 voters. Washington Citizen Action implemented the largest non-partisan civic engagement project in state history, registering 52,000 voters from low income neighborhoods and communities of color.

Stopped the Premera conversion. Washington Citizen Action spearheaded the campaign to deny Premera Blue Cross’ proposal to convert from a non-profit charity to a for-profit corporation.

Passed Act for Hungry Families 2004. WCA led the coalition that helped create the Act for Hungry Families. This law extended eligibility for Food Stamps to more than 25,000 additional people in Washington state, expands school lunch programs for the disadvantaged, and reduces administrative hurdles in the food assistance application process.

Health care for Children. WCA helped persuade Governor Locke to suspend proposed Medicaid co-payments for low income families, thus preserving health care coverage for 30,000 children.


Prescription Drug Fairness. WCA played a leadership role in campaign to provide low- and moderate-income seniors and people with disabilities access to lower cost prescription drugs.


Better access to Food Stamps. WCA helped to reduce administrative hurdles that prevent needy families from accessing food assistance programs, including simplifying the food stamp application process and shorting the required paperwork from six pages to three.

Protected Medicaid. WCA helped block Washington state’s request for a waiver that would have allowed the state to dramatically reduce Medicaid benefits for low income individuals.


Patients Bill of Rights. WCA led the successful effort to enact the Patient’s Bill of Rights, one of the strongest in the country. This law allows state residents to hold their health care providers and insurance companies accountable, including the right to sue if the insurance company or health care provider failed to exercise standards of care.


Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). WCA and coalition partners advocated for enactment of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which provided health care to more than 10,000 children in the state.


Minimum Wage Raised in Washington State. WCA played a major role in the successful campaign for Initiative 668, which raised the minimum wage and indexed the minimum wage to keep pace with inflation.

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